More and more questions are related to tikz/pgf and not tex in here: should not the creators of this site think of a dedicated tikz/pgf forum?

migrated from tex.stackexchange.com May 31 '11 at 12:41

This question came from our site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems.

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    I don't think Tikz/Pgf questions, in a way, "pollute" the forum. It is just because graphics are becoming indispensible in any kind of TeX document, which were long confined to the \includegraphics{} command (slight exaggeration of course). What you can do is amazing with them. Besides, you see a lot of other types of questions also if you turn off the "TikZ/Pgf" filter ;) – percusse May 31 '11 at 12:37
  • @pluton: This clearly belongs on meta.tex.sx because it is a question about the site. I migrated it there now. – Martin Scharrer May 31 '11 at 12:42
  • @percusse: I'm not talking about pollution of any kind. I just think it could be more efficient for (potential) tikzs user to have a dedicated forum even though I know this tool has strong links with tex. For an improved organization of the forum and as a non (yet) tikz user, I just think that two separate forums are relevant. – pluton May 31 '11 at 12:44
  • @Martin: ok thanks, I was not sure about where to ask the question. – pluton May 31 '11 at 12:44
  • @pluton: Do we need to give the same privilege to PSTricks? :) – xport May 31 '11 at 12:48
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    @pluton: Yep, that didn't work as a joke I guess. What I wanted to say is that Pgf/TikZ are becoming a strong internal mechanism for La/TeXing and many questions appear on the site having content interlinked with some x package + Pgf problem. Then there would appear the difficulty of classification of these problems. – percusse May 31 '11 at 12:50
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    @percusse, @pluton: TeX.SX is not a forum! – Martin Scharrer May 31 '11 at 12:51
  • @Martin: Why cannot *.stackexchange.com | stackoverflow.com be called/categorized as a forum? – xport May 31 '11 at 12:59
  • @xport: It all depends what you understand under "forum" of course. In general a forum has a much less strict format and have often a tree like structure in their threads, i.e. people post replies on the posts of other people. This generates a much lower signal-to-noise ratio then on a stricter Q&A site like this. This results in a better quality and is a main reason why e.g. Google lists us very high. We don't won't (new) people to think that this site is just another forum to avoid non-answers and other unwanted things. – Martin Scharrer May 31 '11 at 13:08

I disagree. Firstly, with regard to the "pollution". I'm not usually an advocate of tags, but this is one case where I think that the tag system works. TikZ/PGF questions are easily identifiable as such and usually correctly tagged, so using the ignore or follow features of tags should actually work here.

Secondly, with regard to having a separate forum, I don't see any advantages to this. The main point is that there is no clear separation of users. I answer quite a lot of TikZ questions, but I ask quite a lot of non-TikZ questions (and sometimes answer if they're easy enough). For both, I'm in the same "mental state". If I see a TikZ question and I'm thinking about TeX-related stuff, then I don't have to "shift gears" mentally to think about the TikZ question, and vice versa. On the other hand, if I was browsing MathOverflow and came across a TeX question then I would have to do that mental shift, showing that TeX questions don't belong there.

Lastly, I think that TikZ/PGF questions benefit the site. I don't think it is big enough to lose a large section of its questions, and they do draw people here. They also provide a showcase of things that might just make dull papers a little more interesting to read. Think of it as a "Look what I can do!" (in the nicest possible way, of course).

  • Full ACK. In addition I don't like the phrasing "related to tikz/pgf and not tex". TikZ/PGF is written in (La)TeX for (La)TeX and is therefore part of (La)TeX. – Martin Scharrer May 31 '11 at 12:56
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    I agree with these points. Many questions have the form "how do I draw X in (la)tex", and people often give a tikz solution, but these are not tikz questions per se. I actually think the perspective "tikz is not tex" is really wrong -- rather, tikz is among the best parts of the (la)tex ecosystem currently. – kgr May 31 '11 at 16:24

If you mean with forum a site like TeX.SX (which is not a forum but a Q&A site) then you should know the following:

All stackexchange sites need to be officially proposed on http://area51.stackexchange.com/ where they need a certain number of supporters to get the site into the beta stage. Once the beta site shows enough activity it is elevated to a full site or shut down otherwise. It isn't very easy to get so far if you don't have the right amount of supporters and your proposal can be closed as a duplicate similar to questions here. Because TikZ/PGF is for LaTeX and there is already a site for that, I can basically guarantee that such a proposal will be closed quickly.

There is already a "PGF/TikZ forum" in form of a mailing list which is accessible under http://old.nabble.com/PGF-and-TikZ-f3582.html. Also http://www.texample.net/tikz/resources/ is a dedicated TikZ website.

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    There is a forum entitled Graphics, Figures and Tables at LaTeX Community (latex-community.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=45), another one at sourceforge's pgf place and the pgf-users mail list also at sourceforge. I'm subscribed to this one and visit the first from time to time. I think tex.stackexchange is the most active one. – Ignasi May 31 '11 at 15:39

(After the migration, I rephrased (and also changed my point of view))

At first I agreed with the statement because there are several pgf/tikz post in this Q&A which are not stricly on TeX; but then, reading all other answers, I realized that the good use of tags may itself be a good alternative to a dedicated Q&A, as suggested in the question, which will indeed add a bit of noise to the whole system.

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