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This is our current FAQ

We welcome cartographers, database administrators, geographers, programmers, and anyone interested in or using GIS professionally.

This might be interpreted in a way that excludes hobbyists and I don't think that was the intention. Questions on the site cover a wide range of experience levels from complete newbie to professional.

I'd therefore suggest to add a short sentence to encourage new and hobbyist GIS users.

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    Seems reasonable to me. I think I would drop professionally (and leave everything else verbatim), although making explicit is not bad idea either. Do you have an example short sentence encouraging hobbyists? (I can't think of anything that reads nice offhand) – Andy W Mar 31 '12 at 19:42
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"Professionally," as a practical matter, is a meaningless adverb: it does not refer to capability but merely to the fact of being compensated for one's work, something we obviously cannot check on this site. I therefore think @Andy's suggestion is the best option: just drop "professionally" from the FAQ but otherwise leave it unchanged.

For similar reasons, applied in reverse, I do not advocate explicitly encouraging GIS "hobbyists."

On a related matter, I would love some way automatically to weed out the endless questions on "I have no idea how projections work and my two layers don't match, will somebody please help me out." I don't see these questions disappearing any time soon, but please let's not do anything to encourage more of them.

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    Thanks. I went ahead and deleted "professionally". And I can totally understand your reason behind not encouraging the "why do my layers not line up" questions. Unfortunately, I don't see how to avoid them. – underdark Apr 3 '12 at 6:31
  • ditto for both this answer and @underdark's comment. I understand the reasoning behind our beneficent overlords' decision to not allow deletion of questions. Sometimes though it really is the most appropriate thing to do (after suitable conversation with the OP about the why of course). – matt wilkie Apr 3 '12 at 19:41
  • I'm probably not as familiar as I should be with that "overlord" decision, @Matt, so I'm not perfectly clear about what you're referring to. When a question gets no attention and the OP wants it deleted, I think there's no problem--this has happened. However, once a thread garners constructive comments, edits, or replies, it no longer wholly "belongs" to an individual: it reflects the community effort. Deletion in such cases would unilaterally destroy the community's work and so is rarely carried out (and actively reversed when it does happen). – whuber Apr 3 '12 at 19:45
  • I don't remember where I read it exactly, but this meta.SO thread covers the same ground, as does your comment. From reading that, again, it appears there are more deletion powers available than I thought. I guess I just don't see them. – matt wilkie Apr 3 '12 at 19:58
  • @Matt, it takes 10K reputation to vote to delete a question: see the FAQ. Anybody can flag a question (or reply) they think should be deleted. Because 5 votes (or one mod vote) are needed, until we have a lot of 10K users--which will take another year--, flagging is probably the most effective route. – whuber Apr 6 '12 at 21:37

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