Back in A51, there was a discussion on merging "Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric modelling" with Earth Science. Now that ES is in beta (and that one isn't), should this be revisited?

I see that somebody has posted on a discussion there that we exist, but is there a more formal process?

  • $\begingroup$ Possible that proposal might be closed, it's only been open 30 days, and has not been active for 15 days; believe if there's no activity for 30 days, a proposal is auto-deleted be SE, though might be wrong. $\endgroup$ – blunders May 6 '14 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @blunders there have been a series of different ones. e.g. Before this was "hydroinformatics", which was basically the same thing but without the earth and atmosphere bit. $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon May 6 '14 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ There's been 60k+ in proposals on Area51, I personally don't make much of a proposal until it's in beta; meaning guess my response would be to just let it be, there's nothing here to see. $\endgroup$ – blunders May 6 '14 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @blunders except ~50 followers who might be recruited? ;-) $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon May 6 '14 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe, no idea how merges work, guess I just though the proposal got killed, nothing more. $\endgroup$ – blunders May 6 '14 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ @SimonW Pretty sure over 90% of those subscribers also follow earthscience. $\endgroup$ – Isopycnal Oscillation May 7 '14 at 21:26

I think there are a couple of things that form the process.

One is doing just what you've done, which is raising it here on meta.

The other, is posting well-written questions on the topics of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Modelling, and seeing if the community accepts them, or votes to close them as off-topic. Off-topic is a fairly arbitrary line that gets drawn, to keep the scope well-defined and manageable. It doesn't mean that the whole topic area is out of bounds: just that a particular type of question on a particular topic isn't a good fit on this particular site. So, for example, list questions and recommendation questions do get closed as off-topic, whatever the subject is that they're actually asking about. (they might also be closed as "too broad", or "unclear what is being asked")

Personally, I'd be interested to see these modelling questions, so I support their inclusion within the scope of Earth Science.

My own relationship with the modelling is only as a user of climate impact assessment models, so I couldn't contribute much, but I'll be an interested reader.

It's worth noting, I think, that coding questions can continue to be asked on Stack Overflow, and that there are existing Stack sites for Software Recommendations and for Computational Science. The latter currently has 148 CFD questions, of which 38 are unanswered, so it's not great over there for CFD questions, but not too awful either.

  • $\begingroup$ Wow, never thought that it might actually be considered off-topic..... There are a few questions on here (check out the "models" and "modelling" tags, nobody has suggested off-topic, but we also clearly lack a mass of experts to answer them at present. These kinds of questions are too specialist for StackOverflow. Computational Science would seem to be a good fit from the name, but I recall a conversation with one of their mods saying that they had a lack of fluid dynamics people, so such questions tended to go unanswered. $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon May 7 '14 at 7:27
  • $\begingroup$ @SimonW remember "off-topic" doesn't mean "we don't deal with that subject area", but simply "this question is out of scope here" - and that's a somewhat arbitrary line that gets drawn. Computational Science currently has 148 cfd questions, of which 38 are unanswered, so it's not great over there, but not too awful either. $\endgroup$ – 410 gone May 7 '14 at 7:32

A couple of years ago, I was looking through the Area 51 proposals and saw several fields with their own proposals. I saw climate change, geology, meteorology, environmental science, etc.

I considered extending these topics to oceanography, since it wasn't listed. However, I started questioning if StackExchange would be better served by merging all these proposals into one, larger site. The advantage, as I saw it, was that it had a much larger chance of succeeding if it was a single site rather than individual sites.

I believed that the odds were slim that any of these sites would get off the ground. So, I proposed the Earth Sciences site with the hopes of merging all these various proposals.

Ocean Modelling is exactly the type of topic I had in mind when I created the proposal: something that encompassed the other fields while including oceanography. I don't believe that Ocean Modelling (or most of the other individual fields) have enough strength to get off the ground. Including it here would give voice to the questions and answers within that field.

Including it in this site seems to be the obvious choice, for me.

  • $\begingroup$ As a side note, there have been proposals for meteorology, climatology, and weather forecasting: three separate proposals! $\endgroup$ – Richard May 7 '14 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ Related discussion on Area51 $\endgroup$ – 410 gone May 7 '14 at 14:07

As one of the original proponents of the "Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric modelling" proposal, I have been looking to see how the "Earth Science" community responds to some of the specific questions proposed as part of the modeling proposal. So far I have posted two questions: one about particle tracking and one about unstructured grids.

While there have been some interest in both questions (5 up votes so far) and there hasn't been any off-topic votes, I wouldn't say the interest has been overwhelming. I am still undecided about whether a merge between the two sites will be beneficial. I understand that adding 50 more users to "Earth Science" would not be bad, but the modeling content might get diluted in the larger field.

My personal opinion is that if the modeling proposal does not pick up momentum relatively soon, I will encourage my modeling colleagues to post in "Earth Science".

The problem remains if a question that is very much about modeling (for instance, "where can I obtain the latest code for the ADCIRC ocean circulation model?") is going to be treated as off-topic. It is not clear to me that it will make it. That was the idea behind the modeling forum, but we'll have to wait and see.

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    $\begingroup$ Absolutely agree. Diluting would definitely occur with the merge, but I don't see problems with that. Earth modeling is part of Earth science and I would consider those questions on-topic here. $\endgroup$ – milancurcic May 6 '14 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ @aretxabaleta: My suggestion would be to do both, since questions could always be ported to "Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric modelling" proposal if it ever reached beta. $\endgroup$ – blunders May 6 '14 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ I would be pleased to see that merge. This is the kind of real work content, which makes our Earth Science site interesting. In my opinion "Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric modeling" is too small for an own SE site, but can easily handled in tags here. The limited number of votes is due to small number of modeling experts participating at this early stage. $\endgroup$ – BHF May 6 '14 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ Don't think of it as "diluting", think of it as "hopefully adding a critical mass of modelling experts to ES to get questions like this answered well" :-) That way it can benefit from the wider community here, many of whom will use some form of modelling as a tool. I agree with what BHF says about it perhaps being too specialist for its own site - but smaller subjects can thrive within wider SE sites. Just look at Stackoverflow :-) $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon May 7 '14 at 7:25

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