Human Brain Project hosted forum vs. an HBP Stack Overflow


At the HBP Codejam 7 ( there was a lightning talk proposing the use of a Stack Overflow site for computational neuroscience instead of one of the many project hosted sites.

The critiques were:

  1. Insufficient openness.
    The HBP Forum was intended to be an open community site. The Forum was the first site to allow access to non-HBP members and this will be the policy for the duration of the HBP. Potentially we could allow people to sign up without the current approval mechanism. What does everyone think?

  2. Insufficient visibility.
    I recently did some selective searches for various keywords which appear in the forum posts. I was trying to model what I would put into a search which generate a Stack Overflow result for a programming language problem. The result was that every search I did resulted in an HBP Forum result in the top 5 results.

Are there other critiques? How do we make a forum a centre of discussion for activities and collaborations in and around the topics of HBP? Should we move to Stack Overflow for greater visibility?

Let me know.


What about as opposed to Stack Overflow?

  • already active
  • aimed at neuroinformatic discussions
  • 439 users
  • fully open
  • close links to INCF


It’s an interesting thought.
Possible places where neurostars is stronger:

  1. more active users - With a bit of promotion I’m pretty sure we could get a wider interest.
  2. “fully open today” - I’m happy to do the same with the HBP forum.

Possible places where neurostars is weaker:

  1. Perhaps not actively maintained. is listed as the support channel but he’s not with INCF anymore.
  2. HBP forum is General neuroscience from experiments to modelling to analysis rather than being focused on Neuroinformatics.


Any further thoughts on this one? @p_gleeson raises some good points, but I think a strong HBP forum is a good unifying force for the wider Neuroscience community.

I could just start promoting the HBP forum and let the community vote by interest.


Start with your user base:

  • The forum is not referenced from the main page of !
  • advertise to the HBP members that the forum is opened and working.
  • provide a rapid feedback form on the forum to know the issues people have with the existing site

In my case, I’m still looking for a good place to have an open discussion about our developments and technical choices for the MIP platform, and to collaborate effectively with the members of SP8 coming from different organisations.


  • Simplify the registration process, for example integrate with Google and Facebook signin, but keep control and the trolls away.
  • advertise the forum on neustars, other community discussion boards,
  • monitor usage on Google analytics



Yeah, good advice all around.

I haven’t really tried to push the forum yet, to be honest. Your suggestions of link placement and marketing channels are good.

Google and Facebook are usable. I tested with my google account when I started on the forum. Currently accounts still need to be approved and the boards are “community” moderated.


Hi, Jacques from SP10 here.

I think an in-house forum solution is better, because it leaves us better potential integration with the collab in the future (e.g., integrate a forum page in a collab and so on).

I agree with the visibility issue though, I just found out about the forum. As we will start getting users on our platform, we think it is a great place to ask questions and request features for the neurorobotics platform. Is it possible to have a dedicated forum space for the neurorobotics platform? We would start populating it and adding links to it.



Oh actually, just found out now that there happen to be a Neurorobotics space already!