You all know these proposal are all over 1 year old and have below 50% commitment, so it will take long time (months, some likely additional year) before they start BETA.

So why not make a concerted action to bring one site to BETA which will bring alot experts to SE network commiting to smaller more specialised topics like biological evolution? You can save probably alot of time and will yield much more experts and therefore quality in your proposal. (I already wrote about quality problems sites like philosophy.SE have, as mainly hobby interested prof. programmer commited to it, but no students of this topic)

If we dont attract some natural scientists without strong programming background (which is in chemistry biology VERY often the case) i doubt alot students, graduates, phds in this branches will register on those SE sites. But this established the quality of SO, physics.SE, CSTheory.SE

So currently biology has the highest commitment and alot of questions of above proposals would fit into it: evolution, brain development, biochemistry. You can easily fulfill your commitment in such a wide topic and commit again to your favored sub-proposal. There are already alot biological questions on skeptics.SE. and we have a strong physics community here. So to me biology seems the perfect second knot after physics to establish a natural sciences network on SE besides the high quality programming network.

Of course every one wants his proposal as fast as possible turning into BETA. But think about what will be more productive for your site in a long term view. Strong Biology and Chemistry.SE sites will attract so much expters that you can easily start proposals in above subfields as CSTheory or theoreticalphysics.SE have shown.

If you think my suggestion is counterproductive plz make a comment. imho we all would benefit from this and i doubt it will cost any of above proposals more time to start BETA. We all need a small portion of commiters in above proposals uncommit and commit to biology.SE. There has to be some potential, as you can only commit to 3 proposals at the same time.

Proposal: Biology

Proposal: Cognitive Science

Proposal: Chemistry

Proposal: Bioinformatics

Proposal: Biological Evolution

  • While Biology and Chemistry will essentially be synonymous for me (whichever launches first will see a glut of biochem questions from me), they can obviously diverge a great deal (inorganic, physical, etc.)
    – Nick T
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 3:03

2 Answers 2


IMO the huge part of the problem lies in the almost lack of inner-advertising on Area and thus people committing to only one proposal and losing interest.

When one looks at the "users also committed to" column, the results are embarrassing -- like 13% of people from Bioinformatics are committed to Biology. Summing up only "only this proposal" fractions from all proposals you listed, one gets 85 people -- most likely enough to push Biology to beta.

So I would rather advocate to try to convince the SE team to send e-mail notification to those people ("Look, there's more than you think!") and to spam more about Area on existing sites (like my recent action here and here).

  • +1 good point. The thread about "new area51 voting" got 2k views as shown on area51 start page. Normal thread like this gets maybe 50, max 100 views. The inner advertising could be improved. So if there are really alot people only commited to one facored thematic proposal, why not commit to a superiour topic like biology - bioinformartics. You can ask SOME questions there too. You links are good, unfortunately afaik only few people frequent meta sections. I know SE sometimes puts links to proposals in questions in the sidebar, so there is some advertising. Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 15:43
  • as pointed out im my comments above i more and more come to the conclusion, that "inner user flow on SE network" between sites is also very crucial and the reason why something like philosophy.SE gets very rarely frequented. Its too thematically isolated vs. other SE sites. So i strongly believe a supererior centralised topic like biology would advertise and ensure user flow from this site to bioinformatics, neuroscience much better than starting these sites on their own thematically isolated and not related to any other topics here. There are already alot med/bio questions on skeptics.SE Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 15:48
  • I miss a bit the point "how to grow a network". There are reasons why we have technical or humane universities. Because a network of related institutes/sites can guarentee you much higher quality/efficiency. At least they should think about advertising close related proposals more than totally isolated ones on SE. Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 15:52

Some of this is true - Biology and Biological Evolution are arguably merge-able proposals. I at least view the latter as a very important subset of the former. But I think your question has two major problems with it:

  1. You can commit to three proposals at a time, as you've said. From the list above - or indeed, the proposals I've committed to, I don't think the problem is that people aren't able to commit to the proposals they want to see put into beta.
  2. There's not actually all that much overlap between those sites. You're essentially asking everyone interested in "Science that isn't physics" to put themselves behind Biology. What happens at the next step, when Biology does hit beta (we'll assume it does) and none of these people follow through on their commitment because it's really not all that interesting to them?
  3. The Biology proposal's weakest score is in 200+ rep users. If the problem is not being able to draw natural scientist's with programming skills, this won't necessarily help.

I understand your frustration. Indeed, I think StackExchange is essentially set up to create a constellation of programming-oriented sites, a few hobby sites, and leave any other potential "Professional" sites struggling with considerably worse quality of questions than something like StackOverflow because the system as its designed is heavily reliant on a class of people who, while professionals in their chosen field, would likely be "dabblers" in any other proposals.

But I'm not sure this is the way to do it. If StackExchange isn't actually backing the sites, and sticking to their current system, then ram-rodding through one natural science proposal hoping it gets enough pros involved to be worthwhile is I think a risky maneuver. You'll get hit pretty hard with the follow-up commitment percentage, and the bars for a site being "good" are all set under the assumption that a good chunk of the committed people participate. It doesn't do anyone any good to have the closest thing to a workable proposal rush to beta, have poor participation, and never again see the light of day.

My suggestion? Get people using the non-programming SE sites. Biologists can credibly post in SuperUser, Gaming, the various OS sites, statistics, tex, and gis off the top of my head.

  • thx for your points. Im not frustrated and trying somehow to get biology.SE to BETA It just seems obvious to me that exactly these 5 current proposals block up each other. There are several other non-physics scientific proposals im not asking users to uncommit, only these related ones I'm more worrying about quality of forthcoming scientific proposals and imho a NOW working well frequented & thematic broad biology.SE with experts in chem/bio/phys (These are high-related fields and alot bio/med/psy questions are already asked on skeptics.SE as no other place to ask on SE currently, Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:34
  • biology.SE will not fail) could save alot much more specialized and "to laymen interesting sounding" proposals from ending with low quality/expert portion. Its a game of time, the longer it takes to get any of these proposals to BETA, the more interested laymen will be commited to it, as the SE network is exponentially growing, but the smaller number of current experts in these fields on SE grows slower! The longer it takes, the harder it will get to start especially highly specialized proposals as a lot laymen will commit to it out of interest. You really should consider this. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:35
  • My point is to start a scientific BETA with as few laymen as possible Quality was dropping on physics.SE with time and further growth, this is just natural. But the lower the quality/number of experts already in the beginning, the harder to attract new experts and maintain quality at all in very tricky specialized proposals. I try to see it quanitatively (esp. long term) and there are as far I looked up above proposals enough high rep user commited not to biology, but to the related other proposals. So I dont see much weight in your points 1 & 3, there are enough high reps who could Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:36
  • switch. We would just need a bit more selflessness If you want specialized topics, try to establish a general expert network like SO or physics.SE, than you can easily start CSTheory, theoreticalphysics.SE. Thats the proven SE paradigma. But building something like bio evolution or Neuroscience without any serious amount of physicists, biologists, chemists ALREADY on the network but alot of interested laymen (growing on and on) is a dead end, it is yahooanswers. You see it on philospophy.SE, atheism.SE already failed. Interesting sounding topics, but without experts, Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:37
  • students learning this topic and asking good questions you dont get productive community dynamics, you cant maintain tension. You need users learning a topic, and learning presumes pre-/background knowledge in superior/less specialized topics. Dont start with too specialized subtopics if there is no related topic already on SE. Most user commited will not frequent the BETA for weeks, so you need some users from other related and thematic superior SE sites who refill this normal brain drain. If there would have been a strong and bigger literature, history or social sciences.SE some people Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:38
  • would have taken a look on philosophy.SE. But it is currently a very isolated proposal of very few hobby interested programmers here, very unrelated questions, no dynamics, no learning. The rest of the SE network seems not really interested. Maybe you can recover a high quality and reactivate a community, but i have strong doubts students of modern philsophy will regularly frequent this site in near future. I have been registered in much better forums on this topic for years. I dont want to malign phil.SE but dont repeat obvious mistakes with sites like Neuroscience when there is neither a Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:39
  • superiour working med/chem/bio.SE here. Fullfilling area51 metrics guarentees that your site doenst get closed, but it doesnt guarentee any high quality, only for proposals related to programming/physics/math CURRENTLY imho the SE team should think about disallowing too isolated and not related topics to current SE network or at least require more commitments for it, many interested enthusiast in not sufficient. Otherwise i predict Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:39
  • serious quality and managing problems on those sites.You know why they proposed theophy.SE, they wanted a place with better questions. Alot high rep commiters dont guarentee this. The signal/noise ratio was too low on physics.SE for most experts. You cannot learn there, too much noise :) And im sure SE guys think about distinguishing from the other common Q&A sites like quora, yahoo, digg... Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 23:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .