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  • #16
    Real names is not going to happen. I totally understand people not wanting their name (and potentially silly questions) immortalized by google.

    Lead time until posting is possible but discourages people with pressing questions.

    Requiring replies will just result in a bunch of "I like this post" comments.

    At some level I need to start closing/deleting questions that can obviously be found with a few simple searches to discourage the behavior. This along with a Beginner's section, and perhaps a stern reminder to search before posting may help.

    Lastly I could turn on the user reputation system and/or thread ratings to help the community filter out the chaff. But that still results in a lot of simple questions to overlook.

    Comment


    • #17
      So I am not ignoring this question...I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. One approach that I'm taking that could address the major points from the discussion above...

      1. Replication across categories
      2. Signal-to-noise
      3. Ease of information access

      ...is to consider the use of a totally different software package to manage the community.

      Since you guys are most interested in this topic...I will announce it here first.

      Please have a look at http://i.SEQanswers.com

      I have installed an instance of OSQA, a relatively new open-source content management system that is focused in a question and answer format.

      Most of you are probably familiar with Stack Overflow (behind which sits the closed-source/business debacle Stack Exchange). The tag-based format is extremely powerful for organizing complex topics which span multiple forums....which is a major challenge with a traditional forum (ex...Does a 454 informatics question go in the Bioinformatics or 454 forums?).

      I'm not replacing the forums any time soon. I'm looking for any and all feedback (and perhaps a Django/Ruby programmer ).

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by ECO View Post
        So I am not ignoring this question...I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. One approach that I'm taking that could address the major points from the discussion above...

        1. Replication across categories
        2. Signal-to-noise
        3. Ease of information access

        ...is to consider the use of a totally different software package to manage the community.

        Since you guys are most interested in this topic...I will announce it here first.

        Please have a look at http://i.SEQanswers.com

        I have installed an instance of OSQA, a relatively new open-source content management system that is focused in a question and answer format.

        Most of you are probably familiar with Stack Overflow (behind which sits the closed-source/business debacle Stack Exchange). The tag-based format is extremely powerful for organizing complex topics which span multiple forums....which is a major challenge with a traditional forum (ex...Does a 454 informatics question go in the Bioinformatics or 454 forums?).

        I'm not replacing the forums any time soon. I'm looking for any and all feedback (and perhaps a Django/Ruby programmer ).
        It's beautiful

        Comment


        • #19
          Eco,
          Definitely agree with your conclusion and am a big fan of StackExchange like systems. FYI - http://biostar.stackexchange.com/.

          Also look at the changes coming up in StackExchange 2.0: http://blog.stackexchange.com/post/5...k-exchange-2-0
          Notably, "Stack Exchange will now be free".
          Last edited by spenthil; 05-16-2010, 08:47 PM.
          --
          Senthil Palanisami

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by spenthil View Post
            Eco,
            Definitely agree with your conclusion and am a big fan of StackExchange like systems. FYI - http://biostar.stackexchange.com/.

            Also look at the changes coming up in StackExchange 2.0: http://blog.stackexchange.com/post/5...k-exchange-2-0
            Notably, "Stack Exchange will now be free".
            I definitely have seen Biostar. I am interested to see how it will fare in the light of SE's new plans for destroying their user's sites. I would definitely be up for joining forces with whomever is responsible for that site.

            <Warning. StackExchange rant ahead>

            I am not a fan of StackExchange and their new "2.0" (or for that matter original) business plan. It's not open source. However, their concepts of organization and simplicity of design is, admittedly, fantastic.

            The new SE will most definitely not be "free" as in speech, and arguably not "free" as in beer. More has been written about this elsewhere, but basically their new business plan is the following.

            You can no longer buy (or even lease!) their software, for any price. Instead they will host and control all instances of StackExchange. To get a site on the topic you want, you must lobby their moderators and convince them that there is enough interest out there. After you've lobbied them to create a site based on the topic you are interested in, they will give you (and potentially other equally interested folks) the privilege of doing all the hard work of bringing in content and users, and ultimately moderating. They will still control everything, and ultimately plan to monetize your hard work by showing ads to what are effectively your users.

            Their founders have some lofty ideals of keeping the Web "pure and uncluttered" (my sarcastic quotes), and of becoming the next Wikipedia+YahooAnswers, while in reality they are going to greed themselves out of business. Or as I predict, return to selling the software. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they'll compensate moderators.

            Anyway. I've been thinking about this problem for a long time. I'm not sold on OSQA as it's so young, I think it's essential to have the ability to control our platform, especially since I am investing more and more time into the site. I've been interested in SE for a long time, however their crazy ideas about how to make money with the software always kept me away. Originally it was a hosted-ONLY closed source solution at a minimum of $129 a month with no extensibility (which would have been viable in an open-source lease scenario). Luckily I didn't do that and get the rug pulled out from under me.

            </rant>

            Wow that was long. =]

            Believe me, I want the site to display and catalog information in the most efficient way possible.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by nickloman View Post
              I might be pre-empting Zigster on this but I am increasing seeing a large number of ill-thought-out, low-quality questions on the board, particularly in the Bioinformatics category.
              Coming back to the start of this thread: would a StackExchange (OSQA or whichever system) prevent this type of question from some people? I have my doubts about that, no matter which technical solution is used (board, voting system, even mailing list).

              Even when a vast amount of information is available as included documentation (or additionally via the Net) to programs, data, (lab-)workflows etc., there will always be cases where newbies (let's call them that) and sometimes even veterans might ask the seemingly most basic questions.

              I think we're seeing teething problems: a field (in this case NGS) has left its small niche where there is a limited number of people in a small community - all more or less knowing each other - and has entered the broad public with lots of users streaming in who "just want their problems solved" .

              The problem is that sometimes new people are not aware (or don't want to be aware) that asking questions without trying to spend some time themselves eats up time of others. I think it's a sociological problem, not a technical one.

              Over time I've come to the conclusion that a mix a friendliness and firm hand does help to keep a good balance between giving newbies a kick-start ... and keeping signal-to-noise ratio good enough not to loose people-in-the-know because the latter might have something better to do than to repeatedly give the same answers.

              But for that one can use technology to ease things. A voting system and active search help like in StackOverflow can be really helpful. Especially when the system itself proposes "already answered questions" when people type in theirs: SO amazed me a couple of times by proposing threads where I simply had not typed in the correct search term combination to find them immediately in Google.

              Originally posted by krobison View Post
              What I find more depressing are the cases where someone is already sitting on data & now asking how they should analyze it without stating what they are looking for. Sequencing is seen as so powerful that it apparently obviates the need to design your experiments or have hypotheses to test.
              We're amidst a hype and vendors are pushing out their products as fast as they can (be it machines or services). Often users have not the slightest idea what their going to get from sequencing, many of them going into the field because it's hip or because giving this keyword on the grant proposal actually returned them money for it (which they now have to spend). Of course, everyone allocates money for sequencing but almost no one for data analysis. "We've got some students who can certainly do that, can't they?"

              Sorry if the above looks a little bit like a rant. But sometimes one gets bitter when questions flow in like the following (I kid you not): "we have sequenced a 1 gigabase eukaryote with Solexa 36mers, 200bp insert size, 30x coverage. Could you tell us how to assemble the genome?"

              Back to topic. ECO, in a nutshell: OSQA looks quite good already, but if it now had the "Related Questions" thingy, that would be a killer feature and real time saver for everyone. Then I'd immediately switch to it if I were you.

              B.

              Comment


              • #22
                Eco -
                I have heard your concerns about StackExchange before. To be honest, I don't have enough independent background knowledge about the system to have an unbiased opinion one way or another - I can only say I really like stackoverflow as a user. It is a whole other beast from an administration point of view, and you definitely raise valid points.

                Also, did you get a chance to look at shapado?

                Should superuser.com users be able to log into the site w/o creating an openid? That seems a little advanced. Maybe the least technical of the SO trilogy should have the least technical entry
                Last edited by spenthil; 05-17-2010, 10:01 AM. Reason: link about stack exchange alternatives.
                --
                Senthil Palanisami

                Comment


                • #23
                  Some comments

                  Hello All:
                  While I'm all in favor of applying automation to sort out duplicate questions, especially to locate the NGS treasure troves of information that I believe are collecting here, I would very much like to see newcomers actively encouraged to do their part in taking up the slack on the more mundane posts/inquiries. I believe this would offer leeway to the newcomer with a question to then follow up with an individual commentor just to clarify their own understanding of the matter. Maybe a message upfront to junior members that their participation in this regard is especially encouraged--Assignment to a junior colleague: go find a post to answer every day for a week/month/semester.

                  With more complicated issues such as: Sorry if the above looks a little bit like a rant. But sometimes one gets bitter when questions flow in like the following (I kid you not): "we have sequenced a 1 gigabase eukaryote with Solexa 36mers, 200bp insert size, 30x coverage. Could you tell us how to assemble the genome?"
                  This is an occasion to educate the poster as well as the community. Like-- "quality data analysis needs to be budgeted in your grant proposal as part of sequencing expenses. An reasonable estimate to analyze assemble and annotate the sequence data obtained for your project genome would be $___ for ___, ____, and ____. You don't know if you don't know.

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