"New to Julia" category is an awkward, almost redundant category

“New to Julia” means that you’re new to the Julia programming language.
However, it doesn’t really tell you how hard the problems asked would be. Somebody who was an expert in Finite-element analysis, computational biology, or optimization from some other tools coming to Julia might post questions much harder than someone who’s been using Julia for years doing some CS101 algorithms. Barring some trivial questions like “How to make a function.”, “How to do OOP in Julia”, “Why is dynamic dispatch so slow?”. etc, being new to Julia or not provides little information as to how hard the problem is going to be. There are various ways you could be “new”.

  • A programmer being new to scientific computation or whatever particular domain.
  • A scientist being new to programming in general.
  • A Python programmer being new to Julia.
  • Etc…
    So, you end up with a not-very-organized list of threads due to people coming to Julia from different backgrounds putting all the threads in the category.

What should we do? My idea is to dissolve the category and put the discussion in the “General Usage” or the appropriate “Specific Domain” category. If a problem comes up frequently enough, add that to the FAQ or something.

1 Like

I see a couple of arguments for keeping the category:

  • For the community: It’s interesting to see what questions and problems new users run into, maybe even especially if they are at different levels of prior experience.
  • For new users: Adding the tag might make them feel more comfortable asking ‘noob’ questions. Even if the tag weren’t useful for the community, it might help take the edge off for new posters.
18 Likes

Good point. On the other hand, it might be intimidating for some if there are someone posting something like “Hello everyone, I am new to Julia. I have experience in Tensorflow, PyTorch, Jax, etc… and I want to try my hand at Julia so I could compare how well it fares.”

1 Like

The category itself is great in my eyes. It is the place to ask questions that are too hard to answer on your own when you have just started using julia (you might not even know what your question is at that point).

However, looking at recent topics in the category, I’ll admit that many of them don’t fit that description.

2 Likes

Completely disagree. Your interpretation of “New to Julia” is being applied broadly to the many real ways people are newcomers, but that is too literal for how the tag is actually used in practice. Threads default to General Usage. Threads specific to a domain switch to the corresponding tag even if the poster also happens to be new to Julia. Questions about the fundamentals and design switch to the Internals and Design tags. Switching to New to Julia is reserved for entry-level questions about well-documented base Julia knowledge; involving niche packages doesn’t matter if the issue was how to write multimethods. I’m sure you can find exceptions to the usage of these tags to fit your interpretation, but that’s a small fraction of errant tagging, which is fixable and acceptable for a forum.

It looks like the consensus is to keep the category as is. I guess that’s the solution.

1 Like