I got engaged in a 'R versus python' debate recently. One argument for python was that it is more popular, observed on Stack Overflow tags count (you can run the query here). It show both tags count rapidly growing, with python way above in term of total volume. I rapidly answered with the same graph but for the Stats stack exchange (here), which also shows both tags count growing but with R far ahead.

However when the debate got to a more specific field, i.e. quantitative finance, we found a very different graph (here) : since end 2016 the tag seems to have disappeared completely. Upon further investigation it appears to have been merged with the tag, along with 10 other programming languages. But, is a separate tag.

It seems strange to me to treat those languages differently, like someone tried to forcibly remove r as a tool from the quantitative finance field. Can someone explain what is going on?

  • $\begingroup$ And you should also include DataScience which prefers Python. See this recently updated thread meta.stackexchange.com/questions/266067/… $\endgroup$
    – mdewey
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ Feel free to re-edit or clean up anything you feel should be. :D Tried to focus your question a bit on the question I saw. I may have misunderstood, though. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ The truth is I wasn't aware of the DS SE... Thanks for the modifications. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ Apparently I was aware of the DS SE, but I haven't participated in it since 2014... $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


This was due to a mishap. A moderator created synonyms which is a two step process: proposal and approval. For Python the approval step wasn’t done. Now it is.


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