vox charta FAQ

Get started using the vox charta system to keep up with astro-ph, and suggest papers for discussion.

Problem: papers appear on astro-ph faster than we can read them, leading to arxiv fatigue and potentially losing touch with the field.

The vox charta solution: individuals focus on papers appearing in their own sub-field, and promote interesting papers that they see to the group, which then meets to discuss the highly-ranked ones. Experts commit to review the papers, based on suggestions made by the promoters (or by the tea organisers).

Q. Sounds great! How do I get started?

A. Make an account on vox charta. In your user profile, set your name to be your full name and your institution to be Stanford.

Q. What's the best way to browse astro-ph from vox charta?

A. Opinions vary. If you use a reader (such as feedly) you can point it to one of the vox charta RSS feeds and then browse from there. Or you can just read the daily postings on the vox charta site, as if it was the arxiv.

Q. I usually read astro-ph by email or on the arxiv site. What's the easiest way of getting to vox charta from there?

A. Our former graduate Yao Yuan-Mao wrote a nice little widget that allows you to go straight to a paper's vox charta page where you can promote or suggest it. Just drag it into your browser's bookmark bar!

Q. It would be nice to filter the daily posting somehow, so I can focus on my research area. What can vox charta do for me?

A. Check out the top of the "Today's Postings" section. You can choose to only see papers in certain categories by selecting the check buttons. Then, you can have the postings shown to you ranked by your voting history, which is nice. If you miss astro-ph for a few weeks, you can catch up quickly by browsing the papers that the system recommends for you, based on your voting history. The more you vote, the more accurate this will be!

Q. If I vote for/promote a paper, does that mean I will have to present it at tea?

A. Not necessarily, no. You can volunteer to present a paper by email to tealeaks. If you just promote a paper, then all you are saying is that you would like to hear it discussed at tea. Papers with lots of votes are more likely to get discussed. You can also "suggest" papers to people, in the hope that they will "commit to present" them - this is what the tea organisers do as well.

Q. Sounds like the more people participate, the better this system will work?

A. Yes. The goal is for each of us to pay some attention to some of astro-ph, and together keep on top of the most exciting and important developments.

Q. I am a new student who wants to learn more by listening to the discussion at teatime. Can I just vote for the papers that sound interesting to me?

A. Yes - if enough other people vote for them, there's a good chance they will get discussed.

Q. I am a busy faculty member with no time to read papers. Can I just browse the titles and suggest them to my students and postdocs?

A. Yes.