Below is the creation document for a Stan User Committee. We are seeking volunteers interested in joining us. Details on what the committee is focused on and how we plan on operating are below.
Proposal to SGB for Stan User Committee
July 1, 2020, Revised July 20, 2020, Final revision August 16, 2020, SGB approved August 24, 2020
As requested we have formalized our proposal for a Stan User Committee in this letter and request approval by the SGB. The Stan User Committee exists to collect, prioritize and communicate current and future user level needs to the SGB and overall Stan community. Additionally the User Committee will develop user specific materials for pedagogy like MOOCs, certifications and getting started guides.
The committee addresses the entirety of the Stan user experience and exists to make it easier for users to learn, use and flourish in the Stan ecosystem. The committee scope is core Stan and the supporting projects which includes but not limited to interfaces (RStan, PyStan, CmdStan*), upstream/downstream applications (RStudio, ShinyStan…) as well as pedagogy.
The committee may raise funds, suggest allocation of resources to the SGB and will publish recommendations.
The committee will operate informally with votes and minutes publicly available. Any committee member can call for a more formal process driven by Roberts Rules of Order as done previously with the SGB. We will elect a presiding officer and secretary. The SGB has ultimate authority over committee actions.
The committee will be populated by volunteers solicited from public posts in discourse and individual outreach. The committee will seek members who come from different perspectives, use cases and industries and avoid concentration in areas. The committee will start with up to 9 members appointed by the SGB and the membership reviewed annually by the SGB. Members will renominate themselves annually to indicate that they wish to remain on the committee. If new candidate members and existing members exceed committee limits then the SGB will either expand the committee or choose members for the next year without an incumbency advantage.
Expected committee goals are:
A wiki page with desired user products/features (including future enhancements to functionality that would increase the user base) for public consultation. This is not a binding roadmap but a document for consultation by those with the desire, skills and funding to implement the ideas in the wiki.
Identification of user needs that help with learning Stan and modelling successfully with Stan.
Identify how Stan can best serve science/engineering/other users via courses, certifications and other programs/materials.
Identify fundraising opportunities for Stan and execute on them. Users are a natural funding source for the committee to consider. The committee will not commit to deliverables in exchange for funding without SGB approval.
Identify and pursue resources that benefit the Stan ecosystem that need not be monetary.
Track and report current Stan ecosystem usage and the potential to increase Stan usage.
The committee will report monthly to the SGB and larger community via google docs and discourse posts.
Attention to overall usability of Stan ecosystem. This covers installers, documentation, teaching materials, certifications and so on.
Be aware of different user kinds and make explicit how their needs differ.
- Cloud users–docker containers for easy deployment
- First time learners–web based interfaces and support
- Various OS users
- Domains like pharma (PK-PD models/Torsten), polling (MRP), etc…
Abbas Aaidi, Facebook
Breck Baldwin, Columbia University
Eren Elci, Bayer
Simon Maskell, University of Liverpool