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Why is https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1075994/converting-mathematica-code-to-matlab-code/1076034#1076034 off topic? We have tags for Matlab, Math Software, and Mathematica.

I see people ask how to make a matrix in Matlab which has no real math behind it. Those post stay open but get down voted. The main point is they stay open.

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marked as duplicate by Grigory M, AlexR, Milo Brandt, Aditya Hase, JimmyK4542 Dec 24 '14 at 23:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    $\begingroup$ Related: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/17321/off-topic-tags $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Dec 21 '14 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure why this is getting downvotes; it's not an unreasonable question. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 21 '14 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Behaviour why is this marked as a duplicate? It isn't a duplicated to that question. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Don't ask me; I did not vote to close. (Also, the banner on top of the post is visible only to you.) $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 21 '14 at 19:49
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Existence of tags does not mean the questions are on topic. Off-topic questions need tags too. For example, Mathematica questions are off-topic here (per the Help Center), but the tag remains so that the existing questions can be tagged.

Questions about math software are expected to have some mathematical component to them. Programming issues can be sorted out on Stack Overflow, which has 41000+ Matlab questions (versus 1037 here).

A lot of times, voters are not sure whether there's a mathematical question or the OP just needs to read the manual. So the voting is inconsistent between questions. But when the question is

need a program to converting a long Mathematica code to matlab code

that is so obviously a Software Recommendation question with no mathematical problem to be solved, that the close votes are cast in the sufficient quantity.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why aren't how to make a matrix closed then since that is just reading the manual? There seems to be a lot inconsistency then in these tags. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ "There seems to be a lot inconsistency" -- you noticed this only now? Yes, of course. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 21 '14 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it would be better to just abolish those tags then since there is SO and Mathematica.SX? $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ No. Some of those questions are on topic. And old well-answered questions, whatever we think of them, are not going anywhere. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 21 '14 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ But it would true any Matlab question on topic here would be on topic at SO and similarly for Mathematica. That is, if we can't be consistent why not just let it go to its respected community? $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin If you have a proposal, post it as such. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 21 '14 at 18:50
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Existence of a tag does not indicate that all questions in that category are on-topic.

We are a math website first and foremost. If someone needs help using MATLAB, Mathematica, Maple, etc. for some particular mathematical concept, that's perfectly on-topic. However, we are not a help and support forum for "how do I code ___?" or "how can I open ____ file?" or "how can I use ?"

The question you reference is off topic by two accounts: Firstly, it has nothing to do with mathematics (only with how to use math software). Secondly, it is a product recommendation request (a.k.a. shopping question). Either one of those problems would be enough to vote to close on its own, but together they spell certain doom for that question.

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  • $\begingroup$ I understand that but people can get the wrong impression when we allow other questions about math software that don't have a specific math question behind it. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin You're right--we need more people to step up and close those questions. However, we should not minimize inconsistency by sacrificing standards. (That is, the solution isn't to allow all such questions; the solution is to be more active about closing bad questions.) $\endgroup$ – apnorton Dec 21 '14 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ As I commented on Behavior's post, maybe those tags should be abolished since we SO and Mathematica.SX since consistency doesn't exist and it can confuse members and especially new members. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin I disagree; the tags are useful. For instance, this is a perfect example of an on-topic MATLAB question. Abolishing matlab because some of its questions are off topic is just as nonsensical as abolishing calculus since some calculus questions are off-topic. (Notice that closures in calculus aren't consistent either.) $\endgroup$ – apnorton Dec 21 '14 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ I say abolish since SO exist for Matlab, Mathematica.SX, and inconsistency not due to some questions being on and off topic. $\endgroup$ – dustin Dec 21 '14 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin Overlap between SE sites is extremely common. Take, for instance, Electronics.SE, Arduino.SE, RaspberryPi.SE, and Robotics.SE. For a closer-to-home example, consider mathematical-physics. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Dec 21 '14 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Also, there does not exist a MATLAB.SE as far as I know, and the MATLAB help on SE proper is spotty, at best. $\endgroup$ – Emily Dec 21 '14 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Arkamis Spotty in what sense? I see that the SO tag has 24% unanswered all-time, versus 33.6% here. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 22 '14 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ @behavior the advice offered is often subpar, and the mathematical approaches taken often leave much to be desired. It's fine for syntax questions, bad for implementation questions, imo. $\endgroup$ – Emily Dec 22 '14 at 0:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Arkamis I agree; when the mathematical approach is in question, SO is probably not the right site. Such questions should be asked either here or on Computational Science, which is a middle ground between SO and Math. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Dec 22 '14 at 0:21

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