Currently the only unique part of our FAQ is as follows:

Cognitive Sciences - Stack Exchange is for practitioners and research professionals of the cognitive sciences.

The rest is boilerplate that applies to all SE sites, but we can edit and expand on the above all we want.

My concern is this description isn't very useful, and doesn't really match the site. A part of the problem is it's defining the audience not the topic of the site and we're not 100% agreed on what our audience is, should be or could be.

I think "practitioners and research professionals" is intimidating and doesn't match the content of the site, so it doesn't really serve anyone; those who don't like it are turned off, those who like it don't quite see that site here (yet). In light of the discussions going on about target audience I also think it would be inappropriate to try and stack the cards by making the FAQ oriented towards audience; it should be topic focused.

How can we improve our FAQ to match the scope of the site?

  • How many people read the FAQ before posting? I have to admit that I barely ever read the FAQ of various SEs and usually try to get the feel of scope from the questions I see on the front page or highest-voted page. Apr 3, 2012 at 19:29
  • 1
    @ArtemKaznatcheev the FAQ is a resource to point to people when they make a poor post, so regardless of how many people that willingly read it their first time it needs to be a good resource to grasp the scope of the site and give a good impression of what is on and off topic for the site.
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 3, 2012 at 19:34
  • I posted a meta-meta question on the procedure for modifying our FAQ meta.cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/245/… Apr 4, 2012 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


I think this is an important question, and it does provide an opportunity to summarise the huge amount of meta discussion that we have had already about what the site is about.

The following is the start of a possible FAQ based on the FAQ for Stats.SE (aka CrossValidated).

If you think this is a good starting point, I could post a cleaned version, then we could have a series of specific meta posts addressing particular sections (e.g., the list of disciplines or topics; the list of questions that should be posted elsewhere); or modifications could be proposed in particular meta posts.

cogsci.stackexchange.com is for researchers, academics, students, and anyone else interested in the cognitive sciences. If you have questions about

  • cognitive science
  • psychology (cognitive, social, developmental, biological, applied, etc.)
  • psychiatry
  • neuroscience and neurobiology
  • research methods related to any of the above topics
  • [etc. add to list of topics]

then you're in the right place to ask your question.

The community aims to create a lasting record of great answers to questions. Good answers often require references to peer-reviewed literature or links to on-line resources [perhaps link to a meta discussion]. You can also incorporate the work of others under fair use doctrine, which particularly means that you must attribute any text, images, or other material that is not originally yours.

  • [perhaps say something here about expectations of prior research]
  • [perhaps say something here about what constitutes a good answer particularly with regards to the scientific tenor of the site]
  • [perhaps say something about questions that are not encouraged, e.g., self-help questions]

There are certain subjects that will probably get better responses on our sister sites. If your question is about

  • Statistics: Ask on the statistics stackexchange called CrossValidated
  • Biology: ...
  • Linguistics: ...
  • Economics: ...
  • etc. think about any questions that should have been posted on a different forum and add them here

Please note, however, that cross-posting is not encouraged on SE sites. Choose one best location to post your question. Later, if it proves better suited on another site, it can be migrated.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

  • I'm not sure about the "Certain subjects..." part; if it's something to do with neurobiology or statistics for the purposes of conducting cog sci research I'd want it here. Only if the domain of the Q is totally within stats/ect should it be moved over, and I think we can do that case by case without being too discouraging of those fields in the FAQ
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 4, 2012 at 13:43
  • I think sister sites should include skeptics.SE. Apr 4, 2012 at 17:45
  • I also think this is a bit long winded; Proggrammers is the only longer one I'm aware of. I'm hesitant to include a half dozen alternate sites (we do want people to actually ask things here, right?) when it hasn't been established as a problem that people are asking Stats/Bio/Economics questions here regularly.
    – Ben Brocka
    Apr 4, 2012 at 21:25
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    @BenBrocka I take both points. I guess I'm more interested in the process of developing the FAQ collectively and democratically. I thought if we had something like above we could then discuss each point in separate meta threads and agree on modifications. Apr 4, 2012 at 22:55
  • I think this is a great start!
    – Josh
    Apr 5, 2012 at 0:19

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