Re: [isabelle] Isabelle Community (was " use for proof assistants and related software")


Can I just add my two cents on the {mailing-list/stack-exchange/wiki}-issue?

I have often thought that it would be quite nice to move Isabelle support from the mailing-list to something like Stack Exchange (SE), so I am pleased to hear it being discussed as a possibility.

1. SE pages (e.g. [1]) are a pleasure to read (and I reckon that's a big factor behind the success of SE). In contrast, the Isabelle Wiki [2], to my mind, looks out-of-date and unappealing. Also, compared to the mailing-list, code snippets in SE can be formatted as code snippets, and math symbols can be formatted properly too.

2. I think SE might be less intimidating to beginners. Maybe it's just me, but I think the idea of sending a newbie question to any mailing-list, knowing that it will appear in hundreds of people's inboxes, is significantly scarier than just posting it on a website (yes, even if those same people subscribe to the website's feed).

3. The ability to edit questions and answers would be quite useful. Among other benefits, questions can be later tagged with keywords, making them more likely to show up in Google searches.

4. The reputation system might be quite fun.

As Gottfried has pointed out, the SE idea would only work if *all* the support migrates over from the mailing-list. This would be quite a radical change, and as Chris says, the mailing-list does generally work very well.

A lightweight way to implement this change would be just to start asking and answering Isabelle questions on Stack Overflow, e.g. here:

Alternatively, one could propose a dedicated Isabelle SE site, e.g.:




On Feb 23 2013, Yannick Duchêne (Hibou57) wrote:

Le Sat, 23 Feb 2013 04:32:40 +0100, Christian Sternagel <c.sternagel at> a écrit:

Dear all,

in my opinion we have two distinct issues which got accidentally merged in at

While I agree with Makarius on

 > I am more concerned about this wiki here:
> since it is provided by one of the
 > established Isabelle sites.
> I would still like to see a genuine Isabelle community contributing here, > and doing serious maintenance. Right now it is just a scribbling board for > people who were discontent with some of the official READMEs or manuals, and
 > even that is often pointless already due to continuous updates of the
 > official versions.

I don't see why isabelle user communication should change from the (in my opinion) very well working mailing lists to anywhere else.

Technically speaking, I favour Usenet over mailing list, because I already follow some other Usenet groups, and using the Isabelle mailing list through the Gmane interface, often present issues. A mailing list is not what's the more handy, and I personnaly would better enjoy a forum or a Usenet group (a real one, not Gname interfacing a mailing list to make it look like a Usenet group).

This is just a technical matter by the way, nothing wrong with people here, who I enjoy a lot ;)

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