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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009

    There isn't currently a policy on who could have a private web. We should establish one.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
    • (edited Nov 6th 2009)

    Slightly off topic but: let's call them personal webs, not private. The personal web may be a private personal web as soon as it is made password protected.

    Because I think it would be good if personal webs are regarded as being pretty much part and parcel of the nLab, only differing from the main area in that there the standout box disclaimer: "The following material was dreamed up by me and is not meant to be standard." is implicit by default in these areas.

    Saying "private webs" makes us and people think of these as being closed-off parts of the world where one wouldn't usually walk by, and I think that's nt in our interest.

    Okay, that said, on to more substantial matters.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009

    My first thought of a suggestion for a personal web policiy is something like this:

    We shall be happy to offer personal web areas to everybody who we have come to know as a sensible regular contributor. If you want a personal web you should send a request to the steering committee. If we kow you as a regular decent participant in discussion and interaction at the nCafe, the nLab, the nForum then we are glad to create a personal web for you. If we don't know you yet, please take the time to hang around with us for a bit at either of these places, so that we get a bit of an impression for who you are.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009

    "Personal" versus "Private": absolutely correct. My apologies.

    I like your first thought in so far as it goes. I don't think that it quite covers the most recent additions, though. I think that the case that Ben Webster or Danny Stevenson were regular contributors is quite weak. The key thing here is that we would like them to be and giving them personal webs is an enticement to them!

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
    • (edited Nov 6th 2009)

    True. So the real point is that we need to have an idea who somebody is in order that we create a web for him or her.

    That knowledge may come from the person's participation in the n-discussion world, or in some other online place that we are familiar with (as with Ben) or because we may happen to know the person well in the old fashioned offline way (as with Danny).

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009

    That sounds reasonable to me as well.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorEric
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009

    Should the content on a personal web be consistent with that of the main nLab grid, since it is supposed to be an extension of the nLab?

    For example, what if somebody uses it for a baby photo album or something?

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeNov 7th 2009
    • (edited Nov 7th 2009)

    No baby photo albums on the nLab except for the centipede baby photo album that we already host!

    Seriously: I agree, yes, personal webs should fit under the general idea of the nLab as a public notebook on math, physics and philosophy especially insofar as these touch on higher categori(c)al aspects.

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2009
    • (edited Dec 4th 2009)

    I do not take seriously the part of the sentence "especially insofar as these touch on higher categori(c)al aspects". I do not think that such aspects are in any case better than other aspects of math, nor would subscribe to any policy trying to promote this on the expense of the opposite. If we are modern mathematicians in the fit situations we will naturally incorporate categorical or even higher categorical viewpoints. If it is natural no need to emphasise, and in the cases when it is not, no need to deemphasise.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2009

    Zoran, I don't think anyone is saying that such aspects are "better" than other aspects of math, just that such aspects are the explicit focus of the nLab "research group." People wanting to work on some completely unrelated kind of math would be better served by setting up their own wiki.

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeDec 4th 2009

    This is something I was trying to capture in the About page. To be on the n-lab it doesn't have to be directly and unambiguously linked to higher category theory, but there should be a link (putting it bluntly) back to Urs. Namely, if you consider a graph whose nodes are both people and topics and whose edges are "X is interested in Y" then you can measure how appropriate something is on the n-lab by how closely linked (measuring both distance and number of links) it is to the "core component", which - in this crude illustration - we may as well take as Urs. Thus if someone is "close in", pretty much anything they are interested in is "fair game", but if someone is a bit further out then they should start off with only putting stuff on that they are fairly sure someone "closer in" will also be interested in.

    Of course, I tried to put it a bit more cleanly than that.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeDec 28th 2009

    I am sorry guys, I find all of this effort of describing and modelling links, centers and focuses, a bit of a stretching. More you try I see less absolute sense in it, though it is of course meaningful in a way. As long as people describe mathematical ideas cleanly, succinctly, laconically enough I can not see any harm in surplus of widening the field within math (inlucidng math in CS and math. physics). The only problem I can see if somebody starts putting obscure and massive and thus irrelavant stuff like those graphs and tables from obscure linguistics we had recently. For example, representation theory is certainly relevant for our subjects, but if somebody brings a massive list&tables of group characters then it will be in present scaling of nlab certainly a burden rather than a clarification. On the other hand, if somebody specialized in something less interesting say to me, like say classical graph theory starts writing clear entries on many items in pure graph theory, though it is not our focus I think it is mathematics, it is relevant occasionally and it can enrich the nlab, be useful to some and attract new users and contributors. For example people working on Khovanov homology which is relavant to us will probably find wider graph entries relevant. I do not think the distance matters as long as far as new "islands" do not make a sudden massive burden to the whole effort (like importing massive tables of characters above). I am certainly not defocused by seeing in latest changes that somebody writes a definition on some subject which I am not interested in (I just get bored if nothing but such things appeared recently).

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2009

    How do we make these judgments? We need to be able to tell someone ‹We cannot understand what you are doing; it is either overwhelmingly detailed trivialities (like most of JA's stuff), ungrounded speculation (like most of the rest of JA's stuff and most of what a crackpot or troll would write), or something that is too far from our work for us to understand.›. The last bit we would like to include, but since we can't tell the difference between it and ungrounded speculation, we don't want it. And that is a result of distance only.

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2010

    To me the obscure writing makes distance much bigger than DEFINING area of nlab. I have easier time understanding bright analysis writers like Hoermander than say obscure waving hands on relationshop of category theory and Feynman diagrams I witnessed from one young colleague. I am against defining the boundaries of the area; outlaws can be dealed on one by one basis, and common sense is better in judgement than area pretectionism which just scares out valueable contributors.

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