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Following the number of off-topic questions, maybe we should consider renaming this forum? Perhaps something like: "Research topics in computer science" or alike.

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    $\begingroup$ It's an interesting question, but (1) should be on meta, and (2) should include examples. I am a frequent user and my experience is apparently different than yours, so I'd find it helpful to have examples (not saying you're wrong, just different experiences so examples would help to have a clear discussion). I will flag a moderator to see if they can migrate to meta. $\endgroup$ May 23 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ Tbh I didn't find this a 'question' but a proposal $\endgroup$
    – ice1000
    May 24 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ Are there other ways to more clearly communicate the purpose of the site, so as to reduce the number of off-topic posts? Surely cstheory is not the only stackexchange site with this problem. What have other sites done? $\endgroup$
    – Neal Young
    May 24 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ Is the goal to reduce the number of upvoted, off-topic posts? Or the number that are eventually closed? The latter are also a (minor) nuisance. $\endgroup$
    – Neal Young
    May 24 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ FYI there seem to be at least a few previous posts along these lines.. E.g. cstheory.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1603/…, cstheory.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/356/… $\endgroup$
    – Neal Young
    May 24 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ If the issue is too many ppl asking non-research level Qs that we have to vote to close, I would suggest we live with that (as they do on MO). I'd rather have interested advanced undergrad students who aren't into research stumble into this site and think it's for them, and deal w the non-advanced questions we have to close, rather than make the opposite tradeoff. Getting students interested in TCS research is hard enough as is, I wouldn't want to push their curiosity away from this site by adding "research" to the name. $\endgroup$ May 24 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Should've said "aren't into research yet" (I'm thinking of students in my upper level courses, for example). $\endgroup$ May 24 at 14:03
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    $\begingroup$ I love the name "Theoretical Computer Science" as it is. It got that sassy feel. Adding "research" anywhere would make it look boring. :P $\endgroup$ May 24 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ One thing that might help getting rid of off-topic questions more swiftly is to lower the threshold for closure to 3 votes instead of 5. Currently, there is a trial ongoing; if it goes well, it will be an option available to all sites. If so, I think we should definitely ask for it, as this is a low traffic site, and there are, as it seems, not enough users with the close vote privilege that are regularly present: quite often off-topic (or otherwise bad) questions sit for days in limbo with 4 votes to close, waiting forever for the final one. This ... $\endgroup$ May 25 at 6:49
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    $\begingroup$ ... also leads to lower-rep user downvoting off-topic questions instead of their closure, which is not a healthy behaviour, and it alienates new users (an off-topic but reasonable question that may fair well at another site should be closed and referred to that other site, not downvoted). $\endgroup$ May 25 at 6:52
  • $\begingroup$ OP, is the proposal in the question (i) to rename the forum and widen the scope, so as to allow the many (currently) off-topic questions to fall within the (new, broader) scope? Or is it to rename the forum so as to make the current scope clearer, so as to reduce the number of off-topic questions that get posted due to lack of understanding of the scope? $\endgroup$
    – Neal Young
    Jun 3 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ @NealYoung- I was thinking about the later... $\endgroup$
    – Avi Tal
    Jun 3 at 19:02
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Even if you think there are de facto topics outside CS Theory here, it clearly is nowhere near the scope of all of CS research: we typically don't see NLP, HCI, software engineering, systems, networking, compbio, robotics, or even AI or scientific computing unless they're related to TCS, to name just a few. So I'd like to reiterate my request in the comments for a list - preferably as large as possible - of questions on this site that have been upvoted/positively interacted with that people think are significantly outside the scope of TCS.

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  • $\begingroup$ Type theory and programming languages theory. $\endgroup$
    – ice1000
    May 25 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ @ice1000: The view that "theory" means "FOCS/STOC-style" or "Theory A" is not universally held. I personally am happy to include type theory and PL theory ("Theory B") in the Theory umbrella (for this site, certainly), and would in fact love to see more interactions between Theory A and Theory B. For example having a PL where one can actually analyze the complexity, or "implicit complexity theory" (goes back to Cobham, Cook, & others), or using automated theorem provers in Complexity Theory a la Buss-Williams but more general, just to name a few possible interactions. $\endgroup$ May 25 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ @ice1000: it's also easy enough (I think) to separate out such questions by tags, if you really don't want to see/interact with them yourself, that I don't see a reason to exclude those other theoretical aspects of computer science from the site (though I am open-minded on the topic, i.e. willing to be persuaded). $\endgroup$ May 25 at 19:04
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    $\begingroup$ IMHO TCS sometimes directly means complexity/computability theory... $\endgroup$
    – ice1000
    May 26 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ @ice1000 I don't disagree in that there are many ppl for whom TCS means Theory A. (BTW, that always includes algos and crypto as well, and usually learning theory, and maybe econCS - I'm fairly certain most algorithms researchers don't consider what they do complexity/computability). My point was that there are also many ppl for whom TCS means more than that, and I think it is good for Theory A and B to intermingle. $\endgroup$ May 26 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @ice1000 I just looked at your profile and saw that you are a type theory & PL person! Puts this convo in a different light. Would you prefer there be a separate forum for type theory, PL, and generally Theory B? $\endgroup$ May 27 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ I have absolutely no idea :/ $\endgroup$
    – ice1000
    May 27 at 23:50
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Personally, I like CS Theory Stack Exchange as it is. Its narrower scope is what's nice about it.

Of course, other CS topics are cool too, but I like having a place dedicated to CS theory specifically.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think the proposal is about changing the name (or similar), not about changing the scope? $\endgroup$
    – Neal Young
    Jun 3 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I misunderstood. I thought the main suggested change was to drop "theoretical" from the name, but maybe it was to add "research topics" as you say. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ I guess the proposal in the question is ambiguous. Is it to rename the forum and widen the scope, so as to allow the more off-topic questions to be within scope? Or is it to rename the forum so as to make the current scope clearer, so as to reduce the number of off-topic questions that are posed? I assumed the latter, but maybe it is the former. $\endgroup$
    – Neal Young
    Jun 3 at 15:17
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I agree and propose the name 'Computer Science Overflow' or 'CSOverflow' due to Mathematics and MathOverflow. It also makes sense to substitute 'Overflow' with 'Research'.

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    $\begingroup$ I was thinking more of a name that will clearly resemble the forum's purpose... $\endgroup$
    – Avi Tal
    May 24 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ What about CSTheoryResearchOverflow? $\endgroup$ May 24 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ @BartoszBednarczyk That's too long IMHO $\endgroup$
    – ice1000
    May 24 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ So what about CSTheoryResearch? (without overflow) or CSResearch? It clearly states that we are interested in "research" questions. $\endgroup$ May 24 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @BartoszBednarczyk that makes more sense to me :) $\endgroup$
    – ice1000
    May 24 at 9:48

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