Skill Score: Request for Proposals

Dear Stardust@home Volunteers (aka Dusters):

Many of you asked for improved feedback during Phase III. In Phase IV we responded. As many of you know, we got off to a rocky start, but have now worked out the major bugs (although we admit there are some lingering issues). We thank you sincerely for your patience and for your polite communication to us regarding problems that you have found. This has been absolutely critical to fixing the problems, and we are very grateful to you for your help.

There has been quite a lot of discussion on the Forum about the new features that we implemented in Phase IV. Our guiding principle in developing all of these new features was to improve feedback so that people could have effective tools for sharpening their skills. There are varying degrees of consensus about which are the most useful tools, and how these could be improved. In particular, we are very open to improving the new Skill Score, but we are not sure what method would be best. So we have decided to invite your proposals and put them to a Duster vote. Here is the process we are setting up:

First Step: Please send your detailed proposal to We will acknowledge receipt of proposals within a day or two. Proposed changes can include: eliminate the skill score; make the skill score optional; change the skill score formula; and so on. You are welcome to suggest multiple changes, of course, and we are open to any ideas that could improve the project. [Note: If you are not comfortable writing in English, please send the proposal in the language that you are most comfortable writing in, and we will translate.]

Step Two: We will do a preliminary evaluation for feasibility and science impact. This evaluation will focus only on these two aspects and we will not make any judgments beyond these. If your proposal is not feasible, or if we are concerned about a negative impact on the science, we will send it back to you with detailed comments, and you will have an opportunity to revise and resubmit.

Step Three: On September 15, 2011, we will close the process to any new proposals, and will post the feasible proposals received on the Stardust@home website.

Step Four: We will ask you to vote on proposals. In September we will set this up. It will probably be a poll on the Stardust@home website. We will close the voting process on October 15th. If there is not a clear winner, we may have to have a runoff.

Final Step: We will implement the consensus recommendation as soon as possible. If it is a simple change it may happen quickly, but if it is more complex, it make take more time.

Requirements for your proposals:

You should be very specific in your proposal, and should explain the reasons for the changes that you propose. It should always come back to this: How will your proposed change improve the Stardust@home project? Remember that the other dusters will be reading and evaluating your proposal, so you will need to be very clear. Please use simple/concise statements (especially since not all of the dusters are English speakers).

We are looking forward to your ideas!

The Stardust@home team