I'm a mod at Computational Science SE. Sometimes, users ask questions on Computational Science about doing something in Wolfram Alpha. As far as I can tell, Wolfram Alpha uses Mathematica for its math engine. Are those questions on topic here?

Note: I was made aware of Other WRI product discussion?. I'm scoping my question specifically to uses of Wolfram Alpha that look something like https://scicomp.stackexchange.com/questions/1407/solving-system-of-equations-with-wolfram-alpha, where the question is talking about using Wolfram Alpha for mathematics only.


2 Answers 2


I would consider such questions explicitly off topic for this site. This site is for users of Mathematica (mma), not Wolfram|Alpha (W|A) and so any question that does not involve the former is out of this site's scope. I know that W|A runs on mma and it kinda sorta understands mma syntax. However, opening the door to such questions will only lower the bar and result in hit-and-run questions from folks who just want a quick result from W|A.

Along the same lines, questions that merely concern the Free-form input (=) or the Wolfram|Alpha query (==), which is available from within mma from v8 onwards, without any further processing in mma should also be explicitly off-topic, as this is just a back-door for W|A questions by masking it in an mma call.

On the other hand, questions that involve interfacing with W|A from mma, and using the results from certain pods for further analysis/manipulation in mma should be considered on-topic. Vitaliy Kaurov's answer here on Stack Overflow is a good example of such questions (although I note that the question itself did not ask for a W|A based solution).


We haven't had questions like that so far, so there is no precedent.

But I'd say questions about how to do something with Wolfram|Alpha without using Mathematica should be explicitly off topic. Based on the discussion you linked to I think most will agree.

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