[seqfan] Re: moving to wiki

Joseph S. Myers jsm at polyomino.org.uk
Thu Aug 27 17:10:59 CEST 2009

On Thu, 27 Aug 2009, David Wilson wrote:

> One really nice feature of a wiki is discussion pages. Specifically, we 
> could allocate an area for proposing and discussing new OEIS projects. 
> I'm sure we could propose many improvements. For a start:

I can certainly propose various improvements myself - hopefully the 
software behind the wiki will be open source as far as possible and a 
community will build up of people enhancing the software, as well as the 
community contributing to the database itself.  Different people are going 
to be interested in different areas, and just as we have lots of editors 
to avoid bottlenecks in reviewing sequences, so it will be important to 
avoid bottlenecks in enhancing the software itself and reviewing 
enhancements to it.

Apart from proposing and discussing new projects there will surely be 
general policies to be agreed by the community.  For example, we've 
discussed global editing and bulk downloads; just as Wikipedia has various 
policies on automatic and semi-automatic editing (see 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bots>), so I imagine the OEIS wiki 
may also need the community to agree policies in this area (though likely 
rather simpler than Wikipedia's); any idea someone has for some form of 
automated check or consistency improvement seems likely to need bulk 
downloads for prototyping purposes, and bulk editing to implement any 
changes agreed to be a good idea.

> - Redundancy elimination. e.g, create b-files for all sequences, and use 
> the b-file as sequence source, and generating the %STUO lines and list 
> view from the b-file.

(In the process of doing anything like this, be careful to preserve any 
existing comments of interest contained in b-files or on the lines linking 
to the b-files.)

- Allow a b-file to be given when entering a new sequence as the way of 
submitting the terms of that sequence.

- Make the "full" keyword refer to the set of terms included in the 

- Move from the explicit "more" markers for sequences needing extension to 
an automatically generated list of sequences in ascending order of the 
number of terms present (including in any b-file), together with some 
marker to indicate that a sequence should not be extended because the next 
term would exceed some limit on the size of terms present.

> - Independent Wiki pages for terminology, extended comments, etc.

When you have such pages to define terminology as used in OEIS, it might 
then be useful to be able to copy text from Wikipedia into such pages 
(which would require licensing under the Creative Commons 
Attribution-ShareAlike License).

More suggestions for projects and enhancements:

- The OEIS has a handful of concordances to sequences mentioned 
(explicitly or implicitly) in certain books - with markers for places 
where new sequences may need adding to OEIS.  The wiki should greatly 
facilitate creating and improving such concordances - one person could put 
an outline of chapters on the wiki, another pick up a particular chapter, 
enter some sequences and make clear on the wiki page which bits of the 
book they have or haven't checked for sequences.  Likewise for sequences 
from journals, competitions and elsewhere in the literature, the wiki 
should help track what sources have been searched and what was found 

- Bidirectional cross-references.  It should be easy to make two sequences 
each reference each other with a single edit.  By processing the full 
database it should be possible to identify cases where sequence A 
references B but B doesn't reference A; these will be a mixture of typos 
in cross-references, cross-references to sequences that were deleted or 
renumbered, cross-references to more important sequences that shouldn't 
necessarily get links back, and cases that ought to be bidirectional.

- Easier editing of the Index and listing sequences that aren't mentioned 
in the Index.

- Watchlisting individual sequences of personal interest, as on Wikipedia, 
so you can get a list of recent changes to such sequences.

- Reference and external link databases separate from the uses of those 
references and links in individual sequences, so only one place needs 
changing to update a widely used reference or link (e.g. changing a 
reference to a preprint to refer to the final version, updating a link to 
a website that has moved).

- Declaration of relations between the terms of one sequence and those of 
another so that extending one sequence automatically extends the other and 
inconsistencies are flagged for investigation.

Joseph S. Myers
jsm at polyomino.org.uk

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