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What are the options for naming the Computational science proposal

Proposal: Scientific Computing (was Computational Science)

I preferred the original name. In any case, there should be some transparency about why the name was changed.

  • See this question/discussion: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/3051/… Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 17:42
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    Yes, I saw this discussion, but by what procedure was this name change made? The discussion does not say anything like - Ok, so we are agreed by so many votes we will change the name, or anything like that. Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 21:06
  • Ah, ok. I agree there should be something like you suggest, but don't see anything. Since Area 51 and Stack Exchange are supposed to be community-driven, it would be useful to have at least a comment about it. Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 21:38
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    I guess we are agreed then. It looks like this was edited by Robert Cartaino, see activity, though I don't see any explanation why. Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 21:45

3 Answers 3


This was a SE team decision, apparently the reason is that the original name is easy to confuse with Computer Science.

Personally I don't like this change too, but the team decisions are usually final -- this is their site after all.

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    Thanks for the clarification, mbq. To quote the FAQ, "We don’t run Stack Exchange. The community does." I would have thought some kind of voting process would be in order, and more appropriate than a unilateral name change. And what does it matter whether the name is similar to Computer Science? Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 12:32
  • Thanks mbq and @Faheem for bringing this up. I guess there is little room for change, but I also think that Computational Science is a better name for the site (I left my arguments in an answer here, although not many people seem to agree with them). I also think that the community that actively participates in a site probably knows best what's the right title for it. Too bad this was enforced from the top. Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 13:53
  • Thanks Faheem & @intrpc - At the least it seems that this has re-ignited interested in the naming debate. I suspect that the SE team will review this again when we get closer to full commitment, before we go into private beta. At that time, I suspect that your contributions to the debate will be taken into account, especially if you can come up with a suitable sub-domain name, since I doubt they'd accept compsci.stackexchange.com for the reason Robert Cartaino♦ mentioned. *8')
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 15:09

The name was changed because of the discussion here:

What are the options for naming the Computational science proposal

which (according the voting at the time) was largely in favor of the name change due to the confusion with "computer science."

But, let's not split up this discussion. Carry on over in the other thread.

And by the way… if you really want "Computational Science" you're going to need a subdomain name. I wouldn't suggest "CompSci" for compsci.stackexchange.com. Even on Wikipedia, that name just redirects to "Computer Science" — which will just add to the confusion I alleged all along.

  • Thanks Robert, I wasn't happy with the original level of response to my question, but it looks like this was just what we needed to get more opinions and votes.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 14:13
  • Thanks for your reply, though I don't see why it was necessary to close the question. At least it would stand as a record for people who are wondering about the name change. In that sense it is not an exact duplicate of the other question. It may be the case that "Scientific Computing" is the more popular name, but I suggest the community should decide this. Perhaps some kind of voting scheme could be devised, as I mentioned elsewhere, and a final decision could be taken before the beta. As for the subdomain name, there are lots of possible names, so I don't think this will be a problem. Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 18:15
  • @FaheemMitha: Closed is not deleted so this thread does stand as a record for people to see. But continuing to add "what should the name be" discussions to both threads only spreads the conversation out so no consensus can be clearly established. That's why we have "close as duplicate." Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 16:30

I think this was probably changed because the only real debate we've had on the subject of naming the proposal was my question What are the options for naming the Computational science proposal and the marginal preference seemed to be Scientific Computing over Computational science.

Ultimately, I suspect that only mbq♦ or Robert Cartaino♦ can answer this though.

I would suggest that if you want to read the arguments, contribute to the debate and make your preferences known, you should check out my question.

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    Yes, I see. An arbitrary name change isn't exactly democratic, though. I would have waited till close to the beta maybe, and perhaps done a formal vote from the people who were committed. Or something like that. Thanks for the reply. Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 22:52
  • My ♦ comes from the fact I'm only a community moderator on Stats and Physics, so here I'm a regular user.
    – mbq
    Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 10:49

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