4

Basically I just want to update my understanding about the status of this site:

  • Is its activity better than the last years?
  • What problems that are still unresolved? What problems that have been resolved?
  • Do people still put hope on it?
  • Do old folks still come around regularly?

I've read several old discussions in the past couple weeks, but no newest meta post in the last year that really seem to be important for the site.

enter image description here

1
  • 2
    tbh, I haven't paid attention to content since early March due to well, just about everything. I check in for flags and obvious spam/off topic. Honestly, this site has been a struggle since day one and I am just not sure it's a viable topic for this kind of a QA format. – JohnP Dec 9 '20 at 14:48
4

I'm not sure how to answer this question, but my perception is this site has two major problems:

The first and most serious problem is a lack of high-rep, knowledgeable users who can answer questions at the level we're aiming for. Over the course of the last two years, a half-dozen high-rep users have wandered off and are apparently no longer active. That's really a shame because we went to a lot of effort to revamp the scope of the group in the way that all those users agreed should be done. In my view, the result is the reworking of the site has had no positive effect. Now, that's not to say those users left only this group. I've checked and in many cases they haven't been seen in any group they previously followed. This is normal and to be expected for any group, but when you can count the high-rep users on one hand, losing just one or two hurts.

The second problem is the daily bombardment of -- quite frankly -- utterly crap questions posted by new users (people with 1 rep or 101 rep) who don't bother reading the guidelines first. Even putting the "no medical advice" rule in bold on the main page didn't help deter those questions. Too many people simply don't read anything before posting.

But the most annoying to me personally are the "almost good" questions that demonstrate absolutely zero prior research posted by people who have high rep in other groups (the 101 rep users) and so obviously aren't stupid and know how SE works. I close a ridiculous number of such questions every day despite having set the bar very low for what qualifies as "prior research."

@JohnP wrote in a comment:

Honestly, this site has been a struggle since day one and I am just not sure it's a viable topic for this kind of a QA format.

Two years ago I went along with the others who felt we needed to change the scope of the group and make it more in line with the other science and academic sites such as Biology, Chemistry, History, and so forth. We changed the name and made the rules more academically rigorous in the hopes it would attract a more enlightened following. Unfortunately, after spending two years enforcing those new rules, I'm prone to agree with JohnP that medicine just isn't a viable topic for the stackexchange model. Too many web surfers land here via web searches, don't bother reading the guidelines, and have no intention of remaining and contributing value once they get their question answered about how much masturbation is too much or whether it's harmful to drink cold water.

So, all in all, I'm not sure this group is viable and I doubt it will ever graduate from beta. The good answerers won't come until there are mostly competent, interesting questions, and achieving that seems impossible. A medical site is just too enticing to every web surfer in the world, and attracting medical professionals is hard enough without them taking one look at the list of questions and deciding to move on because, quite frankly, most of them are crap.

Is its activity better than the last years?

No significant change.

11
  • Some nitpick: the first problem you say it's the most serious one, and the third one you say is the worst. Which one is more serious and which one is worse? :) As for the participating rate, you may well know the 1% rule for internet forum. It's there any data that we are performing lower than this? Plus that this site aims to be (the) quality QA site for the internet, since it seems that there is no other successful sites before. I'm not saying this to flatter us, but it's the troublesome that every pioneer would need to solve. – Ooker Dec 10 '20 at 4:26
  • attracting medical professionals is hard enough without them taking one look at the list of questions and deciding to move on because, quite frankly, most of them are crap – I think we can only wait for quality questions get googled by professionals, so that they are enticing enough to provide a quality answer. I wonder why the Active tab (the default page of the homepage) cannot fight the crap? And if so, would setting the default homepage to Hot tab help? – Ooker Dec 10 '20 at 4:35
  • 1
    @Ooker I edited to clarify which is the worst. That third item was more of a personal peeve of mine. I'm not aware of any way to change the default homepage. If it can be done, I'm pretty sure SE staff would have to do it. But I doubt that would make much difference. It isn't a lack of attention to good questions. The problem is the good questions often tend to require more knowledge than simply how to google, and that's where the high rep users wandering off hurts the site. – Carey Gregory Dec 10 '20 at 4:47
  • So I suppose this is what every QA site needs to get through. It's just the topic about medical sciences make the process even slower. But that doesn't really mean that the SE model is not good. I guess we can stay beta as long as necessary? – Ooker Dec 10 '20 at 5:10
  • I agree with you on the personal medical advice and masterbation type questions and I am wondering if we are ever going to put a stop to them or reduce them to a minimum level. We are getting flooded by them here and it is tiring. Maybe some question bumping might help? I don't know. – Chris Rogers Dec 10 '20 at 11:44
  • 4
    One thing to note: Especially this year since Feb, most of the actual, medical professionals that were some of our higher rep users have probably been a little busy to worry about a Q&A site. :D – JohnP Dec 10 '20 at 14:25
  • @JohnP Good point. – Carey Gregory Dec 12 '20 at 5:14
  • I would love to hear from the downvoters what you disagree with in my answer. – Carey Gregory Dec 12 '20 at 5:16
  • I'm one of those who pressed for the change 2 years ago. I won't post my own answer here because quite frankly I haven't been in touch with the site enough to comment on the recent development. I feel like I stuck around for a bit longer than DoctorWhom and LangLangC (the two with whom I propagated the change). From my (limited) experience after the name change etc., I agree with your comments but ultimately what brings the site to its doom is the lack of meaningful questions. Healthcare and Medical Sciences is a difficult topic. We have a large overlap with Biology.SE Questions regarding good – Narusan Jan 2 at 16:58
  • 1
    [cont'd] clinical practice, standard procedures, individual case studies etc. are all off-topic, for a good reason! What questions are there left to ask? If I don't understand something, I rather look it up in the literature myself than come here to ask. So we're mostly left with amateur questions. While these are fine, answering them provides no value to the answerer. The gamification on other SE sites works better - help and get helped. Here, the user base feels divided into those who help, and those who receive help. – Narusan Jan 2 at 17:01
  • [cont'd] Furthermore, answering here involves a significant amount of time, which I can imagine many just don't have. Also, many questions come with substantial misconceptions that first need to be cleared. So what we have is a flood of amateur questions. I think I agree with JohnP that medical sciences is just not valuable as a Q&A site – Narusan Jan 2 at 17:05
1

What is the status of Medical Sciences (Dec '20)?

Very bad.

Is its activity better than the last years?

No, it is declining. See https://medicalsciences.meta.stackexchange.com/site-analytics if you have enough reputation points (the temporary spike in 2020 is due to covid):

enter image description here

Do old folks still come around regularly?

Only 1 mod is still active. On https://medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/users?tab=Reputation&filter=year you see that only 6 users have gained over 1,000 reputation points this year, which means they are very few regular contributors.

What problems that are still unresolved? What problems that have been resolved?

I have asked over 4000 questions on over 50 Stack Exchange websites and https://medicalsciences.stackexchange.com is definitely the worst Stack Exchange website. For background, I work in research and have published in medical venues, so I know what constitutes a good medical question and answer.

3
  • 1
    Obviously I think that all data we have has some importance to us, so we will have unavoidable biased. But checking the links I think that your conclusions are legit. With what I get, I am too don't understand why that question is closed as personal advice, and that answer is removed. The roomba is also a problem for beta sites that need more good appearance in Google I think. – Ooker Dec 11 '20 at 5:38
  • 1
    In Biology SE, another user who also feel frustrating for making their question as objective as possible, yet still find critiques saying it's subjective. I leave a meta answer there with all I know about this phenomenon. Perhaps you will find it useful – Ooker Mar 3 at 18:52
  • @Ooker thanks I've also had some issue with the biology stack exchange website. The question is not subjective. – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 3 at 20:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .