Recently, a friend of mine expressed interest in co-organizing weekly AMA's for the Computer Science Meta community. For example, take a look at the monthly AMA's at Physics Meta.

Primary Question:

Do you think that Computer Science Meta should start doing weekly AMA's?

Secondary Questions:

  1. Would you and other community members participate in a weekly AMA including asking questions and reading responses from whoever is featured that week?

  2. Would you or any friends of yours be interested in being featured to share about their experience in the field of computer science in the format of an AMA?

  3. Who would you like to be featured so that you can ask them questions? Students, teachers, professors, researchers, programmers, software engineers, entrepreneurs, company founders, a particular person, or just someone that has an interesting, inspirational, or funny story to share?

  4. Which day of the week works best for you? What day would most motivate you to ask questions directed to the featured guest?

  5. Would you be more inclined to ask career focused questions, research focused questions, life question, questions in the pursuit of knowledge and learning, or questions about a particular topic that the featured guest has expertise in?

Feel free to answer some or all of the questions above. Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions. Thank you very much and we really appreciate all of your honest feedback and help.

  • $\begingroup$ hi MW! youre the 1st invited special guest & lets JUST DO IT™ whenever youre ready! :) can talk about your new Phd or masters in complexity theory/ awesome FSM L vs P results, great schools youve attended, top profs/ researchers youve worked with, your new job in vision/ robotics, your other interests etc! for others, more on MW in RJLipton blog rjlipton.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/level-by-level / rjlipton.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/the-power-of-guessing ... more discussion in Computer Science Chat $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 18 '17 at 6:39
  • $\begingroup$ Lol, vzn is just buttering me up... Let's see what people in the cs community think about having weekly AMA's and then we can go from there. :) $\endgroup$ – Michael Wehar Feb 18 '17 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ In general, I like the idea although I wouldn't have much time to participate. At the very least, I'd be interested in seeing what was asked and what the answers were, but maybe that's it :-) (I think David is right that this should happen on chat). Thanks for suggesting the idea and being active! $\endgroup$ – Juho Feb 20 '17 at 20:14
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    $\begingroup$ TeX - LaTeX used to have interviews on their blog. Personally, I'd prefer that format over "AMA"s. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Feb 20 '17 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ cs related guest Mithrandir in Physics chat room on aug 22 physics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10085/… $\endgroup$ – vzn Aug 15 '17 at 5:04

The original proposal seemed to be to hold the AMA itself on meta, which isn't what meta is for. If there is an AMA, it should be on chat.

I also note that the AMA on Physics seems to have run monthly but then had a hiatus of several months. Physics is a rather larger community than ours (they have 133 users who've earnt 100+ reputation so far this month; we have 25) so it seems unlikely that we could sustain weekly AMAs when they couldn't even manage monthly.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi David, thank you very much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. You're right!! It seems that AMA's don't fit with "what meta is for" as described in the link that you provided. Also, it seems that the Physics AMA's died out and then started up again recently. $\endgroup$ – Michael Wehar Feb 20 '17 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ I hope to hear from a few other members of the community to either reinforce David's answer or provide a new perspective. Any feedback is encouraged and welcomed. Thank you. :) $\endgroup$ – Michael Wehar Feb 20 '17 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ Also, to add to the details of what Physics Meta does, they post an announcement and question poll. Then, they carry out the AMA in the chat. $\endgroup$ – Michael Wehar Feb 20 '17 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ definitely the announcement of this idea is suitable/ supportive for meta discussion and increasing usage/ site promotion of Computer Science, something it seems many high rep users tend to take for granted or give no serious attention to. the physics AMA is still active in fact a new one runs today! 5 meetings is far more than Computer Science has ever acccomplished. it is true that the effort/ project may go into periods of dormancy depending on availability of guests and contributions of organizers etc.; do not think a weekly AMA is feasible on any SE site. a semirecurring event is not "dead". $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 20 '17 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ @vzn It originally appeared that the proposal was to do the AMA itself on meta; that would be inappropriate. And, yes, the physics AMA has been revived; maybe I should have said it went into a coma, rather dying. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Feb 20 '17 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ DR LOL thx so much for your conscientious revision of terminology! totally agreed running the AMA on meta itself (an idea thrown around elsewhere but not being proposed here by MW) is not a great idea esp on CS based on the "personality" of local inhabitants. it wasnt clear from your original phrasing if you were rejecting the mere discussion/ proposal of the idea for events "somewhere" eg chat etc.... $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 20 '17 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ @vzn I rephrased my answer to make these points clearer, and removed the rather emotive dead/coma phrasing. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Feb 20 '17 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe we should open chat room with AMA? I have the same opinion, that weekly might not work. Also in current form, some kind of poll for topics would be nice, but honestly if poll results will be disjoint, there will be rather small number of readers. Also I do not see this to be easy task, to convince someone to be a speaker. Even thinking about people active here. $\endgroup$ – Evil Feb 20 '17 at 18:37

Interesting proposal, but I don't think an AMA is the best format for this site. The 'M' part is the part that I think doesn't really fit, why should the focus be on only one person? Couldn't other experts also have good or even better answers to your questions? If you want to know something related to that person in particular, you can simply use the chat without creating a big event.

Therefore, I think a much more interesting event would be an 'expert panel' of some sort about a specific topic, for the following reasons:

  1. We wouldn't be limited to the expertise or fame of a single person
  2. Since the 'title' of the panel will be a certain topic in CS, even people who do not know a single member of the panel can be interested in participating.
  3. CS has a lot of sub-fields and wildly varying topics. Having panels that restrict themselves to one of these topics can be great to get more knowledge about the many topics related to CS.
  4. After the panel, useful Q&A's can be preserved in a reference question (this is also possible for the AMA, but it feels more natural in this context)

Of course, the obvious disadvantage is that we would have to find more than one person to participate on the answering side. On the other hand, we can lower our standards as to whom would be suitable (A panel of three serious researchers can be as valuable as an AMA with the leader in their field). Also, since CS is so fragmented, someone 'famous' inside a certain field could be virtually unknown to anyone outside the field, so a 'famous' person might not even exist for some fields!

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    $\begingroup$ Do we have "famous" people on CS.SE? $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Feb 21 '17 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby yes, we do. $\endgroup$ – Evil Feb 21 '17 at 19:58
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby I have seen some names here that remind me of theorems named after them. I think that for our purposes, that is 'famous' enough. $\endgroup$ – Discrete lizard Feb 22 '17 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ there are many very accomplished members of Computer Science and Theoretical Computer Science but there is some challenge in getting them to engage more regularly or outside the standard Q/A format... :| $\endgroup$ – vzn Feb 27 '17 at 6:05

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