Q Should we edit Personal Medical Advice questions?
Is a general question and less about the concrete examples prompting this meta discussion. As such we should make the distinction between fixable questions and unsalvageable. It seems quite self evident that plainly unfixable questions are not the real topic here.
It seems quite clear that we should not just shoot down all questions that appear as personal advice/medical advice. They should be put on hold quickly and we should try to help OP to get the question into on-topic area.
As one of our residents put it:
I think this is another way we need to approach the floods of "diagnose me" "advise me" questions. If we only downvote, it doesn't help the dilution of good questions. This way we pull out the good in their question and increase the % of good questions. Also, sometimes the answers to downvoted questions are great and deserve a good question stem!!
Please, those who have downvoted, look at questions that have been revised and see if it deserves an upvote instead! If not, consider revising it.
And another professional had this say:
To edit or not to edit?
I happened to look at the front page and saw an interesting (to me) question which was appropriately closed as seeking personal medical advice. I edited the post to remove that aspect.
To which yet another pro added:
Any question can be potentially re-opened in this fashion, but this becomes very old very quickly.
While it was a "total rewrite" it really fixed the post. Consequently the post in question became: "Post Reopened by Graham Chiu, DoctorWhom, LangLangC, Chris Rogers, bertieb"
Of course this should be accompanied ideally by the OP further editing the question to comply with guidelines. But if OP cannot or simply will not edit then I see no reason for any of us not to edit the question. If anyone feels like she is up to it, I'd say "go ahead". I thought we only abstained from these edits as they were too strenuous on our time budgets. If that's the case, just do not edit. But if you see value in the de-personalised core of the question, you have the time, do edit. It then may need further edits by the OP. But we should not take pride in closing questions. We do that in desperation, I hope, at least.
Removing the personal/diagnosis/advice aspects is a first start to help users, we should try to do that. If that leaves the question in a poor state it is at least not as bad as before. The example was personal and lacking research. Now it's still lacking research and not personal. That is an improvement according to our standards.
We cannot fix them all, as they are so many. We cannot fix them all as some are really beyond fixing. This post is not about an encouragement to edit every post into admission. This answer merely suggests that we are a better site if we try to keep fixing posts. We even have a canned comment for that Question: medical advice question but potentially salvageable.
The home page is now full of "holds" and "closed" signs. Considering the transition that is a good sign. But it will not be a good sign in the future. It will remain a judgement call. But if you think you can fix it, then edit.
Very sadly I ended up being the top close voter on this site. That really makes not for a nice statistic. It is nothing to be proud about. Although I strictly distinguish between "put on-hold" and "close". Ideally in "on-hold" the OP continues to work with us to improve the Q.
This is just to emphasise that we should not shoot down everything "and forget about it". For the example, Carey's edit was a good start, not "a mistake". Well, in my opinion.
As canbe found on several meta-meta posts:
"Please note that once you post a question or answer to this site, those posts become part of the collective efforts of others who have also contributed to that content. Posts that are potentially useful to others should not be removed except under extraordinary circumstances."
And a reminder from our own How to ask page:
Personal medical advice questions are off-topic here on Medical Sciences.
We care! And that is why Medical Sciences cannot give individualized medical advice or diagnosis for multiple important reasons! Such questions will be revised or closed.
If we don't manage to do that for resource reasons then that's one thing. But we should not give up this goal. If we declare shooting down to be our principle then that is a mistake. "Be nice" would be fixing more questions and get them re-opened.