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As something slightly different from the "resources" tag, would it be adequate to introduce a tag for questions on community members? E.g. asking for a conference that deals with particular aspects of quantum computation, or advice on the main authors/groups to follow on a given topic or to get the details of an experimental result, or to understand a certain theory.

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    $\begingroup$ I assume you're talking about this question? I think we first have to ask if it's on topic or not (it's currently got closing votes after all) $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 Apr 13 '18 at 9:20
  • $\begingroup$ My inquiry is motivated by that particular question, but in fact I am interested in the general problem: are we interested in hosting this kind of Q&A as something akin to "human resources"? $\endgroup$ – agaitaarino Apr 13 '18 at 9:22
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Where a community meta-tag runs into problems is in going against a general moratorium against soliciting users on these sites. It's easy to tell yourself this will only be used to ask about (or let users know about) cool activities they want — but when folks start to imitate what they see, it becomes very difficult to deny that next person from doing the same.

I know it seems like a harmless bit of research in this case, but when folks see that they can solicit the SE community to ask about their conference / organization / research / survey / contest / newsletter / blog post / etc, it became a problem pretty fast. That's not conjecture; it's history. That is why we forego this activity entirely.

If you think about Stack Exchange as a wiki-style publication for the ages — crowd-sourced through applied problem statements to create each "entry" — it's easier to see where this social graph doesn't quite fit.

I wish we would provide more services like this to organize the community, but at the moment, it doesn't work in the main Q&A. We DO provide a "third place" (chat rooms) for this type of extracurricular activity, but at the moment, it isn't really a great fit for the main Q&A.

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I don't think it is a good idea to have that tag, as I don't think we should have such questions at all on the main site.

Why not, you might ask? Well, the intention of SE as whole is, briefly: to give good answers to important questions and provide them to the world at large.

I think that the main problem with such 'community requests' is that almost all of them will not serve the world at large, it they likely will be too localized (this is a standard term on some parts of SE, IIRC)

Let's look at the question that prompted this discussion, which essentially asks for:

Any suggestion of QC scientist based in the UK who I can ask as a speaker for a seminar at Newcastle University on quantum biology?

This is too localized in multiple respects:

  1. Place: I don't think many people organize QC seminars in the UK. Unfortunately, broadening the scope doesn't help either, as then any respectable scientist could be a potential answer.

  2. Time: The interests and availability for someone today may very well differ tomorrow. Any answer given today is likely irrelevant over merely a month.

I highly doubt that there will be others that have the similar plans for seminars in the same narrow time span. Hence, any answer given will likely help only the one who asked the question, at the moment the question is asked.

Therefore, this question doesn't fit in our Q and A method. However, this question can be asked in our Chat (if the user has the reputation required), as that is a place where it is fine to help only a single user.


As for your suggestions given here, these may not be too localized in place but are likely so in time. Furthermore, another problem is that these questions are all by there very nature subjective and perhaps even more problematic are claims about the means of people we don't know. (that is, it is likely someone will object to being 'advertised' here. It is of course possible to ask for permission, but I think not everyone will do this)

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