User talk:Riventree

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The predicament[edit]

The acetyl choride synthesis is an interesting question of chemistry-English. The edit we are debating would have pretty deep implications, because many articles would require changes. Chemists and engineers tend to discuss processes with a clear focus on the targeted product, not the side products. The assumption is that some sort of separation is required to purify the products, which is almost inevitably the case.

Here are some reactions quoted from Wikipedia:

  • "Copper(II) sulfate is produced industrially by treating copper metal with hot concentrated sulfuric acid"

not "Copper(II) sulfate is produced together with hydrogen industrially by treating copper metal with hot concentrated sulfuric acid"

  • "Chlorobenzene ... is manufactured by chlorination of benzene in the presence of a catalytic amount of Lewis acid such as ferric chloride, sulfur dichloride, and anhydrous aluminium chloride"

not "A mixture of chlorobenzene and HCl are produced by chlorination of benzene in the presence of a catalytic amount of Lewis acid such as ferric chloride, sulfur dichloride, and anhydrous aluminium chloride"

  • "Formaldehyde is produced industrially by the catalytic oxidation of methanol"

not "A mixture of formaldehyde and water are produced industrially by the catalytic oxidation of methanol"

  • "Glycolic acid is also prepared by the reaction of chloroacetic acid with sodium hydroxide followed by re-acidification."

not "Glycolic acid mixed with chloride salts is also prepared by the reaction of chloroacetic acid with sodium hydroxide followed by re-acidification."

The examples are almost endless, I suspect. --Smokefoot (talk) 20:00, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

meh, ok. IMO, it should be both or neither. Apparently neiather would be better than both. Or maybe you just delete the chemical equation. Riventree (talk) 22:01, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Well its not that big a deal to me either. BTW, you might expand your user page so that other editors have some vague idea what you are about. Cheers, --Smokefoot (talk) 23:42, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

How's that?

Riventree (talk) 05:25, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Cool background and interests. And on a practical level, when another editor starts fuming or fawning over your edits, the hate and love can be better directed. --Smokefoot (talk) 14:56, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
BTW, re "Likewise the current subscript/superscript, spacing between coefficients and molecular expressions, formatting of state "(aq)", "(s)"" In general chemists avoid (aq) and (s). A sure sign that a formula is written by a chemist wannabe is when they do that. The idea is to straightforwardly deliver simple stoichiometric information without complications from extraneous experimental details that usually are not relevant to those core facts. Somewhere in our manual of style, the chemists say that this over-formating is undesirable. Overflowing with advice, I know. --Smokefoot (talk) 14:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
This goes back to a point I made above: that there are two audiences for this data, the hardcore chemist (who might view explicit metathesis tagging as obvious) and the rest of the world, who might be looking this up without all that knowledge. I agree it's obvious to the experienced chemist, but honestly if I see "separate the barium by metathesis" and a BaSO4 result, even someone with my (nontrivial) knowledge might want to see which salt comes out of solution and which doesn't. I am, in general, biased towards being overly explicit. It's a speedbump for the experts (me in computer stuff) but a boon to the laymen and acolytes. I'm not trying to change your mind, just offer additional food for thought. Riventree (talk) 14:47, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes I see. What I think you are potentially "reacting" to is an image of sort of insider code used by professional chemists vs the rest of readers. And that suspicion is not completely without merit. But what is really going on with dropping (s) and (g) is chemists trying to keep the focus on stoichiometry and avoiding over-specifying info that might or might not be relevant. A lot of those details are gratuitous and even pretentious. All sorts of reactions are claimed involving HCl(g) or Cl2(g) but they work just as well with liquid chlorine. I and colleagues have been stamping out that info for almost a decade from Wikipedia. We worry that nonchemists are distracted or fooled into thinking that the state of the reagents or products is so hugely important. Precipitation reactions of the type you cite are perhaps one area where (s) might be informative because the reaction might not go were it not for the solid dropping out of soln. --Smokefoot (talk) 19:53, 21 July 2014 (UTC)