I have been seeing a number of questions come up that are more neuroscience related and are likely more appropriate for Cognitive Sciences SE.

I realize that this has come up before in this Biology Meta SE question (Redirect more people to Cognitive Sciences SE?), but it is now 1 year 8 months later and CSSE is likely more established.

Looking at their Area 51 Stats, it appears that the community is doing very well, but could use to up their daily number of questions. Having the ability to flag questions to redirect them to that site would help them get passed the Beta phase as well as give the questions a better chance of receiving a quality answer.


While there were a couple of posts rolled up in this discussion, this was the question in particular https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/39914/can-anyone-see-what-is-wrong-with-this-implementation-of-the-pinsky-rinzel-model that prompted me to post this.

I understand the difference between questions that can be answered here and those that really should be there, and I think that the moderators understand that as well. It is sort of like this xkcd piece: It is sort of like this xkcd piece

xkcd: Purity

We have a flag to move to chemistry, so that either leaves us using the mod flag or just ignoring the question entirely. I don't think that is a good thing for either site or for the OP.

  • $\begingroup$ Totally agreed! $\endgroup$
    – TanMath
    Oct 26, 2015 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ Good question! I only downvoted because I disagree with the idea, not because of its quality. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Oct 26, 2015 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ There should be a cartoon of fields arranged by coolness. Clearly the guy holding the octopus wins. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Nov 2, 2015 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ I've found that often there are ways of answering those sort of questions either biologically or psychologically/sociologically. Often our communities' attempts at the latter are full of misunderstanding, verbose explanations, or plainly incorrect and the former answers are the SE equivalent of shrugging with a puzzled expression! I'm not really sure if those questions are valuable here. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Nov 4, 2015 at 3:14

2 Answers 2


We should have a consensus here. I do not think flagging every neuroscience related question cogsi.se is a great idea. There are specific areas that that suit cogsci.se better. I think we can migrate questions on following subjects:

We need not migrate neurophysiology, neuroanatomy and molecular neuroscience questions because we have users who have expertise in these areas.

  • $\begingroup$ I think that they have taken over the mandate for neurobiology as well. From On Topic FAQ: "- Cognitive science - Psychology (e.g., cognitive, social, developmental, biological, applied, clinical, organizational, etc.) - Psychiatry - Neuroscience and neurobiology"; Under the neurobiology tag, they have many questions on neuroanatomy, neurons and neuronal development, neurotransmitters, etc. It pretty much mirrors the shift you are starting to see in academics where neurobiologists are apart even from other molecular biologist, cell biologists and geneticists. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Oct 26, 2015 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ @AMR yes there can be areas that are common to two sites. I just said that we should not migrate the ones that can be addressed by the general principles of cell biology, molecular biology and genetics. They are very well on-topic here. I understand your point on academic niches and I am actually against specialized degree courses (at least by name) for undergraduate studies. $\endgroup$
    Oct 26, 2015 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AMR And it is good to be concerned about our sister site but I think we have to be a bit selfish too. We are a graduated site but we haven't created an impact like Physics or Mathematics. $\endgroup$
    Oct 26, 2015 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ That is just an issue of self-selection. Stack-Overflow is monstrous by comparison to those because, well, programmers are used to looking for answers on computers. Physicists, Engineers, and Mathematicians also are used to incorporating computers into their work and research. Biology has only very recently gotten involve with computers. Many biologists are still microscopes, agarose, and cold-rooms, and haven't really adopted a computer-based mentality. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Oct 26, 2015 at 8:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AMR As far as I'm concerned, one SE-site doesn't have any mandate to determine the scope of another SE-site (since they are formed by different user communities). Whether neurobiology is on-topic at Bio-SE is therefore for us to determine, no the users of Cognitive Sciences-SE. I agree with @_WYSIWYG that the topics listed above are suitable for CogSci-SE most of the time though. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2015 at 12:45

The overlap between the sites has been a topic of much debate. A recent meta post there has pointed out the consensus that every basic Neurobiology question is on-topic there (albeit it may fit Biology just as well, and arguably even better). More importantly, there is an active voting procedure ongoing there to change the name of the site and it looks PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE is the big winner. They are indeed in need for more questions, as @AMR rightfully pointed out. More importantly, however, the name change is quite necessary, because the site has been accepting basic Neuroscience questions for a long time (addressed here) and is actively welcoming them now. "Cognitive Sciences" is a deceptive site name indeed, and its unfortunate name has kept me from becoming active on the site for quite a while.

Having said all this, I think we should never consider migrating basic Neuroscience questions to CogSci. I think the consensus will eventually be that Neurobiology is where Bio and CogSci overlap. They do so now, and they will likely do so in the future. In terms of neurophysiology, folks are better off here at Bio given the expertise here. In terms of behavior, they are better of there. But in terms of ontopicness, they fit both sites. Being a neurobiologist focusing on electrophysiology and psychophysics, I cover the Neurobiology area-of-overlap. The pitch of my answers at CogSci and at Bio is not so different and they are (generally :-) welcomed on either side.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The highest voted answer to the meta-post that you're referring to is saying: "I think questions that are strictly neurobiology with no connection to psychological/cognitive processes should be closed and we should encourage those questions to be asked at Bio.SE.", which seems to indicate that "strictly neurobiology" should not be posted at CogSci-SE. I don't know the day-to-day functioning of that site well enought not to say whether that is true though. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2015 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @fileunderwater - thanks for that, I'll look into it. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Oct 26, 2015 at 22:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ See edit. More than 15 characters in length... $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Oct 28, 2015 at 2:31

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