What’s The Answer? (Biostar suggestions)

Biostars is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions and issues. We are members of the Biostars_logo community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at Biostars that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those items or discussions here in this thread. You can ask questions in this thread, or you can always join in at Biostars.

This week’s highlighted discussion is about upgrades to Biostar–what would you like to have for features that would make your life better? I know the goal was suggestions for new features and not entire philosophies of what you would like there, but I went ahead and added something that would help me as an end user for many tools for which support is…well…uneven. So anyway, here’s the original question–still plenty of time to offer ideas:

Forum: Biostar on Google Summer of Code. Suggest features that you would like to see!

People often ask why Biostar is not using StackExchange or OSQA or some other software. The simple answer to these questions is that those platforms are simpler and more limiting than what scientific communities require to grow and flourish.

Thanks to the folks at Neurostars we now have a successful Google Summer of Code applicant Paolo who will start this Month (May 2014). Paolo is looking for ideas see New features and bug fixes for Biostar to work on during Google Summer of Code.

Now is a great time to list your ideas on what you think would help scientific Q&As be effective. Think big not just small or cosmetic features. For example some of my interests would be:

  1. support for natural language processing: rank posts by their information content, auto tag posts based on their content
  2. improve the automated access to Biostar content (API)

This has been posted before in New features and bug fixes for Biostar to work on during Google Summer of Code this post tries to make the call to action more clear.

Istvan Albert

And you can see my idea over there for support channels for tool developers. I love programmers, and I have found them helpful and interested in feedback when I can get in touch with them. But how to reach them can be challenging. I also think it would help them to have a public place to see and discuss stuff. With the added bonus of the community being able to offer suggestions if they know how to do something–you don’t get that with a “contact form” kind of support mechanism, you know?

Anyway–feel free to offer other ideas too.