Saturday, August 14, 2010

Social 98% better...

Whatever you may think of the P vs NP hullabaloo over the past week, it has to be said that as a social experiment in peer review, this was an exhilarating and magnificent process to watch. There's enough chatter in the media about how this might point the way forward for peer review, and I'm skeptical of drawing too many conclusions from this one experiment with arguably the most important problem in our field.

But I'm encouraged by both the level of participation, and the enthusiasm it has generated about the field. I can't troll through the over 800 comments to find them, but I read numerous comments about how watching this process unfold made the commenter ever more excited about getting into theoryCS. Bob Sloan made a brief cameo to point out the value of this discussion as an outreach tool.

This is a long way of coming around to the news that the theoryCS Q&A site is now at 98% commitment, which means that some time in the next few days it'll go into beta. The beta stage starts with a 'private' seven day period, in which only those who committed (and therefore have promised to answer/ask a total of 10 questions over the entire beta duration of 90 days) get to use the site. After that seven day period, the doors will open for any interested participants.

The initial seven day period will have strong administrative elements (seeding the site with questions, discussing meta issues about the scope of questions etc), and while no major issues will be resolved, you can have some influence about how the forum gets shaped if you get in early. So if you haven't committed yet, do so, otherwise you'll have to wait the 7 days to get in.

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