A bunch of proposals on Area 51 are being voting to be merged, with various results. In a comment, a user said decisions were taken, but the user was not able to explain what will be done. Could we get some feedback or is it supposed to be a surprise?

List of all merge votes I'm concerned about:

It's easy to see some proposals are in more than one vote, so it would be interesting to learn how the subject will be decided.

Edit: I add the question about the Bioinformatics proposal and the BioStar site, which doesn't seem to have got any conclusion yet...

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    +100, especially when three proposals form the first class are in commitment and have almost none overlap in committers.
    – mbq
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 13:39
  • No answers from the team, not even "no decision taken yet". Apparently, it's meant to be kept secret... Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 9:07
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    @Traroth Same for me -- even my moderator channels don't help.
    – mbq
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 10:12
  • I'm always told that the community should come to an agreement, but there's no formal process to reach one.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 9:34
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    @Ivo: Problem is that the process ask people to say if the approve a merge, but what happens if multiple groups approve multiple merges about the same proposals? Especially when the proposed merge is about several sites: if you look at the first merge in my question, asking if I'm ok with merging so much site is not a question I can answer by yes or no. I approve some of the part of the merge, but not everything. Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 9:37

3 Answers 3


I strongly advocate for the site called Computational Science. I would also argue that the title Computational Science is a better fit for any large merger than Scientific Computing.

I think a single site should cover topics such as optimization, numerical methods, analysis and simulations, and the computational modeling of practical problems. These are areas of study common to a wide range of disciplines beyond science, such as electrical, aerospace and mechanical engineering, finance, operations research, data analytics, business intelligence, speech analysis and synthesis, computer vision, computer graphics and rendering, etc.

Often, experts from all these areas are interested in modeling, implementing and solving optimization problems, PDEs and in running numerical simulations, so having a single repository of questions and answers related to these topics would be highly beneficial to the community.

Also, an increasing number of schools and institutions are using the term Computational Science instead of Scientific Computing. Some examples:

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    I agree. I'm not sure it's a good place here to remake the debates going on on the different vote pages, but in my opinion, some of the proposals would be better merged with other proposals, like Computer Vision and High Performance Computing. Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 13:43
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    I very much agree, I think Computational Science it the more common used term
    – madmaze
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 20:01
  • @Traroth. I thought I could point you to a new thread where we are voting this issue: here Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 18:57
  • @madmaze, I thought I could point you to a new thread where we are voting this issue: here Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 18:57

It would probably be a mistake to merge between technology-focussed groups and scientifically-focussed groups, as they're two meta-disciplines that are very different.

That said, I've seen a number of cases where there are small groups that are struggling to become/stay viable but which still feel that it's important to “pull up the drawbridge” by making it clear that if you're not a researcher in the exact field, they don't want to hear from you at all. The reason why some StackExchange sites really work is because they have attracted a very large community where it's often the case that people will have expertise in a number of small sub-areas. As such, the desire by some to have a small group doing work that they can cite in their academic CV is perhaps not what makes for a truly healthy site: forcing groups to merge (and for members to use the tagging mechanism as it is meant to be used) is going to be far better overall.

So merge away. By executive fiat if necessary. Break down the barriers between the ivory ghettos!


This is almost what I want to ask too, actually; specifically I personally am intrigued, particularly with the recent comments on the podcast** regarding the status of computer science questions on the network, on what will happen to the cryptography proposal. The debate as to what extent such a proposal is already covered has been had on Area 51. The reason for my query would be that as of posting, this proposal has:

  • 91% committers - 183/200 committers in total
  • 92% rep elsewhere - 92/100 committers with 200+ rep on any other site
  • 79% usage score - commitment score, based on committers' activity on all other sites and how old the commitment is

and I think it is unfair to all the people that have committed to the site for it simply to disappear one day. My views on cryptography's future aside, I see three possible outcomes for this and other such sites in a similar position:

  • Close the proposal. All questions belong elsewhere. No filter.
  • Give us one of those Mini StackExchange TagAggregation FilterUtility things to find all those questions elsewhere.
  • Let it carry on into beta and see what happens.

and I think it would be nice to have some indication of intention. Clearly, none of the above outcomes is going to satisfy everybody, but it would suck infinitely more if the proposal reaches 100% before any decision on its future is made. I think the appearance of an open, long standing, highly committed-to proposal is that it effectively has a green light for a trial of the idea (right/wrong?) and often people are still slowly committing to it.

I extend that request to any such sites which might be merged, closed etc and have high commitment levels, without first giving the people who are committed to the site a chance to see your reasoning.

In other words, where these votes and debates are cropping up, please weigh in, suspend for now or whatever applies for that specific case. Anything but allowing people to keep committing and keep promoting a proposal that will never actually exist.

Please be nice.

** Yeah, I'm that sad. I still can't work out which voice is Jeff and which voice is Joel after about 45 minutes (I'm from the UK), but never mind.

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