[Neuroimaging] When to use neurostars, and when not to

Eleftherios Garyfallidis garyfallidis at gmail.com
Thu Aug 27 00:17:29 CEST 2015

Hi all,

My initial personal point of view was to use one mailing list both for
users and developers. That is neuroimaging at python.org (previously
Then I saw that this list was not attracting enough questions. This is
probably because we didn't promote this list enough. And maybe that
should have been the first thing to do. Which we clearly didn't do.

Then I thought okay the neuroimaging at python.org list is for developers and
expert users and neurostars.org
is for users who don't want to touch development and need feedback.

But I have to say that there are some features in neurostars which can be
dangerous. One of them is that people who answer questions get
different status and reputation points. For example, the status of the
person answering often says "trusted". This is misleading information.

I think we need to be smarter here. There are no experts. We are research
projects. We want a community which does not promote
expertise but promotes understanding and good scientific practice. The
focus of neurostars should be exactly that.

I see that neurostars is still in a beta and I am wondering if we can
change some of its settings.

It is true that neurostars has attracted very quickly a relatively large
audience. So, I am not sure if we should stop using it or not. But I will
suggest something different.

Can we continue using Neurostars with some different setup so that it
promotes more understanding/discussion rather than expertise?

To be more clear. Here is a summary of the important problems that
StackOverflow has which also Neurostars can potentially have:

This is from
which was posted previously in this thread. Thanx for
posting this.

The problems with StackOverflow are summarized in this list:

   1. Poor pedagogy
   2. Poor reward system
   3. Poor community

If we can change/block some of the functionality of neurostars maybe we can
avoid those issues and build a strong community.
If not then maybe we should consider using the current mailing list.

I would like also to remind that we made nipy.org to reach a much higher
level of community participation. So, please don't take
this lightly. If we can improve neurostars to reach that goal we shall do
it. If that is not possible with this technology then maybe
just continue using what we currently have. I mean the list.

So who are the stars in Neurostars? If the stars are the experts (us). Not
very interesting. If the stars is everyone who helps in improving
understanding and learning without looking for credits and points then this
is much more interesting. Is there a way to promote this
direction more?

Also about something else. Because neurostars has become quite popular I
think it will be difficult to do what Matthew says. Forward traffic in the
mailing list.
I am afraid we are past that point. Or we will have to do that in
coordination for a long time. So, maybe improve what we have is the way to

Sorry for the long e-mail. Let me know what you think. I hope this was
helpful in some way.

Best regards,

On Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 2:05 PM, Michael Hanke <michael.hanke at gmail.com>

> Hey,
> On Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 7:53 PM, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> For the communities - it's surely reasonable to refer questions to the
> chosen forum of the project - for example, I think I'm right in saying
>> there's no controversy that nipype wants user questions to neurostars.
>>   I guess it's more complex to direct people who have more general
>> neuroimaging questions.
> Not just that. For nipype, imagine a user sees that the package install
> fails. _I_ don't want
> them to go to neurostars -- even if nipype wants that. I want that bug,
> because it is fairly clear that _I_ should deal with
> it. I can do that better and quicker, if there is a single forum (or even
> better a bug tracker) for all these bugs
> -- regardless of the actual software in question. For everything else, I
> prefer a pass-through of some
> kind that neither burdens me, nor the user.
> Michael
> --
> Michael Hanke
> http://mih.voxindeserto.de
> _______________________________________________
> Neuroimaging mailing list
> Neuroimaging at python.org
> https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/neuroimaging
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