I've noticed that it is difficult to get questions migrated from SO to CV. I've already read that this doesn't occur often 'in the wild' but as 'Big Data' and 'Analytics' become trendy in the software industry I would not be surprised to see an increasing trend of migration worthy question appearing on SO.

Anecdotally I have found that there is an increasing number of people in Silicon Valley/ Bay Area that did a quick MOOC, or read one of many machine learning/ data mining survey books (k-means/OLS/LogReg/DT/SVM/RF), that only describe the most common machine learning techniques as plug-and-play software tools in R and doesn't leave them with a sense of how much more they ought to learn. For instance I listened to to a talk by a chief data scientist at a social gaming company that explained his investigation of a problem as 'trying a bunch of things' and settling on a linear regression fit because the $R^2$ 'was good'. I have other anecdotes as well, for example the emerging trend of 'advanced analytics' vs 'analytics' to mean statistical/machine learning techniques because so much of what people call analytics in the software community is just average/max/min (without acknowledging population vs sample) and various elementary mathematical calculations called 'key performance indicators'(KPI).

I'm not sure how I would show that there is an inflation of claims to understand statistical/ machine learning topics given the data we have but I strongly suspect that it is occurring and if this is true, evidence should be mounting somewhere within SO. The challenge is that well-meaning SO moderators may not know how to identify these.

For example I have flagged 4 SO questions as migration candidates to CV with the most recent flag occurring more than a week ago.

  1. One of them, a feature selection, question was rejected because 'declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it' and at the same time one of the close-voters, AGS, has commented on it 'This question appears to be off-topic because it is about machine learning theory / stats, and not programming related'. That looks like it is some evidence.
  2. One flag that has been open for 11 days now is about computing prediction intervals after using cross-validation.
  3. Another 11 day open flag is about hyperparameters in a Gaussian Process.
  4. The first flag of this kind that I have raised was about selecting an anomaly detection model. It wasn't until I demonstrated that it was CV worthy by answering it as one that it was migrated.

To recap, from my extremely limited sample size of 4 flags, the only successful migration was the one that was subsequently demonstrated to be a CV question by providing a CV answer first. I attribute this to the limited experience of SO moderators in CV topics.

As a solution I would propose the idea of a bridge moderator. Where I went to school for my undergraduate there was the concept of a bridge faculty. For instance there is a bridge faculty member for Math/CS and one for Stat/CS and both are able to liaison between their bridge disciplines. At my job which has many full time statisticians and full time software engineers, I act in a similar liaison capacity between Stat/Engineering, though this is a relatively new idea here. Since moderator level reputation may be rare enough in one discipline, let alone two, I would propose that a moderator level reputation on the migrate-to side and some lower threshold reputation on the migration-from side might be sufficient to strike a balance. Perhaps there are better ideas.

I believe that we can certainly continue to demonstrate the migration-worthiness of questions by first answering them but I also believe that it is an inefficient way to crowdsource this problem when cross topic contention will only increase with the increasing portfolio of SE topics. I would ask the community to consider more efficient options.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Regardless of the merits of this idea, it seems like it should be addressed to the SO community and posted in Meta Stack Exchange: because migration decisions are made by SO, not us, the only thing we can ever do about migrations from there to here is to reject them. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the guidance. I have cross-posted it on Meta Stack Exchange. My request to anyone from CV that agrees with this assertion or some portion thereof, please offer supporting testimony there. I don't think this argument can be well understood without some background in statistics and I suspect the post will perish without expert support. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Andre You're right--that's the correct place for it. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 21:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question is also if datascience.stackexchange.com should (eventually) be involved in these considerations too. The overlap with SO/CV is getting really large. $\endgroup$
    – Momo
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 23:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To close the loop I will point to bluefeet's answer to your MSE question. Essentially, the Stack Overflow mods are backlogged. They'll get to migration flags. Especially if the word "migrate" is in the flag somewhere, as Shog mentioned. $\endgroup$
    – hairboat
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 23:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it belongs on the main meta site, where it has been posted and answered. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 16:28


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