Why at the creation of Mathematica.SE the decision was taken to focus only on Mathematica rather than the whole field of symbolic computation ?
The beta seems to be successful so I can't really be critical, but I can't explain it either. Here are my arguments in favor of the existence of SymbolicComputation.SE (lets call it SymbComb.SE, this not a name proposal, just a variable name) :
- Mathematica is not prominent, neither in research nor in education ;
- some computer algebra systems are at least as important (both is user mass and scientific impact) as Mathematica is, I think of Maple, Sage and Magma ;
- some computer algebra systems are not as rich as Mathematica but they are irreplaceable in some specific fields : commutative algebra has Macaulay2, Cocoa and Singular, group theory has GAP, number theory has PARI/GP, etc ; and all what is done with these systems cannot be done with Mathematica ;
- most of (researcher) users of Mathematica are competent with at least one or two others comp. alg. system, so firstly a hypothetic SymbComp.SE would not be split into different communities and secondly Mathematica.SE does not exploit the full potential of the contributors ;
- SymbComp.SE would gather much more people than just Mathematica.SE, but would still be under the critical point where bigger is not better ;
- Wolfram is insane.
What do you think of all that ?
Well, thanks for your answers, this is more than expected !
To downvoters, this has never been a proposal of any kind concerning the future of mathematica.SE, have no fear I don't want to steal your good.
I wanted to understand the—apparent—paradox that there exists a rather successful Mathematica forum but no computer algebra one, whereas it seemed to me the latter should have wider audience. Thanks to your answers I do understand. I haven't realized that there is a united (and a bit touchy maybe ;)) community gathered around Mathematica, and for an important part more interested in the (rather awesome) language, the (very good) interface or other original features than in doing mathematics and a fortiori computer algebra. I haven't realized it sooner because in research, there is a computer algebra community, centered on what we can do with computers, and not really communities centered on specific softwares — except maybe some open source scholar soft. At least, that's my feeling.
I hope you won't stone me if I dare to ask a question on the forum ;) I might feel the need for it : I do use Mathematica for my work !