There was recently a question on renaming files from bioacoustic recorders on the Beta. IMO this is a programming question and all such future questions too are better suited on another SE (e.g. on Stack Overflow). What are your thoughts on this matter?

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    $\begingroup$ At this point, I wouldn't want to discourage those questions because some folks coming to the Bioacoustics site might not be familiar with SO (or might be intimidated by it as we found out in our outreach efforts) so this might be a more approachable place to ask, then if moderators do know of an identical question elsewhere, they can link to it, but maybe it can get answered here as well. Or is that totally not the right approach? $\endgroup$
    – selene
    Jun 29 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Waterproofing tick B), now I'm wondering if you have an idea what kind of effect such a covering will have on the mic characteristics (sensitivity and directionality). Sounds like worth a try nonetheless! $\endgroup$
    – Thejasvi
    Jul 8 at 4:59

3 Answers 3


The Sound Design site also overlaps sometimes with our "audio-signal-oriented" questions: https://sound.stackexchange.com/questions.

Maybe before asking a question that may overlaps with one of these other sites (Physics, Sound Design, Signal Processing, etc, depending on the question), we should check if it has not been already asked on one of these sites. If it is really bioacoustics-oriented, I think it should stays on our site even if has already been asked because we may answer it differently, however, if it is borderline, we should not include it (or downvote the question) or we should add at least a comment below the question "Related: https://blabalbla" with the link of the question that was asked in an other group.


I agree with a lot of what has been said so far. Some additional things to consider.

On-topic elsewhere vs off-topic here

Simply being on-topic on another site alone does not make a question off-topic on this one. I think that's true even if it has been asked elsewhere. It's a hard enough task to keep track of which questions have already been asked on this site. It'd be almost impossible to keep track of which questions have already been asked network-wide. So, while I agree that general programming questions that are not (clearly) related to bioacoustics should not be on-topic here, I don't believe that questions answered elsewhere or borderline should be excluded on this basis. (There are other closure reasons like "Needs Details or Clarity" and comments to explain that the question is not clearly about bioacoustics)

What kind of expertise is needed?

In general, when asking a questions, what is most important is:

  1. the type of expert are you looking for,
  2. the knowledge that expert needs to be able to answer the question, and
  3. if that expert will be able to find your question where you've asked it.

For example, if a programming question does not require domain specific knowledge, you are more likely to be able to receive an answer on Stack Overflow just due to the higher number of both programmers and users in general.

However, implementation questions specific to some bioacoustics problem may require an expert in this area, and that's where asking on Bioacoustics.SE makes more sense.

Beyond this, domain specific applications of known solutions can also have significant value for this community. Outlining how to use a known/generic programming solution (which may be a duplicate on another site) to solve a specific bioacoustics problem provides value to those searching for "how to solve X bioacoustics problem" instead of "how to write a program that does X".

Community Specific Closure Reason

After the beta phase, and after moderators are elected, two moderators can create (and activate) a new community specific reason. If general programming questions become an issue you may consider creating a reason that explains this.

Some similar existing closure reasons across the network are:


Your question should be specific to WordPress. Generic PHP/JS/SQL/HTML/CSS questions might be better asked at [so] or another appropriate Stack Exchange network site. Third party plugins and themes are off topic, they are better asked about at their developers' support routes.


Programming questions not specific to SharePoint are off-topic here, but can be asked on Stack Overflow.


Questions on programming, PHP, SQL, etc. that do not relate directly to Drupal are off-topic here, but can be asked on Stack Overflow.

Exact wording for this community and the other fields of the closure dialogue would need to be worked out, but this may be a good way to formalise the community standard once a consensus is reached.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this @Henry Ecker. Is it good to have some of those "borderline" questions in at this stage to provide discussion points for the community? $\endgroup$
    – selene
    Jun 29 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ A big part of beta is defining what is on-topic for this site (defining scope). Personally, I think questions that are borderline (which I am defining as: questions that are clear enough to be answerable but do not appear to be directly related to bioacoustics) should be closed (and improved and reopened where possible). I was just trying to say that these questions should be closed because they do not establish their relationship to bioacoustics (missing some key details) rather than be closed simply by virtue of having been asked/answered elsewhere on the network. $\endgroup$ Jun 30 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ There is a fine line to navigate between having a healthy meaningful site and not discouraging users... Before closing, would it be worth commenting & requesting they edit their question to show that they LOOKED on those other sites? Perhaps to help 'train' our users, we could have a canned comment we use that states that the question must relate directly to Bioacoustics & that they need to show they have not found a suitable answer on sites x, y, or z. If they do not edit, then close. If they do-- then they help all the others learn as well??? Then we can be more strict in the future? $\endgroup$
    – Shannon
    Jul 1 at 0:48

How wide to cast the net? One could argue that bioacoustics is anyway very interdisciplinary, and in some sense the physics, psychoacoustics etc could all somehow go on other platforms.

However, it also seems like there is very little to be gained from language/package -specific answers with no bioac. content. Also another thing that speaks against having programming questions is the duplicated effort of Stack Overflow's focus area. I don't see a problem with code/answers having language/package specific content, but it should have something that the bioac community can gain from as a whole conceptually and scientifically too.


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