About eight months ago I started using Biostar as I saw it as a great opportunity to exchange some ideas, concepts, tips in biology and bioinformatics. I even mentioned the website in this space, trying to bring more people to the mix; at the time the community wasn’t big enough, and some days went by without any question being posted.
But a couple of months ago my interest started to go down the drain. I don’t know if it was the constant next-generation sequencing barrage of questions every day, if it was the infantile blog/twitter posts from members competing for points or maybe the lack of votes for some answers that I posted (that’s selfish on my part, I admit). But at some point it seemed that the website turned into a competition of CVs or knowledge, very different from what I could see in different Stackoverflow spin-offs or in the main site. I guess the turning-point, or the moment I realized that the scientific community (at least in bioinformatics and related fields) will never the be the same as the programming and statistical ones, was the time I gave an answer that had less votes that the one saying “it’s not possible”.
Maybe the problem is myself, I don’t like cliques, don’t mind helping people for nothing, don’t care about reputation. I didn’tt care about how many points I had, and used the down-vote to actually vote down answers that I didn’t see as pertinent (if you never used those sites, every down-vote removes one point from your score). I still think that Biostar is a great idea, and I wish it becomes a great resource for all the bio fields. Maybe if the community gets big enough, maybe if don’t see the same group of people that you see every where else it might become a better place to hang-out online. But right now, I’m over it.