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I recently posted the following on HSM Meta:

The site is fairly diverse, no matter what it may seem. This question on Physics inspired me to post a modified version here, because I think it could be relevant.

The gist of the principle is that users can post information here about their specialties - that is, the areas where they feel they can best post high-quality answers. If there is a question related to a user's specialty, they can be notified, and hopefully post a good answer.

Let everyone know what you think, and post your information below!

(As Shokhet pointed out, most people can't see HSM Meta; the questions on Physics that inspired this can be found here and here.)

As user291957 pointed out, this is relevant on many SE sites. I think it may be especially relevant here, considering the variety of topics we have. So, feel free to post an answer!

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  • $\begingroup$ In all seriousness how do you propose we "ping" other users if A) they don't visit often and/or B) have their e-mail set to private? Is there a hidden function to PM or something? I mean if a user is on weekly it seems pretty likely they can keep up with all new posts (unless we pick up speed of course). $\endgroup$ – Black Nov 1 '14 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ This question doesn't really fit the way stack exchange works - but I don't have a problem with it either. To ping someone just reply to their answer, they will get a notification next time they visit any stack exchange site. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 2 '14 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe edit the post to be clearer, and also link directly to the post on Physics Meta -- people like me who didn't commit to HSM can't view what's in HSM Meta. $\endgroup$ – Shokhet Nov 2 '14 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Shokhet Shoot, I forgot that HSM is still in private beta. Thanks for the heads-up. I'm working on making the question clearer. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Nov 2 '14 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW that question on Physics Meta turned out to be entirely useless, in the sense that nobody actually gets pinged from the list. In order to be useful it would need significant support from the design of the SE system, i.e. there would have to be a system for pinging users based on topics built into the website. I do think proper use of tags and the favorite tag system handles it fairly well; people "opt in" by favoriting a tag. $\endgroup$ – David Z Nov 2 '14 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ When I saw that question, I figured that people were pinged, but I didn't see any comments because they were erased/flagged obsolete when no longer useful ....having never used that one myself, I wouldn't know. $\endgroup$ – Shokhet Nov 2 '14 at 15:49
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If there is a question related to a user's specialty, they can be notified, and hopefully post a good answer.

Actually, that idea is contrary to the idea of Stack Exchange, which is to focus more on content than on specific individuals.

Nobody should feel obliged to answer any specific question. People interested in specific subjects can follow tags, add tags to a RSS reader, favorite questions, and so on. There is a reason why you can only @-ping people in comments who have participated in the post that you are commenting on.

As far as I know there are no limits to how many tags can be followed or favorited.

You can outright hide questions on the front page that are about subjects you aren't interested in. (Follow the "set tag preferences" link.) (Hiding content is a luxury that moderators don't have...)

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    $\begingroup$ Also, people who want to advertise specific areas of expertise are welcome to use their profiles to do so. (Though, if they're active in answering questions, your first stop should probably be their tags.) $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Nov 2 '14 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ And remember that you can edit tags. If you know that X would give a good answer to a specific question, you can check to make sure that one of X's tags is included. If HDE 226868 knows a lot about space exploration history then maybe there should be a relevant tag to follow. We can then add it to relevant questions, effectively pinging HDE 226868. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Nov 2 '14 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Brythan, just to be clear, don't add tags if they don't describe the question. Getting individual users by trying to use a tag that doesn't describe the questions isn't a good idea. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Nov 3 '14 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ @DonyorM But if the person can answer the question, then there should be a tag that is appropriate to the question. For example, if a question can be answered by someone with an expertise in space exploration history, then a tag covering space exploration history should be relevant to the question. I would agree that we shouldn't tag a question physics because one of the followers of physics happens to also know space exploration history. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Nov 3 '14 at 4:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Brythan Ok. Just wanted to make sure we both we're saying that. Your first comment confused me a little. $\endgroup$ – DonyorM Nov 3 '14 at 4:30
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Astronomy and related topics.

I love astronomy, and have for a long while. I'll answer anything related to stars, black holes, planets - you name it.

Physics and related topics.

I also love physics, especially the theoretical side. I'll answer conceptual questions, as well as ones about physicists. I'm considering physics as a career.

Space exploration and related topics.

Space exploration fascinates me. We're constantly journeying to further places, and pushing the frontier. I know a fair amount about the history of space exploration, especially the Space Race

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While I don't know if I agree with it being any better to "notify the experts".....

I have pretty broad coverage in most areas which I find useful in drawing connections between topics that are obvious but maybe overlooked due to other experts being too "domain specialized" which makes usually something I can weigh in on (though not to the level of an expert, so I would say the more fringe questions).

To give an idea my personal worst subject is probably Biology. Which is ironic given my personal best for up-votes.(don't tell anyone it's a secret)

My forte is though. From chip fabrication and algorithms, to Zero Instruction Set Architecture and Information Theory, to Gorilla glass chemistry and iPad bulk prices, to cost-benefit analysis of PS4's shared RAM model and having written all this, it seems like this is the kind of thing that belongs in our bios. (Although me and Community are best buds with Caleb Hines so I wouldn't want to take out the important stuff.)

And since nobody knows quite as much as they think they do, I'm gonna wiki this so you all can add and remove expert tags with wild abandon.

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