I have been here for about 1-2 months, and clearly see that most of the questions come from mathematicians or computer scientists.

Am I wrong? Is it because these disciplines are on their computers more, relative to a chemist or biologist?

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    are you sure that is not just sampling bias? I have seen questions from a wide variety of disciplines here. but yeah, people working in CS fields naturally spend more time on their computer, so...
    – Polygnome
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 10:57
  • Related: academia.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2159/20058 Commented May 23, 2018 at 11:49
  • By "PC," do you mean "politically correct"?
    – JRN
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 7:17
  • @JoelReyesNoche PC stands for the personal computer in my question.
    – user91300
    Commented May 26, 2018 at 8:16
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    Do you mean "on PC" is that these fields are more related to programming, which are easier to know this site because they have to visit Stack Overflow regularly?
    – Ooker
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 6:14
  • @Ooker yeah, even though I am a chemist, I also know here from Stack Overflow, whenever I have a problem with Fortran or even MS Excel macro formula, still even if they don't do programming, through surfing it is still more likely I guess.
    – user91300
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 10:02
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    It seems that the claim that number of computer scientists and mathematicians on this site is higher, compared to other disciplines, is supported by results of Academia Community Polls from 2013. (Of course, things might have change since then, in either direction.)
    – Martin
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 5:47

3 Answers 3


As Aeismail points out in their answer, the Stackexchange network grew out of the StackOverflow site - which is for programming queries. Therefore, people who program in their daily lives, i.e. people in STEM subjects, will be more likely to think of coming here.

But it's perhaps also worth noting that a huge number of questions that are closed for being off-topic are from computer scientists; for some reason they seem to assume that "academia.stackexchange" means a place to ask academic computer science questions. This has always baffled me. Maybe it's for the same reason?


While there is an actual prevalence of people from those fields here (due to reasons elaborated in other answers), this even gets emphasised due to the fact that they are somewhat peculiar due to their subject of research and history, for example:

  • The research process in many subfields of mathematics and computer science can be quite different from, say, an experimental field.
  • Publications in mathematics are put to special scrutiny (for a reason).
  • Computer science has a mostly unique tradition to publish at conferences.

Compared to this, many other scientific fields are rather homogeneous – they form the default backdrop, against which the above peculiarities can be seen. Therefore, for mathematicians and computer scientists, their field is more likely to be a relevant factor to mention in a post – and thus more visible.

Note though, that there are other fields with similar peculiarities such as law, which you will hardly ever read about here, because they are indeed underrepresented.

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    +1, has this feeling too. Biology, medicine, etc. feels almost "generic", people mention this less often (and it seems to matter less often) than CS or math. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 16:12
  • I'm note sure I agree with this, given the prevalence of assumptions that also exist on this site like "Everything will be written in LaTeX" or "arXiv is where pre-prints go." The CS and math folks seem to be perfectly content to assume they're field-specific quirks are the default.
    – Fomite
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:53
  • @Fomite: 1) I am not disputing that there is a prevalence of those fields; I am just saying that the effect may seem larger than it actually is (see my first sentence). 2) Your examples least also apply to Physics. 3) Actually, the examples you gave are rather unusual in my experience. Most people in the ArXiv and LaTeX fields realise that those things are special to their fields. What happens more often is that things like publishing at conferences or review times of a years are assumed as the norm.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 19:17
  • On 3, it may be just my biased observation, but I find them to be relatively common and assumed to be the default.
    – Fomite
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 20:29

As its name suggests, the Stack Exchange network grew out of CS-based websites, so there is likely to be a lot more questions from scientists than from the humanities, because that reflects the user base.

It’s also worth noting that there aren’t nearly as many resources geared toward STEM faculty: most of the books I’ve seen addressed to faculty have been written from the viewpoint of someone who is working in the humanities rather than the sciences.

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    As its name suggests, the Stack Exchange network grew out of CS-based websites Well, it could also suggest that it comes from finance-based websites, as the pun in the title suggests... :)
    – xDaizu
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 13:35
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    If you have no CS background whatsoever, it wouldn't be obvious to you the words "Stack Exchange" have anything at all to do with CS. Commented May 29, 2018 at 19:59
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    *muttermutter* CS isn't programming, just as creative writing isn't word-processing. Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 17:23
  • Not to forget that mathematicians use LaTeX, and at some point it becomes impossible to use LaTeX without using Stack Exchange.
    – sgf
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 20:50

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