23

Can anyone explain what the potential for this site is beyond data-hunting questions? I'm very interested in this site for "process" type answers, like Should I approach an agency unofficially before FOIAing them? and What is the best way to request machine readable data from a FOIA request?. There seems to be some disagreement over whether these ...


21

I would suggest using the same 'request' tag convention used by other sites… something like: data-request Feel free to suggest a better term for 'data', but I suggest following the basic [*-request] nomenclature.


17

I strongly favor also including discussions of the uses of data. There is currently no forum that I am aware of that allows people to ask and answer questions about how open data sets are being used. Policymakers, for example, can use this information to track the impact of their open data efforts and make informed decisions about future investments. In ...


14

Dealing with large collections of PDFs is a common problem among programmers, researchers, etc., in the open data/open government space, and being able to poll this particular community as opposed to the broader programming community is useful since we're likely to have dealt with very similar circumstances in the past. Further, the solution to this problem ...


13

One potential I see is "higher-level" questions, like Open Data Scorecards?, a question about measuring and comparing openness of governments. Also under this category could be questions about legal means to overrule refusal of disclosure. I could even imagine people asking pushing forward open data movement. Also, I'm interested in questions about source ...


13

The ideal data request Data: Explain exactly what data you are looking for. Put a Wikipedia link under each ambiguous word or abbreviation, as abbreviations can have a different meaning in different fields. Context: What are you actually trying to achieve, what is your final goal that the data will help you get done? Region: Not everybody is in the USA. Say ...


12

I see a defining split between open data on this site meaning "any data", and "data with a social/public benefit". My vote is definitely for the latter: being primarily governmental (in regards to both government transparency into policy and laws and datasets maintained by government such as maps, census, business registrations, etc.) and scientific. In ...


10

I hope that there can be a place for questions that cover the work that often must be done to prepare 'open data' to support analysis or other uses. While I agree there some questions for extracting and cleaning data could be asked on Stack Overflow, I think that these tasks are such a integral part of actually using open data that we will have both many ...


10

This is inspired by Andrew's answer on this thread and this response on another. I think the best way we can improve the site scope is to not limit it to just the data itself. To quote Jeanne Holm from the other thread, "A discussion of open data is limited if we only talk about a portion of the process of making data open. That process extends from a ...


9

For anyone interested in a definition of Open Data, have a look at the wonderful Open Definition by the Open Knowledge Foundation. Here's the short version: A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike. Alternatively, the Wikipedia ...


9

Asking for data regardless of its status should be encouraged. If it's not open now, the increased interest may encourage those with the keys to make it available. Or, via hackathons, data that is available but not easily accessible can be made more public. Answers that point to closed-data should include legal disclaimers to the best of the author's ...


9

Go ahead and post a "question", and then answer it yourself. For example, "Where can I find outbreak data... related to ... ?" Here is a recent question that was self-answered: Graph of Landsat Downloads The meta-stackexchange site has an interesting discussion.


8

Two things: I think this will improve once the private beta ends. The current participants are mostly subject area experts that don't really have too many burning questions that need answering, but hopefully that will change when it's possible for others to more easily participate -- I know I'll be directing people with questions here as opposed to other ...


8

This is an English-speaking site and questions must be posted in English — but our goal is to make the Open Data Stack Exchange site a great, world-wide resource for all the world's citizens no matter what jurisdiction that data covers or where that data happens to reside. So, no, questions should not be limited to English-speaking jurisdictions.


7

Affiliation disclosure is required for good reason. If you're simply providing technical support, affiliation becomes less of an issue. But if you are recommending a product or service, there's little down-side to requiring that everyone simply provide full disclosure right there, front-and-center in their answer. This avoids the whole issue of raising ...


7

If these tools are a specific and integral part of the Open Data landscape, then almost certainly, these questions should be on topic here. I'm not talking about generalized software where the author just happens to be using it with Open Data… but specialized tools specifically designed for and used by this community. As a matter of fact, the ...


7

I can understand the reluctance to allow the bible question through, as the data in question may not be truly open. As I understand it, not all bible versions are in the public domain, and at least one of the sites that I found (in answering the question) did seem to have a "non-commercial use" clause attached to their (quite sophisticated) APIs. Having ...


7

Great discussion and suggestions. There are two ways to approach the idea of making this community more useful. One is to focus on the metrics by which we are measured, and you've done a good job of doing that. The second is to look at how to make the site itself more useful to more people (and should help to meet those metrics), which is a slightly ...


7

I think it is difficult due to the form of questions and data requests. If I haven't found any website related with my data for instance, should I say that I googled it and didn't find anything? However, it would be something that we shall promote in the comments. When we see a data requests, we can add a comment and ask about what he/she has already ...


7

I don't see any reason why discussing specific open data sets should be off-topic on Open Data SE. If nobody objects, we can also include a statement to that effect at opendata.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. Update: I just amended our on-topic help page.


7

I think we should allow webscraping questions, because unfortunately one often has to resort to it when the data is not nicely dumped. A webpage can be considered as a form of open data, where the format is simply not so machine readable. I wouldn't worry about the legality, since as far as I know, sharing knowledge regarding webscraping techniques is legal,...


6

I was just about to ask the same question. My instinct is that it can be helpful to reference non-open sources as a means of describing/discussing the type of data/information being requested (or looked for). It can also help with pseudo-reverse engineering methods of finding the same data (e.g. in this thread re. list of non-profits in the US the paid ...


6

No developer hacks with open data any different to non-openly licensed data. So if you follow this argument through, you should avoid discussing any developer techniques. But that seems stupid. There is a reasonably well-defined activity of data hacking/wrangling, which is having a big surge of interest because of all the open data being released right now. ...


6

My suggestion would be to create a new meta question for each different kind of "off-topicness" whenever the need arises. Examples: Programming / database questions with no clear Open Data focus, Are real time information systems on-topic?, Is data collection on-topic?, Are graph visualization/tools on-topic here?, ... Otherwise, the discussions in this ...


6

For anyone interested in a definition of Open Data, have a look at the wonderful Open Definition by the Open Knowledge Foundation. Here's the short version: A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.


6

Open real-time data is definitely something that we'll see a lot more of in the not-too-distant future. Therefore, it is not just on-topic, but very relevant to the Open Data SE. One nice example would be the London public transportation real-time data provided by Transport for London.


6

Asking where a database can be found isn't really the same thing as what we generally refer to as link-only answers. The latter is about a user "answering" questions by pointing the author elsewhere — I.e. "For your answer, you can read about it here <link>." We consider these link-only answers problematic because Stack Exchange is supposed to be ...


6

I don't think Dan is asking for a central authority to mark questions as answered; he's just observing that people don't do it here. Stack Exchange sites work better when users accept questions. It helps future readers be confident that answers are correct, it rewards answerers with more reputation points, and it's generally a sign of a healthy community. ...


6

Vote! Vote! Vote! It doesn't cost anything. Just push the button. As long as users do not (up)vote questions there won't be enough "avid" users. After 300 days only 5 users have more than 1000 points. That's a bit lame. I haven't been here for long enough, to tell why this is so. Either there is a very high turnover of very active users or the users haven'...


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