I agree with both Shaun and Galen's points; when you're asking a "how to do X with tool Y" type of question, SE is a great forum. Like Christina, I've mostly encountered SE when Googling for answers to these types of questions.

However, for the reasons that Henry and Gary mentioned, I was disappointed in the Digital Preservation SE experience. At the request of one of the SE organizers, I posted a question there that I had also posted to a listserv. It was flagged for not being in the proper form, but I have no idea how I could have framed it properly for SE because it simply wasn't a question that had a single answer. I wanted discussion. Digital Preservation in particular is a developing field and I was trying to gague opinions and currently evolving best practices. Somewhat ironically given the potential value of the commenting and upvoting mechanism, SE did not prove to be a good forum for this.

There may be some value to having a code4lib SE instance that answers questions of the "how to do X with tool Y" type and similar for the reasons that Shaun and Galen state. But unless the community standards about what makes a "good" SE question change radically, I don't see it being an attractive or useful forum for the more open-ended, discussion/opinion type questions that people often post to library, digital preservation and other listservs.

Christie Peterson

Christie S. Peterson
Records Management Archivist
Johns Hopkins University
The Sheridan Libraries

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Shaun Ellis
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 9:54 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] StackExchange reboot?

I like the idea of vote to promote as well as having a searchable archive of answers on the web.  For me it comes down to it being "out of sight, out of mind".  It has to come to my "inbox" for me to pay attention, which is one of the nice features of the "Code4Lib Jobs" 
app.  In that vein, StackExchange has an API, which could be used to simply forward a daily digest of questions to the mailing list.  If all we need is an increase in traffic to establish the forum, that might do it.

Questions could be tagged with "code4lib" to make them easy to aggregate.  For example, we can get all the "php" tagged questions posted in the past day:


On 7/7/13 4:46 PM, Galen Charlton wrote:
> The main thing that the SE model adds is the ability to build up a set 
> (in one, search-engine-visible place) of consensus answers to 
> questions over time via the process of commenting and up-voting.  In 
> other words, I view it as a way to maybe achieve a community-built FAQ 
> or best practices database.  Mailing lists and IRC channels provide 
> immediacy, but there are some important library mailing lists whose 
> archives are not (intentionally) accessible to search engines, and 
> there are none that I'm aware of that try to maintain a community-curated set of "best" questions and answers.