For one, the site should clearly specify its role in providing help for using the Sage software. That is, with the sage-devel and sage-support Google Groups already in place a good question to ask is whether or not this site should in whole or in part provide programming help. Specifying whether or not to focus on user-level or developer-level comments or even both would also help in answering this questions. On a more practical note, the FAQ could provide links to these two sites and state their purpose.
William Stein mentions in his blog post
"The site would not be specific to Sage or restricted to open source."
So another question to ask is "how is ask.sagemath.org distinct from MathOverflow?" since both focus on mathematics. At the very least, my guess is that the topics would focus around "computational mathematics"; that is, anything that could possibly be implemented in Sage. By no means should the site not allow research-level questions. Including them would be great! The FAQ should make clear whatever distinctions are required.
These are just a few questions that popped up in my head when I found out about this neat question board. I'm interested to hear what other people have to say.
Before answering the question "What are some key points that the FAQ for this ask.sagemath.org site should make?", we need to know exactly what this site is for. Do we want questions about how to compute things with Sage or other software? Do we want questions about installing and basic usage of Sage? Do we want questions about design, improvement, bugfixes in Sage?
Having a well-defined focus will certainly improve the usefulness of this site. I would like to see the relationship between this and the mailing lists explained/decided.
We might also develop some guidelines about the questions that are asked. It seems like a question such as "Should we support 32-bit FreeBSD?" would not be ideal for this venue; a question such as "I have a bunch of data in format X, how do I load that into Sage, interpret it as Y, and then compute Z?" seems much better.
It should have VERY clear instructions about what people can and cannot do with various 'point levels', and exactly how many 'points' you get for various actions. For example, I just wanted to retag a bunch of questions as 'graphics' since that matches the Trac thing and would make them easy to find... but I can't.
There should also be explanations of every color thingie and what the "0 mins ago John Palmieri 36" means (last answer? last comment? what?). Essentially, every possible thing on the front page should be well-documented on the FAQ.
To be fair, I just checked out the actual askbot site... and it doesn't do that either!
(This is less on topic, but it is also weird that the number of votes and answers on the front page don't correspond to the actual number of votes and answers.)
posted Aug 19 '10kcrisman
6639 ● 13 ● 66 ● 150
Links to good answers (per rating system) which have a high frequency of tag hits (from the search box) and a high frequency of fulltext-search hits, weighted. Also links to answers with high pagerank (from a google search with site:ask.sagemath.org).
What is this site for?
This probably deserves to be its own question, but some discussion has started in the comments here already. I'd like to add that I think/hope certain questions about sage development can be included here (and tagged with
There isn't anything particularly helpful included near the "Your answer" text box (except, of course, the buttons :). If there's an easy way to link to other posts, or to particular pages of the sage documentation, that would be useful information.
Recently askbot has been updated to make it easy to link to Trac tickets with the syntax "ticket 1956" as well as autolinking url's like http://sagemath.org. Both of these would make useful additions to the FAQ. Further details are given here (at the askbot site)
Moreover, new users often overlook the code formatting button (little picture of 0's and 1's), so perhaps that should be a FAQ item too.
The FAQ should say that this site is for questions about using the software, not about answering homework or other general mathematical questions.
Some places to get such help are:
Asked: Aug 18 '10
Seen: 337 times
Last updated: Oct 05 '11
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