18
$\begingroup$

I've been thinking about whether this site should incorporate more computing questions. I think the current position of this site can be summarised by this question (which I asked!).

Why change

I occasionally use Minitab, and when I do I struggle with basic macros. Where would I ask a computing question on Minitab.

  • SO: unlikely to be many Minitab users there.
  • Stats.exchange: Lots (I'm guessing) of Minitab users here, but the question would be offtopic and closed.

This issue would also apply to SPSS and SAS questions.

Furthermore, many answers to questions at this site include R code. However, if someone queried the programming aspects of the code they would have to do so at SO. Also the main people who answer R questions are already on this site - see the stats on r questions at SO.

Proposed change

Some languages are developed with statistics in mind. For example,

The best thing about R is that it was developed by statisticians. The worst thing about R is that it was developed by statisticians.

Bo Cowgill, Google.

Therefore I propose that we allow computing questions for certain languages/applications. The obvious ones being: R, SAS, SPSS and Minitab. The languages would be stated in the FAQs.

Flame away!

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 from my side. With one caveat- see my answer. $\endgroup$ – svadali Aug 5 '10 at 12:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1; I support the proposal - a one stop shop for statistical analysis and programing needs would be preferable to having to constantly debate whether things belong here or on SO. $\endgroup$ – russellpierce Aug 5 '10 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Should we advertise this question/change to a wider audience, i.e. the parent site. It seems like a big change. $\endgroup$ – csgillespie Aug 6 '10 at 8:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 from me. Absolutely (my answer here to a prior closely-related question meta.stats.stackexchange.com/questions/35/…) $\endgroup$ – doug Aug 8 '10 at 6:28
19
$\begingroup$

I'm in favour of the change. We could add "statistical computing" to the site scope. Another language to add would be Stata.

The downside is that R questions will tend to be split between the stats.SE and SO sites. But that is happening already and our distinction of statistical questions here and programming questions on SO is rather fuzzy and almost impossible to moderate. Also, as somebody pointed out on another thread on meta, forcing people onto SO is not very friendly to newbies.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I think there is a better buzzword: "data driven computing". $\endgroup$ – user88 Aug 6 '10 at 0:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've now updated the FAQ (meta.stats.stackexchange.com/questions/6) based on the discussion here. $\endgroup$ – Rob Hyndman Aug 6 '10 at 7:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I am in favor. I also think that (sadly) programmers usually have little to contribute to R specific questions (if someone can give me some example to show the otherwise, please let me know)... $\endgroup$ – Tal Galili Aug 12 '10 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ Would asking a question on SE and SO be frowned upon, encouraged or what? $\endgroup$ – Waldir Leoncio Aug 5 '13 at 19:19
7
$\begingroup$

I think all questions reg statistical programs should be allowed with perhaps one exception. Questions about possible bugs in software should go the vendor and not posted here.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Completely agree. Bug posting on a stack exchange site is rather pointless! $\endgroup$ – csgillespie Aug 5 '10 at 12:10
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Some communities are sort of hostile to bug reports; Under the proposed increase in site scope, do you think it would be inappropriate to use this site to validate the presence of a bug as opposed to say a programing error? $\endgroup$ – russellpierce Aug 5 '10 at 15:38
6
$\begingroup$

And I was afraid that the statistical part of the community would protest against it... I am of course in favor.

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

I'm in favor of the change too; these tools are critical to the discussion in many instances.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Strongly support! I would have loved this site when I was taking engineering statistics and wrestling with Minitab all day. Also, learning R is something that I've wanted to do for a while now, and I would rather learning a statistical analysis tool (even if it is a language) from statisticians rather than programmers.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

I think there is a (small) risk issue here.

We want to bring the statistical community into StatExchange and things are still to be constructed. The R tag on SO shows that the computer science community already have riched a critical sized.

I have the feeling that allowing too many questions on computer science could create a flow of slight variantes of existing questions on SO such as "how do I accelerate this code"? "how do I store my data"? I think these questions are very interesting for this site, but I think that now it could create the impression that modeling is marginal on this site. I'm very happy to see people that are so valuable comming from SO but I would suggest that they generate themselves an equilibrium between modelling and computing...

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We, brave mods, will defeat such heresy with close and migrate ;-) $\endgroup$ – user88 Aug 6 '10 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ thanks mbq, I feel safe with jedi like you (but aren't you the mod from the dark side :) ? ) $\endgroup$ – robin girard Aug 6 '10 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @mbq: Sorry I confused with your comment. Your answer suggests that you are in favour of computing questions, but your comment suggests otherwise. $\endgroup$ – csgillespie Aug 6 '10 at 16:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Robin: I agree there is a small risk of swamping the site with R questions, but I think we will only get a small number of R questions on this site. $\endgroup$ – csgillespie Aug 6 '10 at 16:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @csgillespie I just state that it is better to allow general data computing questions and bounce this small fraction of them which will be pure programming (called "heresy" in my original comment) to SO than ban everything computer-related and have one question per day. $\endgroup$ – user88 Aug 6 '10 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @robin I'm certainly from the dark side. $\endgroup$ – user88 Aug 6 '10 at 18:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do we want to rely solely on mods for this or should there be a separate sort of voting widget on the side to allow the community to decide where the threshold for bumping something to StackOverflow should be? As it stands those who are, presumably, against this proposal haven't found their way over to meta and just are dumping comments/answers redirecting question askers. Perhaps if they had a widget they could click their input would be accounted for and they'd stop cluttering up the comments and answers. $\endgroup$ – russellpierce Aug 10 '10 at 0:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .