I was trying to see which site was most suitable to my question between TCS, CS and CompSci when I glanced at the on-topic list. Surprisingly, the list appears to be a little empty. Any chance it could be filled up?


1 Answer 1


Yeah, we do have a bit of a problem. Computer scientists know very well what computer science is about, but non-computer scientists don't. The definition doesn't lend itself well to bullet points. To make things more complex, the names are confusing: computer science isn't the science of computers, and isn't the same thing as computational science.

We've debated what to put in the FAQ before, and again, but nothing really useful came out of that.

I've populated the on-topic list and the about page. Feedback welcome as to whether it's comprehensible and helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ I did feel that was probably the issue. Rather than creating bullet points where none come easily, how about just adding a generic description of the intended audience and mentioning some of the topics covered in the form of a paragraph? It would be primarily a visual difference (compared to bullets) but I think it would be more appropriate. $\endgroup$
    – asheeshr
    Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AsheeshR We already had the audience there: “students, researchers and practitioners of computer science”. I'm not convinced that an enumeration in a paragraph would be better than as a bulletted list. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ Nice job on the FAQ/on-topic list! Off the top of my head, the only think I think I'd still like to see based on previous threads is an addition to the second list recommending Programmers for questions about software engineering, development and design questions. Would it be worth making a new question for ideas to polish the FAQ...? $\endgroup$
    – Patrick87
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Patrick87 I think this should be discussed on Software Engineering Meta. The scope of Progse is hard to understand, I'd rather have them vet what we propose. Or simply not mention them: there's a scope ambiguity on program design questions between SO and Progse, and it's not CS.SE's place to take sides on this issue. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ It couldn't hurt to ask their opinion, but as we've already discussed before, around 2/3 or more of their topics are the sole subject matter of software engineering. Based on that, I don't think it's presumptuous to assume that such questions would be welcome there. I think there are some ambiguities around what belongs on Progse vs. SO, but I don't see software engineering as one of them. $\endgroup$
    – Patrick87
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Patrick87 But we don't get a lot of questions about SE. In /about and /help we should only mention common cases. Programming questions, we get that a lot. Algorithm design, program modeling, and other SO/Progse ambiguous topics are often also ambiguous for CS. Computational science vs computer science is a common confusion. On the other hand, as a rule people don't turn to us for SE questions, so we don't need to tell them where to go. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ No need to get too defensive about this - I think the FAQ looks good. Mine is a relatively minor criticism which needn't be implemented if you really have some sort of hang-up about suggesting people consider another site for software engineering questions. Regarding the substance of the last comment - I'm not sure I've perceived questions about computational science as being so much more common here than questions about software engineering. Perhaps tagging is inconsistent, but there are more [software-engineering] questions here than there are [numerical-analysis] questions, FWIW. $\endgroup$
    – Patrick87
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Patrick87 We don't get many computational science questions, but we get quite a bit of meta activity: meta.cs.stackexchange.com/q/572 meta.cs.stackexchange.com/q/589 plus various times I've had to explain this in the SE moderators' chatroom. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ It looks good. We may also add Electrical Engineering for people who want to know about how hardware works in addition to Super User. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ Do we need to revisit these pages? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 17:46

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