Please take a look at this proposal: Machine Learning > On Topic

I would like your opinion if these on-topic questions would be welcomed on this site:

  • I am using a neural network with the backpropagation algorithm. How can I calculate significance of each input variable on the output?
  • What is the best software for performing Gaussian Process regression?
  • What is the best R package to use for support vector machines (SVMs)?
  • Given a dataset, how do I determine the best ratio of training to test data for a supervised learning algorithm?
  • Generally, when are Hessian-based optimization methods preferable to first order methods?
  • If I have an undirected, tree-structured model, what's the most efficient way to pull an exact sample from its distribution?
  • Why does the kernelized support vector machine algorithm care that the kernel function be positive semi-definite? What happens if it isn't?

If they are consistently on-topic, I will be closing that proposal as a duplicate and inviting those users to Stats.stackexchange.


2 Answers 2


These are all on-topic and already included in our FAQ. We decided this a long time ago: Is machine learning a part of statistical analysis?. It is one of the most popular tags on the main site: https://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/machine-learning. Plus three of the four moderators have already said the same in comments on the machine learning proposal.

Our community will really benefit from this merger, and I believe that they will also benefit from the strength of the existing community here.

In order to entice that community further, I would be quite happy for @hadronzoo (the creator of that proposal) to take over my role as moderator (or to become a 5th moderator). http://area51.stackexchange.com/users/3992/hadronzoo

  • $\begingroup$ I vote for the latest option (5th moderator) :) $\endgroup$
    – chl
    Commented Oct 9, 2010 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. Very happy to have @hadronzoo join the moderation team. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2010 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ And yes, all the questions are on topic. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Commented Oct 10, 2010 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer (and I agree with everything you said) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2010 at 13:35

I see that the Machine Learning proposal was closed as a duplicate by Robert Cartaino. Let me just reiterate to anyone coming from that proposal that we want to make every effort to accommodate the community on this site, and invite suggestions about changes that can be made.


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