General-audience nowcasting FAQ

I was recently hoping to explain the rationale for nowcasting to an experienced group of forecast consumers in policy.

To help with this I wanted to find a clear, simple explanation of the particular challenges of real time right-censoring / data truncation in acute outbreak situations, and how nowcasting is fundamental to managing this. I looked around but couldn’t find much that I thought was really accessible and non-academic. (Keen to be proved wrong though!)

While it seems obvious once you know about it, I think the problems that nowcasting addresses are not entirely self-explanatory and wondered if a bit of extra explanation of nowcasting itself might help new users get on board with epinowcast.

At the moment the paragraph at the top of the package landing page does a great job, and I think there is already discussion around an epinowcast mission statement which would cover some of this.

Perhaps another useful addition would be an FAQ page somewhere, that progresses from the most basic what/why/when questions to the more technical?

This is a really good point. In general, the type of questions we ask and the ways we ask them could be much better linked and explained. If that were the case I think it would help everyone (i.e consumers understand what they are consuming and researchers to have a better idea of what needs research and how that links with other work).

I think there isn’t really one or at least I also haven’t found one. The idea is I suppose that the mission statement will grow into this kind of paper/piece of work but I am not sure it will ever be correctly positioned to help quickly answer consumers’ questions. I think an FAQ would be a great supplement and something we can shape/grow over time.

It could be hosted in quite range of places but it seems like having a page on Epinowcast - Getting help would be the best bet? There isn’t much content there at the moment but I like the fact its split out from the software and the more free-form community site (i.e here).

When we release the new release blog post seems like it could be a good time to put something up. In the meantime shall we brainstorm some ideas in this thread?

There is an FAQ that @johannes wrote for the German Nowcast Hub on COVID-hospitalisations. The description of the problem is a bit specific to this slightly special scenario, but perhaps we could some stuff from it further.