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Re: Yet another Mathematica docs whopper

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg47172] Re: Yet another Mathematica docs whopper
  • From: drbob at (Bobby R. Treat)
  • Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004 00:08:08 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <c3udt9$9pd$> <c437v8$ef1$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

It's NOT searchable. What you type in that box has to be a keyword,
and none of us knows what the keywords are. If Help were searchable,
we could type any word that appears in an article, and find that

For instance, the article on Calculus`VariationalMethods` can't be
found by searching for "higher derivatives", "functional", "extremal",
"variational derivatives", "Laplace", "Laplace's equation", "Euler",
or "Euler equations" even though all those words and phrases are (1)
present in the article and (2) reasonable starting places for a person
trying to start on a quest for information.

The last two examples are especially annoying, since the package
includes a function called EulerEquations.


"Steven Shippee" <slshippee at> wrote in message news:<c437v8$ef1$1 at>...
> I'm REALLY not meaning to be a knucklhead here, but if I click on HELP in
> Mathematica then click on HELP BROWSER, I get a "text box" where I can type
> in a term to do a search on.
> What do you all (more experienced users) mean, remembering I am a novice
> user, by "it would be nice if help were searchable"?
> Thanks in advance,
> Steven Shippee
> "J Krugman" <jkrugman at> wrote in message
> news:c3udt9$9pd$1 at
> > I've posted about the poor quality of Mathematica's documentation
> > before, and received several e-mails challenging my claim that this
> > documentation is awash in errors and woefully incomplete.  Well,
> > for those who doubt, here's the latest example I just bumped into:
> >
> >   In[1]:= ??AspectRatio
> >   AspectRatio is an option for Show and related functions which specifies
>  the
> >               ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >      ratio of height to width for a plot.
> >
> >   Attributes[AspectRatio] = {Protected}
> >
> >   In[2]:= SetOptions[Show, AspectRatio->Automatic];
> >
> >   SetOptions::optnf: AspectRatio is not a known option for Show.
> >                      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > Faced with this sort of nonsense, what is a user to do?
> >
> > I am furious, because I spend an unreasonable amount of time
> > resolving inadequacies like this one in the Mathematica documentation.
> > Considering the exorbitant sum we paid for Mathematica, I expect
> > something much better documented than this.
> >
> > jill
> >
> > -- 
> > To  s&e^n]d  me  m~a}i]l  r%e*m?o\v[e  bit from my a|d)d:r{e:s]s.
> >

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