Forum: Chat for the biostars community
gravatar for Devon Ryan
22 months ago by
Devon Ryan93k
Freiburg, Germany
Devon Ryan93k wrote:

There are many times on this site where direct (perhaps even real time) communication between moderators or regular users would prove beneficial, such as:

  • Handling spam posts or otherwise problematic users
  • Dealing with site issues
  • Ask for clarification about site norms
  • Clarifying posts without producing pages worth of comments on posts

For such purposes I have created a slack for the biostars community, which you can access here.

Do not ask questions on slack that would otherwise be appropriate on biostars! Doing such multiple times can get you banned from slack (after a warning). Slack is meant as a convenient supplement for biostars, not a replacement.

This slack currently contains a general channel and a private "moderator-chat" channel. The latter is restricted access and meant only for those with moderator access here so they can discuss user issues privately (this is equivalent to the Teacher's Lounge on StackExchange, for those familiar with that). Just ping me to get added to this channel.

Please join us over on

Please note that users in some countries may receive an error from Slack regarding being from an "embargoed country". I agree this is quite annoying, but something that Slack itself dictates. Currently the only country I know to be embargoed is Iran, but there may be others. For users in affected countries, please know that if you're able to get around the silly embargo that you're quite welcome to join the community (we're not going to discriminate against anyone based on the country they may be living/working in).

**EDIT (by @genomax): If you are a moderator on Biostars then your are encouraged to join the Biostar slack channel and then let one of the mods on slack know (most of us use the same names we use here) so you can be given access to mod-channel. Moderator-only channel has been extremely useful to coordinate moderation actions/get consensus on various issues to improve the overall quality of moderation on Biostars.

Edit (by ATpoint): If the link is expired or broken please leave a short comment here so we can update it.

Edit (GenoMax): Invite link refreshed 11/10/19 (DD/MM)

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ADD COMMENTlink modified 11 weeks ago by ATpoint28k • written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k

BTW, this is inspired by WouterDeCoster , who suggested something like this on Twitter.

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k

I tried the link; says that "It looks like you're in an embargoed country".

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by A3.7k

Well that's a new one. Are you accessing from Iran?

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k

Yes, I tried the link from Iran

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by A3.7k

I don't know if this is due to the US-Iran political situation or the internet restrictions in Iran. If you have VPN access elsewhere or can use an open proxy then I imagine that could be used to circumvent this. I'll contact slack and ask them what's going on with this, though, since obviously it'd be better not to exclude people based on where they happened to be born or happen to live.

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k

Thank you, I am googling to find something like VPN.

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by A3.7k

I suggest adding a ground rule. If whatever you are asking about exceeds 2-3 lines it needs to be in a Biostars post.

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by genomax76k

Sounds fair. My suggestion would be that questions can only be about an existing thread, or before posting. It is not meant to replace biostars. The purpose of biostars is to be searchable for future reference and for other users, moving question to a slack channel defeats all of that.

Would be fine for mod-discussions, meta questions,...

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by WouterDeCoster42k

I'm in 100% agreement on this.

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k

BTW, feel free to directly edit my post to add ground rules. The long-term hope is that the slack becomes completely moderator managed, so I won't become a BDFL. So other mods directly putting rules in would seem quite appropriate.

ADD REPLYlink modified 22 months ago • written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k

Can one ask her/his question and shares files with an online biostar in chat? Because if a biostar at that time enables to help, this would more time efficient than sharing a post here

Thank you

ADD REPLYlink written 22 months ago by A3.7k

I really want to avoid people directly asking questions in the chat itself. The biostars site is indexed by google and posts don't disappear. Messages on the slack eventually disappear (I'm not paying for the per-user licenses needed to keep the whole history) and it's anyway not indexed by google. Sharing files would be OK as long as it's part of an iterative back and forth with people. Posts on biostars should be self-contained, with the chat serving as a convenient supplement only (e.g., it's a real PITA to constantly upload images to imgur or something, but easy to drop them into slack if you're having a discussion with someone and need go through 20 iterations of plots). Ideally any final results of discussions in slack that center on a post on biostar will end up back in biostar. In short, slack is fleeting, biostars is permanent.

ADD REPLYlink modified 22 months ago • written 22 months ago by Devon Ryan93k
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