# Talk:Sign (mathematics)

WikiProject Mathematics (Rated C-class, High-importance)
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Mathematics rating:
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Field: Basics

## Why positive number redirect to here while negative number do not?

Why positive number redirect to here while negative number do not? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.250.139.193 (talk) 23:06, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

## Merge proposal

The proposal is to merge Negative number to Sign (mathematics). The idea for this merge comes mainly from discussion here. This proposal will address the concern of the editor above, that positive number directs here, while negative number does not. Further, Sign (mathematics) seems to discuss more practical uses of negative numbers which might serve as motivation to the learner of negative numbers. I would like to address an argument that I expect to arise, that Negative number is written at the level of the beginner, and that Sign (mathematics) is a higher level. To address this, I point to Negative number#Formal construction of negative integers and I remind everyone that this is an encyclopedia, not a place to host lesson plans for classrooms. The knowledge should be organized as it makes sense, Wikiversity is the place for articles that teach and for lesson plans. Cliff (talk) 05:02, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Important note: I have included the unsourced, stub article Signedness to the suggested merge. Cliff (talk) 05:15, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

I disagree with the merger. The two articles each have quite a bit of content, and a combined article would be unwieldy. Indeed, this article is currently almost 19K, and is 5 pages long when printed, while the negative number article is over 22K, and is 8 pages long when printed. As such, combining the two articles would be contrary the suggestions in WP:LENGTH for the lengths of articles. Also, I would expect both of these articles to grow over time as they increase in quality—the history section in negative number could certainly be expanded, and the section covering arithmetic of negative numbers is very rudimentary.
In addition to this practical concern, I think that negative numbers and signedness are significant enough topics in mathematics that they cannot be covered effectively by a single article. For a similar example, consider the articles on fraction (mathematics), rational number, multiplicative inverse, and so forth, all of which cover similar topics, but which have enough content that they are better as separate articles.
Incidentally, I have no strong opinions on the issue of merging signedness into this article, though perhaps it would make more sense to merge signedness with signed number representations. Jim.belk (talk) 20:04, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Oppose. The page negative number is specifically about numbers, while sign (mathematics) discusses signed quantities in general. There are (at least) two distinct concepts here, with only a small amount of overlap. And as Jim.belk points out, a merger would result in a rather long article; I could well imagine someone splitting it again a few months down the track. Jowa fan (talk) 00:31, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
Signedness: oppose. Sign (mathematics) refers to whether a particular number is positive or negative, whereas 'signedness' is specifically a computer science term which describes whether a particular data type has a sign associated with or not. For example, an identical 8 bit value can represent '250' or '-6', depending on whether is is unsigned or signed, hence the term 'signedness'. It's a similar concept to the difference between integer and integer (computer science). -- CowplopmorrisTalkContribs 18:55, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
I see that signedness doesn't fit with the other articles. I will remove it. Cliff (talk) 18:13, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

## Terminology for signs

When you want to change the sign of a number from positive to negative or vice-versa, this is called 'reversing the sign', isn't it? (As opposed to some people saying you are 'inverting the sign'?) I'm no expert, I just came to Wikipedia to find that out. If anyone is an authority on this, could you add the correct terminology to the "Terminology for signs" section? Thanks. Stringybark (talk) 20:10, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

## Strange choice of image, possibly confusing as well

The image for the page shows symbols for plus and minus, but the minus is nested inside the plus in a way that makes no sense for a simple depiction of the two signs. It could, albeit unlikely, confuse people unfamiliar with the subject, but frankly, it appears in poor taste regardless. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.51.167.44 (talk) 21:48, 4 August 2016 (UTC)