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Would questions asking for help performing a given task with a geosciences-specific software or library such as GPlates, PmagPy, PaSt or any stratigraphic tool such as RASC/CASC, CONOP9, UAGraph be on-topic in our new SE site?

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I think that is a good idea. GIS of course has its own stackexchange site, but depending on the question, a GIS question could also be asked here. I would even allow very earth-science specific programming questions here, rather than on stackexchange proper. But it all depends on the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I didn't include the programming issue in the question as this will likely need to be dealt with on a case by case basis. I would assume questions asking about the validity of a geology-centered algorithm would be on-topic but questions dealing with errors in code of said algorithm wouldn't for instance. $\endgroup$ – plannapus Apr 17 '14 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ +1 For "ES specific programming questions". Models of weather or the earth's dynamo are so specific (considering the Physics behind, things you neglect, etc.) that many questions regarding them would be off-topic on any programming site, and even if they were on-topic there, it makes sense to ask them here if the community can answer them better. $\endgroup$ – yo' Apr 18 '14 at 9:38
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I would think that most questions that occur during an AGU ESSI session would be appropriate.

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  1. I think that questions about specialist computing techniques that are used for geosciences, in the abstract, should certainly be on topic.

  2. I think that questions that end up as general computing advice, which could be better answered by Superuser, should be off-topic.

  3. I think that in between these extremes there is a very wide ground of using specific software tools that are specific to geosciences, which should be mostly on-topic - but with a careful eye towards things drifting to Superuser territory. (and perhaps, as others have identified, a more lenient eye towards Stackoverflow, gis.SE, and things like the R and MATLAB proposals if they ever get off the ground)

I've just asked a question that I think falls somewhere between scenarios 1 & 3 above, which might or might not serve as a useful example :-)

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Some other SE sites don't like questions regarding "resources" or "references," but I think that these WOULD be on topic. The purpose of the site is to study earth science, and a question that aids in this study, even if it is about study "resources," is worth encouraging.

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    $\begingroup$ What the other SE sites don't like are questions of the type "What would be a good software to do this or that" what I'm suggesting is more questions of the type "Using this or that software, how do you do this or that task?" (In case my question wasn't clear) $\endgroup$ – plannapus Apr 18 '14 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ Needed to say, some SE sites are more relaxed about the "no product recommendation questions" rule, for instance Sound.SE. So whether such questions are on-topic or not shall be decided by this community, it's not something given. $\endgroup$ – yo' Apr 18 '14 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ @tohecz: I said "I think that these WOULD be on topic," thereby offering my opinion (and decision). Of course, that's only one person's view, which will be ratified (or overturned) by the rest of the community. $\endgroup$ – Tom Au Apr 18 '14 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ I think I was more replying to @plannapus than to you, Tom. I tried to explain that we don't need to follow the general SE policy on this. $\endgroup$ – yo' Apr 18 '14 at 13:55
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I think that's a really good idea. I'm trying to use mailing lists for a couple of open source geophysical software packages, but the interest is usually low. A vibrant community like this would be better to find solutions. Moreover, people that don't use the software yet get an idea of what it can do and what kind of challenges to expect. One can always send a copy of the question and best answer to the mailing lists, if the moderators wish so.

I'll try Earth SE next time I get a SU or Madagascar related problem.

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