Author's guide to Arbital

This page briefly covers the what, why, and how of contributing to Arbital’s quickly-growing repository of math explanations.

Why Arbital?

Arbital’s current focus in on solving online explanation. If you check out Arbital’s Guide to Bayes’ rule and contrast that with the Wikipedia entry on Bayes’ rule, you’ll get a quick picture of the new direction Arbital is heading. The current prototype already provides the best URL on the Internet if you need to point a readership (not just an individual) at an explanation of Bayes’ rule. Future explanations and discussions can build on top that.

Arbital is currently in beta, so don’t be too surprised if some things are broken or confusing, and please do send us feedback! The easiest way to do that is via the Quick Menu button (bottom right), but use whatever method is most convenient for you. There is also a Slack channel where you can talk to the team and other editors.

What should I write?

See also: Exemplar pages

Right now, arbital is focusing on math content. Within the domain of math, our first piece of advice is this: explain a concept that you’d be excited to explain. If you have an intuitive explanation of why \(e\) is \(\approx 2.718...\) that you’ve always wished more people would be able to find, write it up. If you’re itching for humanity to have easy access to a compelling explanation of the unsolvability of the quintic, write it up. If you don’t know exactly how it’s going to go yet, that’s OK — explaining things is a great way to learn them deeply.

If you don’t have any particular mathematical itch to scratch, the easiest way to contribute is to fill out a red link on a topic that you’re familiar with. The most-linked-to missing pages are listed on the front page of Arbital.

How should I write?

All logged in users can create pages. Arbital pages are written in Arbital Markdown.noteMany of arbital’s extensions to markdown are under heavy development. The standard markdown stuff is stable, but features such as conditional text may change over time. The toolbar in the editor will help you familiarize yourself with Arbital markdown syntax if you don’t know it already. The most important feature is the “intrasite link” button which allows you to search for existing pages and insert a greenlink to them.

By default, when you create a page, it will be unlisted. You may submit it to the math domain when it’s ready for readers. It will be reviewed by Arbital’s math community, and, probably after some feedback, accepted into the math domain, at which point it will become visible to the public.

How should I edit?

Arbital is a collaborative platform. You can suggest changes to any page, and once you’ve made a few good edits we’ll promote you to trusted status so you’ll also have the option to directly edit most of our content (though it’ll still be checked over by a member of the review team).

If you see something you think you could improve, jump in and change it! And don’t fret: we save all page history, so we can recover the old text if something goes wrong.

More info

Arbital has quite a few moving parts. You can probably figure them on as you go, but if you are the kind of person who likes to read the manual first, this guide will run you through all the basics. <div>

%%!knows-requisite(Author’s guide to Arbital explanations): Above all else, Arbital excels in using its existing page structure and connections to dynamically create personally tailored explanations. To understand how Arbital does that and to see how you can create your own explanations read this guide. %%

%%!knows-requisite(Author’s guide to processing feedback): Part of what makes Arbital different is how easy it is for users to give feedback in various forms. To learn about various feedback mechanisms and how to make your pages and explanations better, read this guide. %%

%%!knows-requisite(Author’s guide to Arbital: Advanced): To learn about Arbital’s advanced features, read this guide. %%