Proposal: Bioinformatics

I’m not at all active in the BioStar community so I’d like people from there to comment on this discussion.

However, a lot of people in the comments of the bioinformatics proposal are clamoring to support BioStar instead of that proposal. Of course, this doesn’t work since there is no BioStar proposal so far.

Furthermore, the bioinformatics proposal already has the required 60 followers and is well on its way into the next stage of the launch. Why disrupt this by diverting energy to another proposal? Strategically speaking, this doesn’t make sense.

I would prefer the BioStar people to endorse this proposal and make it their own. For example, the site content could then be seeded using the current BioStar data.

By the way, this is not meant to usurp BioStar. But since there currently is no such proposal, and since two competing bioinformatics proposals will just harm each other, I think we need to get behind a single proposal. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 10:26
Of course, this is valid ONLY if BioStar would have any plans at all to join the Stack Exchange 2.0 network... Here is their meta discussion place: –  Dan Dumitru Mar 22 '11 at 10:36
@Dan That is true but I think there are good reasons to stay with the platform … the software is almost certainly more mature, Stack Exchange will attract more people to the site with their cross-site advertisement and media presence and seeding the site with existing data is trivial. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 12:30
Konrad, I just spent a couple of minutes trying to find some specifics about migration from SE1.0 to SE2.0. Jeff gave 2 examples in his answer to my tweet you linked to, but in order to encourage most active BioStar contributors to support this proposal, some detailed description about whole process is expected. What (users,questions,answers,comments,tags,badges,reputation) and when is going to be imported to newly created Bioinformatics SE 2.0 site. Any chances you know the location of document outlining this? –  piobyz Jul 1 '11 at 8:10
@piobyz That’s a good question but unfortunately I don’t know the answer. Maybe a moderator can shed light on this. –  Konrad Rudolph Jul 1 '11 at 8:26
@Konrad OK, I've just sent mail to Pedro, and tweeted Jeff about details. –  piobyz Jul 1 '11 at 8:33
Hi all! I'm not sure how everything works with the BioStar guys... the community is divided and I don't really know what's the best option. I'm also not sure if they'll close the original BioStar website if there isn't a new community. If you look at the proposal page it is at 15%. On the right sidebar you can click the "more info" link to know the exact numbers (200+). But we need more and more people to get it working. So, start sharing,tweeting,liking,+1'ing... In the next stage, it launches in beta and that's when we need to prove it is worth it! (That is, we need to generate traffic!) –  Pedro Lopes Jul 4 '11 at 11:16

6 Answers 6

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There seems to be a lot of fear about the death of BioStar and the loss of its content and users. To allay these fears, I'll tell you about a similar process which happened to Electrical Engineering.

A long time ago, there was a site called It was a support forum for a hobbyist electronics reseller,, but also a general electronics Q&A. This site (like BioStar) existed on the Stack Exchange 1.0 platform.

Then, the Stack Exchange 2.0 fad hit. An Electronics Design proposal was started on Area51, (much like the Bioinformatics proposal) with the comment

This would be the SE 2.0 version of Chiphacker

It passed through the Area51 process, and (amidst great stress about the future of Chiphacker and the defunct previous "Electronics Exchange" SE 1.0 site, see What about Electronics and Robotics in Area51? - this could be aleviated with a little communication), emerged with a complete migration of the Chiphacker site to In fact, Chiphacker now redirects to Electronics.SE, and some users still access the site that way. Other than a prettier UI and cool new features, users won't notice a difference.

See What happened to Chiphacker? Electronics Exchange? for more information on the process. This has also happened at Personal Finance and Money and Startup Business which seem to be doing OK.

For Biostar, you'll want to talk to the site admin, who seems to be Dr. István Albert based on the link in the footer(though you probably knew that) and see if he wants to migrate to SE 2.0. If he supports a migration, then vote this proposal through, ask him to set up a redirect, and enjoy the benefits of an SE 2.0 site. If not, well, you're correct, there's little point in starting an SE 2.0 site. Better to transition to OSQA.

Thanks for the great input. Alas, it’s too late, the fate of BioStar has been decided – in favour of a separate site, rather than on Stack Exchange 2.0. –  Konrad Rudolph Dec 29 '11 at 9:04
@KonradRudolph - Ah, I didn't see that anywhere; I just found this confusion and misinformation. That ought to be the accepted answer to this question! If it's been discussed elsewhere, then quote that discussion here, and self-accept your answer. Best of luck to your community... –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 29 '11 at 14:10

Please also crosspost this to the BioStar Google group:

The fact is that I will not support a proposal. This may seem churlish, but I have been waiting 10 months for the Astronomy SE2 site to get out of the commit phase, and that has way more activity than a Bioinformatics SE2 proposal will ever get.

I do not think that even with the weight of the existing BioStar community this proposal will get off the ground. 60 followers will get this proposal nowhere fast.

Why not come on board to BioStar instead and if the SE1 site is closed down we will most likely move to OSQA, community intact and in charge of our own destiny. Go and look at BioStar - we have over 1500 questions answered.

The ONLY way I would support a Bioinformatics SE2 proposal would be to migrate BioStar to SE2 - no commit phase, no beta phase with users, reputation and question intact. I'm not dividing my effort between two proposals. Lots of mods work very hard to keep BioStar going, it's not a trivial effort to keep posts cleaned up, tagged, answered, encourage people, interact with them off-list. We are all busy people. Lots of us are happy with the existing solution and we We already have a strong community long since built around Twitter and Friendfeed PRIOR to BioStar even existing.

Another platform is of course a possibility but it loses you many of the SE advantages – such as “cross pollination” mentioned by Jeff in the comments here: Personally I think staying with a mature software with a lot of marketing power behind them is beneficial and I don’t see the beta phase as a deterrent. My experience with the tex.SE beta was immensely positive. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 10:42
Absolutely agree with Daniel: either migration of BioStar to SE2 "as is" or we'll look after ourselves, thanks. Whoever proposed Bioinformatics SE2 in the first place would have done well to check for the existence of BioStar first. –  neilfws Mar 22 '11 at 10:48
@neilfws I’m not sure whether migration as-is can be done. I agree that this would be good (or even essential). Let’s see whether someone from SE is going to comment. “Whoever proposed Bioinformatics SE2 in the first place would have done well to check for the existence of BioStar first” – why? In fact, BioStar wasn’t even the first bioinformatics Stack Exchange community, at least one other (now defunct) existed prior to that – why didn’t BioStar check for its existence? Also remember that the whole process is driven by the communityyou. Take control of the proposal. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 10:55
Relevant blog post on the destiny of SE 1.0 sites: –  Matt Parker Mar 22 '11 at 14:03
er, didn't astronomy just reach 100% commit and is in our queue to launch as a private beta? –  Jeff Atwood May 28 '11 at 8:27
Yes Jeff, and I posted my first question there today thanks :) –  DrDanielSwan Jun 2 '11 at 8:13
@dswan - If you want to ignore the Area51 process, it can happen transparently, and has in at least three earlier cases. You're welcome to ignore the Area51 phase (though it seems to be too late for that); one day you'll log in and see the SE 2.0 site, your reputation will be intact (save a recalc for the new scoring system, it should be mostly the same unless all your rep is from questions and sock puppets), the questions and answers will all be a member of a previous SE 1.0 -> SE 2.0, I can tell you that it's going to be OK! –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 29 '11 at 3:09

I would support Neil and Daniel in their stance. BioStar exists, works well, has a lot of high quality questions and answers. The Bioinformatics proposal here is unhelpful in that it threatens to split an already small community. The BlueObelisk StackExchange site (a site for the computational chemistry community) was faced with a similar situation and as a response moved over to its new home on Shapado ( where it continues to do well and has an engaged community. The only justification for building a rival effort was if it did something radically better or different than the existing site - and so far I cannot see that.

@Nico: the new proposal was almost certainly made in ignorance of the existence of BioStar, and not meant as a rival. That’s why I proposed that the existing community get behind the effort and take over. It will only be a rival if you ignore it and let it grow independently … and I agree that this must not happen. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 12:05

Did you see this analysis predicting that Bioinformatics would fail at SE 2.0?

Of course, this doesn’t work since there is no BioStar proposal so far.

No, there is no BioStar proposal, but there is BioStar itself. So, to ask a similar question to yours: Why divert energy from the existing community to a not-yet-existing community?

@user6802 I saw it, and commented there. I think the analysis in this blog post is wrong – read the comments. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 10:56
“So, to ask a similar question to yours: Why divert energy from the existing community to a not-yet-existing community?” – because unless a proposal is made, this community is going to die. I fear that you misunderstand how the Stack Exchange 2.0 process works. The existing 1.0 communities are living on borrowed time. In order to maintain them as-is, a proposal must be made here. The alternative is the migration to another software. The whole point of a proposal is to keep BioStar running – not in its current form but hopefully close. Either way, the current BioStar will die. –  Konrad Rudolph Mar 22 '11 at 10:58
I just read that blog post and I think it's abusing Joels post about closing Atheism to point out why SE2.0 wouldn't work. To date there have been only three closed proposals: Gadgets (too broad lots of unanswered questions), AI (no experts and relatively poor questions) and now Atheism. There are and have been several other sites that got a much longer incubation time, because they managed to produce high quality content and that's what SE2.0 is about. Whether or not you guys are willing to move to it is another question... –  Ivo Flipse Mar 22 '11 at 23:01

I would hope we would come up with a solution that we don't make any one angry, don't split the community and run the most up to date platform. Biostar is not running the latest version and should perhaps clearly state when it will upgrade.

The ship has sailed months ago. Biostars now has its own, independent platform. –  Konrad Rudolph Jun 4 '12 at 20:41

Reading this makes me REALLY angry. Especially:

The whole point of a proposal is to keep BioStar running – not in its current form but hopefully close. Either way, the current BioStar will die.

So they come with a new system, without considering past work. They have an idea, post it, and if suddenly someone appears to be ahead, they acknowledge, but demand to adapt to their standards. This is the world upside down.

Lets say we do it their way. What do want to achieve. The first stage after the launch consists of commiters making up possible questions, to proof that good questions can be asked. Even there biostar is ahead of them.

I will certainly not support a proposal. Even if you make it to the next level, I expect my contributions the be of the form Duplicate question see biostar.

I really don't see your position here. Stackechange has proven its value but for the sake of new technology (as far as I understand) you propose throwing away the child with the bathwater.

You completely distort what I have said, to such a degree that I cannot help but suspect malice. There is no “me”, “my” or “I” (in particular, this isn’t my proposal!). I am completely impartial here. All that I have tried, and obviously failed, to do is to provide an overview about how the Stack Exchange system works, since some members of the BioStack community were obviously operating on false premises, and reaching wrong conclusions. I tried to rectify this. Nothing more. In particular, I didn’t say, nor imply, any of the things you accuse me of here. –  Konrad Rudolph Jun 22 '11 at 11:13
Furthermore, it would have helped if you had read the other answers, and my comments to them since much of what you alleged is already answered there. Please take the time. –  Konrad Rudolph Jun 22 '11 at 11:14
Point taken, I have adapted my answer accordingly. –  Andra Jun 22 '11 at 16:01
@Andra - You've removed the personal direction, but failed to address the factual problems with your post. The previous work would be migrated, not destroyed. The example questions and scope definition is merely an opportunity to address issues with the current SE 1.0 community; they may well be duplicates of Biostar questions. Your concerns are baseless; the only thing that will die is the old SE 1.0 software. –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 29 '11 at 3:06

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