The title belongs to a blog post is trending today on Hacker News. Thousands of people are looking at it as I write this.

I often feel that biology.se is destined to be a minor player compared to Reddit and other forums. The idea that the site is primarily about creating a reference for the web as opposed to answering questions pushes people out.

Its short - here's a relevant bit:

It was an extremely popular post and one of the go to places on the internet to learn more about the sun.misc.Unsafe class and how it is used inside most modern libraries. It had been viewed over 40,000 times. Most discussions on the web related to the Unsafe class would refer to this post.

However, the mods at StackOverflow deemed it was not 'question worthy' enough. First they locked it prevent more answers and have now completely deleted it from StackOverflow. This was after me trying to change the title to suit the mods' requirements and countless comments on the post to not remove it.

To me a mod should be capable of doing a bit of extra work to help newbies edit questions to the point that they are readable or just letting them go until someone with the skills to answer a difficult question can come help out.

Banning and deleting and pushing the question to other SE sites should be used, in my opinion, much more rarely than it is now.

It gives the impression its run by pedants rather than helpful people. What's more, when the mods are trying to draw sharp boundaries about what they consider biology, it makes the site extra lame.

If molecular biology and biology departments in the top tier universities differ with the mods as to what is biology who is 'right'?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Moderators or any other users are answering questions voluntarily by taking out times from their routine. They are not paid to help. I do agree with you that we should try to be more helpful but I think that people should have the basic decency to respect others' time and effort. As I said somewhere, SE helps those who help themselves. We hardly migrate questions and if we do then it is because it clearly fits some other SE site. It is eventually good for the OP because they would be getting help from experts who know that area better. $\endgroup$
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 17:32
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The only grey area seems to be that of "homework" and trivial questions. We need to think what to be done with these. Also, it would be great if you can list a few questions that didn't deserve to be closed. That way we can at least find out where we are going wrong. $\endgroup$
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 17:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ BTW. Stackoverflow is never going to mod itself out of existence. It is just one guy's personal experience. I learnt all the programming I know, from stackoverflow. Likewise, we need to have quality posts. $\endgroup$
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 17:41
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ SO is in an entirely different situation than our site, it is much older and the rules changed significantly over time. This kind of question was on-topic on SO back then, it isn't now. We're not old enough to have changed our rules that much. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 20:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Pushing questions to other SE sites is entirely different from closing or deleting. I've had questions I asked here bumped to seasoned advice and from there to chemistry, but eventually I got the perfect answer from the perfect person. The system works (sometimes). I see people ask terrible questions where they're genuinely befuddled and terribly phrased(but you can kind of see where they're going with it) get shut down too quickly. It occasionally takes an edit or two and a small discussion to get a question to a state where it's answerable. That takes time, but that's okay. $\endgroup$
    – Resonating
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In my opinion (opinion based :)) the users visit Biology.SE, most likely due to the experience they had from SO. Biology.SE as a young community shouldn't take that for granted. Whenever time permits I still edit, review poorly written questions, answers in SO, most of us still write those two deja-vu lines welcome to Stackoverflow and please take a look at [this post (specially from John Skeet) how to write a good question](http://stackoverflow.com/help/how-to-ask). None of us get anything out of that. $\endgroup$
    – bonCodigo
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ But I see in Biology.SE, the welcome or come again opportunity given to first post and new joiners are relatively little. I guess our community need to be a little bit more linient towards new users and their posts. Unlike SO where answers pop up in less than 10 seconds in certain tags, a good question and a good answer demands more efforts in tripple science subjects like Biology. The speed of question-flagging for "close" and "shifting" is pretty fast here, which surely keeps me wondering. Some questions posted here may better fit in other SE sites. $\endgroup$
    – bonCodigo
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ But that fit, at times could result in trimming off the scientific aspect of a Biology questions which has higher weight on Biology, specially when moving into Seasonal Advice. It may be hlepful to have closely related inter-subject tags, similar to Biochemistry tag. So those can be used based on the weightage of a question. $\endgroup$
    – bonCodigo
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:15
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You did notice that it was someone whining (yes, I'd call that "whining" about his post being removed, right? That may not be the best source of information. Clearly it matters to him more than many others, and the question should be about moderating on this site now. I don't see a lot of inappropriate moderating. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 23:47
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think I'm one of the most fervent haters of the SE administration… but that question is really bad, I'm not surprised it got closed, and for once I also somewhat agree, after some fashion. $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any examples of the "mods trying to define what is biology" questions that got closed? From my recent experiences with the close votes, there haven't been many questions that were actually borderline biology. Also, to be pedantic, the "modded out of existence" line is a little inaccurate, since none of the users involved in the last 2 close-reopen cycles were mods. $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 23:30
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I downvoted this post because, with all due respect, I really don't understand if this question is about moderators at Biology.SE or an attack launched at StackOverflow.SE or the general SE model. Moderators are site-specific and if you find that post should have lived - post it at StackOverflow meta... if you have issues with SE at large, Meta is the place to be. To me, the linked post looks like an ill-defined, poorly defined and poorly researched question that would've received a close vote by me too, honestly, - and I am on the forgiving side of things here at Bio. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 10:40


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .