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Consider the question Introductory books on nature sciences behind bioinformatics. Beside the fact that it is a book question and those are arguably always problematic, it seems to be more about biology than computer science. How should we deal with such questions?

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    $\begingroup$ I think such a question can be fine if answering it essentially needs computer science knowledge. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Apr 10 '12 at 5:50
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if best_persons_to_answer(question) ∩ Computer_scientists ≫ ∅
then Is_fine_here(question)
else Should_be_closed(question)

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    $\begingroup$ sets don't admit a total order :) - sorry, bad joke $\endgroup$ – Suresh Apr 10 '12 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ This is potentially the best criterion I've seen so far for deciding on-topicness. The only thing that might need to be added is '&& ! \exists site \in SE : question \in site's_reason_for_existing(site)'. $\endgroup$ – Alex ten Brink Apr 12 '12 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ @AlextenBrink: I don't think that is a necessary criterion. In particular, there are questions than can exist on multiple sites. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Apr 13 '12 at 10:39
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I would say that recommendations for any reference material must involve computer science at some level and more importantly are focused from a computer science vantage point.

I think the question referenced, in its current form, is not appropriate for this forum. It seems that the question referenced needs to be refocused to ask "what level of biology background is necessary for study in bioinformatics". This way it is both asked from the view point of computer science and answerable within this forum.

I think the person who answered the question did a good job keeping this in line with CS, I think the question should be modified to reflect this.

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The question at hand does clearly not ask for a computer science related answer, nor is it likely that a computer scientist can provide a better answer than a biologist. Therefore I think that that particular question should be closed.

In general, there may be questions worth asking but I think it is elementary that a computer science viewpoint is essential for answering the questions. Examples that come to mind are of didactic nature, e.g. "What is a good analogy to explain [math/physics/... concept] to CS students?", or questions that specifically ask for cases where something moved across borders, e.g. "What inspired the naming of 'phase transitions' in the context of SAT hardness?".

We should be very quick to close questions like "Why is [other science concept X] not used in CS?" or "Problems with my minors: How to calculate this [other science exercise]?".

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    $\begingroup$ Someone studying bioinformatics should surely be able to answer the question at hand. $\endgroup$ – Dave Clarke Apr 12 '12 at 7:08

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