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On-going Improvement to the PM System - Update

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On-going Improvement to the PM System - Update

Dear PM Users,

We are currently in the process of developing improved editorial facilities for Noosphere (the PM software). As part of this effort, we are working on:

- Personal "scratch areas" for users, so they can write entries without immediately posting them public
- A "submission queue" for the encyclopedia, so entries can be reviewed for basic appropriateness before going into the encyclopedia
- Most likely, other high-level non-encyclopedia sections, such as "research" and "fun" materials.

Here is the way we envision these working.

1. Scratch areas will work just like encyclopedia authoring/editing, but will not be generally visible or indexed until the owner clicks something like a "publish" button.

2. When "publish" is clicked, the entry will go into the encyclopedia submission queue (or perhaps the submission queue for other meta-areas).

3. Once in the queue, the content committee members (who will become "moderators") as well as the general usership can inspect the new entry. However, the entry will not appear within the encylopedia -- the submission queue will be indexed separately.

4. When approved, or perhaps after some time period elapses (such as two weeks), the entry will be posted to the encyclopedia. Content committee members can edit metadata (such as categories), edit the content (with assent from the owner) or move the entry (such as to "research"). If the entry does not meet standards for basic seriousness and appropriateness for the encyclopedia, research, or other high-level categories, it may be reverted back to private status (deletion will no longer be needed).

We welcome thoughts on the above system.

Also, moderators will be able to change ownership/authorship and make direct edits, but we don't plan on making any forced use of these features on PM (according to the content committee charter, which will be finalized soon).


The PM Board


I'm pretty sure that vetting current entries IS part of
the plan, yes. Just an oversight that it wasn't
part of the initial post in this thread...

Yes, we are working it. The plan is

1. When the technology improvements that Aaron was talking is implemented, we may utilize the submission queue that Aaron was talking about to "recall" bad entries. I think the idea roughly goes like this: if an existing entry is deemed "bad" by the Content Committee, it can move the entry from the encyclopedia back into the submission queue. The owners of these entries will have to quickly work on them within a prescribed amount of time before they are either approved or rejected by the Content Committee. If they are approved, they are released back to the encyclopedia. If they are rejected, they either get deleted or moved back down one more level, to their personal scratch area, where they have an unlimited amount of time to improve their work.

2. In the meantime (before this implementation takes place), we will deal with the most visible bad entries as soon as possible by talking with the owners of these entries, and try to get them to make the necessary changes, if possible, or to delete them, when all other options have been exhausted.

One thing about the upcoming technology innovation in my previous post: the technology improvement is my interpretation of Aaron's idea. There's no actual submission queue at this time, not even on the test site, I don't think. Therefore, I can not guarantee that the submission queue, once built, will behave exactly as I described.

That said, I want to assure everyone that we do care about your concerns, and that we are doing the best we can to make sure that we have high quality mathematics articles in our encyclopedia, given the resources (time and money). I want to emphasize once more, all other things aside, we do intend to take action in the short term regarding some of the highly visible bad entries that are currently plaguing the the whole site, generating controversies, and turning people away.

And once again, if you care about this website and want to see it grow, and you want to partake in making this improvement, we encourage you to either nominate yourself or some other user as a candidate for the Content Committee, by sending an email to PMAdministration. Please see

for more detail. And if you want to find out more about the Content Committee and what it does, there is also a collaboration documentation, drafted by Warren (Wkbj79) and Roger (rm50):

This is still a draft version, to be finalized soon.

Finally, I have carved out two pieces of the original PM Community Guidelines, dealing with Content Standards and Rules of Compliance and Enforcement:

We will also be working on these very shortly, so that they can be approved by the Board and implemented.

Well, I'm not sure I'd disagree with slashdot that its terribly important to post about PlanetMath being down (this isn't when we want to be publicized anyway).

PlanetMath is probably TOO nerdy for the dabblers at Slashdot anyway ;)

As far as bad entries, we have formed a Content Committee which is rapidly going through and working with authors to improve/remove entries that don't "qualify" for mainstream encyclopedia inclusion.

This might be something you might want to be involved in. The Content Committee can use all the help it can get. Contact cwoo for more.

I am sorry, I meant automated backups of the PM Noosphere *1.5* current contents.

I am sorry, I meant automated backups of the PM Noosphere *1.5* current contents.

We need clear standards for inclusion in the encyclopedia, research,
and other categories. The sooner we start developing these standards
the better!

"We are currently in the process of developing improved editorial facilities for Noosphere (the PM software)."

Are there plans to deal with entries currently in the encyclopedia? In my opinion, so many substandard entries have been added recently that PM's reputation and credibility have sustained serious damage. Until this situation is remedied, vetting new entries seems to be a questionable investment of time and energy.

Please see my comments in :

ratbay commented on how some entries damaged the reputation and credibility of planetmath. I could no more than agree with him. As an example: I read slashdot ( every now and then, and I do think planetmath deserves more publicity there. So when the systems were down I submitted them a story that planetmath is down. They immediately refused the story, because planetmath doesn't seem to be of much importance to them (or maybe because they are more computer nerds in slashdot than there are mathematicians).

Noosphere 1.5 now tests well in the Encyclopedia and the Forum sections.
Hopefully, the other PM sections will also work soon. Noosphere 1.5 has some speed advantages over its preceding version 1.0, that may also be server related.

Maybe automated backups of the PM Noosphere 1.0 current contents- as for example through regular snapshots- should be hopefully very high on PM's priority list.

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