Welcome page to the forum

Hi @team,

I recently observed quite often that when I point people to ask a question on the forum or to report a bug here, they don’t do it. From private discussions with some of them, I think reasons are a mix of fear “to share personal data”, “to blame yourself” and “to spoil what they are working on”. The last point we cannot do anything about, but the other two have potential IMHO.

I was thinking how to lower the entrance barrier to image.sc. Looking in our partner forum, the microlist, they have their concise welcome thread pinned (See screenshot below). We don’t. In our forum it’s only pinned for not-registered users. Shall we maybe change that?

Furthermore, I was wondering if changing the introductory text a bit could help. That’s my suggestion:

Welcome to the Scientific Community Image Forum at image.sc !

This forum’s focus is software-oriented aspects of scientific imaging, particularly (but not limited to) image analysis, processing, acquisition, storage, and management of digital scientific images. Everyone is welcome to ask questions. It’s for beginners and experts; life scientists and computer scientists; for practical questions and theoretical approaches to solving scientific puzzles with images.
The primary objective is to foster independent learning for everyone in the community.

Furthermore, to encounter data protection concerns (“What do they do with my email adress?”), could we specify who is operating the forum and what happens to personal data? Is there maybe a page already specifying that?

This is how it looks in the microforum:

Looking forward to read what you think!



I am in favor of everything that makes the forum more inclusive and welcoming! Specifically, I do like the text that you have proposed.

There are the terms of serice but those are very verbose. Maybe something short and concise would be nice.

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:+1: for me for on:

  • lowering the barrier however we can. (I periodically have to say, “no really, I want you to post there”)
  • pinning more permanently and perhaps pinning introductions in each of the categories depending on how they cross link with the main intro.
  • perhaps unpinning some existing threads in the various categories. Might a target be to have only one pinned topic per category regularly? (Obviously things change off and on)

As you can imagine, I’m not necessarily behind the sole bolding of “image analysis”. :wink: I’m certainly working to change those proportions…

Thanks, @haesleinhuepf

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Ok, I just remove the bold emphasis in my post above. Happy about feedback of that kind :slightly_smiling_face:

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I agree with you, @haesleinhuepf, and I have also encountered the same “shame” problem with the non-expert users. +1 for your text.

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Also not sure about the best terminology to encourage people to post, but I did happen to notice today some categories that seemed to invite responses:





I agree it’s probably a good time to reassess!

I do wonder though- to what degree when people say they “don’t want to share personal data” do they mean “their email” vs “their scientific data”? I actually expect it’s mostly the latter.


I meet this issue very often. Young people in Germany are very concerned about sharing their email. They are afraid that the image.sc company does make money out of it without further asking. It might be a German thing.

Fascinating! That’s SO not a thing in the US, people just giving out their email everywhere :slight_smile: .

People definitely do seem to have issues occasionally with uploading their images and/or pipelines, often it seems from a scooping-fear place- I’m not sure how to best reassure folks that even your most underhanded-wannabe-thief-competitor really can’t figure out much from one or two images, but if anyone has better ideas for how we can reassure folks on that score it doesn’t hurt to try to brainstorm there too.

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I know - it’s indeed really fascinating. :slight_smile:
It’s related to the European data protection laws. I think image.sc is violating them anyway. That’s why I also asked for providing som information on who runs image.sc and what happens to the data :wink:

I agree! Any idea is highly welcome.

It’s related to the European data protection laws. I think image.sc is violating them anyway.

Really? We remove anyone’s account who asks, and pretty much everything else we run according to Discourse defaults, and I’m not aware of anything saying Discourse as a whole is not GDPR compliant. If there are particular things you think we should do differently or better to comply with the law, obviously we would do that.

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As far as I know, the law defines that everyone who visits a website has to actively agree on cookies being used. image.sc doesn’t do that, right?

Good catch! I’ve just added that- right now it links to our TOS page, which if we think covers the topic insufficiently we can update.

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Great, thanks! And how about adding a sentence to the welcome page discussed initially. For example:

Image.sc is a community of open source projects. The community declares no financial interests in collecting personal data. The website is jointly operated by the Broad Institute and UW-Madison. You find details on the Terms of Service page.

Could we say it like that?

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Fine with me, but it’d be great to get input to make sure everyone else is on board before I just unilaterally make that change :slight_smile: .


Hello Team -

You could let those who so choose post fully anonymously, with
neither registration nor login required.

Should spam or disruptive posts prove to be a problem, you could
require a captcha for anonymous posts, and / or route them through
a spam filter or moderation queue.

Thanks, mm

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I support lowering the entrance barrier to image.sc:

  • Changing the welcome topic post as @haesleinhuepf suggests.
  • Complying with the GDPR.
  • Pinning topics however people feel is most effective.
  • Declaring concisely who is behind the site, including that no one makes a profit from it, it will never contain ads, etc.

I oppose anonymous posting without an account. While it can be done via email, there are several issues: 1) spam is a serious problem—it’s already significant work for moderators to be vigilant for spam, even without anonymous posting allowed; 2) it partially defeats the very useful trust system, since we would need to set the anonymous trust level high enough to allow for attachments and external links, thus making the spam problem even worse; and 3) we’d need to document on the site how to post anonymously, since it is IMHO less intuitive then posting via the web interface.

I am neutral on allowing anonymous posting with an account. Discourse has/had an “anonymous mode” feature whereby you can post anonymously. Maybe that feature would be good enough to encourage otherwise reluctant people to post in many cases? Unfortunately, on the technical side, I am unable to locate this feature or setting in our Discourse here nor in the meta.discourse.org, which makes me wonder whether it has since been removed. If you feel strongly about supporting anonymous mode, feel free to post on meta.discourse.org asking about it.


Given how easy it is to make an email account these days, I am puzzled as to why that is a significant issue. Not saying it is wrong, just that I don’t understand it. Is the creation of multiple email accounts also a problem in Germany? I have around 10, I think. Though I do lose track =/

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I updated the Welcome page. :slight_smile:

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Awesome! Could you please also permanently pin it? Otherwise it’s de-facto invisible :wink: