As many people here are aware, bioinformaticians and biologists alike spend a huge number of man-hours on Biostars asking questions and giving answers. In fact, I would go as far as to say Biostars is one of the biggest bioinformatic collaborations on the planet. As a result, it’s one of the few places with somewhat reliable data on what people are struggling with the most in their research.
As part of my thesis [ before anyone points out I should be writing ;~) ] i’d like to include some rough statistics on what sorts of questions people are asking the most, with a view to seeing these questions better addressed by future bioinformatic software.
To achieve this i’ll read through an entire year’s worth of posts, and try and categorise them in such a way that we can do a little reflection. Here are the tags/categories I have thought of so far. Note that a post can presumably have more than one category.
- Unsure which software to use
- How to convert data (into a standard format)
- How to convert data (into a non-standard format)
- Problem installing software
- Problem installing software dependancies
- Problem using software correctly (insufficient documentation)
- Problem using software correctly (insufficient reading of the documentation)
- Help needed for experimental design (in silico)
- Help needed for experimental design (biological)
- Problem with software (bug)
- Problem with software (feature request)
- Problem making sense of software’s result (insufficient documentation)
- Problem making sense of software’s result (insufficient reading of the documentation)
If anyone else would like to add/remove some categories, or could suggest an alternative approach I hadn’t considered, that would be fantastic. But please do so before this coming Saturday (22nd) when I will start the process of reading and catagorizing. Once i’m done i’ll post a link to the SQLite database (or Excel spreadsheet) with a unique ID being the post ID, a column for the posted date, and column for each catagory, with a value of 1 if it’s true, 0 if it’s false. I think anything else beyond a boolean will be a bit subjective so, yeah, true/false categories only please ;-)