Each subject wiki has certain kinds of articles called definition articles or terminology articles. Each such article is about a term being defined. Definition articles form an extremely important part of every subject wiki.
This article discusses the overall design and organization of definition articles on subject wikis.
We'll use the word definiendum for the term being defined.
Goals of the definition article
The definition article should provide:
- A clear definition
- A representative range of examples
- An idea of the different ways in which the definiendum is understood and used
The definition article should provide brief information with further links to:
- Articles detailing the history of the definiendum
- Specific information articles about the definiendum
- Survey articles exploring how to understand the definition
- Related terms, either related by an implication (one being stronger or weaker than the other), or by other means
- Proofs of properties, conditions and results satisfied by the definiendum
There are boxes at the top of many definition articles on subject wikis. These boxes give general information about the definiendum, such as the type of term it is. Each such box is generated by an article-tagging template.
- Further information: Subwiki:Definition article-tagging template
Sections of the definition article
- Further information: Subwiki:History section in definition articles
This is not a mandatory section, but when it exists, it is usually at the beginning of the article, before the definition section. The history section provides a brief overview of the origin of the term and of the notion, along with the name of the person who came up with the term. This section might also contain further information about the evolution of the term or concept since it was introduced.
Links from this section: If more detailed information on the history of the concept or term is available on a separate page, a link to that page is provided.
- Further information: Subwiki:Definition
This section is mandatory for all definition articles. The definition section, titled Definition, contains at least one definition of the definiendum. It may contain multiple equivalent definitions, and may also contain the same definition stated in different ways (for instance, in words and in symbols). Some definition sections have a Quick phrases box on top with quick, easy-to-remember phrases that capture the meaning of the term.
Links from this section: The section links to terms used to express the definition, pages explaining the equivalence of multiple definitions, or pages proving facts implicit in the formulation of the definition. It also links to survey articles that parse and study the definition carefully and to survey articles that consider further alternative definitions.
- Further information: Subwiki:Examples
This section is recommended for all definition articles, though it is currently not present in too many of them. The section may be divided into subsections containing different kinds of examples. The aim is for examples to provide a representative range, cover the extremes, and provide a litmus test for definition understanding. Non-examples may also be included to contrast with examples.
Links from this section: Links usually go to pages that discuss the examples, either providing background information of the examples or explaining why those are indeed examples.
- Further information: Subwiki:Formalisms
- Further information: Subwiki:Relations in definition article
Facts section or more refined section choices
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