Scott Chamberlain and I were discussing this on Twitter and Scott suggested setting up a Discourse site which we'd have full control over. There are more details in a gist Scott wrote which you can comment on.

Apart from being our own masters, a discussion forum might be better suited to the types of questions we'd like to ask or discuss, many of which don't fit neatly into the Stack Exchange way of thinking.

Anyway, if you have comments on this Discourse proposal, hop over to the gist and leave a comment.

Proposal: Open Science

  • That means you have your own server? Is the server stable? – Xiaodong Qi Oct 12 '15 at 0:11

What does Discourse do for us that the current site does not? I think Discourse would be fine if this proposal actually fails, having taken a cursory look at it. But this isn't a failure yet!

People: actually comment, at least something short. Don't just downvote, that's very unhelpful.


I don't know how Discourse fits the bill because it's primarily a Web forum and not a Q&A site. So what I did was to import the SE dump into the Question2Answer software which looks and feels a lot like SE. It's online already: https://openscience.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/

What this site now needs is administrators and moderators (and perhaps a logo and custom CSS). Contact me if you are interested. The nice people from PhysicsOverflow have donated the import script and two plugins that allow admins (and mods, if so configured) to help users regain access to their imported user accounts by entering the e-mail address. This needs some organizing now.

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    Part of the thinking at least was whether a Q&A site was a suitable or the best format for an Open Science "thing". I know to some extent that Stack Exchange communities can have their own take on discussion, but even then there are things that might be better discussed rather than answered. I'll take a look at the Q2A site you set up when I get chance; thanks for doing this. – Gavin Simpson Sep 4 '15 at 20:05
  • What is the point of downvoting this answer, and also the above question? – Dilaton Sep 6 '15 at 18:12
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    @Dilaton Likely because there is a lot of disagreement here. I personally don't mind an alternative site if the community wishes, but the way it has been conducted disturbs me. I had no vote on the question, but I now place a down vote on both, because I don't like this at all. For example, I am definitely not a registered user on the above site. Little things, but I am sure that collectively they bug me, and the rest of the community, and none of us support this. – Zizouz212 Sep 15 '15 at 11:36
  • Not only that, but I get the impression that there is no genuine care for the community by those who have created the site. This is likely not my intent, but it is the impression. It feels like they are more trying to create a name for themselves, rather than positively grow a community, no matter what the medium. – Zizouz212 Sep 15 '15 at 11:40
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    @Zizouz212, there is no constructive criticism in your new comments, just suspicions. What more could we have done to care for the community? Although you said in the gist referenced above that you are only 15 years old, you seem to have spent much more time than I on SE, so I would be grateful for your advice. – Christian Pietsch Sep 15 '15 at 12:21
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    @ChristianPietsch I personally think it is not that important what the part of the SE community that does not consist of researchers think about the revived site, they are not among the targetted audience anyway. Other research communities, such as MathOverflow for example recepted the news about the restarted site very friendly, and this is much more important than the downvotes from people here who are not and never will be interested in taking part in the restarted Open Science community. – Dilaton Sep 15 '15 at 17:13
  • Another tool that might be more similar to Discourse than to Question2Answer: A colleague mentioned HUBzero, a platform intended to bring researchers from a discipline together. Perhaps it would be a useful tool for Open Science, too? Has anyone had any experience with it? – Christian Pietsch Sep 16 '15 at 11:05
  • Maybe create a separate discussion to let people know about this Q2A site? I haven't seen it before because I didn't read this Discourse thread. Regarding Q&A software, there is a quite successful bioinformatics site biostars.org that uses another Q&A engine – marcin Nov 6 '15 at 12:36

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