Should questions that people suspect currently have no answer in the medical litterature be closed or left open?


If we simply suspect it currently has no answer then no, it should not be closed.

If we know with certainty that it can't possibly have an answer then yes, it should be closed.

  • 4
    And if biologically implausible I'd like to see closed as well. – Graham Chiu Apr 23 '20 at 4:52
  • @GrahamChiu sounds like a good way to educate the OP and future readers – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '20 at 11:20
  • @FranckDernoncourt This is not a site to ask about cyborgs and other sorts of science fiction, nor magical healing and other sorts of religion, it's a site about Medical Sciences. We don't cover things that are biologically implausible here and they are tiresome to answer. – Bryan Krause Apr 24 '20 at 15:26
  • @BryanKrause assuming the OP is asking in good faith, it can be challenging for them to assess what is biologically feasible. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '20 at 15:28
  • @FranckDernoncourt That's what prior research is for. We don't allow unresearched questions. – Bryan Krause Apr 24 '20 at 15:48
  • @BryanKrause even with prior research, it can be challenging for the OP to assess what is biologically feasible. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '20 at 17:34
  • @FranckDernoncourt I fail to see why good intentions should cause us to host bad questions. That's not how you build a quality site and attract knowledgeable people. – Carey Gregory Apr 24 '20 at 18:15
  • @CareyGregory Are you and Bryan claiming that assessing the biological feasibility of a question is always easy based on common sense and prior research? – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '20 at 18:17
  • @FranckDernoncourt What I'm saying is we're capable of making reasonable judgements. If a subject is very complex and not realizing something is implausible would be understandable, that's one thing. In that case I would probably just comment, point out the problems, and ask them to rethink their question. What we're talking about here are things that the average layman either would know is implausible or would know with a few minutes of research. Keeping questions open that cannot possibly be answered serves no purpose and does harm to the site. – Carey Gregory Apr 24 '20 at 19:51
  • 1
    @CareyGregory in that case I agree. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '20 at 19:55
  • @GrahamChiu: that's actually more related to a close reason that exists on psychology & neuroscience SE psychology.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2312/… "not framed in psychology or neuroscience. It is based on assumptions which are not made explicit, are not well-motivated (e.g., referenced), or are not held to be true within any of the research fields on-topic here." However we do have a lacks-prior-research close reason here on Med SE, which a is good-enough substitute, I think (perhaps with some wording tweaks.) – Fizz Apr 30 '20 at 23:08
  • @GrahamChiu: The same issue has come up in other contexts, e.g. economics SE (esp. with the latest Fed interventions there have been a a fair bit of "when can I expect hyperinflation" questions over there. So it is sometimes useful not to close all such badly framed questions, but answer one or two with a frame challenge and then close the rest as duplicates of the answered one(s). – Fizz Apr 30 '20 at 23:14

Questions that people suspect currently have no answer in the medical litterature should be left open because:

  1. Maybe people missed some existing papers given that there exists over 25 million of medical research papers, and many are behind paywalls.
  2. We don't know when a new research paper will be published that may answer the question. Closing the question prevents users from answering the question, especially if the closure caused / was followed by a deletion.

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