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I believe some work has to be done in order to make sure that people do understand who are the users we are looking for.

The FAQ, first of all, isn't clear.

The Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is intended for professionals and academics involved in securities valuations, risk modeling, and other topics related to quant modeling or trading. Basically, if you aren't earning a living at this, it's probably off topic.

It refers academics which is unclear I believe. Let's make it clear at say something like:

Questions allowed in this site will typically come from students who have at least a master degree in quantitative finance or from quantitative finance professionals.

Same clarification is clearly needed about questions not to ask.

I have been quite active on this site which I really fancy, but I must say that the tone of some users has sometimes been rude (not towards me).

I understand that it's a pain to typically close questions which shouldn't be there, and I participate to this task.

However I believe we have to be able to make sure that people understand what is on/off topic.

At the moment, this is not the case. CLEARLY. Just look at the amount of closed question.

Is it possible the add a message when user post a question?

Another idea: let's migrate more questions to make sure that users find the right site to ask and stop coming here

Finally, let's try to keep our calm, as we are a BETA and we need new visitors (as described in the fact); I'm not sure an hostile environment will attract people.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good suggestion. I'll add some example questions once a few more people chime in here. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Nov 18 '11 at 13:26
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UPDATE: The following suggested FAQ incorporates some very useful suggestions from chrisaycock and SRKX.

However, I'm not sure it's a great idea to point users to some unrepresentative questions on our FAQ (like the data question), as this may give the wrong impression of what's acceptable. I also edited out chrisaycock's somewhat derisory tone, though the gist of his suggestions are valid. Feel free to comment.


The Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is intended for professionals in the finance industry employed as quantitative researchers, analysts, or traders, and academics at the level of a masters degree in finance or higher. Basically, if you have not made finance your career, it's probably off topic.

The best questions are focused on an actual problem you face in the course of your work as a quant or academic researcher. If you have a question about

  • securities valuation
  • risk modeling
  • market microstructure
  • portfolio management
  • financial engineering

then you're in the right place to ask your question.

The community aims to create a lasting record of great solutions to questions. Providing references to peer-reviewed literature or links to on-line resources is warmly welcomed. You can also incorporate the work of others under fair use doctrine, which particularly means that you must attribute any text, images, or other material that is not originally yours.

There are some common questions that are off-topic and will be closed, such as

  • How do I become a quant?
  • What should my thesis topic be?
  • What is high-frequency trading?

There are certain subjects that will probably get better responses on our sister sites. If your question is about

We can answer questions for software packages that are specific to quantitative finance, though bug reports should be filed with the software vendor.

Please note, however, that cross-posting is not encouraged.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the wording, although I believe that referring directly to the level of master degrees justifies bringing homework questions on quant.SE. I wouldn't want that. $\endgroup$ – Ryogi Nov 24 '11 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RYogi I took out the bit about homework. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Nov 24 '11 at 21:10
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This is a good point. It might be helpful to explicitly provide some of the OT greatest hits. The ones that come to mind are

  1. where do I get free data?
  2. how high is high frequency?
  3. should I write my algo in VBA or Apple Script?

It is hard to find the sweet spot on what is a quant question (other than argumentative questions belong on forums, not SE), so it might be good to bound the clearly OT questions.

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  • $\begingroup$ appoligies for the stupid question: what do you mean by OT questions? $\endgroup$ – SRKX Nov 18 '11 at 12:07
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    $\begingroup$ @SRKX Off Topic $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Nov 18 '11 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ I'd add any sort of "What language/database/hardware should I use to implement my system?" and "How do I break into the industry?" type of question. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Nov 18 '11 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ +1. Two extra ingredient are needed: (1) The OT Greatest Hits should link those OT questions that have been allowed (for example as community) because of general interest or simply "to get it out of the way"; (2) when appropriate these questions should be "locked". $\endgroup$ – Ryogi Nov 19 '11 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ @RYogi Agreed. We have a canonical question about languages and a canonical question about online data sources, so those would be mentioned in the FAQ. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Nov 19 '11 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ @chrisaycock moderators: have we agreed on a proposed new FAQ? Can we replace the existing FAQ with my proposal? It could have been helpful for pointing out the reasons for closing QuantLib in JavaScript. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Dec 1 '11 at 22:58
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My proposal:


The Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is intended for professionals and academics involved in securities valuations, risk modeling, and other topics related to quant modeling or trading. Basically, if you aren't earning a living at this, it's probably off topic.

Good questions are focused on an actual problem you face in the course of your work as a quant, including market microstructure and portfolio management. Econometrics and financial engineering are also welcome.

Some questions are often re-asked on here; we generally redirect those to the canonical answers. Common questions include:

There are also some common questions that are totally off-topic and will be closed. Usually these come from people outside the industry. Examples include:

  • How do I become a quant? (It's a different path for everyone.)
  • What should my thesis topic be? (Ask your academic advisor.)
  • What is high-frequency trading? (You'll probably get banned for asking this.)

There may be other questions that are better suited for our sister sites:

We can answer questions for software packages that are specific to quantitative finance, though bug reports should be filed with the software vendor.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand how the site can be opened to academics but not for people who don't make a living at this. So students aren't welcome? $\endgroup$ – SRKX Nov 19 '11 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ @SRKX PhD and MFE students have always been welcome. It's unlikely that undergrads would be able to contribute though. $\endgroup$ – chrisaycock Nov 19 '11 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ @chrisayrock : well, MFE students don't make a living out of it yet, Phd barely do. I think the statement is misleading. $\endgroup$ – SRKX Nov 19 '11 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ @SRKX: it's only an indication of the expected level. If somebody is mislead, their question would most likely be inappropriate. $\endgroup$ – Ryogi Nov 19 '11 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ @RYogi : You're an MFE student, you want to ask a question about something you misunderstood in, say, Swaption pricing method. I believe it's on-topic, yet you're not a making a living out of it yet. In the end you'll do as you wish guys, but I think putting this is a mistake. OR you remove academics. OR you rephrase : if you don't (or don't intend) to earn a living at this, it's probably off topic. $\endgroup$ – SRKX Nov 19 '11 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ @SRKX, I disagree. $\endgroup$ – Ryogi Nov 19 '11 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ I think this captures the underlying point fine which is that someone coming to participate in the community have already invested significant time studying and learning finance. MFE or PhD students have made the time commitment and hopefully won't stop by and ask the types of questions that we don't need or want. $\endgroup$ – Steve Severance Nov 22 '11 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ @SRKX I like a lot of chrisaycock's suggestions, but I somewhat agree that the "earning a living" line is potentially misleading, so I posted a suggested compromise in my answer. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Nov 24 '11 at 18:15

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