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Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Ian Underwood

April, 2002


To: All Dr. Math Doctors
From: Ian Underwood 
Subject: Ask Dr. Math in April


Hi Math Doctors, 

During April, we received 8383 (about 279 per day), of which we
answered 3952 (about 131 per day).  That's just shy of 4000 answers,
and just shy of 50%. 

We had an unusually high number of math doctors (37) contributing this
month.  Thanks to all of you, with special thanks to the following:

 20/day   |
          | Peterson
          |
          | 
          |
  15/day  |
          |
          |
          |
          |
  10/day  |
          |
          | 
          | Rick
          | 
   5/day  | Jerry, Mitteldorf, Paul, Schwa
          | Anthony, Tom
          | Douglas, Floor, Jubal, Roy
          | Jeremiah, Tim
   1/day  | Allan, Ann, Fenton, Jaffee, Pete, Shawn, White, Wilkinson
          /
   1/wk   | Achilles, Greenie, Jody, Jordi, Toughy, Twe, Wolfson


Welcome to new intern Doctor Meryem!


New archive format
------------------

Last month I told you about some preview pages for the new Dr. Math
archives.  As of yesterday, those pages are live!  

For a quick overview of the new functionality, take a look at

  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ask6.html

We've already received some favorable comments from users, and we hope
that you'll find them easier to use than the old pages.

Everything is reachable from the old URLs, so you shouldn't have to
change any of your bookmarks. 


20-questions interface
----------------------

One of the things we're working on is an additional archive interface
that can be used by people who don't really have the vocabulary to
describe their questions in a way that would let them use the standard
browsing and searching interfaces efficiently.  (A typical target user
would be someone who is trying to solve a pair of simultaneous linear
equations, but doesn't know how to say that.)

The idea is to use a network of 'leading questions' to help patients
either zero in on appropriate archived answers or FAQs, or else
provide information that will help math doctors identify interesting
questions more easily in triage.

This work is still in the early stages, but at some point we're going
to want to do some preliminary internal testing, using math doctors as
subjects.  If any of you would be interested in participating in these
tests, please let me know so I can contact you when we're ready.


That's it for April!  Go forth, be fruitful, and teach kids to
multiply...

Dr. Ian
Attending Physician
Ask Dr. Math
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