NOTICE: Here is the link to the question: How much does the biosphere contribute to Earth's entropy production

The biosphere is the point in the Earth's Atmosphere is where life is able to breathe a breath. This question (links above) really doesn't touch into the Earth Science Guidelines and would need to be more Geographical in the body text.

The "What topics can I ask" In the help center of Earth Science does not mention Biology. Yet that question I linked at the very top is not revised, edited, migrated, or deleted. Anthony is a new contributor so I'm sure he is not familiar with the Earth Science Guidelines

What do you think? Should Anthony's Question be migrated or deleted, possibly revised? Also, I want the community to come together and start a discussion on whether Biology should or not be allowed.

Is it worth Deleting Anthony's question also?

  • $\begingroup$ (note I'm not a new contributor on ES) $\endgroup$
    – Tardy
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 11:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Earth Sciences are multidisciplinary and touch on biology. We have tags as ecology, biogeochemistry, geobiology, biomass, paleontology,.... that are somehow related to biology. I think questions are on topic when they touch other aspects of Earth as elements cycles or geology in general. $\endgroup$
    – user20559
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner Paleontology has some way to do with Rocks and sediment that covers the fossil named, GeoBiology is not Biology, it is how life interacts with Abiotic and geographical things, In other words, the coexistence with Life and Earth itself. Biomass is a specific category and Botanic function of Biology. $\endgroup$
    – Tardy
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ I do appreciate your well-thought-out comment though. $\endgroup$
    – Tardy
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. Just some thoughts. $\endgroup$
    – user20559
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think the most controversial tag is ecology $\endgroup$
    – user20559
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


I agree that the help center page could make it look like this question is off-topic, but I think it's on-topic for this site. A key point from that page is,

The above list is not exhaustive, so if you feel your question is about earth science, go ahead and post it.

so, in that respect, the user was following the guidelines in posting the question.

In the past we've used a rule of thumb that if the subject is covered by the AGU or EGU, then it's on-topic here. For example, we used this to agree that questions about planetary atmospheres, such as Mars and Venus, are on-topic even though they would also be on-topic for Physics.SE and possibly Astronomy.SE. Similarly, there was a meta question about ecology where the answer was "it depends"; some ecology questions are suitable for here, some are better suited at Biology.SE.

Ultimately, that entropy question is asking about global energy flows and biogeochemical cycles, which is very much on-topic for this site. I've spent a lot of my career working on climate and the global carbon cycle (e.g., photosynthesis, biomass), but I think of myself as an Earth system scientist rather than a biologist. In my experience, a lot of people working in this area have math and physics backgrounds and self-identify in a similar way.

The real question here is whether this site has enough experts to answer the question. Thematically, they might be here but we're quite a small community and that leads to knowledge gaps and unanswered questions. I know some of us here could have a stab at an answer, but it might not be an expert answer. Biology.SE is much larger and more active, so maybe this question would get more attention over there. I don't know.

At the very least, it looks to me like our help center page here at ES.SE needs to be updated to include "biogeochemistry" or "biogeochemical cycles" in its topic list.


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