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

Chris Filo Gorgolewski krzysztof.gorgolewski at gmail.com
Thu Aug 27 12:43:55 CEST 2015

My 3 cents: Matthew, Bertrand - I would encourage you to give neurostars a
try. It really helps building the community and makes questions more
discoverable. There are some rough edges, but nothing we cannot work around.

Just remind yourselves how often do you find solutions to technical issue
on stackoverflow or similar services and then imagine that such knowledge
would've been hidden on some mailing lists with poor google indexing.


On Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 6:16 PM, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett at gmail.com>

> Hi,
> On Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 11:17 PM, Eleftherios Garyfallidis
> <garyfallidis at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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
> nipy-devel...)
> > 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.
> Of course, there will always be a spectrum of users, from "just tell
> me how to use it without it giving me an error message" to "I want to
> write new stuff for the package".
> We were discussing this on the phone yesterday, but for me the
> question is - what do we hold as the model for users in general?  Do
> we hold that all users should expect to contribute to the discussion
> of how to build and maintain the package, or do we think that some
> users can be safely left to - just use the package.
> As you know - I think we're running into severe trouble in
> neuroimaging, as the software becomes easier to use, and there are
> more methods available, without any matching increase in training.
> So we have more and more people using software that they do not
> understand.  Inevitably, this means more bad science.
> The only way to avoid that, it to change the culture.  We want to
> switch from the classic model of "we are experts, trust us, use the
> software" to "we are all learning how to do this.  We are learning by
> building. Come join in this difficult task".
> This is why I feel so strongly that we should not separate user and
> developer questions.
> > 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.
> Hence - I want to say to these type of users - "this is not a model we
> support.  Science is the disbelief in the opinion of experts.  We
> won't stop you doing this, but neither will we imply this is a way of
> working that we encourage or expect."
> > 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
> >
> http://michael.richter.name/blogs/awhy-i-no-longer-contribute-to-stackoverflow
> > which was posted previously in this thread. Thanx for
> > posting this.
> >
> > The problems with StackOverflow are summarized in this list:
> >
> > Poor pedagogy
> > Poor reward system
> > Poor community
> I'm afraid I believe these features are structural to the
> stackoverflow "approved answer" model.   What we need is a model that
> encourages discussion, and the expectation that the beginner should
> expect to become a peer.  This is what mailing lists are very good at,
> and approved answer models are very bad at.
> See you,
> Matthew
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> Neuroimaging at python.org
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