If you browse through the tag here on meta, you'll see that our scope might not be entirely obvious from the site title. When we open to the public, though, it's really important that we can quickly summarize our scope. Not everybody will have the patience to go through all our meta discussions before posting. Therefore, I think we should try to boil our consensuses down into a sentence or so, suitable for putting on the "sign up" banner.

For example, here's Super User's, emphasis mine:

Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute


Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute

Data Science:

Data Science Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Data science professionals, Machine Learning specialists, and those interested in learning more about the field. Join them; it only takes a minute

What should we have in that spot? As mentioned by wythagoras, we do have a default already in the tour, but do we need to adjust it after our meta deliberations?

(This is the fourth real essential meta question for private beta sites.)


4 Answers 4


I am in the process of writing up the final review of this site. In it, we discuss the difficulties this site is having with scope — mostly around the popular fallacies of what AI actually is. Artificial intelligence is very different from how it’s portrayed in the movies. Whenever a problem becomes solvable by a computer, people start arguing that it does not require intelligence at all… and "as soon as it works, no one calls it AI anymore" — John McCarthy

As such, this community is having difficulty navigating that narrow gap of what I'd call "AI relevance".

The proposal that created this site was intentionally placed in the 'scientific' category. If you accept that we are not creating another programming site, I think we stumbled upon in interesting niche that describes the original premise of this site nicely:

Artificial Intelligence Stack Exchange is a site with a social and scientific focus on "Advanced Computing in Society."

Think about it. With autonomous cars, smart surveillance, and "the next big thing" capturing the headlines, this isn't a terrible idea for a subject. Draping it in the popular AI label gives it a better focus… and it completely disambiguate that this is not a technical implementation or programming site. We already have that.

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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by technical implementation? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ @FranckDernoncourt Programmers, engineers, and other practitioners asking how to actually implement AI processes. This is not a technical site. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. Does mathematical or statistical questions count as technical implementation? (from your comment I guess so, but just to be sure) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ @FranckDernoncourt Typically they belong on Math or Stats (Cross Validated) or DataScience which were specifically created for these subjects. This site was created to handle the scientific and social/cultural interests that (prior to this site) did not have a place in our network. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ There's no technical implementation site for Artificial Intelligence in the general sense. Some specific topics are on-topic at ds.se or stats.se, but hardly the entire body of AI. Taking this insanely hard-line stance against programming / implementation questions is going to be bad for this site. If that's the case, let's change the name to "AI philosophy" or "AI fluff". $\endgroup$
    – mindcrime Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ I understand the social thing but not so much the scientific focus. Could you maybe elaborate a bit more on what would be scientific aspects of AI or Advanced Computing? Also a better definition of the borders of AI science towards mathematics, statistics or computer algorithms would be nice. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ this way it will be closed again $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ I second @mindcrime's view: A lot of the problems on this site are rooted in misunderstandings about the scope of AI. AI is not just machine learning, and it's not just data science. Those make up a disproportionate share of the field in the last 5-10 years, but before that were just one small subfield among many. There is currently no technical site that answers questions about AI. We should be accepting such questions here if we're going to sit on the AI.se name. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ Robert, I like the perspective you've brought to this Q. Have you seen the new Q on which new descriptions for the AI site are being proposed and voted upon? (ai.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1430/…) Those involved could probably benefit from reading your opinion there. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 21:55

I think that science without mathematics is usually impossible, science without technology is very difficult (otherwise how to talk about computers for example) but science without programming/implementations is possible.

The emphasis would then be on the concepts and/or abstractions.

So kind of:

  • pseudocode is okay, real code not
  • algorithms are okay, implementations not
  • Math is okay as long as the concepts remain abstract.

How to put that into a single line?

Artificial Intelligence Stack Exchange is a site for people interested in social, conceptual and scientific questions about Advanced Computing. Join them; it only takes a minute

I feel this tries most to keep away from any implementations. But I also feel the limit should only be implementations, not higher level programming, algorithms, maths or statistics.

  • $\begingroup$ You're definitely right in that we focus on the concepts. One nitpick that I have, though, is that the proposed line still includes the word "scientific", which some interpret to include all the technical stuff. How can we clarify that? $\endgroup$
    – Ben N
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ @BenN I agree with you that scientific does not totally exclude the technical stuff. I also thought about it and did not come up with a better alternative. Alternative would be to leave it out?? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 7:09

Taking this from the tour and initial Area 51 description:

Artificial Intelligence Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people interested in conceptual questions about life and challenges in a world where "cognitive" functions can be mimicked in a purely digital environment.


Artificial Intelligence Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people interested in conceptual questions about non-biological agents. Join them; it only takes a minute

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    $\begingroup$ Join non-biological agents? Does non-biological cover biocomputer technology? $\endgroup$
    – kenorb
    Commented Aug 31, 2016 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ @kenorb, I'm not sure if you are aware that the proposal and selection of a new AI site description has been resurrected by Ben and others at ai.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1430/…, and it would probably be good to see your opinion in the comments or an answer there. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 21:59

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