Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Statistics

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Audience considerations[edit]

I've just read the articles in Weiner and Gaussian processes. I am not a mathematician, but I am a social scientist with an interest in research methodologies. I was hoping to find a clear description of cases where an assumption of normal distribution is sound. I am working on a paper where qualitative interviews indicated heterogeneity in a key behavior, so we have looked at splitting our groups using k-means cluster analysis, based on continuous behavior observation data. We found that previously-used groupings of observations, where agents had been assumed to have homogeneous behavior, had heterogeneous behavior and that individuals clustered together in multiple equilibria. We have had a lot of push-back from the statisticians and stats-trained researchers, in the group, because they claimed at first to not understand the method and then said the findings were probably exaggerated.

I came to wikipedia with these concerns: what conceptual framework supports an assumption of homogeneity or heterogeneity? What tests are available to establish one or the other? What types of cause and effect relationships underlie equilibrium processes that exist in reality? Basically, I wanted to turn the argument around and ask them to question their assumptions in the same light they were questioning my work.

I searched the web for "empirical support for homogeneity and normal distributions" and saw the word "process" with wikipedia in the search results, and thought I was on the right track for finding information about the causal/conceptual framework, like an operational model, a process flow diagram or at least a textual description of what characteristics typify these sorts of processes, or something like that. But, I was completely unprepared to understand what I was reading. It was not helpful or useful to me at all.

I don't know in general about all of the articles in the math/stats project at Wikipedia, but these articles were not accessible to me. I think they would be inaccessible by any non-mathematician. The sort of 'text book talk' in proofs and formulas can be helpful. I've really appreciatd the project's sensitivity and specificity articles. But, in these articles there was nothing but 'text book talk'. I had no frame of reference to understand these articles.

Maybe it is my applied research background that cripples me in the more basic research and math theory arena, but it seems like the audience for wikipedia should be somewhat like that of an encyclopedia, not a text book. And definitely not an advanced undergraduate/graduate school level textbook.

So, all I can say in response to my colleagues, for now, is "your assumption contradicts the beliefs of the real people we are claiming to study" and "i've shown that there isn't a tendency toward an equilibrium between our three core behavioral indices, but toward multiple points of equilibrium". I am guessing they will reply "we know better than the people we are studying, they don't realize their equilibrium-seeking tendencies" and "all you've shown is something so confusing that we don't understand it and that you don't know how to do things the old fashioned, tried and true way".

I thought the wikipedia articles would help explain how empirical single-equilibrium processes occur, something about the standard approach for supporting an assumption of equilibrium and if and how homogeneity relates to the discussion and... And all I found were pieces written to an audience so specific that I didn't learn a single thing, although the figures did say something to me, but I can't explain what because the article didn't say.

I don't want this to be a place to settle a dogmatic/ideological score, but I do think the audience should be considered in a more meaningful way. I wanted to find information that could help me make sense of complicated math stuff, but it was over my head. I'm sorry to see that.


Hello, I just noticed an error in the confusion matrix: the denominators of FPR and FNR are switched. NB: just in the two cases at the bottom of the confusion matrix. In the list to its right things are ok. Regards, Ivo. Jul 11 2014.

Comment on the WikiProject X proposal[edit]

Hello there! As you may already know, most WikiProjects here on Wikipedia struggle to stay active after they've been founded. I believe there is a lot of potential for WikiProjects to facilitate collaboration across subject areas, so I have submitted a grant proposal with the Wikimedia Foundation for the "WikiProject X" project. WikiProject X will study what makes WikiProjects succeed in retaining editors and then design a prototype WikiProject system that will recruit contributors to WikiProjects and help them run effectively. Please review the proposal here and leave feedback. If you have any questions, you can ask on the proposal page or leave a message on my talk page. Thank you for your time! (Also, sorry about the posting mistake earlier. If someone already moved my message to the talk page, feel free to remove this posting.) Harej (talk) 22:48, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Draft:Gaussian process latent variable models[edit]

Draft:Gaussian process latent variable models

Opinions? Michael Hardy (talk) 00:02, 6 December 2014 (UTC)