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As some of you may have notice, the 3D-em proposal on Area51 got quite a number of followers (142 currently).

It is

for scientists doing biology 3D electron microscopy, from sample preparation to image processing, including data acquisition.

Since even so many followers may not be enough to get it to public beta, I was thinking that perhaps a tag on Biology.SE could be used as an alternative. I just asked about it in a discussion on the proposal.

Just to make sure: am I right that example questions from that proposal would be on topic here?

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  • $\begingroup$ You might want to check out the bioinformatics.SE site, they formed out of a similar proposal. A lot of those questions would be on-topic here (as are a lot of the bioinformatics ones), except for the ones that are purely technical questions with no underlying biology. In my opinion, "My protein aggregates on cryo grids but seems fine in negative stain. Why does this happen and how can I overcome this?" is an acceptable technical question here, whereas "How do I create a mask for a region of my protein?" is probably not. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Feb 14 '18 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ I would add that biology.SE is a pretty small community, so it's tough to get answers to high-end questions here. It's simply that biology is a hugely diverse field and each of us is probably the one and only expert in our field here. I'd also wonder, why a cryo-EM specific stack? Why not something more broad covering all EM? Or even biological microscopy/histology in general? $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Feb 14 '18 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause cryo-EM is closer to macromolecular cystallography than to histology. It's clear that some questions may not get answers. But if technical questions about experimental methods in biology are not on-topic -- this is a bigger problem. $\endgroup$ – marcin Feb 14 '18 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ Ah okay, thanks for the clarification, see - not my field of biology. :) I think the types of questions that we were rejecting here that led to the creation of bioinformatics.SE were the repeated questions about software packages, etc - sort of like how R programming questions are not on-topic at stats.SE unless there is an underlying question about the stats. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Feb 14 '18 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ I think you summed it up with this statement: "I suppose that CryoEM questions would be on-topic and welcomed on Biology.SE. On the other hand, attracting experts to a more general-purpose site would be more difficult." If there is not enough interest in a cryo-EM site, perhaps you need to expand the scope, as BryanKrause suggested, to include all of microscopy or, perhaps, molecular biology. I would certainly be interested in the latter proposal. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Feb 14 '18 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer I agree, but I doubt if even a molecular biology proposal would make it. So as the next step in expanding the scope we come to Biology.SE. BTW I see that splitting biology was discussed here: biology.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3475/… $\endgroup$ – marcin Feb 15 '18 at 14:18

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