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Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Ian Underwood

February, 2003


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

Hi Math Doctors,

February was a small month, during which we posted some big 
numbers.  Of 6603 questions that came in, we were able to answer 
3911, or about 59%.  That's about 200 more answers than last
February, when we fielded about 46% of the incoming questions. 

Of course, numbers are only part of the story.  The bigger 
part is the difference that we make, as illustrated by a few 
recent thank-you messages:

  1) Thank you so much for your help and quick response. 
     I appreciate that people like you care so much, especially 
     with something as trivial as what I had asked about. 
     It does help me to understand mathematical principles 
     better and gives me more enthusiasm for math in general.
     Thanks!

  2) Great site!  I've used two of your answers to solve 
     problems with installing crown moulding on odd angle 
     corners and finding the length of an arc on a circle 
     for moulding over an arched opening! And who said 
     we'd never use this stuff again?! I've also introduced 
     it to my daughter (10)!

  3) Thanks so much for your time on this.  I am spreading 
     the word about the site because you helped me a lot.  
     I kinda look smart to my 7th grader. 

Getting back to the numbers, about 35 math doctors contributed 
answers this month, with special thanks going to the following:

 20/day |
        |
        | Peterson
        |
        | Roy
 15/day |
        |
        |
        |
        | Robert
 10/day |  
        | 
        |
        | Douglas, Jacques, Rick 
        | Anthony, Tom
  5/day | Greenie, Jerry
        | Fenton, Kastner, Shawn
        | Jeremiah, Wilkinson
        | Dotty, Edwin, Schwa
        | Achilles, Floor, Jodi, Paul, Marshall, Wallace
        /
  1/wk  | Gareth, Jody, Pepper, Pete, Wigton 


Welcome to new math doctors Dotty, Gareth, and Warren!


New 'Ask' Page
--------------

If you haven't submitted a question lately, you might not have 
noticed our new 'ask' page:

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

This replaces the old series of 'ask' pages leading up to the 
page where people (finally!) got to ask their questions.  

Simply stated, the goal of the new page is to keep people from 
writing to us with questions whose answers they should already 
know, e.g., 

  "Will you write a report on ____ and get it to me by Friday?"
  "When will I get an answer to my question?"
  "Why haven't you answered my question yet?" 
  "Why aren't you more like Ask Jeeves?"

or typing in a page of questions with no further comment. 

A little less simply stated, we had three design goals in mind:

  1) To state clearly what the site is (and is not) about, 
     and how to use it effectively.

  2) To make it easy to absorb the high points by skimming, 
     but also possible to see the relevant details without 
     having to bring up other pages.  

  3) To minimize the need for scrolling and clicking. 

Special thanks to our archivist, Dr. Sarah, for finding a page
organization that (we think) meets goals (2) and (3).  

It remains to be seen how well it will work.  However, if you 
think we missed (or misstated) any important points, please let 
me know ASAP.  

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


Dr. Ian
Attending Physician
Ask Dr. Math
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