What should we do with questions which essentially boil down to one of the following:

  • Mathematica can't Solve/Reduce/Integrate some expression
  • Mathematica returns my input expression unevaluated
  • Mathematica runs indefinitely when I evaluate my expression

I'm not talking about simple mistake cases questions with typos or which are obvious RTFM cases.

A few examples:

I'd say half of such questions are too localized and the other half are off-topic because only a WRI developer could answer.

But is that really the case? Usually I find it hard to decide. On the other hand I'm pretty sure no one who could answer one of them is likely to spot it in a list of old unanswered questions. Therefore, should I just make an edit to make it active in the hope that someone experienced in the topic will see it and answer?

  • 4
    You don't need to manually bump old, unanswered questions. If they are upvoted, then the system does it automatically from time to time (it will say "Modified [time] by Community ♦"). If not, then they will be automatically deleted after 1 year of no activity. So, if you like the question, upvote; otherwise, you can just ignore it. Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 0:50
  • @OleksandrR. Right, I forgot about that. And what about those that got more than 0 upvotes but are in the same group? Maybe not the best example but: 35218
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 8:08
  • @OleksandrR. I know why I forgot, I know because it is not true :) meta.stackexchange.com/a/92006/233085 so 2+ comments protect questions from being closed.
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 8:14
  • 3
    @OleksandrR. and the number of those protected 0 score unanswerd questions is 300! :) isanswered:no closed:no hasaccepted:no answers:0 lastactive:..12m score:..0
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 8:14
  • Hmm, I didn't know that comments protect the questions from deletion. In that case we should probably look at them ourselves and decide what to do about them. Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 13:47
  • 2
    I agree that this is a difficult but important issue. I've thought about it in the past but was unable to come to any conclusion. Now that you've brought the issue up here, I'll give it more thought, but I'm skeptical that I'll experience satori, so don't hold your breath while waiting for my reply :-)
    – m_goldberg
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 17:08
  • Perhaps, something along these lines should be added to the common pitfalls question. Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


Ok, I will post here old topics I've faced that I didn't know what to do with.

EDIT: Or rather, I'm tempted to close them as too localized, simple mistake (in understanding functions/math) but I feel that I'm not familiar enough with the topic to do so.

Some of those topic are probably outside of scope of points made in the question.

Feel free to edit this list if anything is solved/closed, or if you found something:

Probably math problem:

Performance tunning

Confusing fitting:

NDSolve, DSolve and friedns

NSolve Solve and friends (like Reduce)

NIntegrate Integrate and friends


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