The ideal Arbital math page

Think of the best math text­book you’ve ever read. Why was it good?

Did the au­thor spend time mo­ti­vat­ing re­sults be­fore div­ing into de­tails? Did they provide lots of con­crete ex­am­ples of ab­stract ob­jects? Did they an­ti­ci­pate and an­swer your ques­tions? 1

Our ideal Ar­bital math page is some­thing like a sec­tion from an ex­cep­tion­ally clear, fun-to-read text­book. In par­tic­u­lar:

  • Ar­bital is not an en­cy­clo­pe­dia. There doesn’t have to be one-to-one cor­re­spon­dence be­tween Ar­bital pages and no­table math­e­mat­i­cal con­cepts. You can break con­cepts down into smaller (or larger) chunks than you would on Wikipe­dia, and there can be mul­ti­ple ex­pla­na­tions of a sin­gle topic (see: Ar­bital’s lenses).

  • An Ar­bital page is not an aca­demic pa­per. Don’t be terse for the sake of be­ing terse. Use a con­ver­sa­tional style, or what­ever style seems most likely to pro­duce un­der­stand­ing in your page’s tar­get au­di­ence.2

1 Were there foot­notes with funny asides?
2 Though it’s prob­a­bly best to stick to stan­dard ter­minol­ogy, so that read­ers do not sow con­fu­sion when they go in­ter­act with the wider world.


  • Style guidelines

    Var­i­ous stylis­tic con­ven­tions peo­ple should fol­low on Arbital