Notwithstanding that both statsSE and mathSE are both stackexchange sites, and share a similar subject matter, often attended by the same or similar groups of people, I have noticed what I would describe as different 'cultural norms' between life on statsSE and life on mathSE, just as New York is different to Washington. I find this somewhat intriguing and I thought I might enquire if others have noticed the same?
New users: The first issue that brought this difference of culture to light to me was the way questions from new users are handled. Over at mathSE, questions from new users are often treated with little respect or encouragement, and even if the question is novel or of research value, such questions are sometimes CLOSED DOWN (inappropriately in my view). By contrast, here at statsSE, my impression is that a new user is encouraged to make changes (if they are needed), that mods are familiar with the subject matter they are modding, and that experienced users try generally to be helpful.
Moderators: over here on statsSE, one feels that if one has the need to call on moderators, they are there to protect the interest of users or the pursuit of knowledge, virtue and veritas.
As an example: a few days ago, a new user posed a nice problem to mathSE, which reduced to the following after some clarification:
Let $Z \sim N(0,1)$ and $X \sim N(\mu,\sigma^2)$ be independent random variables. Is it possible to find a closed-form solution for the pdf of $Y=Z X^2$ ?
This question was closed down on mathSE. It might look easy, but it is actually a very difficult problem (I don't even know if a solution exists) and a great little question, even in a simpler form. I raised my concern over the treatment of the new user and the closing of the question ... see, for instance, this thread I posed yesterday:
... and in return, instead of the question being opened up again:
a) the question got deleted (i.e. hide the evidence)
b) the same mods then tried to close the meta question about the question!
This reminds me a little of a quip about the difference between calling in the police (i.e. moderators) in Canada vs the USA. In Canada, if you call the police, they come to keep the public safe. In the US, if you call the police, YOU risk getting shot.
And maybe this is the advantage of statsSE - of staying focused and small - avoiding the pitfalls of growing so large in the number and breadth of questions that the site become de-personalised, with moderators forced to deal with subject matter that they are not familiar with. By contrast, statsSE is like a cool little European town pub.
- Voting: statsSE users seem much more friendly and convivial in their warmth and friendliness, and willingness to up vote both questions and answers
I am curious if others have noted such differences, or indeed any other cultural norms / differences that have emerged between the sites?