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Already the site has its first scoop!

Question: What little-known non-convex optimization trick has been used in most Berkeley NLP papers since 2006?

Answer: http://metaoptimize.com/qa/questions/14/what-are-the-state-o...

I am the person that built this site. I wasn't planning on announcing the site yet, until I disseminated it more widely in academic circles, because I wanted to establish a core highly technical user-base, but I guess this is fine. The quality of the users coming from HN has been great.

What people are saying about MetaOptimize Q+A:

Ryan McDonald (Google): "A tool like this will help disseminate and archive the tricks and best practices that are common in NLP/ML, but are rarely written about at length in papers."

Aria Haghighi (Berkeley): "Both NLP and ML have a lot of folk wisdom about what works and what doesn't. A site like this is crucial for facilitating the sharing and validation of this collective knowledge."

Bob Carpenter (Alias-I): "Par for the course, it’s a mix of wildly general (non-convex optimization) and reasonably specific (testing a random number generator) questions." (http://lingpipe-blog.com/2010/06/29/training-examples-a-stac...)

I'm targetting machine learning, natural language processing, vision, AI, statistics, data mining, neuroscience, etc. and other data-driven fields. As we've learned from StackOverflow, having a broad topic means that information cross-polinates between groups that don't normally communicate. This problem is particularly acute in academia.

It's a site for scientists to share knowledge and techniques, to document our ideas in an informal online setting, and to discuss details that don't always make it into publications.

Also, I've gotten a handful of job offers through answering questions on Quora. So hopefully this will connect people with gigs they like.

Why should you sign up and post a question or answer?

* Communicate with experts

* Crosspolinate information with experts in adjacent fields

* Answer a question once publicly, instead of potentially many times over email

* Share knowledge to create additional impact beyond conference or journal publication

* Find new collaborators

* Get job offers and gigs

The site is powered by OSQA. (http://osqa.net) I think it's unfair to the core developers to call it a StackOverflow knockoff, given that StackOverflow is---like most software---itself derivative.




Really thank you for that. I was trying to use quora for this purpose, but it's not specific enough. As a machine learning phd student from somewhere far from most good research centers (I'm in brazil, and how many brazillian ML papers have you seen in NIPS/ICML recently?), I struggle a lot with this folk wisdom. Most professors around here haven't really interacted enough with the international ML community to be up to date, and I often find myself recommending papers to my advisor and his peers. This can save me a lot of wasted time and effort; more than once I have spent a couple of months trying to solve a subproblem of an idea I had only to find out it is (a) trivial or (b) impossible with the current state of the art, and being able to find which of these is true in a couple of days does wonders.

I'm trying to disseminate this site to my peers and professors, to see if it will help people around.


How is is NOT a knock-off?

- The functionality of Q/A seems to be exactly the same - The visual design is almost indistinguishable from that of StackOverflow - The classification of questions (votes/answers/views with tags) is identical - The badges that users can earn is a blatant copy from SO - "First time here? Check out the FAQ!". Hmmm, where have I seen that before...? - etc.

There may be some examples where the derivative vs. knock-off classification is debatable, but here, for me, the answer is clear.

Please note that I'm not making a judgement on whether this is better or worse than SO, and I'm not making a judgement on the skills of the developers. Building something that clearly builds on someone else's work without any attribution that I could see, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Unless of course I don't know the whole story and SO ripped of someone else. I'm awaiting enlightenment...


Your email validation links appear to be broken -- I keep getting a 404 when I click mine.


Sorry about that. I will contact the OSQA developers upstream.

The software wasn't designed to work out of a subdir, so we're still ironing issues out on that front.

[edit: This happens for reasons that neither I nor the core devs understand: http://jira.osqa.net/browse/OSQA-204 ]


Yeah, there's an extra /qa/ in the URL. Removing that works.


Thanks a lot for that info. It worked for me too.


Are data dumps available?


Judging from this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1477725 - DuckDuckGo integration with StackOverflow is now live - I suspect the gentleman above ( http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/ ) has something nice in mind ;-)




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