User talk:Joel B. Lewis

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Thanks for the serial rvv[edit]

Thanks for manually "mass-reverting" all those individual article insertion vandalisms recently by that IP... Chill-- (talk) (c) 05:00, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Proof that absolute convergence implies convergence[edit]

Dr. Lewis,

Thanks for the revert on the absolute convergence article. My apologies for wasting your time! I read the proof in a sloppy manner and deleted it while it was quite valid (although the WLOG required some clarification). I added a few lines to the beginning of the proof. Hope you don't mind the addition of some obvious statements.

Anyway, what do I know? I'm just a chemist and I can only hope to dabble in math :-)

-Jimmy Alsosaid1987 (talk) 23:39, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Hi Alsosaid1987, no apologies needed. I am totally overwhelmed in real life at the moment and so not prepared to engage in a substantive way with you about this, so let me throw out a few quick thoughts: this is an encyclopedia article, so what would be even better than a proof would be a reference to a proof in a textbook or something equivalent. I am very skeptical that two proofs of this result are needed, let alone an additional proof in a slightly more general setting. That said, including extra proofs is certainly not the worst sin committed in math articles in WP. If I had time I might take a swing at editing it myself, but I think realistically that is not going to happen any time soon.
All the best, JBL (talk) 21:42, 3 February 2017 (UTC)


You can reasonably argue that I am being pedantic, but I like to place the word "only" near the word or words that are being restricted, despite that colloquial English is more forgiving. We have several possibilities here for the Multiset article:

  1. "multisets exist which only contain elements a and b". In this case we have containment only. We are excluding the possibility that the multisets insert-verb-here the elements, when insert-verb-here is other than "contain", e.g., "surround".
  2. "multisets exist which contain only elements a and b". In this case we have an elemental nature only. We are excluding the possibility that multisets contain insert-noun-here a and b, when insert-noun-here is other than "elements", e.g., "subsets".
  3. "multisets exist which contain elements a and b only". In this case we have a and b only. We are excluding the possibility of "c", etc.

I am thinking that we want to emphasize #3. 𝕃eegrc (talk) 15:37, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi Leegrc,
I do not think pedantry is relevant. Instead, it appears that you have invented a false theory about the relationship of word placement to meaning. Placing "only" at the end of a sentence is an artificial and stilted construction; it has the ring of sentences constructed by new learners of English, not native speakers. The other two are totally understandable and read naturally.
Best, JBL (talk) 21:49, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

I disagree on several points, but I've already put my best case forward and you did not find it convincing. Let's just do it your way. 𝕃eegrc (talk) 20:36, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Source you asked for[edit]

In this[1] edit you asked for the source of the statement about what the mathematical community believed. It was from a plenary conference talk by Miklos Bona. I have no idea if the background history is in the literature anywhere as permutations are not my field of study so I don't read their literature. Jbeyerl (talk) 18:58, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Hi Jbeyerl, thanks for your response. On one hand, Bona is certainly an expert in the area and I trust his assessment on something like this. On the other hand, an audience report of what someone said in an unrecorded conference talk is of course not acceptable as a reliable source on WP. What was the conference? Perhaps we can track a proper source down. --JBL (talk) 20:27, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
The conference was CGTC48, [[2]]. Unfortunately as far as I know they don't publish the presentations or slides from them. Jbeyerl (talk) 13:00, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Euler Brick and the Perfect Euler Brick[edit]

Hello Joel,

I'm contacting you because I noticed that you reverted the edit to the Euler Brick article because of the recent change related to a paper by Dr Wyss that purports to demonstrate that no perfect Euler Brick can exist. I agreed with this edit, since Dr Wyss's paper has not been published in a mathematics journal. Now, on an email server, a man named Randall Rathbun has announced that he believes Dr Wyss's proof to be correct. This has led other editors to reinstate some of the changes that declare that the question has been answered mostly because they believe that Rathbun's assertion is a reliable source confirming the proof. I have a B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and an M.S degree in Mathematics from the University Of Arizona. I've long had an interest in this problem. So as you might imagine, I decided to read Dr Wyss's paper.

As far as I understand the essence of Dr Wyss's proof is that he starts with a parametric formula for Rational Leaning Cuboids (that since an Euler Brick is a special case of a Rational Leaning Cuboid) and proves that his parametric formula cannot produce a perfect rational cuboid. I did not see an error in his mathematics but I have a very serious question about his proof. In his proof he does not show that his parametric formula produces ALL rational Cuboids. If it does not, he cannot conclude that no perfect Euler Brick exists.

These possibilities exist: 1. I am incorrectly characterizing his logic, and have real egg on my face. 2. It has already been proven the the parametric formula does produce all rational cuboids, and he referenced it and I missed it, or didn't feel he needed to reference it. 3 It hasn't been proven so his proof is invalid until he proves it.

None of my analysis matters for a Wikipedia article (unless I am considered an authority and post my analysis to a mailing list), but I am just pointing out a serious concern. In conclusion, I am of the opinion that we should revert these edits until his proof has been published in a mathematical journal. It seems there are other editors who disagree. Since you seemed to be one of the editors who was hesitant to allow the edits until publication of the proof, I am writing to you. I think we need to bring this to the attention of the larger community of mathematics editors in order to see if we can reach consensus not about the validity of the proof but about its inclusion before traditional verification.

Thank you for reading this far, what are your thoughts?

TheRingess (talk) 17:18, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Hi TheRingess,
(I hope you don't mind, I have removed some blank spaces in your message so that I can more easily scan it while I respond. If this bothers you, please feel free to change it back.)
I only glanced over the Wyss paper, but my impression was the same as yours. In fact my initial feeling was that no proof like this could possibly be correct, for exactly the reasons you mention. But as I say, I have not read the thing carefully enough to confirm that what appears superficially to be missing, actually is missing. I also read the Rathbun posting, but I did not find its summary particularly convincing, as it also seemed to avoid the relevant issue. (I don't think anyone doubts that Wyss, who is obviously not a crank, can correctly manipulate algebraic equations, after all.) So, I agree with all your qualms, and would prefer that Wikipedia report only that there is a claimed proof and a claimed verification, not that the question is settled, until the proof is published. (Is there any reason to believe that the proof actually has been submitted to a journal, incidentally?) I would be happy to add my comments to this effect to any talk page where you think it would be helpful, although I think I've decided that I have only a limited amount of energy to devote to this particular question.
All the best,
JBL (talk) 20:25, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Joel thank you for the quick reply. I am glad to know someone shares my doubts about the proof. I don't know why he wouldn't submit it to a journal first, since it is a well known problem so credit for solving it will certainly enhance anyone's reputation. So my guess is that he hasn't. My guess is that he posted it on the archive, so that should anyone else use his results and discover a proof, he can claim co author credit (although that's risky, since if anyone else who comes up with a valid proof based on that particular parametric formula may not be ethically obligated to give him credit.) That's why I don't understand his publishing on the archive, he runs the definite risk of someone stealing his thunder (so to speak) by completing the proof. However, it's just my opinion that his parametric formula will not generate all Euler Bricks. The existence of a parametric formula that generates all Euler Bricks may actually be an unresolvable question. I too am thinking that I have a limited amount of energy to devote to this question, so if I do bring it to a larger audience I will certainly send you a link with no obligation to participate.
I was first introduced to this problem in the late 80s. I have been thinking about how to solve it off and on since then (obviously with no result). I've tried to computer searches as well as attempts at proof of non-existence. A proof of non-existence will probably have to be a proof by contradiction. I must admit that for a very mysterious reason why I have a vested interest in seeing someone find a perfect box. Around '96 or '97 a mystery person emailed me hinting at the existence of a Perfect Euler Brick. They never gave me a real name. Their hints contained enough mathematical jargon that I did not immediately dismiss their claims. Our email exchanges only lasted for a month or so. In one email, that I sent around my birthday on October 28th, the mystery person claimed to have that same birthday. They claimed that the sides of the Perfect Euler Brick measured in the Quintrillions (that's a detail that has remained with me since then, as it is oddly specific). If they are right, then probably no computer search will finish. Of course, the conversation left me a little deflated, as I had hoped to be the first. So if ultimately if someone proves non existence, then my chains were being yanked or if someone finds it I think that the answer will be the quintrillions. For better or worse, I am scanning old files trying to see if I saved the hints, but it looks like I didn't. Time has erased from my memories those hints. So I definitely prefer that someone finds one, so that I wasn't being duped.
Thanks for reading. Take care.TheRingess (talk) 22:36, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
TheRingess, looks like your hesitation was sensible! --JBL (talk) 22:37, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


Sorry Joel, mistaken edit submitted while I was still working on something. I appear no longer to have a Sandbox, any ideas at how to test and work on edits before submission? AirdishStraus (talk) 14:08, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Hi AirdishStraus, it is easy to create new sub-pages of your user page. For example, if you click on this red-link you will be at the page [[User:AirdishStraus/pythagoras]] (currently non-existent, so you will have to add some content). But in fact you do seem to have an extant sandbox, here. --JBL (talk) 20:28, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi Joel, many thanks. AirdishStraus (talk) 11:51, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Regarding Omics[edit]

Hi Joel, I do not see what the problem is with including glycomics in the introduction. I am a chemical biologists working in the field of glycomics and it is a very important field which is gaining light recently. In fact, big universities all over USA and Europe have a carbohydrate or glycomic research center. For example, UCSD, Harvard, Emory, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, Imperial College London etc. I will not undo the change but I leave it to you.Coolakul (talk) 17:23, 18 April 2017 (UTC)[edit]

Hi Joel, do you mind to explain how "adds sub-headings for the TOC and for enabling deep-linking" is "Not an improvement".

We are in the Internet, after all, and one of its vital parts is the possibility to link to content from anywhere around the world. (That's also why we have the 'H' in HTML.) With your revert you destroy the possibility for all users:

  1. to see in the page's TOC what's exactly on that page at first sight
  2. to deep-link to a section they are especially interested in

I'm terribly sorry, but I consider this "Not an improvement" at all. Kind regards, --Gerold Broser (talk) 20:30, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Gerold Broser, I am not happy with the state of the article after your edit, but it is easy enough to preserve the aspects you like while also making myself happy, so I will do that now. Best, JBL (talk) 17:35, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Joel B. Lewis, thank you for your cooperation and your understanding. Regards, --Gerold Broser (talk) 20:05, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Re: Abby Johnson (activist)[edit]

Hi Joel, I read your notes on the Abby Johnson page. I disagree with your argument about the term "anti-abortion." While it is an accurate term to describe the pro-life movement, it has far narrower a meaning, and is much more negative than the preferred umbrella term of "pro-life." Being pro-life also includes supporting life from conception to natural death. This would also include the death penalty and assisted suicide. While Abby's main focus is on the abortion industry, it is not fair to disregard other parts of the movement by using the term "anti-abortion." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Erink1993 (talkcontribs) 02:20, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Disambiguation link notification for May 4[edit]

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gentle math

Cornflower blue Yogo sapphire.jpg

Thank you for quality contributions to articles on math based on scientific background, such as improving Q-Vandermonde identity, and with detailed gentle edit summaries, for points about applied stats, - Joel, you are an awesome Wikipedian!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:34, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Dear Gerda Arendt, thank you very much for the kind message! It is warmly appreciated. Kind regards, JBL (talk) 23:06, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
A year ago, you were recipient no. 1651 of Precious, a prize of QAI! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 05:53, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

William Happer[edit]

A complaint about the negative nature of the Climate Change section of this BLP was made at the BLP noticeboard. I reviewed the section and removed one statement that appeared to be referenced to a blog. The rest of it looked strongly sourced to me. I wanted to let you know because you've done a lot of recent, (and good,) work on cleaning up that section. Thanks! Sperril (talk) 21:55, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi Sperril, I appreciate the note. I agree that the sourcing of the statement you removed is weak. Thanks for the kind words! --JBL (talk) 22:00, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Simple Observation on Prime Gap[edit]

I see you've reverted my addition of a sentence to the Prime gap page: "An arbitrarily large prime gap of size n can always be found starting at (n+1)!-(n+1)." You said that this was redundant. However, it's a simple observation about finding a specifically-sized prime gap in a specific location. And this prime gap is easier to compute than the one at P#+2,P#+3,...,P#+(Q-1). It's also a different gap.

Maybe saying "Another prime gap of size n can be found starting at (n+1)!-(n+1)" would be acceptable? (It's different because P# is different that n! - and P# is also harder to calculate than n!). Do you think that's a different enough observation to include in the article?

--MDWeathers (talk) 22:17, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi MDWeathers, sorry for the delayed response. It is redundant in the sense that both give elementary constructions of prime gaps of arbitrarily large size, and are otherwise not important. The primorial construction has one advantage: it finds the gap much earlier. However, it is not optimal in any sense, so it's not clear why that matters much. I agree with you that the simpler n! construction has an obvious advantage that it's easier to understand. (I also think it's probably easier to find supporting citations for.) I am not likely to have time to do this in the next few days, but I think it would be better to replace the primorial argument with the factorial argument, at a similar level of detail (and with a citation if possible). I still think it's silly to have both appearing together. --JBL (talk) 16:30, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Exponential response formula[edit]

Hello Mr @Joel B. Lewis:. It feels you are good in math. Could you please have a look on article we are working on and give us few hints how can we improve it? Wandalen (talk) 07:02, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi Wandalen,
I have a few comments for you about the article. First, as you've expanded it, it has come to resemble more and more a section of a textbook. This is not the goal of Wikipedia, and it's something you should keep in mind as you work on it. Second, your mastery of English is not perfect, and you at some point might want to see if you can find a native English speaker to help you edit the article for grammar and idiom. (You might also run the article through a spell-checker.) Third, I think you should consider the comments from other users about merging this article with another one -- sometimes it really does make more sense to explain extremely closely related concepts together, rather than in separate articles. This is particularly the case if it means you can attract more editors to work collaboratively with you, in the cooperative spirit of WP. Finally, I do not think the introductory paragraph currently does a good job of summarizing the contents of the article -- there are some claims made there that are not anywhere in the body (and maybe are not supportable by sources), and the next-to-last sentence doesn't really seem to have anything to do with ERF at all.
Hope this helps,
P.S. It is never necessary to ping a user on their own talk page.

Blocked or Not?[edit]

Did you block Widr or are you not an administrator or did you just add == IP you block == on purpose? --Carmen Melendez (talk|contribs) 22:14, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

I did not block Widr, I am not an administrator, and I added that section to alert Widr to the behavior of a non-logged-in user who Widr had recently blocked. What is the point of these queries? --JBL (talk) 22:30, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Decision stream[edit]

Dear Joel,

The efficiency/uniqueness of Decision stream technique was demonstrated in the several labs. Could you be so kind to revert you last changes related to this topic (or inform us and we'll restore text). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Dear, you have recently been posting references to a single paper across a wide variety of Wikipedia pages. Unfortunately, this behavior is not in accordance with the rules and policies of Wikipedia. To quote myself:
Wikipedia is not an appropriate venue to publicize brand-new research. The concept of decision stream might be an excellent one; if so, it will be adopted and studied more widely in the relevant academic community, papers about it will be published by authors other than its inventors, and it will become possible to write a well sourced article on the topic and link it from other Wikipedia pages. But now is too early.
Best, JBL (talk) 16:02, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi Joel,

The article 'Decision Stream: Cultivating Deep Decision Trees', which is published on arXiv - currently in the top rate of Google search. Looks like you the only man in the world, who actively moves against this idea supported by community. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Hi @, I am glad that you are pleased with how the arXiv paper is doing on Google. Nevertheless, it is not appropriate to try to promote a new preprint by repeatedly linking to it in Wikipedia. Also, you surely know as well as I do that arXiv is not a publisher, it is a preprint repository, and the fact that work appears there is not a particular indication of correctness, importance, or acceptance by the community. (Of course, the same is true for my own arXiv postings as well as yours!) --JBL (talk) 20:16, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Dear Joel,

It's good to see that the topic is closed in 'WikiProject Mathematics'. But, our guys are worried about the image of the technology. Due to the fact that it was misunderstanding (not spamming), could you be so kind to change the title 'Aggressive spamming of a recent arXiv posting, "decision streams"' to 'Decision stream references discussion' on page

Thanks, AlexNet22 (talk) 18:13, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

If an algorithm...[edit]

...takes zero time for every recombination step, and if further the elementary operation can be done in no time (ie. for , borrowing the notation of the article), the algorithm has zero running time, and is in ptic. not in .--Mathmensch (talk) 15:02, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

That is, please re-revert! --Mathmensch (talk) 15:05, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
0 is big theta of everything (with constants 0). But even if it weren't, this is a stupid and uninteresting boundary case and the correct way to resolve it would be to somewhere make sure the technical hypotheses include that either f or T is positive. --JBL (talk) 15:07, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Mathematics is annoyingly precise. And acknowledging and correcting one's mistakes is of supreme importance. --Mathmensch (talk) 15:10, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
I see you misunderstood the notation. It means bounded below and above (cf. Knuth p. 110). --Mathmensch (talk) 15:12, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Don't be an ass. If you think functions being 0 is allowable in this context then the only reasonable definition of big theta allows 0 constants, with 0 big theta of everything. If you don't think 0 constants are allowed then you are tacitly admitting that you live in a world where the 0 function is not allowed. These technicalities are not interesting or important, and linking to a blog by a person who was my student when he was an undergraduate is a particularly nice demonstration of how misplaced your condescension is. (As if the title of a blog were evidence of something! I can't believe I'm actually writing this.) If you think it is really, really, really important to note that algorithms generally are assumed to take a positive number of steps, you can find a relevant reliable source and add a small comment about it somewhere unobtrusive in the body of the article. On the other hand, changing the well sourced and correct theorem statement to something weaker because you think you are clever is a terrible idea.
You are not welcome to reply further on this page. --JBL (talk) 15:28, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
ALBERT EINSTEIN'S MOUSTACHE WAS FAKE!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Antiseismographite (talkcontribs) 11:54, 25 August 2017 (UTC)


If it is simple, then why are you unable to read WP:TPO? — nihlus kryik  (talk) 22:42, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

The relevant sentence is "If in doubt, ask the editor in question to update their own post, or add a follow-up comment of your own suggesting the alternative link." The context is a user who obviously does not want you to edit their post, and who was extremely explicit about this. --JBL (talk) 22:47, 27 August 2017 (UTC)
I had no doubt. — nihlus kryik  (talk) 22:49, 27 August 2017 (UTC)
After being told to "leave my posts alone"? You've got a serious problem, then. Also, to remove all possibility of misunderstanding going forward, you are not welcome to post further comments here on this subject. --JBL (talk) 22:53, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

MDPI journal entry[edit]

Hello. On the MDPI page, I noticed your revert and of course your question in the edit history. I answered it on the article's talk page because I am guessing other editors who work in the Academic Journals area would also be wondering about it. Here is the diff for that section [3]. Just so you know, your edit is correct. ---Steve Quinn (talk) 21:51, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Big O caveat for multiple variables[edit]

Hello. You reverted my addition to the section of the Big O notation page about a definition for multiple variables. If I understand your rationale correctly, you are saying that we get the same behavior in the univariate case. But I do not think this is true. If and , then (as ), regardless of whether and are defined on or on . But in the multivariate case, if and , then if we restrict and to , but not if they are defined on , at least under the definition stated in the article. Please let me know if I have misunderstood you or what I have not explained clearly. Thanks. Germyb (talk) 20:19, 8 October 2017 (UTC)

Hi Germyb,
Apologies for the delayed response and thank you for the comment (although perhaps it would have been better placed on article talk page. Yes, I see your point. I guess the ultimate issue here is that the "correct" notion of big O for multivariate functions is not necessarily clear, which explains why this example is possible, and perhaps also why that section of the article is in pretty poor shape. I would not object if you restored your text to the article.
JBL (talk) 01:51, 26 October 2017 (UTC)
Okay, and thanks for the tip. I'm still getting acquainted with Wikipedia editing practice. But yes, if the section did not treat this particular definition as primary, I wouldn't necessarily care as much about including this caveat. Germyb (talk) 15:55, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

Partial derivative expressions and Refdesk Math[edit]

Hi, JBL! Thanks again for your very enlightening reply from WP:RD/MA about partial derivative expressions. You said there about some other concerning beside the nonstandard ratio variable to be held constant (x1/x3) as if a pseudo-ordinary variable. Please identify the other problematic aspects on talk:Gibbs-Duhem equation. (In order to attach a scanned page from that textbook containing formula, is it necessary to be registered?)-- (talk) 11:07, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps these non-trivial/non-standard aspects of the use of partial derivatives in the context of math-based sciences aka applied mathematics like this one connected to the Gibbs-Duhem equation could be presented and analyzed (as examples) at Partial derivative. How do you consider this?-- (talk) 11:42, 25 October 2017 (UTC)

I have responded there. --JBL (talk) 01:57, 26 October 2017 (UTC)

Reference Desks/StuRat[edit]

Hi Joel, in response to your comment on the Village Pump vote, I suppose it might be worthwhile to open another case about StuRat at ANI. The last time I did that, it was kind of a joke, but maybe if I treated it seriously other people would take it seriously as well. I do sincerely believe that there would be no problems with the Reference Desks at all if StuRat was blocked from editing it (and perhaps Baseball Bugs, but one problem at a time). Now that we've gone so far as to vote to delete them entirely, maybe it is time to do something about StuRat specifically. I don't want the RDs to disappear but they obviously can't go on like this. I'll start a report, if you're on board. Adam Bishop (talk) 17:59, 27 October 2017 (UTC)

Hi Adam Bishop, I think there is clearly a large body of people who think that StuRat is extremely problematic -- I see Iridescent is another person who explicitly called for blocking him, but surely many of the references to a small number of problematic users are about him. I would certainly support a serious attempt to make it happen. My beef is particularly about the mathematics desk (the only part of RD that I frequent) -- here are a few examples of terrible answering behavior that I happened to have noticed: this answer is utterly unrelated to the question, which had already been completely answered by someone else; this discussion involves StuRat requesting information about someone's medical history (!!) while giving deeply inappropriate personal advice on a subject about which he is not expert; here we have aimless incoherent ramblings being posted after a question has been entirely answered, with reference, by another user; here we have two comments that show a total failure to understand the important parts of the problem (though at least the rambling was limited to two short posts); here a question asker had to explain to StuRat that a math problem inspired by a military analogy requested a mathematical solution rather than inventing military strategies; and here we have StuRat inventing terminology in response to a question asking for standard names. Please let me know if/when you file; I will gladly add my own summary of his contributions to RD/MA. --JBL (talk) 00:47, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
Great, thanks! I just submitted it - Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#StuRat.27s_behaviour_on_the_Reference_Desks_.28again.29. I suspect it will go about as poorly as these things always do, but there it is. Adam Bishop (talk) 17:17, 28 October 2017 (UTC)
@Adam Bishop:, quite the contrary, it seems -- thanks again for getting this going! --JBL (talk) 21:49, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
You're welcome - I honestly did not expect that outcome at all. Adam Bishop (talk) 01:05, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

Orthogonal Complement[edit]

Hi Joel, you have reverted this image of orthogonal complement:


I think it's better to keep the image on that page because if a student looks at the picture maybe he see what it's suggesting:

for Joel B.

This is saying how to solve any system of linear equations with the orthogonal complement I think it's a good application of the orhogonal complement. Please consider again include that image Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by Solinruiz (talkcontribs) 03:41, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Hi Solinruiz,
Unfortunately I do not think your image is suitable for Wikipedia. One reason is that it makes no sense to write a bunch of text, put it in an image, and then put that image as an illustration in an article: the text of Wikipedia articles should be written as text, not as images. A second is that you dropped your image in at seemingly random locations in the articles, without any sense of how it fit into the larger article. Possibly the articles you were editing would benefit from additional examples; but if so, those examples need to appear in a sensible place in the text, related to what comes before and after. If you find a place in an article where an extra example would be helpful, I'm sure I or someone else could help with any formatting issues.
All the best, JBL (talk) 16:07, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for your answer, Joel, sorry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Solinruiz (talkcontribs) 16:16, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Dear Solinruiz, no apologies necessary -- I hope you will continue to add to Wikipedia! It is definitely true that many mathematics articles need good examples added -- but it can take some time to get used to the culture here. All the best, JBL (talk) 16:56, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Hi Joel, if you dislike that example don't worry, "De gustibus non disputant" or "There is no arguing about taste". Drop an example after a definition do you really think it is without any sense?. The image at gallery too? Do you prefer drop it on the video-link? I think that you don't appreciate that example. Don't worry the article is okay without that image. In the other hand I agree with you on the first reason. Thanks for your advice. All the best. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Solinruiz (talkcontribs) 10:11, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

ArbCom 2017 election voter message[edit]

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If I look to the list of your contributions, I can see that lately most of your contributions are just 'REVERTS'. Would you consider to be little more constructive with your criticism and improve the contributions instead of just reverting things which you do not like?

I explained here: that "This is an alternative point of view, the previous solution is combining probability of events .... and this solution is getting just one probability by dividing amount of unique ways by total amount of possible ways when they can have birthday!"

Later it was removed by Numbermaniac because: "it breaks the whole flow"

So I improved it and introduced it as a separate section, which you removed again.

And I personally believe that excel example is much more useful and easier to understand and to play with to general population than the plain table with values.

Thank you very much for reply. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cruiserupce (talkcontribs) 01:51, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

@Cruiserupce: the correct place to discuss this is on the article talk page. --JBL (talk) 17:09, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

Robber baron (industrialist)[edit]

Could you please stop removing my edits? If you think the lead is not a right place for it, create a proper section and move it. --Emesik (talk) 19:39, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

@Emesik: I have created a discussion on the article talk page, which is what you should have done when your edit was reverted the first time. I do not particularly think this fragment is interesting or important, so I have no desire to include it in the article myself, and there is no obligation otherwise. If you want to include it, the onus is on you to do it in a way that is at least plausibly appropriate. --JBL (talk) 19:46, 10 January 2018 (UTC)
If you had read WP:BRD you'd have learned how to revert. First of all, a reason should be given. "Yah no" doesn't seem to be one. Emesik (talk) 19:59, 10 January 2018 (UTC)


Thanks for putting in work & opening that sock puppet investigation. (WP s/w didn't give 'Thank' option to click for edit opening the investigation, so that is why thanking here @ your Talk.) Good work. --IHTS (talk) 20:05, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

Ihardlythinkso the thanks are appreciated! (When I started filing the report I wasn't sure I was right about all 3 of them, but when I looked closely enough to see the " ... (see Talk)" pattern ....) --JBL (talk) 20:47, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

I give you my thanks also. It seemed that tedium would never end, and then you resolved it quickly and decisively. It is very much appreciated. Quale (talk) 21:45, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

+1 (talk) 22:57, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

Quite personal?[edit]

I want to make explicit that I perceive a certain general animosity from your side concerning my edits (please, recall Absolute value, also) and even to comments on TPs. I also want you to be sure that I for my side do not stack up any offense, but I would prefer to either get to know about reasons for animosity I might have caused, and to apologize accordingly, or to have some more precise hints, where my edits frustrate your requirements (e.g., I still chew on the "smallest primes" you reverted my edits to).

In any case, I do not want to bother additionally, so feel free to either delete this remark, answer to it here or at my TP, or simply -for convenience- do nothing, I won't be stalking, not a bit. Best regards, Purgy (talk) 07:47, 20 January 2018 (UTC)

Hi Purgy Purgatorio,
I would like to assure you that I have no feelings of animosity towards you whatsoever, and I apologize for giving that impression. (I will admit to not understanding how I have given that impression, but communication on the internet, and the issue of tone in particular, is hard.)
That said, I do have a strong editorial feeling about your writing style: I find it extremely elliptic and difficult to follow. As a local example: the second sentence of your message here contains six (!) distinct phrases. Even in the more direct first sentence I find that I must read it twice to understand it because of the elliptic remark in the parenthetical. (A remark whose referent I don't understand: I have looked at the article history and I see one place where an edit of mine followed one of yours, but I don't think they were related to each other.) As a result, I often do not read your comments on, e.g., WT:MATH.
I am open to discussing any of this further, if you desire.
All the best,
JBL (talk) 16:19, 20 January 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. It is of importance to me, not to cause unintentionally hurt feelings because of my deficiencies in the use of the English language. Even when not acknowledging vulnerability by bare facts, I strictly strive for not being personally attacking (see Absolute value). Believe it or not, I already do try to be less elliptic, especially when making edits to some article, but yes, I sometimes get carried away on TPs: my apologies. You won't miss much when totally ignoring my contributions, especially not the -only few- to WT:MATH. So I also do not want to waste your time on discussing my deficiencies. Cheers, Purgy (talk) 11:46, 21 January 2018 (UTC)
Hi Purgy,
Rest assured that you have not caused any hurt feelings on my part. I hope that the same can be said in reverse. As I mentioned, I don't understand what I've done that initiated this thread, and you are certainly welcome to explain (preferably, with a precise and unambiguous pointer to a particular action or discussion). I also hope that you will not be offended if, from time to time, I adjust wording that you add to articles. (Substantively, your contributions are clearly a benefit to Wikipedia!)
Best, JBL (talk) 16:20, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed to put the intended link under TP in my OP in this thread. I perceived your remark in the penultimate comment about the caption for the Sieve-pic being "not correct" as incorrect, and the verdict on the pic, I just had lauded as my favourite there, as inappropriately harsh ("The colored animation has some irritating features"). Well, I think my reply was not overflowing in amicability, but, remembering a reversion a day before, missing my intentions, and other atmospherically differences that vaguely came to my recall, I did not want to brood over some slowly glowing animosity, and so decided to contact you on your TP. I am certainly not surprised if a good deal of my English idiom is improvable, it just hurts if I cannot perceive a real improvement in being reverted. (My pet peeve is preferring "" to "", as discussed with others :p )
I am very thankful for your remark of my contributions being at least substantively a benefit, and, of course, I am thankful and not the least offended if these benefits get the right idiomatic coverage. I consider all matters settled, and there is not the least animosity from my side. Purgy (talk) 18:50, 3 February 2018 (UTC)


Hi Joel. Last December you added a tag on the Parabola page, asking for some citations in the section showing that all parabolas are similar. The tag was quite appropriate, but the editor who added that section has asked me to help find some citations for it (I've done this for him in the past). The material is fairly elementary which sometimes makes it harder to get good citations (as in this case), and the citations I've found are not the greatest. I'm going to have to rewrite some of the section in order to use these, so I thought I would check with you to see if there was anything about the section besides the lack of references that concerned you (as there were other sections without references that you didn't tag, I thought there might be something else). Thanks. --Bill Cherowitzo (talk) 04:59, 24 January 2018 (UTC)

Hi Bill,
Thanks for the message. I think the reason I tagged that section relates to the pre-history of how it came to be added to the article: see the talkpage section Talk:Parabola#Similarity. (The whole article is too large -- unmanageably so -- and full of crufty details while lacking identifiable structure. So there's a lot of tagging one could do if one wanted to! But my watchlist-based editing is focused on observing marginal changes.)
Hope this helps!
JBL (talk) 12:51, 24 January 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for that, the talkpage was enlightening. I'll go ahead with this section, but at 74K this page is ripe for splitting. I'll toss out the suggestion to split on the talkpage, but I'm thinking that an elementary/advanced split is appropriate once the haggling over what goes where settles down. --Bill Cherowitzo (talk) 19:10, 24 January 2018 (UTC)
Hi Bill,
Happy to help, and thanks for improving that section. A split seems like a really good idea; the details of how to make it work out seem challenging, to say the least. With the semester in full swing, I am probably even less likely than at other times to contribute in any very helpful way, unfortunately :-/.
All the best,
JBL (talk) 15:17, 3 February 2018 (UTC)

Taylor series[edit]

Hello Joel,

I am writing to you because recently you undid a change I made to the generalized form of Taylor series expansion in several variables. Firstly, I would like you to know that I am only a student and my understanding of mathematics is no where near to what you would have. After you undid my change, I went back and looked at the formula again and I still can't agree with the original form.

I would like to ask you to look at what I suggested again. Please explain to me what I have overlooked if you have the time or perhaps point to where I could find sources on this matter (I checked both the sources listed on the wikipedia page but I couldn't find this formula in both).

I changed the formula from this:

To this:

I changed the product in the denominator to summation because factorial in the denominator should correspond to the power of the (x - a) and the order of the derivative just like that of the Taylor series for one variable:

This is also evident in the expansion given in the same section:

If you have the time, try expanding the series with two variable (which is ). And when you expand until the term where , which is:

we will have a problem where the denominator is instead of if we use the original formula.

I hope you could give it a second thought.

Thanks for your time! Antony yang (talk) 09:57, 3 February 2018 (UTC)

Hi Antony yang, thanks for your message. The difference is subtle, and you are not the first person to be tripped up by the formulation in the article. Let me focus on the two-variable case, centered at the origin, for sake of simplicity. Using subscripts to represent partial derivatives, the formula you changed has the following form upon expanding:
The thing you're comparing it to has the following form:
The latter expression has the factorial-of-a-sum denominator, but it includes duplicate summands (once you account for commutation of partial derivatives and of powers of variables). If one groups those duplicates together and count multiplicities, what comes out is the first formula.
All the best,
JBL (talk) 15:13, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
Joel, thanks for the clarification! I was trying to fix what I thought was a mistake in the formula, but it turns out to be my mistake in the first place! I have overlooked the commutation of higher order partial derivatives. Thus, I think I should say that the formula has already assumed commutability of the partial derivatives. Sorry for going through the trouble of explaining this to me, I should have been more careful.
Antony yang (talk) 05:41, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

Olipo revert[edit]

I added the following statement to Oulipo which you reverted:

  • Martin Gardner featured Oulipo in his February 1977 Mathematical Games column in Scientific American.

This same paragraph (about the history and visibiliy of Olipo) contains the statements:

  • Temps Mêlés devoted an issue to Oulipo in 1964
  • Belgian radio broadcast one Oulipo meeting.
  • The group as a whole began to emerge from obscurity in 1973 with the publication of La Littérature Potentielle
  • In 2012 Harvard University Press published a history of the movement,

Why is the statement about being featured in this widely read column not relevant and the above four statements are? --Toploftical (talk) 13:59, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

It is not necessary to believe that the section before your edit was good in order to believe that your edit made it less good. Yes, some other sentences in the paragraph suffer from the same problem, and if they had been added at a moment when I happened to open my watchlist, I might have reverted their addition as well. I would be more interested in discussing this with you if it weren't a recurring fixation of yours to make questionable edits like this. --JBL (talk) 17:19, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
RE: Your remark, "Martin Gardener mentioned something" is not important to the history of that thing unless there is a non-Gardener source that says so."
Would the following citation (from Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics edited by Sarah Glaz, Joanne Growney, p. xiii, ISBN 1568813414) satisfy this requirement?
"During the thirty-year period 1956-1986, Martin Gardner' 'Mathematical Games' column for Scientific American frequently brought poetry to the attention of mathematicians. Gardner became well-known for his ability to make arcane topics accessible and enjoyable–and he was one of the popularizers of the OULIPO literary movement."
I can provide more such citations.
RE: Your remark, "Yes, some other sentences in the paragraph suffer from the same problem..."
So why did you delete only the sentence that I added? Are you going to delete the rest of those sentences now that you know about them?
RE: Your remark, "I would be more interested in discussing this with you if it weren't a recurring fixation of yours to make questionable edits like this."
Please see Wikipedia:Civility--Toploftical (talk) 00:07, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
That citation would certainly be helpful. (This is true on much more general WP:V/WP:RS grounds.) Even better would be one that said something substantive about Oulipo, not just about Gardner. Indeed, this is my main objection to the edits in my previous post: they are potentially interesting factoids about Gardner and his column, but they have no valuable information about the subjects of the articles you add them to. --JBL (talk) 00:19, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

Cheers -- thanks for paying attention[edit]

Export hell seidel steiner.png Thanks for removing that Dinesh d'Souza cite on Gentile's article. I can't believe I missed it, which is even funnier given that I was involved in a protracted edit war with another user (who thankfully is blocked) that was trying to insert that as a reliable source elsewhere in the article. Etzedek24 (Would it kill ya to leave an edit summary?) 01:52, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
@Etzedek24: my pleasure! It got snuck in there in a flurry of edits by that user and some IPs, so it wasn't hard to see how one could miss it. Now that the block is over, hopefully disruption won't begin again. ("Nazis aren't that bad, but also if Nazis are bad it's because they were actually socialists" doesn't seem like a very fruitful perspective for productive editing.) All the best, JBL (talk) 16:12, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

So we disagree on recursion[edit]

I said my piece, perhaps a mite on the sharp side, but I hold no grudge.

It's rooted in the animus of a working computer scientist toward (some) of the ivory tower computer science types.

I'm the guy who long ago lost four hours I couldn't afford on a deadline death march sending a patch to the University of Waterloo (supposed a credible math school) for their Watcom C++ compiler library because they didn't put a test in front of the quicksort tail recursion to only recurse on the smaller side of the divided partition, their failure resulting in order-N stack memory consumption on a previously ordered list (either forward ordered or reverse ordered, I can't now recall). Oh, joy! What naive, clueless nimby did that, I've wanted to know with burning passion, ever since. I've always blamed the fripperous way they teach recursion at the undergraduate level: magic mental beans.

The one paper I really liked was Putnam's paper on whether 2 is a subset of 3 (it is in some axiomatic systems, and not in others). Turns out, there's no axiomatic system which doesn't have set theoretic artifacts. This is also true of recursion, given any physical embedding. — MaxEnt 14:26, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

History of combinatorics[edit]

I noticed you like Combinatorics. I feel recent changes to History of combinatorics are pretty ridiculous. I thought you might consider working on that article. Thanks, Mhym (talk) 06:45, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Hi Mhym, you mean this edit from a couple days ago? I will try to find time to look it over. All the best, JBL (talk) 12:01, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes. See e.g. the last sentence. I seriously doubt that Stanley's impact is in Matroid Theory "and more". Mhym (talk) 21:18, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. Spring break is just starting, I will sit down and take a good hard look. (The diff is too complicated to read at a glance, which is my usual editing approach.) --JBL (talk) 16:07, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
@Mhym: oh it's really oddly focused on poset theory, isn't it? (Like, I'm happy to see Rota and Stanley get mentnioned, but no graph theory or Erdos? No connections to algebra or other fields? Very odd.) Well, I've started with the ancient stuff, but I'll definitely get to the contemporary section eventually and try to do something more comprehensive with that. --JBL (talk) 19:57, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

March 2018[edit]

Stop icon with clock
You have been blocked from editing for a period of 24 hours for edit warring. Once the block has expired, you are welcome to make useful contributions.
During a dispute, you should first try to discuss controversial changes and seek consensus. If that proves unsuccessful, you are encouraged to seek dispute resolution, and in some cases it may be appropriate to request page protection.
If you think there are good reasons for being unblocked, please read the guide to appealing blocks, then add the following text below the block notice on your talk page: {{unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~}}.  Randykitty (talk) 18:20, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
File:Orologio rosso or File:Orologio verde DOT SVG (red clock or green clock icon, from Wikimedia Commons)
This user's unblock request has been reviewed by an administrator, who accepted the request.

Joel B. Lewis (block logactive blocksglobal blocksautoblockscontribsdeleted contribscreation logchange block settingsunblockfilter log)

Request reason:

My apologies; obviously it was inappropriate for me to be the person to do the removal, despite the clear consensus in its favor, and I should have realized that. I will certainly not make any edits to Frontiers Media if unblocked. (Also I have removed it from my watchlist temporarily to remove any temptation.) JBL (talk) 7:25 pm, Today (UTC+1)

Accept reason:

Apologies accepted, I understand tempers may run high. Randykitty (talk) 18:32, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

@Randykitty: Thank you for your even-handed approach to this second chapter. As I said, the article is off my watchlist and I'll take a break from it. --JBL (talk) 18:34, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Elseford[edit]

Only SPI clerks are permitted to move cases. Please do not do so again. (I'll have a clerk review the move. Don't undo what you did.) Thanks.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:38, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

Sure thing. --JBL (talk) 15:44, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

Your Cranston filibuster[edit]

When you spelled out that you thought articles to when he voted on certain things weren't enough, I adhered to those mentioning his role in particular. Now that you've struck back against those edits, I've found myself between a rock and a hard place. - Informant16 April 21, 2018

I wrote the message below before checking your editing history and discovering that you have been around for a number of years. So, the tone (addressed to a relatively novice editor) is not exactly right, and no offense is intended by it.
@Informant16: Wikipedia is edited by consensus, I do not have the final word about anything. The traditional way to proceed (as described in WP:BRD) is for you to open a discussion on the talk page of the article, putting forward the reasons that you believe your edits are improvements. If we can come to a consensus, that will be great; if not, there are various mechanisms for soliciting input from other editors. (And often that happens just from the initial posting to the talk page.) I would point out that you have made 11 additions to the page in 2018, of which I have examined all but only reverted 4, so it is not as if I am making your editing impossible. --JBL (talk) 21:35, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

RE: Recent edits to pentagonal number theorem[edit]

I'm going to assume that you're going to put that chunk of text back some place in the article, right? It's not that inappropriate. Right above it the pentagonal numbers are defined, and this just gives a better, more compact formula for the interleaved sequence at play in the theorem expansion. If you're going to moderate, find a nice place else in the article to stick it!Maxie (talk) 14:01, 29 April 2018 (UTC)

Collatz talk[edit]

Just so you know, the post you removed from talk:Collatz conjecture seems to be from Alireza Badali, whom you may remember as a frequenter of the Math Help Desk last winter, but has since been blocked, and is now evading the block by posting anonymously. If you see similar posts in the future you probably only need to cite WP:EVADE to revert. I've already notified an admin about the situation. Meanwhile I was just going to let the archive bot remove the post from the Math Help Desk; it won't get saved if there are no replies.

PS. Are you the same Joel Lewis seen in the MIT OCW for multivariable calculus? --RDBury (talk) 07:03, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Hi RDBury, thanks, I hadn't realized he was blocked, as you surmised. Yes, that's me. All the best, JBL (talk) 12:21, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Plea for peace[edit]

Hi, JBL, I generally admire you and your edits, which I've seen on a number of articles, and I certainly don't want to end up on your bad list. You just attacked me in fairly strong terms, however, and I would like to try to find a way to make it straight, if we can. You wrote:

"Your repeated efforts to derail a thoughtful and substantive discussion with insults and personal attacks is really regrettable."

I know I have faults as an editor, and I would like to become better, but I think you're misreading the situation here somewhat. To summarize the background, Paul August reverted an anonymous edit which added von Neumann to the category of combustion scientists. I thought the edit was good, but instead of restoring it myself, unilaterally, I added a friendly note to Paul's talk page, pointing out some of von Neumann's contributions to the field, and suggesting that Paul might want to restore the edit himself. (This is all in the copied discussion.) He replied that he thought the article needed to mention combustion science, and I replied, pointing out some places where the article already mentions von Neumann's substantial contributions to this science.

He then replied that he needed a source that uses the term "combustion scientist" explicitly, setting a bar that can't be jumped over, regardless of the history of the science, or of von Neumann's contribution to it, or of the basic meanings of the words involved, etc. At this point I began to suspect that I was being trolled, i.e., being opposed by every means possible, regardless of what I wrote. So my next few replies were perhaps less than polite.

So I admit to using (jocular) insults here and there, and I apologize for it, but I never did it to derail a thoughtful discussion. I've only done it after the discussion had already been driven off the rails of thoughtfulness by the other party. Eleuther (talk) 18:54, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Hi Eleuther, thanks for your message, and for the kind words. I realize the discussion has moved on while I've been away, so let me keep my message short. I do not think that anyone has been trolling you, and Paul August seems to me to have been presenting himself in a straightforward and thoughtful way. Issues of tone (particularly subtler things like "jocularity") can be hard to judge on the internet. I harbor no hard feelings towards you, and I hope the reverse is true as well. All the best, JBL (talk) 12:33, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, JBL. If you would care to comment on the overall issue at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2018 May 29, I would welcome it. Eleuther (talk) 22:38, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

Add some references[edit]

Hey Joel, would you please add some of the references into the opening paragraph for University Bible Fellowship? Someone is apparently trying to eliminate references one by one. Some of the references may not be so clear, but there are many that are clear. Any of the newspaper references will do, such as #3, 4, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, or 23. Bkarcher (talk) 14:30, 9 July 2018 (UTC)