I have a question about my Medical Sciences Stack Exchange post: How to correctly use salicylic acid plasters against a plantar wart?

I'm asking for clarification on what appears to be incomplete medicine instructions. It was labeled as personal. Wouldn't this be of use to everyone who tries using plasters?

3 Answers 3


The prohibition is on all medical advice even if it would be useful to others. If you read the meta thread linked to in the close notice on your question, you would understand the reasoning. The word "personal" is often added simply to avoid misleading people into thinking they can't ask medical questions.

In this particular case, I think the best way to get an answer is to call the manufacturer and ask them. After all, it's their product and we don't necessarily know how it's best used.

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    Where was the "prohibition is on all medical advice" decided, and do questions on how to perform a medical treatment count as a medical device? Dec 13, 2018 at 12:13
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    @FranckDernoncourt You might want to actually click the link I provided and read it. And of course asking how to perform a medical treatment counts as medical advice.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Dec 13, 2018 at 15:34
  • Aren't most of the questions on this website asked to get some medical advice? Dec 13, 2018 at 16:31
  • @FranckDernoncourt Probably yes, but that's a bug, not a feature. We close them as soon as possible.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Dec 13, 2018 at 17:06
  • @BryanKrause I mean: in the end of the day, medical sciences aim at providing medical advice. Dec 13, 2018 at 17:08
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    @FranckDernoncourt Please, please, read the meta thread that Carey linked to and has asked that you read, I don't feel like you are digesting it or understanding the importance of not providing medical advice on StackExchange.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Dec 13, 2018 at 17:40
  • @BryanKrause The thread contains conflicting answers. Do you want me to read the answer "SE agenda is "Questions that can be answered", so as long as those medical questions are answer-oriented question, I'd say it is the place."? Dec 14, 2018 at 18:16
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    @FranckDernoncourt Read the top voted answer. And then read an even better answer.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Dec 14, 2018 at 19:17
  • @FranckDernoncourt You have been a part of the community for a long time, and the scope has changed out of necessity. Although some of the original non-professional founders wanted to include advice as in-scope, they did not understand the ethical and legal implications; through time, a number of professional/student participants have helped reshape standards to be safer. Right now we are having to be extra strict because we have so few contributing informed answers.
    – DoctorWhom
    Dec 15, 2018 at 4:57
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    Which brings up a question I've wondered for a long time @FranckDernoncourt: why do you not participate in answering questions? You've asked 230+ questions, but contributed 0 answers. Your questions are usually well-informed, and you appear to have at least a decent grasp of how to review evidence, so I imagine you could contribute some good answers. We're obviously seriously hurting for answers, and it has been explicitly explained that you don't have to have a degree to contribute, just evidence-based information. Is there another reason you've refrained?
    – DoctorWhom
    Dec 15, 2018 at 5:04
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    That isn't an attempt to call you out, by the way!! It's just a sincere curiosity as to your reasons, and a reminder that we could really use help with answers! I would love to participate more myself so I can't criticize anyone else's quantity of contributions. But you have been very involved - just only on the asking end of things - which I don't fully understand.
    – DoctorWhom
    Dec 15, 2018 at 5:09
  • @DoctorWhom I don't write answers on this SE website anymore because some time ago all my answers were deleted because: "Answers that don't include explanations may be removed": in what cases? ; What to do when a question is precisely answered by a Wikipedia page or section?. In many cases I think quotes from studies are enough to answer questions. But mods disagree, even though most of my answers were decently upvoted (e.g. got 3 nice answer badges and 2 enlightened badges). Dec 15, 2018 at 10:34
  • @DoctorWhom also Do we need to explain self-explanatory quotes? Dec 15, 2018 at 10:37
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    @FranckDernoncourt You last answered a question in 2015. I see that Shog9 (a stackexchange employee) deleted your answers aggressively for being quote-only answers. I suspect he was just trying to put the site on the right course early in its development, but I very much doubt those answers would be deleted today. I also note that you edited your own highest voted answer (+12) down to almost nothing and then deleted it for no apparent reason. Almost four years is a very long time to continue a self-imposed answer ban just because one mod took a strict viewpoint in the early days of the site.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Dec 15, 2018 at 16:44

Your question is as below (Emphasis mine):

The instructions say it's best to apply them before bed and before washing with warm water and drying the area, but doesn't mention if they should stay on only for the night or for 24 hours. Shouldn't I also manually peel the burned layers of the skin or should they come off by themselves? In case of the former how do I know it's a good time to peel them?

In addition to asking how to use a product, you are also asking if I should do X and Y, which is personal advice. The base question might be on topic, but even that is a stretch. It's like saying "My doctor prescribed X at Y dosage, but my wife at Z dosage. Shouldn't I do Z dosage as well?"


I don't see anything personal in the question. Instead, it asks how to perform an medical treatment, which sounds totally on-topic to me.

Regarding the argument that Carey Gregory makes in his answer (mirror):

I think the best way to get an answer is to call the manufacturer and ask them. After all, it's their product and we don't necessarily know how it's best used.

I don't see why that would make the question off-topic, since other users may have already called the manufacturer and subsequently know the answer.

  • It's not about it being personal. The question asks us to provide instruction on how to use a medical product. That's medical advice, personal or otherwise. My suggestion to call the manufacturer was just me trying to be helpful and had nothing to do with being off topic.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Dec 13, 2018 at 5:48
  • @CareyGregory then the close reason shouldn't mention "personal" if it isn't. Dec 13, 2018 at 12:14
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    You're welcome to join the long-running discussion about what the wording should be.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Dec 13, 2018 at 15:26
  • @CareyGregory just remove "personal" from the close reason. Dec 13, 2018 at 16:33
  • There is a thread discussing what the close reasons should be. You're welcome to propose changes there. And you do realize the close reasons are pre-prepared, right? I can't make changes to them for each individual case.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Dec 13, 2018 at 18:21
  • @CareyGregory where is the thread? Dec 14, 2018 at 18:15
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