I am writing this to lobby for the use of BWE (Brief Working Example) in place of MWE (Minimal Working Example).

Rationale: The people who dump big messes of code on this site are ill-equipt to know what constitutes a MWE. The word "minimal" as applied to code examples is very fuzzy in their minds. However, I think they can understand "brief", which is a simpler concept and what we really want, anyway.

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    I'd like to lobby for a replacement to sscce.org as well... perhaps a meta post here on how to write a Mathematica specific MWE.
    – rm -rf Mod
    Dec 2, 2013 at 0:35
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    I feel the word minimal is confusing. On one hand, it seems to encourage you to come up with small data to exemplify what you mean (without distractions or unnecessary complications). On the other, it looks like some minimal requirement of your efforts; "Hah, you've only written one line of code yourself, do you expect us to help you?" So yeah what do we mean with minimal? Dec 2, 2013 at 13:47
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    The concept of MWE presupposes a good faith effort to find and accurately describe the source of the trouble encountered. I would humbly suggest that this is not a particularly useful assumption in the majority of cases where someone vomits a huge mess of terrible code into a question and plaintively cries, "HALP!" Dec 4, 2013 at 0:50
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    I think @rm-rf hit the nail on the head. The issue is not whether it should be called MWE or BWE but creating a Mathematica-specific description of what this thing really is, making it clear that it is a guideline and not a requirement on this site. (It doesn't apply to all questions only the ones asking for help with code that doesn't work.)
    – Szabolcs
    Dec 8, 2013 at 3:25
  • @Szabolcs, "only the ones asking for help with code that doesn't work"... I don't understand, could you please elaborate? what's the point of asking for help if your code works? ...
    – carlosayam
    Dec 12, 2013 at 23:31
  • @caya the code should not necessarily be working correctly, but it should display the same behavior (like generating error messages) reported in the question. Dec 15, 2013 at 9:21
  • Maybe we should simply avoid using brief phrase like “minimal working example” or "brief working example", and use e.g. "an example that's as simple as possible and can reproduce the problem you're facing" instead?
    – xzczd
    Jan 25, 2017 at 3:38

1 Answer 1


There is already such a thing for StackOverflow which I think can be used here in exactly the same way: MWCE, a "Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable Example" formulated by Andrew Thompson, the same person that wrote the Short, Self Contained, Correct (Compilable), Example site.

You can find it at https://stackoverflow.com/help/mcve and the history on how it got formulated at Can we create a Help Center topic that outlines what a SSCCE / MWE means for Stack Overflow?

Anyone with enough permissions to promote it to https://mathematica.stackexchange.com/help/mcve ?

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