A significant portion of answers on this site consist actually of a method for avoiding the undesired behavior. One of many many examples:

Wrong numerical value while exporting to a JSON string

Quite often, the authors of the such answers call them "solutions".

Should there be a policy that encourages using the term "workaround" instead of "solution", in such cases?

  • 6
    Particularly irksome are OPs who ask why something doesn't work, and instead of accepting the answer with the explanation, they accept the quick fix. But you're talking about the answerers....
    – Michael E2
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 23:58
  • @MichaelE2 You are right, that is a related point, and that happens quite frequently too.
    – VividD
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 0:02
  • 6
    IMO much ado about very little. What exactly do we gain by making this distinction?
    – m_goldberg
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 16:48
  • @m_goldberg Let's say you walk with a friend, and you two walk towards your car, and let's say you tell him: "Look, this is my airplane!" What would your friend think about you? What I am getting at, this site is becoming subject of fun and ridicule, people discussing it on forums, saying: "Solution?? This is a solution??? HAhahah-ahaha-uhhhuuh-what-a-joke AHAHAHA" But nobody of regulars here seems to notice it...
    – VividD
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 17:51
  • 5
    I think that it is more like I say, "This is my automobile", and my friend answers, "You should say 'This is my car'".
    – m_goldberg
    Commented Sep 15, 2015 at 17:56
  • 4
    Dear VividD. Please provide a link to these alleged forums where people discuss the Mathematica StackExchange site in such terms. I would like to know so I can avoid the kinds of sites where people complain about the distinction between "solution" and "workaround". Please also see my answer.
    – Verbeia
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


I do not support instituting such a policy. Many of our users are not native English speakers and it is unreasonable to police their word choice for such nuances. (In my opinion, it is also disrespectful if people use other internet forums to mock such trivial word-choice issues, but then, who am I to judge how people spend their time?) In addition, the policy would rapidly become unwieldy as we debated other word choices beyond the example given. (e.g. should we talk about "excessive looping" or "inappropriate procedural style"?)

Fortunately, the StackExchange engine already has a mechanism to ensure drafting clarity: users with enough reputation can edit the posts of other users.

If users feel that a particular post is misleading in some way or written in an unclear style, they are welcome to edit it.

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