I have a concern about how Maple related questions are currently handled on the site. Usual scenario is: someone asks question about how to do something in Maple, the question is then downvoted and closed as an off-topic. Then people are confused, because they used the Maple tag after all.

Now I understand these questions are usually more programming related than mathematics. But, if we want them to post on another site, why don't we suggest migration? Sseems to me that Computational Science could be a good fit. There was also a Proposed SE site for Maple , but it was rejected.

Also, what do we have the Maple tag for? If questions about "how to do certain stuff in Maple" are out of scope, then only remaining thing is purely mathematics questions, for which you wouldn't use the Maple tag anyway.

So in a summary, I have actually 2 concerns, 1) what is proper handling of Maple related questions that community should follow (migrate?, where? close?), and 2) is there still any use for the Maple tag? If not, shouldn't we remove that? If yes, what is the use? Maybe it had it's historical use when there were not dedicated sites, but how about these days?

By the way, there is somehow related 5 years old question Flagging for migration to Mathematica.SE and Computational Science.SE . As argued there, the frequency of actual migration is important to decide that a site should be added into the list for migration. This does not seem to be a good metric if you ask me, since the frequency might be low because the site is not in the list for migration, and can be only done by moderator. Anyway this may be a separate topic...


Software that mathematicians use is explicitly on-topic (except for Mathematica, which has its own site), as per the Help Center.

In principle we might distinguish between general programming questions that happen to be implemented in Maple, Magma, Gap, Sage, etc; and between fundamental how-do-I-do-X-in-Maple (or Magma, Sage, Gap, etc.). But in practice so few people use Math software in a 'coding' way that I don't think this distinction is something we should worry about in advance.

I would not expect general programmers should not be familiar with Maple, Magma, Gap, Sage, Macaulay2, or other specialized math software. The population that uses these software and programs are mostly academic, and mostly mathematicians and physicists. Yet questions about this software should certainly be answerable on the SE network, as questions about software are at the cornerstone of the SE network. A good guiding principle is that questions should be asked where they are most likely to be answered. For math software, that place is here. Thus we should make it very explicit that questions about Maple are on topic, and even encouraged. It would appear that we need to make this more explicit (more explicit than merely being mentioned in the Help Center).

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with these principles, but I want to make one remark. I think that Matlab is markedly different from the ones listed by mixedmath. I have the impression that it is used by many engineers (I know for sure about folks in telcomm) rather than people doing math research (or teaching/learning math). I also think that the programming sites within SE have many experienced users. May be w.r.t. Matlab we can be more strict about the difference between math and coding? $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Dec 6 '17 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ But, I don't feel very strongly about Matlab either. I just felt like sharing my impression that its user base is very different from some of the other listed CASes. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Dec 6 '17 at 12:14

scicomp.stackexchange.com specifically disallows questions that are about using a particular programming language or software package to do something without considerably context from the original problem. e.g. "What's the notation for $J_{0}(x)$ in Maple?" would quickly be closed there.

  • $\begingroup$ I think a question such as this should be closed here as well. That's something that you can look up in the documentation, and is not a good mathematical question. $\endgroup$ – Morgan Rodgers Dec 19 '17 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Morgan By contrast, RTFM-type questions are very much accepted on SO (provided they don’t already have an answer on the site), and it has been so successful as to actually become the place to look such things up. One might argue that they are more on-topic there, but the overall point that such a question, however trivial, does not go against the goal of building a repository of generally-applicable knowledge. $\endgroup$ – Alex Shpilkin Dec 20 '17 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexShpilkin Interesting. I'm always amazed at how fast computational questions that I consider good are closed on MSE simply for involving software, though something link this would strike me as off-topic. $\endgroup$ – Morgan Rodgers Dec 20 '17 at 2:19

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