[seqfan] Re: A174397 and primes with negative value.

Richard Mathar mathar at strw.leidenuniv.nl
Sat Mar 20 14:37:50 CET 2010

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The original problem was not that in some circumstances
it is useful to admit primes in all kinds of fields, but the
refusal to comment on that particular sense of definition in
the sequences. I have no problem with "negative" primes
if definitions say "Numbers n+-whatever which are prime in absolute value" or
"number bla-bla such that |..| is in A000040" as long as they make
contact to the standard definition by putting |..| where needed.

There is always an option to say "which is prime as defined in A008578"
or "which is a Gaussian prime..." or "Odd primes" etc for all types
of exceptions. The OEIS is big; it defines sequences that practically match
every variant of sequences that one would like to have at hand for that
sort of auxiliary quick cross-referencing.

The problem arises if people think they can go away with personalized
ideas of what defines prime (only those 5 and larger, for example)
and leave the rest of the world guessing what the proper definition should have
been for that particular sequence. The OEIS is not a "guess my definition" game.

Use of some Q# operator in some programming language is not
a substitute for lazy definition. A lot of entropy production
could be avoided if people would ask prior to each submission
"Is this useful? Is this well defined? Is this readable? Does this
have any sort of value to the reader a week from now?" These are
the same guidelines each author of a scientific article has to deal with if
publishing a paper under peer-review conditions.

Richard Mathar

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