A new Q&A website for Data-Analysis (based on StackOverFlow engine) – is waiting for you

June 17, 2010
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(This article was first published on R-statistics blog » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The bottom line of this post is for you to go to: Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Statistical Analysis And commit yourself to using the website for asking and answering questions. If you are looking for the reasons to do so - read on...

What is the StackOverFlow Q&A website about?

StackOverFlow.com (“SO” for short) is a programming Q & A site that’s free. Free to ask questions, free to answer questions, free to read. Free, And fast.

For the R community, SO offers a growing database of R related questions and answer (click the link to check them out).

You might be asking yourself what’s so special about SO over other available resources such as R mailing lists, R blogs, R wiki and so on?
That is a great question.

The answer is that SO succeeds in doing a great job synthesizing aspects of Wikis, Blogs, Forums, and Digg/Reddit to offer a very powerful Q&A website.

In SO, the new questions are like forum/blog posts (A main text with comments/answers). After someone answers a question, other users can give a thumb-up or a thumb-down to the answer (like digg/reddit). And all content can be edited, like a wiki page, by the users (provided the user has enough “karma points”).
You also get badges (“awards”) for a bunch of actions (like coming to the website every day for a month. Giving an answer that got X amount of thumb-ups and so on). The awards allows someone who is asking a question to see how much the person who had answered him has good reputation (in terms of acceptance/appreciation of his answers by other SO members).
It also offers a small (but effective) ego-boost for the person who gives answers.

So if StackOverFlow is so great – what is this new website you wrote about in the title?

Well, StackOverFlow has one limitation. It deals ONLY with programming questions. Other questions like:

  • Which of the following three graphics best displays this data set? Why?
  • Can you give an example of where I might prefer to use a z-test vs a t-test?
  • What is the relationship between Bayesian and neural networks?

Will not be answered, and the threads will get closed as being “off topic”. Why? because such questions are dealing with: statistics, data analysis, data mining, data visualization – But in no means in programming.

So there is no StackOverFlow-like Q&A website for data analysis… Until now!

In the past few weeks, Rob Hyndman and other users, have made much effort to push the creation of a new website, based on the StackOverFlow engine, to allow for statistically related Q&A.
His proposal for a new website is almost complete. All it need is for you (yes you), to go to the following link:
Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Statistical Analysis
And commit yourself to the website (that is, declare that you will have interest in reading, asking and answering questions on it)

Once a few more tens of people will commit – the website will go online.

Hope to see you there.

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