So … our current goal is to follow possible synapses between the previously mapped J cell and potential SAC cells. All work on cells that were identified as NOT being SAC cells is discontinued and moved to ‘Completed’.
I too think these are interesting questions and legitimate for those who provide some time for it.
I see a certain dilemma: at the one hand you want to win as many participants as possible and the game seems to help for that, but a bunch of players are mainly interested in the scientific gain of the work. So the organizers have some responsibility to keep both groups updated about the results and teach them - probably at different levels - what we may be learning from the work.
This touches another novel aspect of this approach: usually scientific work is done based on some ideas and concepts that are then studied and elaborated with sweat (data collection) and creativity. After some time you feel ready to present the results in a meeting and publish the results and your conclusions in an appropriate science journal. Until then things are pretty much kept “under cover” so not to disclose it untimely to eventual competitors (for grant money, positions).
Here data are created real time in public but they appear as little isolated puzzle pieces. If one has some retina experience one may recognize a certain cell type
after a while but usually one does not see its spatial position and relation to previously reconstructed cells. So the organizers - deciding which pieces to hand out and how they eventually fit together - keep the “intellectual” aspects to themselves. This is the nature of the BIGGER SCIENCE game the whole project is part of.
The question is, how much of it can and should be visible at the players horizon? Currently I see no more specific comments on the type of task that is assigned to the teams or associated with a particular cellular cluster. If the players are “blind” to the detailed goals they are not biased by any a priori assumptions and this is considered good for data collection, but at least questions as the ones above should get thorough feedback.
Some kind of regular summary reports on the work done, the particular progress and the next steps considered should be given, rewarding those who look for more than winning points. This may interfere with the usual course of science work, sketched above but novel approaches ask for novel solutions for the issues arising from them.
As far as I know from a post by blakamm here http://forum.eyewire.org/discussion/328/still-no-eyewire-games, they were originally going to trace the cells which connect to the J-cell all of the way, but since that would take too long, for now we just need to trace enough of the cells to determine what cell type they are.
In answer to the original question, the primary scientific goal within this competition is to go through all the cells which synapse onto the J-Cell in question. For each, we’d like to reconstruct enough of it to identify it as being either an SAC cell or some other cell. For the SAC cells, we’d like to reconstruct enough of it to tell which direction the dendrite is coming from. With that data, we’ll be able to provide a fairly accurate map of where the J cell receives all these SAC inputs from, and ideally that layout will correspond to a simple model of why these J cells behave the way they do.