Subwiki:Reference guide

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This wiki (the subject wikis reference guide) is intended to be a guide to the other subject wikis, as well as a more general guide through the sea of information. The goal of this article is to explain how it works.

Entry point

Quick lookup

The subject wikis reference guide serves as an entry point for generic queries, for a person whose query may not be related to a particular subject, or who is unaware of what subject wiki will answer his or her question. It does not attempt to answer very specific questions.

For instance, suppose you read a sentence in a mathematical proof saying this shows that is normal. You aren't sure what normal here means, though you know it has something to do with some mathematical set with additional structure. If you type "normal" into the search bar, you're taken to the reference guide page on normal. This in turn includes information on normal (mathematics), normal (physics), normal (chemistry), and normal (economics), and possibly more. (If you're sure at the beginning that your term is a mathematics term, you can select "normal (mathematics)" when the drop-down suggestions bar appears as you type in "normal").

You notice that the mathematics section is rather long, with several possible uses of the word "normal" popping up. Based on the context in which you read the word, you can probably narrow down which of these meanings is applicable. Next, if the short definition given doesn't satisfy you, you can follow the link to the subject wiki entry with more information. By clicking on the link, you leave the reference guide and enter a subject wiki. For instance, if you're interested in normal subgroup, you can click the link to the Groupprops entry, while if you're interested in normal space, you can click the link to the Topospaces entry.

In some cases, there are also links to other related terms. In general, these links point to within the reference guide itself; however, some links may point directly to the subject wiki. Links of the latter kind are typically used if the related term does not yet have an entry on the reference guide. In addition to links to related terms, there may also be links to categories and list pages on the subject wiki that list related terms, facts, and other articles.

Fun exploration

The reference guide entry on normal, perfect, simple, and many other terms, not only contains a list of the specific uses, but also contains general information on how the word is used, both in general and in particular subject. This includes a dictionary-like meaning, synonyms and antonyms, common word variations, and words with similar roots. Sometimes, a section on a particular subject begins by explaining how generic usage within that subject differs from standard usage in daily parlance.

This background allows exploring meanings to be more of a fun activity.