This might sounds trivial to anyone familiar with Mathematica, the software, but to an unsuspecting user, this stack exchange looks like a very odd collection of maths related questions.

Could there be a way to point out, prefereably right on the front page, that this Q&A site is not about maths as such, but about a software called 'Mathematica'?

  • 2
    "prefereably right on the front page, that this Q&A site is not about maths as such, but about a software called 'Mathematica'?" - doesn't the big "Mathematica" logo give it away? – J. M.'s ennui Aug 15 '12 at 13:10
  • My point exactly. Many users will stumble over this site while searching for maths related answers and will not know that it is a logo - personally, I thought the icon to look rather nice, but was not aware this is some software. – kontur Aug 15 '12 at 13:27
  • perhaps even using the well-known spikey would not have been enough to make it clear to the unaware that this isn't a site about mathematica, but about Mathematica(R). – cormullion Aug 15 '12 at 13:56
  • You are right it confuses a lot of people. We regularly delete and/or migrate math questions that have been posted here by mistake. The name of the site doesn't help but is IMO essential. One ugly way out might be to call it WRI's Mathematica or something similar, but that may confuse a lot of people too (for instance in thinking this is a Wolfram owned site). – Sjoerd C. de Vries Aug 15 '12 at 14:12
  • 3
    Personally, I thought the circled R indicating that Mathematica was a registered trademark gave it away. But, I suspect we will have to live with the confusion. – rcollyer Aug 15 '12 at 14:29
  • Renaming the site is the only option. Wolfram calls Mathematica, Wolfram Mathematica. That would alert some that its not about mathematics. Renaming to Wolfram Mathematica Development Platform would do the trick. – nilo de roock Aug 19 '12 at 7:29
  • @ndroock1 - WRI might object. We wanted to call electronics.stackexchange.com "Electronic Design" but got a cease and desist from the magazine with the same name because of trademark infringement. WRI accepts using the name "Mathematica" because it's unavoidable and good publicity, but WRI is not associated with SE. – stevenvh Aug 20 '12 at 12:55
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    @ndroock1 I agree with stevenvh and Sjoerd. Just want to add that the more we will be independent of WRI the better it will be for us, for WRI, and for Mathematica. The use of Mathematica is anyway crippled by the critique of its proprietary nature by open source proponents (which, IMO, is both valid and not at the same time), and this site will attract much more current and potential Mathematica users by being explicitly and manifestly objective, open and community-driven. The name you sugested sounds very much like the name of a site officially supported, controlled or even owned by WRI. – Leonid Shifrin Aug 20 '12 at 20:03
  • " The use of Mathematica is anyway crippled by the critique of its proprietary nature. " I doubt that's the ( main ) reason. Oracle is proprietary, and the entire Apple ecosystem is proprietary. Both have huge, cult-like followings. – nilo de roock Sep 5 '12 at 8:17

When you start a new question this panel pops up at the right:

enter image description here

I'm not sure everybody will read this, but since it's there anyway, we might change the question in bold into

Is your question about the
Mathematica® technical
computing software ?

  • Sounds like a possible change that is neither to intrusive but makes the point. This, however, will not affect users only browsing the site. – kontur Aug 20 '12 at 11:20
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    @kontur I think anyone just browsing the site will figure out in 5 mins that this is not a site about mathematics. It's the ones that ask questions mistakenly, hence necessitating cleanup/closing/migrating etc., that we need to optimize for. I like steven's solution for this that might help clarify for a few users. – rm -rf Aug 20 '12 at 11:44
  • True that, I agree. – kontur Aug 20 '12 at 11:46

And why not have a capital "M"? :)


  • "Don't ask about Maths!" – Dr. belisarius Aug 23 '12 at 17:18
  • 2
    I guess Mathematica should be capitalized and italicized there. – rcollyer Aug 23 '12 at 20:00
  • @rcollyer We had this problem in StackOverflow for eons. Users kept reading Mathematics instead of Mathematica. I am hopeless about this kind of solutions. "Don't ask about Math" or similar is the only way to go – Dr. belisarius Aug 24 '12 at 22:57
  • @verde I recall, vividly. But, I was more referring to the fact that looks like a bug in the interface. – rcollyer Aug 25 '12 at 0:26
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    @rcollyer hehe. We are lucky to be powerless. This kind of misunderstandings between others had sparkled wars – Dr. belisarius Aug 25 '12 at 3:49

If[rep < 10, Show["this"], smile, suggestRegistering]

Mathematica graphics


Other possible messages (add your own):

  • "About to post a Math question? Don't!" (acl)
  • "Have a Maths related question? Ask in the Mathematics site
  • "Only ask questions about the Mathematica technical software" (stevenvh)
  • 2
    "about to post a math question? Don't!" – acl Aug 21 '12 at 14:05
  • @acl My point is that casual users will not read small or off-line-of-sight text. To deliver the message efficiently, you need to force them to focus in it by being obtrusive. – Dr. belisarius Aug 21 '12 at 14:21
  • If I were to make a point here it would be this: if someone posts a question here without realising it's not called Mathematics, then they've put so little effort into the whole thing that the question is almost certainly not worth keeping or answering. However, I'm not actually making this point as we're all nice around here – acl Aug 21 '12 at 15:37
  • In my communication courses I've always learned never to say what it's not. Say what it is. – stevenvh Aug 21 '12 at 16:35
  • @stevenvh Sure? – Dr. belisarius Aug 21 '12 at 16:47
  • @Verde - Those skipped class! :-) The reason is that you can't list up everything you want to exclude, the list is endless. You don't want math, Matlab, Chaco,... Are you going to mention them all? Just say "Only Mathematica" – stevenvh Aug 21 '12 at 16:52
  • @stevenvh Ruling by negatives organized humanity (for good or bad) during quite a few years, while the positive enunciates and explications are prone to misunderstanding – Dr. belisarius Aug 21 '12 at 17:29
  • @Verde - To the point: "Only ask questions about the Mathematica technical software" shouldn't lead to misunderstandings IMO, and it rules out everything else, including math and Matlab, without having to list them up. If you still have to add "No math" I'd call it stubbornness. – stevenvh Aug 21 '12 at 17:37

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