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We all love Computational Science Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

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I ran a few Google searches yesterday in incognito mode in Chrome.

Here is what I got:

God tier

Question 1

Algorithm for Principal Eigenvector of a Real Symmetric 3x3 Matrix

  • Keywords: principal eigenvector real symmetric matrix, first link is the quesiton.

  • Keywords: how to find the principal eigenvector for a symmetric matrix, first link is the quesiton.

  • Keywords: how to find the principal eigenvector for a matrix, MSE question is the second link.

  • Keywords: how to find principal eigenvector 3x3, first link is the question.

  • Keywords: how to find principal eigenvector 2x2, no link in the first few pages.


Nice tier

Question 2

FeniCS: Visualizing high order elements

  • Keywords: visualization of high order elements, scicomp.SE link shows up on the first page.

  • Keywords: what is high order finite elements like, high order finite elements plot, no scicomp.SE link in the first few pages. This may not be the keywords a researcher would choose I'd say.

  • Keywords: high order finite elements fenics, first link is scicomp.SE's question.

Question 3

Finite-volume method: can Dirichlet boundary conditions be applied to the integral form?

Question 4

Time stepping in comsol multiphysics

  • Keywords: comsol multiphysics time, first link is the question.

  • Keywords: comsol multiphysics time-dependent problems, question link in page 3.

  • Keywords: comsol multiphysics time discretization, question link in page 1.


Some idea: the more detailed the keywords is, the more chances are scicomp link is in the first page, even the keywords are kinda generic. Overall I would say the questions in the self-evaluation are nice.

Detailed, more goal-oriented question in scicomp.SE will more likely show in the first page. Even a question with 16 answers can not be found in the first few pages using a relevant keyword.

My 2 cents: Dissect big problem into small detailed, descriptive questions. Avoid soft question and big list.


We should definitely do more of this each quarter!!!!!!!!!

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for running this analysis :) $\endgroup$ – Aron Ahmadia Jul 30 '13 at 22:03
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Final Results

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