Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Creating a Forum

Every few months, someone asks why we don't have some kind of forum or bulletin board for Software Carpentry. The answer is that we've tried setting one up, but there's never been enough traffic to keep it going.

We're a lot larger now than we used to be, though, so we decided at this week's lab meeting to try again starting in January. Half a dozen people have volunteered to be stewards, and we've opened an issue on GitHub to discuss the features people want, experiences with other forums, and so on. Please add comments to that issue to let us know what you think.

Why a forum of our own? Why not just point people at Stack Overflow? The answer is that many of our learners don't yet know enough to ask a good question there, or to recognize an answers when they see one. Bootcamp participants have also told us that they find SO and other sites intimidating or unwelcoming; fewer than 10% of SO participants are women, and as Margolis and Fisher pointed out in Unlocking the Clubhouse, that kind of imbalance is often a sign that other people don't find it congenial either. We try hard to make everyone feel like they belong, regardless of what they do or don't know coming in, and we hope they (and you) will find our forum useful.

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