The poster of this recent question used an improper word to refer to the Wolfram company. I made a subsequent edit to correct that, but the OP regrettably chose to roll it back.

Uses of unofficial references to Wolfram company is akin uses of various abbreviations to refer to Mathematica and has similar downsides (see discussions of this here and here).

What should be done about this: If flagging for moderator's attention appropriate? Or should I edit the post again? The latter course of action has the downside that the question will eventually become CW, and the OP would forfeit his rep. points.

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    childish behaviour should just be flagged for moderator attention. editing may well lead to rollbacks, more edits etc (since we're talking about childish behaviour to start with), which are a waste of everybody's time and effort.
    – acl
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 15:09
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    @acl I prefer the approach that Sasha took. It is always better if the community tries to resolve it first by editing/commenting/meta/chat and if these approaches fail, then raise a moderator flag. I say this because flags are not visible to users and one moderator acting on the merits of the flag might seem heavy-handed, leading to knee-jerk reactions from some touchy folks. On the other hand, if there are a few voices of disapproval from the community, they might be more willing to rethink their actions. (either way, they'll have to change, but the second offers less friction)
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 16:17
  • @rm-rf that sounds reasonable; on the other hand this may easily lead to "edit wars". editing, then flagging if things don't get resolved might be the best way then
    – acl
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 16:27
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    Just to be clear, I disagree with editing questions/ answers just because they use unofficial references. I do agree with editing/flagging if they use derogatory references.
    – acl
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 16:31
  • Hopefully community pressure will deter people from behaving like that.
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


I agree that "Wolfies" is childish and unprofessional and should be replaced with either Wolfram Research or WRI. Posts on this site should either use the official name or a commonly used abbreviation (like WRI or SE, even though that might be unofficial) for any company's name (not just WRI), and silly names (like Micro$oft) should be replaced.

Just to be clear, I'm making a distinction between "Wolfies" (childish/unprofessional) and "WRI" or "Wolfram Research". I don't think one needs to edit "WRI" to "Wolfram Research" (although, it is fine if that happened in the context of a more substantial edit).

As for this post, I have now edited it and left a comment for the user asking them to not use silly names in future. If the user rolls it back again, then please raise a moderator flag to let us know and we'll lock it.

In general, I think it's good if the community leaves a comment to educate the user and edits the post if it is necessary, but it shouldn't get into an edit war. If you see a back and forth on an issue, then please flag it immediately for moderator attention (and do not make any further edits).

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    How about user names? Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 17:57
  • @SjoerdC.deVries Generally, gravatars, usernames and content in the user profiles are left to the user and they're largely free to do what they want as long as it isn't something illegal/obscene/derogatory/personal attacks/hate speech, etc. Moderate use of profanity in the user profile (as long as it isn't directed at someone in particular) has historically been tolerated on SE (not saying that we too should accept it; just conveying info here)
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 18:25

Firstly, there is nothing derogatory whatsoever with the term Wolfies. Nor was, or is, there any such intent either. I recall from my time spent visiting Wolfram that they had taboos on all sorts of strange things ... like using the abbreviation 'mma'. But I think one should draw a very clear distinction between the behaviour expected of those who work for a company, and others who merely use their products. IBM might be known as Big Blue ... I don't think that is childish or derogatory in any form whatsoever.

Due to the obsequious editing of a Wolfram employee here, there is now an official thread bringing attention to something that would otherwise have passed entirely unnoticed. I think the offence taken is entirely artificial and overdone ... I refer to Wolfram Inc as Wolfies in many of my posts ... including to my emails to the company itself. No-one has ever mentioned it or suggested in any way that they were offended by it. I certainly think your overzealous editing is not appropriate for an internet forum at best, and petty at worst.

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    Please confine the cutesie pie nicknames for Wolfram or the company to your personal communications with WRI. I, for one, was wondering why you would voice your concern about a Mathematica bug to wolves, who probably couldn't care less about it :P On a more serious note, this became an official thread only because you chose to rollback the edit — one that actually clarified the post. Since questions and answers here exist mainly to serve future visitors, it is important that we use terms that are understood by all.
    – rm -rf Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 20:18
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    @ColinRose There is certainly nothing servile in my edits of your post (monitoring of mathematica.SE is not in my job description). I would have edited the Big Blue just the same. This is a community moderated site, and as I deemed such references, however benign, unnecessary, I made the edit. Bringing issues to meta is the established way to resolve disagreements in all stackexchange sites, which is just what I did.
    – Sasha
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 20:57
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    As far as I can see, there is no issue here with anyone being either derogatory or obsequious. It is simply that there are many non-native English speakers in this forum (in fact it seems to me that most do not have English as a first language), so if you use personal pet names for things, especially those for which pet names are not commonly used, it is very likely that you will not be understood. No doubt you can imagine the confusion that would result if everyone did this, so please, try to avoid non-standard usage! Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 2:44
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    Just a note about "... would otherwise have passed entirely unnoticed". I was editing that post when I saw Sasha had already finished it a split second before me. I think many of us did notice it and felt it somewhat inappropriate. Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 11:24
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    @wolfies You make an excellent point when you note, "one should draw a very clear distinction between the behaviour expected of those who work for a company, and others who merely use their products." I consider myself a Mathematica enthusiast, but I see the site as a place where, among many other things, people can express alternative points of view, including those critical of Mathematica and the design decisions behind it. Concerns about the use of informal references to Mathematica and Wolfram Research International need to be tempered by a toleration of diverse perspectives.
    – DavidC
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 17:06

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