How Can Biostar Be Used To Create An Open Repository Of Bioinformatics Project Ideas Not Just Well-Defined Technical Questions?
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11.6 years ago

I have usually more bioinformatics project ideas/problems than resources (skills, time) to elaborate on them or to solve them. But I guess that some of them would be worth to put into the open so somebody might pick it up because that might contribute to science/bionformatics. Do you think that BioStar can be used to create an open repository of bioinformatics project ideas not just well-defined technical questions? Or rather just start to publish those ideas and tag them as "project" or with something more descriptive and there we go?

biostar project open • 3.5k views
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11.6 years ago

IMHO BioStar should keep its current focus on small questions that can be answered easily by an expert. If you try to also make it into a place to discuss project ideas, this would lead to a lot of noise, making BioStar less attractive.

Furthermore, the infrastructure you'd need to discuss a project (wiki for discussion, perhaps a code repository) just isn't there. If you just want to put the ideas out in the open, then a blog post or so might have more credibility than a forum where anyone can post (and upvotes cost nothing).

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'discuss a project (wiki for discussion, perhaps a code repository': that's a good point, not sure that the usual Q&A format here is perfectly suited for project discussions but as they can lead to small, technical questions I consider this problem far from being unsolvable.

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I'm not talking about changing the focus from small, technical questions (I like it a lot) to something else but to introduce a new element that is also reward-based. Let me ask this: Do you consider career questions like 'Economics of a career in bioinformatics' noise? Because they are definitely not small, easily answerable technical questions yet they are very popular.

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I mostly agree with the thoughts outlined in this StackOverflow blog post on subjective questions. Questions like that are fine to have once in a while, of course. ;)

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11.6 years ago

I think the Q&A format is not all that well suited for discussing project ideas so I would not particularly encourage such questions.

But it is hard to draw a line. I am often surprised when seemingly overly generic questions get really good answers quickly (these questions also get a lot of page-views as well).

So perhaps in the end the fewer rules the better, maybe the best is to let everyone ask their questions, put forth their ideas etc and as long as those are on topic we might just see what happens

Where everyone can make a difference is voting on questions/answers! With that everyone can move the focus of the site in the direction they desire.

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I agree; the current voting/moderation system is the way to drive the site.

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I think the best is if I just try to post one to show what I had in mind. What tags are you suggesting for this, Istvan?

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just add what you think is appropriate, there are plenty of moderators that can modify the tags later

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11.6 years ago
Mary 11k

This is something that people have asked me about before. Specifically I remember a conversation with a woman who taught some basic bioinformatics students, but wasn't actually practicing in the field. She really needed some kind of project idea repository that should could use to help the students develop a good project and wanted it to have some value. I also know that there are lab-type folks who need some small things done and could probably use that sort of service as well.

I like the idea and I think it's a need, but I will defer to the long-time users and founders to speak to the relevance here.

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undergrad students, lab-type folks: that's 2 good use cases, indeed. What I had in mind is really just open bioinformatics project ideas: data mining research, building new tools et cetera that might end up as published papers too. Whoever picks them up (bionformaticians, undergrads, bored wet lab folks, high schoolers, PIs hunting for something else, industrial people) I don't really care.

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well if somebody sets up a "project idea repository" for student projects etc. somewhere, please keep us posted. I can easily submit a dozen :)

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It is a great idea!. I often found that I have ideas for small things and/or projects that I have no time to follow, or someone that can do some work on them. I guess that it should be something as a wiki, so people would know if someone is already working on that idea and maybe collaborate....I think this could generate interesting collaborations!! (assuming that something like that does not exists already). Anyone knows of something like this?...or maybe we can start one!

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