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Hello CS Beta users and moderator(s)

We have recently created a proposal for Ocean Modeling for researchers who use computational modeling tools to answer ocean science questions. I have posted the following discussion (link below) on our proposal page and I hope to get your feed back too. Would you be interested in having modelers as a part of your Beta or would you have second thoughts about it since the questions asked may be very specific to the models that they are using?

Thanks!

How is Ocean Modeling different than Computational Science and Earth Science?

PS: I guess the same question would be valid if it were Atmospheric modeling...

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tl;dr: If ocean modeling and earth science questions were to swamp out the questions by the current user community, you would probably be better served with your own site. If the questions are mainly about things we already cover a lot on Computational Science Stack Exchange (numerical methods, general-purpose computational science software, computational fluid dynamics), it would probably be a good fit. I personally skew towards inclusiveness, because I think good communities try to be inclusive, and I think that if a topic isn't a good fit, we will see it over time.

What I've seen so far is that application communities (or general niche communities) that start here generally drift away after reaching a certain mass:

  • We used to get a number of computational chemistry questions; now these are answered more frequently on Chemistry Stack Exchange. Computational chemistry questions are still on-topic here, but if they don't get answered here, they'll probably get migrated.

  • We got the odd Mathematica question here early on in the beta; now these questions are answered on Mathematica Stack Exchange, and we tend to migrate Mathematica questions there

  • For a while, we tried being a forum for FEniCS. Now, FEniCS questions tend to get closed, and users are told to ask questions on the FEniCS Q&A site.

  • Physics tends to migrate computational questions to us. If a question is more about the physics of an application, it's a better fit for Physics Stack Exchange. If a user has a physics problem already set up with all of the equations, and wants to know how best to solve it using numerical methods and software, it's a better fit for this site. We occasionally migrate questions to Physics.

  • We'll get the occasional statistics or computer vision question; if it gets to be too specialized, we migrate it to the appropriate site.

I think one key is to try and get people who already visit the site to engage. Questions about general computational methods (what numerical methods should I use, what general-purpose computational science software packages should I use, etc.) tend to get answered. Questions about computational fluid dynamics get answered fairly frequently, and would also be a good fit. I think questions about application-specific models for ocean modeling and earth science would probably also be on-topic, if explained in terms accessible to general computational scientists, but they would be less likely to get answered by our current user base.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'd vote your answer up if I had enough points. :) These are along with I have been thinking so far. Regarding the last part of your answer, I feel like most of the questions will NOT be given a general explanation while asking. And if our group does not have somebody to answer those questions it will be unlikely to get an answer from the rest. In that case I see that it might be a problem for CS if there are too many unanswered questions. Is there any other aspect of it that I can't see it now? I agree with you 100%, and hope that both communities will help decide with their votes. $\endgroup$ – ZZZ Mar 17 '14 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I agree; if many ocean modeling-specific questions are asked and go unanswered, that also starts to become a problem. We already get a fair number of unanswered questions (85% answer rate right now), and I'm starting to think that might have to do with poor question quality, too, which might be skewing my impression. Perhaps some Spring cleaning is in order... $\endgroup$ – Geoff Oxberry Mar 17 '14 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ Note the timescale for "real world" computational methods questions may be longer than for "real world" general programming questions. There is some low-hanging fruit in ocean modeling, but one quickly gets (forgive the pun) in over ones head. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Mar 19 '14 at 14:24

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