Mathematica is a computation development platform and language from Wolfram Research. It's mainly used by scientists.

The tag mathematica on SO gets often confused inadvertently with math.

The usual participants in the Mathematica tag clean up daily those confusions, so there are almost only closed examples left to cite. Example 1 Example 1 Example 2

But the problem is twofold. As many users who aren't aware of the Mathematica existence are entitled with close votes, it happens that a question receive unreasonable closing votes, usually without comments, caused (I think) because they can't understand the inextricable relationship among the environment and the programming language in this particular product. Example 1 Example 2 (in the last one the vote already expired, only my comment remains)

So I propose changing the tag name to something clearly identifiable with a product, and not with math in general. [wolfram-mathematica] seems too long, but clear enough.

[wr-Mathematica] seems good too, since the company name is "Wolfram Research", and looks less on the marketing side.

Other tag name suggestions are welcome.

  • 4
    Rename [C#] -> [Microsoft-C#]
    – random
    Mar 1, 2011 at 15:35
  • @random Oh well ... that is part of the confusion I tried to explain Mar 1, 2011 at 15:38
  • 2
    @random no! C# can also be a musical note, so it shouldn't be renamed. Imagine a question on how to generate a C# note :)
    – user146787
    Mar 1, 2011 at 16:08
  • @belisarius: What's happening with this idea? In the comment thread to my answer, @Alexey and I came to a 2 person consensus that the tags [mathematica] and [mathematica-frontend] should be enough. The second tag would be used in pure frontend questions, which are the most likely to look the least like programming, and would hopefully stop people voting to close them.
    – Simon
    Mar 7, 2011 at 22:46
  • @Simon This proposal got only one net upvote (some downs, some ups), so I guess it isn't enough for a retag. I'm not sure who and how manage the retags, but this score is not enough to ask for attention taking in account that the "no go" answer took 8 upvotes. I somehow hoped that the Mma community in SO could support this one, but it didn't happen, at least not massively, and they didn't comment. So I guess it is a dead end. Mar 8, 2011 at 5:04
  • @belisarius: My vote is locked - I originally voted up, but then changed my mind, as I didn't like the retag that you suggested. My most recent SO question was a [mathematica-frontend] question - so I tagged it appropriately. If people are happy with that, then we can slowly (as we come across them) retag old questions - there aren't that many.
    – Simon
    Mar 8, 2011 at 6:12
  • @Simon I'll edit this question so the vote-changing (for all those reconsidering their position) is possible. Also I agree with the frontend tag as a start. Mar 8, 2011 at 7:07

3 Answers 3


People confused between and have a lot more problems going on with them.

Throwing in a prefix to the tag will only spin them for more of a loop and leave them rocking back and forth in the corner wondering why this "Wolfram" character has left the City of Angels and the Powers that Be and followed them into the world of programming.

But you also have to count for those close votes coming from people who don't see the use of Mathematica the same as programming and think it more a Super User problem.

  • 1
    What about an (R) ® or (TM) ™ character in the tag? Could it help? Mar 1, 2011 at 16:04
  • 1
    Adding trademark or registered trademark to the tag won't make some people discount Mathematica as programming @bel
    – random
    Mar 1, 2011 at 16:08
  • 3
    It seems the only way out is to convince WR to change the product name. I think they are going to understand :D Mar 1, 2011 at 16:13
  • 2
    In many languages the English 'math' translates to something very similar to mathematica. One doesn't have to be too deluded to make this mistake. Mar 12, 2011 at 10:10
  • @Sjoerd ~ They merely have to not speak English fairly well.
    – jcolebrand
    Apr 30, 2011 at 0:53

I think that the retag will make more problems than it fixes.

Maybe we should just update the tag wiki to say that questions about both the language and frontend (etc) can be asked.

  • @Simon I don't see clearly what problems we may trigger. The type-ahead feature for the tags works by substrings too, so entering mathe... will bring you to the right tag. As for the wiki, I'm not sure how many people check it, not to mention those that confuse mathwith mathematica. Anyway, updating the wiki seems a good idea for the second problem! +1 Mar 1, 2011 at 21:50
  • @belisarius: I just tested the type-ahead feature for tags - and you're right. Maybe it would be best to do the retag... but it still feels a bit weird. Maybe we add an extra tag "mathematica-frontend" for purely frontend (and stylesheet etc) questions?
    – Simon
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:55
  • @Simon Splitting seriously the tag (Mma-kernel, Mma-frontent, Mma-Grid, Mma-Jlink ...) seems too much for such a small community and low traffic. Perhaps just two Mma-backend Mma-frontend and perhaps that is enough to lessen the confusion with math. We may schedule a chat session for discussing that. There are also disadvantages from the rep points point of view. Mar 1, 2011 at 22:02
  • 2
    @belisarius: The two tag options seems reasonable... maybe just [mathematica] and [mathematica-frontend]
    – Simon
    Mar 1, 2011 at 23:03
  • @Simon I agree. I think two tags allow to reduce ambiguity sufficiently. Mar 2, 2011 at 6:21
  • @Alexey, @Simon I am also worried about people comming and voting to close Mma questions. Retaining the mathematica (alone) tag will not help with that Mar 2, 2011 at 12:44
  • @Alexey, @belisarius: But the questions that look least like programming questions are ones that would be tagged with [mathematica-frontend]... so it should alleviate some of the problem.
    – Simon
    Mar 2, 2011 at 21:09
  • @Simon I think it is reasonable to use both tags for such questions: people who have subscription to questions with tag mathematica will see them. Mar 3, 2011 at 3:10

Another retagging option to consider would be


Admittedly it is longer but clear. Therefore for people whose first time it is to read "Mathematica" can immediately realise that it must be a programming language.

Edit: Addressing the point raised by Grace Note to keeping the length <= 25 characters. The above suggestion could be changed to either:


23 characters


20 characters


23 characters

  • Good idea, but I am not sure sure if such a long tag is functional. Perhaps someone could help to clarify. Mar 1, 2011 at 22:12
  • There is a limit of 25 characters in a tag. Mathematica-programming-language is 32, so this is not an option.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Mar 1, 2011 at 22:22
  • 1
    There are some Mathematica questions that aren't necessarily related to thee programming language. One example: stackoverflow.com/questions/5058854/… Mar 1, 2011 at 22:49

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