In the chat some of us discussed an approach to attract new users for CogSci. @Honi suggested the following:

If you want multiple fields to use the CogSci site, you still need a critical mass from each field, otherwise you won't get quality answers to those quality questions.

In short, I would say the plan should be 1) decide what subfield you want to start with (probably one that one of the moderators here is in). 2) convince at least 50 people that it is worth their while to ask and answer questions here. 3) have them do it for a month. 4) move onto another subfield. In other words, follow the requirements of Area51, but limit yourselves to counting a user commitment as a success if they are a verifiable subject matter expert.

As no one has shot down this idea and people were already discussing which field should be first, I though it might be an idea to formalize this idea in a question. So, which subfields should we target and in what order?

I hope this question may activate us to start re-vamping the site (http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/36893661#36893661)

  • Isn't this what the original post part of the 'reboot' efforts set out to do? This seems a duplicate. If you want I could migrate your second answer there. That said, great that you are continuing this discussion!
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Apr 23, 2017 at 13:28
  • This is not about scope, but more a practical issue about who we target and how (in what order). So this is an attempt to convert Honi's words into a manageable and concrete plan. Apr 23, 2017 at 13:33
  • The reason I aggregated them is because they are highly related. At least that was my impression after reading through all those posts last year. Point 1 and 2 to be addressed in that post clearly states: "An exhaustive list of scientific disciplines we want to target explicitly." and "A list of scientific disciplines we potentially do not want to consider, including a motivation why."
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Apr 23, 2017 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


In my opinion we should focus on the following fields in that order.

  1. Neuroscience:

Many of us have basic knowledge of neuroscientific methods and some of us know a lot. One of them is AliceD, our brand new moderator. A couple of months ago people tried to start a neuroscience stack, which may indicate that they need a SE platform the most We should be more welcoming to technical Neuroscience questions. This, in turn, will likely attract the most users. Besides, neuroscience is specific enough that we can answer most questions, but broad enough for many interesting and different questions from different sub-fields.

  1. IO-psychology, human-computer interaction and human factors:

With Steven Jeuris and Jeromy Anglim we have two mods that give us a lot of expertise in these (somewhat related) fields. Although the fields may be rather specific already, I believe most of the active users are able to answer such questions from a general cognition point of view. Moreover, I believe that going from a broad field to a rather specific (application oriented) field shows the breadth of CogSci.SE: From pure science to real world questions.

  1. Cognitive Modelling:

Modelling is again a rather broad field of which we have quite some knowledge (or interest) among our active users (e.g. Seanny and Honi). Moreover, modelling is tangential to neuroscience and general cognitive sciences. It thus shows another level of this website, without letting our previously gained users behind.

  1. Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

We have been very technical so far and have neglected a part of psychology that was one of the bases of CogSci.SE: https://cogsci.meta.stackexchange.com/a/631/11318 . With @Chris in our midst, we have a very active and knowledgeable person who has been filling the gap we were experiencing. With his knowledge and network, perhaps we could attract new psychotherapists and psychiatrists.

Note: I based this list on my own experiences. If I perceived things incorrectly or if you do not agree, feel free to say so.

  • Thanks for the nod :-) Apr 25, 2017 at 23:08

Where I agree with @RobinKramer about the low number of questions within the Psychology, Psychotherapy and Psychiatry fields in comparison to the "more technical" fields, I would say that we shouldn't be focusing on particular areas in any particular priority order. This would signify to me that one field of Cognitive Science is more important than the other.

If you want to balance the field of Cognitive Sciences represented, then a constant monitor of the balance would need to be maintained in order to try and address the balance through actively encouraging more members in the relevant fields. If you just want to get more members, then I think promoting all the fields equally is the way to go.

I have been speaking to others on our university course about this site and hopefully some will join in. Continuing the move within our networks of friends and colleagues will add to the mix within this site.

I feel this site has a lot of potential for growth, and from personal experience reading and learning from the questions and answers within this site whilst merging the things I have learnt from outside of my field with the knowledge within my field provides a depth which sometimes is not available anywhere else I have found.

Where else is someone potentially able to go and learn how pain is registered in the brain along with the psychological effects to the person suffering with chronic pain all in the same website without resorting to sites like Wikipedia? Don't get me wrong, Wikipedia can be good at times, but sometimes information there can be sketchy and sometimes unreliable. We have a great community of members here who ensure reliability of answers.

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