When reading the Help section I came across the following

Often asked questions that are off-topic include:

medical advice for yourself or others

However I didn't find any meta discussing defining the term, which, in my opinion, can be unclear in some questions.

According to the definition I was given by @CareyGregory

Medical advice is any question that asks for a personal advice, diagnosis, prognosis, second opinion, or interpretation of lab results/medical notes/etc. Or more broadly, any question that would require a health professional to know personal details about you (or someone else) to give a proper answer.

From this definition, in some questions, it seems that one needs to know the motive behind asking a question and may lead to wrong assumptions (as it was done with my question here - the section considered medical advice was removed already - as my goal was just to find out the tools available to help in a specific problem, as a curiosity, not as final/secondary medical decision).

Therefore, I wonder what does the community see as medical advice?

Is it the definition shared by @CareyGregory? If not, which one is?


I have read a meta thread on the topic, however it seems "medical advice" has a known definition by which the community guides itself upon, which I didn't find.

  • 1
    See medicalsciences.meta.stackexchange.com/a/748/8212. That's the standard meta post describing the rationale for prohibiting medical advice questions. What precisely defines a medical advice question is left to the community's discretion, and your question received multiple close votes for that reason. But what puzzles me is why you're making an issue of this. I fixed that aspect of your question for you, but your question had another problem, which is why it's currently closed. Fixing that problem would take both of us a fraction of the time that debating this non-issue is consuming.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Feb 21, 2021 at 6:13
  • @CareyGregory thank you for the comment and the link to the other meta question. Before writing this question I read that one and already added an Edit section to the question with my consideration regarding that. I don't see it as a non-issue. The justification of being medical advice seems rather subjective, specially when there's not a clear standard by which the community is guiding itself upon. And the goal of this meta question is precisely that. I see it as a way to improve the community and help not only the moderators but also the users in future interactions. Feb 21, 2021 at 6:25
  • Okay, then post another question with a proposal for a guideline.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Feb 21, 2021 at 6:59
  • 1
    @CareyGregory why does one need to share an additional question? Isn't this fit for the purpose? If not, what best practices should one follow in order to proceed? Feb 21, 2021 at 7:02
  • 2
    +1 we really need to have a clear definition of (personal) medical advice. Currently, questions are getting closed randomly. Feb 21, 2021 at 11:43
  • 4
    @FranckDernoncourt Instead of whining incessantly about how awful the moderators are here, how about you do something constructive like proposing a guideline?
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Feb 21, 2021 at 15:55
  • @GonçaloPeres龚燿禄 Fine, then post your proposal as an answer to this question. I don't care how you do it. I'm just tired of having this debate weekly while absolutely no one offers a solution.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Feb 21, 2021 at 15:56
  • @CareyGregory In my opinion, if the definition you shared is to be employed, as it may lead to wrong assumptions, there ought to be given the benefit of the doubt to a user that is spending their time contributing to the community. Please bear in mind that this question serves as a way to clarify and help the community, it is not personal [I am clarifying as written communication can lack information]. I would be grateful to hear the thoughts of more active members in the community, as I am relatively new here. However I can spend some time and provide an answer to the question if needed. Feb 21, 2021 at 22:05
  • 1
    Yes, please provide an answer since you feel the definition I provided was inadequate and @FranckDernoncourt believes moderators close questions randomly. I would love to hear from both of you what you think a sound guideline looks like.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Feb 21, 2021 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


I agree with @CareyGregory and we both use the standard explanation that for a number of reasons outlined in this meta post, we can not, and will not, give medical advice.

If you or someone else has a question regarding personal health, the advice from a doctor should be sought.

Your question which was closed for medical advice was closed because it was directly about your teeth moving position hence it is personal medical advice being sought.

If that is not clear, maybe you could suggest a clearer definition of personal medical advice being sought.

  • -1 for two things: 1) In the first phrase, you mention "standard explanation", as if there is a standard definition being used. From what I know, this is not correct and the purpose of this question is to find/define that standard explanation. 2) From the definition, how come wanting to know if teeth have some sort of memory is a medical advice? You continue to insist that I am asking for a medical advice, however I referred my case as a reference point to see if it is generalizable. Feb 22, 2021 at 15:03
  • @GonçaloPeres龚燿禄 to further clarify my answer your question is asking if your teeth "have some sort of memory". If it is not medical advice being sought, why mention your problems with your teeth, which should be directed to your dentist? We cannot even begin to determine whether you wore your braces for a long enough time, let alone determine if there may be other issues affecting your teeth. If you can "improve" things, provide an answer which can be upvoted or downvoted accordingly by the community Feb 22, 2021 at 15:12
  • A reminder that on meta, as on the main site, the Be Nice policies apply. There is no need for condescension.
    – JohnP
    Feb 22, 2021 at 18:25
  • @JohnP I am assuming you are referring to my comment (that seems to have been deleted). If that is the case, apologies if my comment may have come across as not nice - I think I was always nice though. Feb 22, 2021 at 20:02
  • @ChrisRogers the question I asked is "Do teeth have some sort of memory?" and in the body of the question I also added "Therefore, I wonder if teeth have some sort of memory?". I don't see how I am asking something about my teeth and how you are insisting on that. We agree to disagree on that, but it is healthy. Feb 22, 2021 at 20:04

Yes, occasionally the lines can get blurred a bit on how to determine if it is medical advice. In some cases, (such as your teeth question) the way it is worded can make it seem as though you are seeking personal advice as well.

Consider the difference between -

"I had braces when I was a kid, and one of my teeth has moved since then. Is there such a thing as tooth memory, and if so, what can be done about it?" (This appears to be highly personal, even if it can be separated)

And this -

"I have read of some cases where teeth moved after having been aligned with braces or similar procedures. What causes this movement and are there preventative measures that can be taken?"

Basically the same question, one is more academic/impersonal in phrasing. There have been many questions that have been edited that way to keep them open on the site.

  • Indeed, that is the goal of the question: to help clarifying that. I appreciate your words. I understand the difference in those questions. As a new user, in this community, I was not aware of those nuances, but will employ the second method you refer in my next posts. On another hand, I think this answer fits better as a comment on the question linked (it would help the readers of that question). The focus of this question is coming up with the standard definition for the concept. Feb 22, 2021 at 20:08

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