[seqfan] Re: On editors-authors discussions

Paolo Lava paoloplava at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 09:38:53 CEST 2011

I understand the remarks presented by Vladimir because I experienced the

The most “creative” question I received was: “Who will ever look at this

The same question I could have asked to that editor about same sequences of
him but I prefered not to answer.

In my opinion it is important to keep cool and not be too argumentative by
both sides otherwise we ruin the spirit of OEIS. Good will as a policy, I’d

I do not envy the editors’ task. It is really a hard job that deserves our

Best regards

Paolo P. Lava

2011/9/9 Marc LeBrun <mlb at well.com>

> I think the editors are doing an excellent job with a very challenging
> task!
> Kudos and appreciation!
> A quick suggestion:
> >> In other words, when an editor asks "Why is this interesting?", this is
> not
> >> an invitation to reply via a message, but to add something to the
> sequence
> >> to answer the question.
> > Yes!  Precisely!  I've been looking for a wording that will suggest
> that to
> > people.  Often I write that and often people react defensively
> to it.
> A possible way to phrase it might be as a concrete request, rather then an
> open-ended question.  For example, instead of asking just
>  "Why is this interesting?"
> Make a concrete request
>  "Could you please clarify with some brief notes what about this sequence
> interested you, how you came to study it, or the like?"
> Some quick responses:
> > I wish A166746
> counted n-"digit" representations rather than those below 10^n
> No need to wish, compute the desired sequence and submit it too!  Or, if
> you
> can't do so right away, you might put a suggestion in the Comments like
> "XXX
> would also be interesting" so it's not utterly forgotten.
> More generally: maybe it's already present and I just haven't found it on
> the Wiki yet, but if not I think it would be an EXCELLENT idea if someone
> were to start a section for "Suggested Projects".
> These could range from big complex efforts (maybe even fundable research?)
> to a list of these kind of miscellaneous ToDo's.  (Heh.  Of course I really
> should do it myself, rather than just making suggestions but it's been on
> MY
> ToDo list far too long!)
> > is A189408 actually interesting?
> Definitely!  It was interesting enough for *someone* to compute, write up
> in
> the referenced papers, and for *someone* (ahem) to take the trouble to
> craft
> an submit and OEIS entry for, so ipso facto it is interesting (at least to
> *someones* somewheres) right?
> Because of this phenomenon (sort of like the presumption of innocence in
> law) in the OEIS it's important to keep in mind that ALL submissions should
> be viewed as having a small positive initial presumed interest.  Rejection
> should require a preponderance of evidence that including it would reduce
> the NET value of the OEIS by offsetting this with sufficient inutility.
> Borderline submissions should always be given the benefit of the doubt.
>  The
> important line to hold is preventing the OEIS from being disfigured by
> mathematical graffiti--which is easy to spot!  Don't sweat the small
> stuff!!
> > And then
> there are sequences that come too close to an existing
> > sequence.
> Should A141768 have been approved, given that A090659
> > was already in
> the database?
> Absolutely!  The fact that someone's even questioning this worries me a
> little.  The *sequences* are clearly very different, although their
> *definitions* appear to be strongly related.  The goals of the OEIS are NOT
> very much like the goals of Bourbaki; the point of the OEIS is NOT to
> create
> some kind of minimalist structure.  Heh, otherwise we could just have only
> A000027 and leave everything else as an exercise for the user!  No, an
> encyclopedia should be encyclopedic.  As long as their relationship isn't
> utterly stupid, leaving out sister sequences diminishes rather than
> improves
> the value of the OEIS.
> Please don't be stingy with sister sequences, there's plenty of precedent:
> for example, not only do we have A000027 but we also have A001477!  And
> keep
> in mind that even what appear to be very trivial differences may be vastly
> significant in some contexts, and can be greatly magnified under
> automation.
> For example merely shifting its offset by 1 radically changes a sequence's
> Mobius transform.
> So please keep in mind that blacking out a sequence in the database will
> cast shadows all over the search space.  I agree, balance is a challenge.
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