At the beginning we were worried that this site won't provide anything useful. Is that still the case?

As @Ben mentioned:

Right now, the default state is fail unless we can show SE that we bring something new to the network.

Have we managed to bring something new to the network and this site has found its own distinct and unique scope? What do you think and why?

Btw. I've already posted my opinion here.


2 Answers 2


It's a tricky question.

This is NOT a site review, but a personal observation having followed this subject on the network for some time.

I think we've done a better job at scoping out something fundamentally more useful as a site. The formative question is whether we have a suitable audience to actually build out this space. But that has to happen here and now; they won't just show up later.

Stack Exchange is billed as a network of practitioners helping their peers solve everyday problems. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the questions being asked here sit squarely in the curiosity-seekers space. Questions mostly wallow conspicuously in played-out subjects which "real" AI researches have stopped asking a long ago — Is this AI? What does concept mean? When are we going to get there? When is AI going to do {x}?

I won't pass judgement on whether we've given up on actually building a peer-review site. I talked about some of this in no artificial intelligence in Area 51.

There are certainly at least a few very knowledgeable people in this community — actual researchers working in this field — but there's a bifurcation of posts from folks with active experience and someone just showing up with whatever they find in a cursory Google search. The problem is that the community either doesn't know the difference, or doesn't care to vote up one over the other. It's hard to fault anyone for trying valiantly to get something going here, but watching something from Wikipedia being voted on with equal alacrity is somewhat… discouraging.

Have we brought something new to the network?

Probably. Questions here don't generally fit elsewhere.

Have we created something useful?

Hard to say; that's a big question for the final review.

Does this a address a peer group prevalent in this space?

That does not seem likely — If you read Asking the First Questions, I suspect that ship will have sailed by time we reach public beta.

Have we improved the Internet in general?

My suspicion is the lack of true peer review in this space will make most of what is posted here about status quo with what you can already find elsewhere. That is by no means certain; that is just my observation.

  • $\begingroup$ "The problem is that the community either doesn't know the difference, or doesn't care to vote up one over the other." It's probably some of both. It can take an extra shred of effort to figure out which answer is well-researched. Also, it's uncomfortable taking the one-point hit for downvoting an answer, but we need to be doing more of that (cf. entirely copied answers getting upvotes). $\endgroup$
    – Ben N
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 21:29

Have we brought something new to the network?

I think so. Yes, there's overlap with other sites, and yes it would be nice to have more deeper / research level questions and answers. But I posit that getting to that level will happen IF the site is given enough time. That and if we don't chase too many users away with too much bureaucracy and pedantry.

Remember the old ai.se was actually working well, just at a scale that was - at the time - deemed too small by the se powers-that-be. If this site is allowed to live post-beta, I expect it to get steadily better. Keep in mind, AI is difficult because it's such a broad topic. And even now there's lingering resistance among some people to talking about "artificial intelligence" (as opposed to "machine learning", etc.) after the various AI Winters of the past.


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