Thursday, December 30, 2010

How to get Mathematica help

Online sources:

  • stack overflow: post your question and make sure to include "mathematica" in tags. This is the fastest way and usually you get an answer within 30 minutes. A couple of WRI employees occasionally answer questions there.

  • Mathematica newsgroup: if you are willing to wait a day for the answer, it can be helpful. Questions containing explicit mentions of competing systems will be rejected, so if you have a question along the lines of "I need to implement an equivalent of OrbitsDomain in GAP", you need to say "I need a function that works similar to OrbitsDomain in a certain open-source group theory package". I usually turn to newsgroup when the stackoverflow community can not answer, and have occasionally gotten very insightful responses.

  • Math stack exchange: use it when your question has significant math component and use "mathematica" tag. Answer will possibly tell you how to do this in some other system

Eventually there may be a separate stack exchange for Mathematica users. The proposal is here and the number of followers has been steadily going up.

It helps to include self-contained piece of code in your question illustrating the issue.

Two guidelines:

  • Make sure your code works on fresh kernel
  • Search the forum for your question before asking it

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