This is a followup of this meta post about Wolfram|Alpha, but it is probably relevant for other "languages" as well. There seems to be a consensus that Wolfram|Alpha is not a programming language +19/-1 at the time I'm writing this.

The question is, should anything be done with answers that use Wolfram|Alpha (or other "languages" where this might be relevant)?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd think they should be flagged for deletion. \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing, a consensus isn't fixed and might change, plus deleting answer retroactively is, at least, dubious IMO \$\endgroup\$
    – Sefa
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suggest both of you post those comment as answers, then people may vote :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related \$\endgroup\$
    – user45941
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


I don't see much benefit to keeping non-answers around. The confusion which it generates is, however, an obvious downside.

Similarly, I don't see much downside to deleting them. With respect to the argument that it's retrospective application of policy, I think we have to distinguish two cases. There are the really old answers: since there's no loss of rep from votes from more than three months ago, it's not really a hardship to the author. And there are very recent answers, with respect to which there is no retrospective application of policy but merely a clarification that the existing policy meant what it said.

Summing up, I think that the case of deleting such answers far exceeds the case against.



First of all, there is no such thing as "definitive rule" here (aside the SE wide ones), only consensuses exist. Consensuses are agreements of the majority. The majority can however change its mind on certain topic, and while improbable, something such as W|A might become accepted as answer in the future.

Based on this, I think we should keep them where, and as, they are. Flagging and deleting new ones, sure. But I cannot think of any law that applies retroactively, and our consensuses shouldn't either.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are plenty of times that a consensus has been applied retrospectively. Stack Exchange even has something called a historical lock which was created as a less destructive way of retroactively applying changes of scope than deletion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 19:28

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