Question: (Closed) Should Biostar Be Switched Over To The Stackexchange Network?
58
gravatar for Istvan Albert
5.7 years ago by
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k
University Park, USA
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k wrote:

Hello Everyone,

We are reaching an important milestone and we need input from the community at large.

A brief history first.

This site has been started in 2009 via purchasing hosting service from the StackExchange company. In the meantime the company has changed its focus and started offering the service (the software that runs the site) for free but in return it retains important rights: for example how the site works, what features it offers (and also possibly many other rights that I am not aware of).

In the past we have had discussions on this subject and alternatives were proposed:

  1. moving the site to a different software platform provider
  2. developing our own codebase
  3. and of course moving to the new StackExchange platform.

1 and 2 are similar in that it would require a dedicated team to run the site. I myself have worked on developing a clone of biostar (codebase is here) - these approaches could work but would also require ongoing efforts toward development, system administration and hosting.

I have been recently contacted by a member of the StackEchange team offering to migrate the entire BioStar site directly into the StackExchange Network retaining all the content and user history. If we go this route then the rules governing BioStar would be identical to the rules of the StackExchange sites - importantly this includes an open source licensing of all content. We agreed that I would post this issue here to collect feedback and opinions.

I am looking for feedback and opinions. What do you think?

meta biostar • 4.4k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 5.7 years ago by user56290 • written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k
5

Throughout the Area51 process of a Bioninformatics SE 2 site, people were calling for SE to contact you with an offer for migration. It's great that they finally did, and I'm in favor of moving to SE2. Thanks to the open license, the community can always walk away from SE2, and it will be a better platform than the current SE1.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michael Kuhn4.9k
2

not sure about quality. It may be easier to redirect users and users from other stackexchange communities can post/contribute while retaining their account identity

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k
1

Will the exposure of the site change? One annoyance is zero commitment users asking zero quality questions, is this likely to increase if moved to the StackExchange Network?

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by seidel6.1k
1

PS: Mods, can you please make all of this discussion community wiki?

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michael Kuhn4.9k

@seidel - The exposure may go up a little, but we're still fairly niche, so I wouldn't expect a gigantic influx. I'd also like to think that the moderators do a pretty good job of weeding out or curating the chaff.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Chris Miller18k

Has a decision been taken?

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michi870

Has a decision been taken? I am looking forward that in SE2 i could access from my mobile/desktop widgets via the already available SE programms

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michi870

The switch will take a while - some details need to be ironed out - I would guess a few weeks at least

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k

how well will the integration be handled... I dont have an incredible number of votes .. say like Pierre .. however I'd love to have my 65 points of "street cred" when we migrate =]

ADD REPLYlink written 5.5 years ago by Delinquentme200

all user activity will be ported over. There is ongoing rewrite of the software see: https://github.com/ialbert/biostar-central and there is a test site for the new codebase http://test.biostars.org/ I expect the switch to take place in a month or two.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.5 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k

I closed this question, because BioStar's move to a self-hosted platform has put an end to the discussion.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.2 years ago by Michael Kuhn4.9k
60
gravatar for Pablo Pareja
5.7 years ago by
Pablo Pareja1.6k
Granada, Spain
Pablo Pareja1.6k wrote:

+1 for the migration to the StackExchange Network, which already is without any doubt the standard for Q&A sites such as Biostar.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5.7 years ago by Giovanni M Dall'Olio25k • written 5.7 years ago by Pablo Pareja1.6k
7

I agree. I think the StackExchange network has benefits such a meta-discussion subdomains and clearer explanations of the additional actions allowed by increased user reputation.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michael Barton1.8k
2

Not to mention the chat feature as well.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Gww2.6k

Often better than standard is achievable.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Aleksandr Levchuk3.0k
17
gravatar for Simon Cockell
5.7 years ago by
Simon Cockell7.2k
Newcastle
Simon Cockell7.2k wrote:

As some of you may know, I have expressed strong opinions about this in the past. Watching the Stack Exchange network develop has mellowed my viewpoint somewhat with regards to this issue. I am now confident that BioStar would survive and thrive on the Stack Exchange network, which would bring significant benefits (mostly to do with cutting edge updates and community cross-pollination).

My main remaining concern was that the Area51 Bioinformatics proposal would go live, and steal mindshare from BioStar, but if BioStar can be migrated wholesale to the new platform, then that issue goes away (as I assume this proposal will be closed down).

So, if the community can be migrated 'as is', then I wholly support this move.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Simon Cockell7.2k
2

the Area51 proposal isn't exactly making progress now, and if the BioStar community uncommits, the chances of it making it through are even lower. So it will close down either formally or practically, I think.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michael Kuhn4.9k
1

I think that proposal will/should be merged into Biostar

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k

Good to hear you are on board with this Simon.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Casey Bergman17k
16
gravatar for Giovanni M Dall'Olio
5.7 years ago by
London, UK
Giovanni M Dall'Olio25k wrote:

First of all, I would like to thank you Albert for all the work in setting up Biostar, and in developing the alternative clone.

Personally, I believe that we can obtain great advantages from joining the whole StackExchange Network. There are a lot of expert people in that community; and even if few of them join Biostar, it will be good for us. In any case, the scope of Biostar is to promote communication among people, and joining a bigger community will go in that direction.

Personally, I like the idea of writing a clone, but I cannot commit to work on it. I have to manage the limited free time that I can afford to dedicate to extra-work activities, and, if I have to choose, I prefer to spend it on asking/answering questions, rather than writing the code for a clone of the interface.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Giovanni M Dall'Olio25k
11
gravatar for Chris Miller
5.7 years ago by
Chris Miller18k
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Chris Miller18k wrote:

Here's a partial list of pros and cons from previous discussions on biostar-central:

Pros:

  • No maintenance, sys admin, hosting costs, etc.
  • Access to future features implemented by the StackExchange team
  • Addition of Chat

Cons:

  • Loss of control
  • addition of advertising on the site

I'm rather indifferent to the details, as long as the site continues to exist and thrive as it has been. If people are gung-ho about continuing to build a homebrew SE site, then I won't tell them no, but otherwise I'm happy to let SE handle the mundane stuff.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5.7 years ago by Giovanni M Dall'Olio25k • written 5.7 years ago by Chris Miller18k
5

Re "loss of control": We don't have much control now either, no? Many parts of how the site works cannot be changed. Would Istvan et al. lose their admin status (mod appointment etc.)?

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Michael Kuhn4.9k
4

"loss of control" should be a non-issue, if there is nothing special that needs controlling.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by The Original Gtk190

@GTK by control I think Chris means the ability to ad different type of functionality etc. rather than controlling access/usage etc.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k

Yes - the ability to add extra features, links to the sidebars, hell, even change the color scheme if we want. These little things can be minor annoyances individually, but can add up to a headache. I don't forsee any problems, but it's something to consider.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Chris Miller18k
9
gravatar for Neilfws
5.7 years ago by
Neilfws47k
Sydney, Australia
Neilfws47k wrote:

Migration to SE2 was, in my mind, contingent on retention of content and user history. If that is to be the case, then I vote for it.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Neilfws47k
8
gravatar for Andra Waagmeester
5.7 years ago by
Maastricht, the Netherlands
Andra Waagmeester3.2k wrote:

In my opinion it is valid to move to different platform if continuation is not secured. But if the SE network allows full migration without lost of previous content, it only makes sense to stay part of the SE infrastructure.

The initial platform was developed by the SE team, so a bit of giving credit by sticking with the SE framework, is only fair.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Andra Waagmeester3.2k
7
gravatar for Casey Bergman
5.7 years ago by
Casey Bergman17k
Manchester, UK
Casey Bergman17k wrote:

The SE platform has served BioStar well thus far, and thus evidence suggests it should prove to in the future. As long as we can dump content and escape to an Open Source solution in the future if needed, I see no problem in moving to SE2 for the near-term.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Casey Bergman17k
2

@Istvan, would you still be able to export the raw data and user accounts?

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Aleksandr Levchuk3.0k
1

I believe so somewhere around here http://data.stackexchange.com/ not sure how it all works yet

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k

Also data from all StackExchange servers are released on a regular basis: http://data.stackexchange.com/about

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k
6
gravatar for Christopher Bottoms
5.7 years ago by
Christopher Bottoms180 wrote:

Yes to the migration. I assume that we'll be able to connect our biostar account with our other Stack Exchange accounts.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Christopher Bottoms180

well we need to work out how this will work - the current account will be migrated but it will need to be merged manually with an existing StackExchange account

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k
5
gravatar for Michi
5.7 years ago by
Michi870
Barcelona
Michi870 wrote:

As long content is always available and as open source, i don't see a big drawback.

Of course, it must be possible, in case the community wants to migrate, to get a data dump at any time and move f.ex. to your biostar-copy, is this the case?

Cheers

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Michi870
3
gravatar for Jorge Amigo
5.7 years ago by
Jorge Amigo9.7k
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Jorge Amigo9.7k wrote:

+1 for the switching!

here is again the dichotomy whether to reinvent the wheel or not to. I definitely would go for not to, since I won't be able to contribute on the development of any collateral effort. unless the cons are too numerous or unaffordable, which I'm not really able to properly evaluate, I only see pros when talking about the offered migration.

and once again, thanks Istvan et al. for creating and maintaining this great community.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Jorge Amigo9.7k
3
gravatar for Pierre Lindenbaum
5.7 years ago by
France/Nantes/Institut du Thorax - INSERM UMR1087
Pierre Lindenbaum96k wrote:

I vote +1 for SE2: no administration & no development needed.

My only preoccupations are:

  • will they be able to close this SE2 site if they consider that the site is useless ?
  • what about the URL or the name ? will they keep http://biostar.stackexchange.com/ ?
  • can we change the 'content' of a SE2 site ? (e.g: I would like to insert a 'gist' in my answers)

Pierre

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Pierre Lindenbaum96k

I think the URL will stay the same, probably they won't close a site once opened; gist: that is probably would be a feature that would have to be added for all StackExchange sites

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 73k
3
gravatar for Mndoci
5.7 years ago by
Mndoci1.2k
Issaquah, WA
Mndoci1.2k wrote:

Given retention of content and licensing, I vote for a move to the StackExchange network as well.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Mndoci1.2k
3
gravatar for Davidechicco
5.5 years ago by
Davidechicco30
Davidechicco30 wrote:

Yes, we should move!

What happened?

Let's move!

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.5 years ago by Davidechicco30

This is what happened: http://groups.google.com/group/biostar-central/browse_thread/thread/d13616001c7abb9e See also the previous relevant discussions on the BioStar Central list.

ADD REPLYlink written 5.5 years ago by Michael Kuhn4.9k
2
gravatar for Yogesh Pandit
5.7 years ago by
Yogesh Pandit490
United States
Yogesh Pandit490 wrote:

Yes, to migration to StackExchange. The Ads are not very troublesome.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.7 years ago by Yogesh Pandit490

I've been browsing stackexchange sites for a long time and no ads have ever bothered me. aaaaad block, is on my side... yes it is...

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Jorge Amigo9.7k
0
gravatar for Flow
5.7 years ago by
Flow1.5k
Flow1.5k wrote:

yes, no doubt! I agree with all previous comments, so have nothing to say

ADD COMMENTlink modified 5.7 years ago by Giovanni M Dall'Olio25k • written 5.7 years ago by Flow1.5k
14

If you have nothing to say, then you should probably just use the up-arrows :-)

ADD REPLYlink written 5.7 years ago by Chris Miller18k
0
gravatar for user56
5.2 years ago by
user56290
United States
user56290 wrote:

Yes. We should move.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5.2 years ago by user56290
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