A lot of the daily tasks of a bioinformatician can be boiled down to simple text parsing. Yes, we will be dealing with text files containing some form of biological data, but the answer might not really require any biological knowledge at all. For example, this question was posted on Unix & Linux today:
I have 2 files. File1 is:
chr19 4124051 4124250 1 chrX 154458151 154458200 2 chr22 37019451 37019600 3 chr15 74995401 74995550 4 chr12 128823901 128824100 5
and File2 is:
chr19 4124051 4124250 1 CUP chr15 74995401 74995550 4 CUP chr12 128823901 128824100 5 CUP chr12 122752651 122752950 8 CUP chr13 113297001 113297350 9 CUP
and I would like to have a File3 like this:
chr19 4124051 4124250 1 CUP chrX 154458151 154458200 2 chr22 37019451 37019600 3 chr15 74995401 74995550 4 CUP chr12 128823901 128824100 5 CUP
I'd like to merge the two files according to column 4 of File1, and adding values of column 5 from File2 to the last column of File1 whenever there is a match.
This is obviously someone working in bioinformatics but the question itself is not really about bioinformatics. Nevertheless, it is relatively typical of the type of thing a bioinformatician does every day.
So, should we allow such questions even if they could be answered by anyone with knowledge of regular expressions and basic text parsing tools? If the question is one that a bioinformatician could encounter, should we consider it on topic even if it can be expressed as a general text parsing issue?