I think the Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem needs a new introduction.

I'm pretty new to this site and I clearly remember that one of the first articles I attempted to read was this one. At this point, I didn't even know what Bayes' theorem was, so I really didn't care about how Bayes' theorem was often taught wrong, or about how Bayesian reasoning is counterintuitive, or anything in the current intro. I had seen a link on the home page about Bayes and wanted to know what it was, not about how other people teach it wrong. It is one of the first articles most people see on this site.

If the article was short or if it started out more piquant then I wouldn't have hesitated to dive in. I did dip my toe into the first few paragraphs, just to test the water. What I got was a story problem with no context, whose answer was obvious to me (I guessed just under 10% for the first problem; I'm an astronomer so 10% = 7%. Same order of magnitude!). After that I skimmed to the end and left out of boredom. After reading a good chunk of the sequences I realized how powerful Bayes' theorem actually is and went back and read the article.

I'm not a great writer so... yeah. Someone else gotta do that one.

tl;dr: Fix the intro to be an actual introduction to the subject, so that people who have no clue what Bayes' theorem is won't be driven away. Something along the lines of this one would be good.

Open Thread, July 16-31, 2012

by OpenThreadGuy 1 min read16th Jul 2012142 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post, even in Discussion, it goes here.