There are questions appearing on SO relating to relational algebra, of the general form 'Is my relational algebra correct?'. For questions like this relating to what one might term 'real' programming languages, I'll point out any glaring errors (if any) or nudge them in the direction of codereview

Relational algebra, while superficially similar to SQL, is not a 'real' programming language like PHP or c++ (or even SQL). The concept is more akin to mathematics, so is a question such as 'Is this relational algebra correct?' on-topic for SO?

If it isn't, what is an appropriate treatment? Should it be closed as off-topic with a nudge to codereview or some other site, or closed on some other basis, or simply ignored?

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  • Thanks to those who contributed - I'll bear these comments in mind if the topic crops up on Stack Overflow again. – user226287 Oct 22 '13 at 23:22

It depends on how the question was posted, well if it's about programming that relates relational-algebra then why not? but if its purely theorem type relational-algebra then it should be invalid and should be posted in Math.SE or likewise sites that can answer it more correctly.

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  • why downvote? please explain. – user2705620 Oct 18 '13 at 6:57

There is a on SO that has 170 questions reasonable activity on it. There are a number of uses who answer such questions. The questions, for the most part are not closed (there's the odd duplicate in there). The questions are often ones about RA's relation to sql, or linq, or some of the more esoteric parts of various SQL queries.

If something was to be pushed to another direction - that its a question that deals more with the theory and math behind it, relational algebra tag at math.SE looks like the best place to nudge the question in that direction.

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  • I think you may have misunderstood. This is not about a question on relational algebra that I wish to post, but about whether relational algebra is on-topic for SO, and what to do about it if it isn't. – user226287 Oct 18 '13 at 2:32
  • @MikeW reworded answer with that realization. – user213963 Oct 18 '13 at 2:39
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    seems like kinda my answer a while ago :) – user2705620 Oct 18 '13 at 2:41

Database Administrators has a relational-theory tag with (currently) 18 questions and I would argue that relational algebra is on-topic there, under "Data Modelling and database-design, including referential-integrity", and an aggregate +10 users agreed with the idea on the on-topic-ness meta question for that site.

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