Since 2015 (currently 2021), there are just 47 MRI questions in medical sciences. I have personally witnessed how MRI questions disappear within about two weeks, leaving a 404 error. I suspect people are afraid to ask and answer medical questions due to current forum policies, and are further reluctant to ask questions that will likely be deleted.

Compared to the ~40 million scans per year in the US alone, 47 questions in 6 years is maybe telling us something. I sometimes feel like we're in the dark ages of MRI-informed medicine and many doctors are effectively practicing medicine blind. Apparently, doctors are not allowed to post questions with an attached MRI image unless they first publish a paper and link to it (according to current take-down rules).

What is blocking questions on https://medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/mri and how do we start to change this?

  • 1
    I migrated your question here because this is where questions about the site itself belong. You might want to take the tour and read the help center to get a better understanding of how SE works. It is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum. The only posts on the main site should be medical questions and their answers, not discussion of site policies. Discussions about the site go here in meta.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Aug 5, 2021 at 20:47

2 Answers 2


Did you look at the questions to see why they were closed? The closures of MRI questions follow the same approximate closure rate for all questions on MedSci, with the two leading reasons being 1) the question is a request for personal medical advice, and 2) the question lacks prior research. There is no bias against MRI questions, there are no laws or rules that restrict them, and HIPAA simply doesn't apply here. Nobody is (or should be) afraid to ask or answer a question just because it involves MRIs.

This seems disproportionate, given that the US alone runs ~40 million scan per year. I feel like we're in the dark ages of MRI medicine and many doctors are still practicing medicine blind.

That makes no sense. On the one hand you say the US runs a ton of MRI scans every year, but then you say we're in the dark ages of MRI medicine. If that's so, why are so many doctors running so many MRI scans? What is it you think they're in the dark about?

What is blocking questions and how do we start to change this?

Nothing is blocking questions other than people's ability to read the guidelines and write good questions. Posting your MRI scan and asking for an interpretation will always be closed because it's asking for personal medical advice. Asking a question that is answered by the first few hits in google will also be closed because you didn't bother googling before posting.

  • 1
    It's easy to conflate valid medical information exchange with medical advice. With this straw man technique you can claim almost any medical information exchange is medical advice and then remove it.
    – djk
    Aug 7, 2021 at 3:58
  • 4
    @djk Straw man technique? I see you have a rather suspicious, negative view of this site and its policies after being here a full 24 hours. I honestly can't figure out how you arrived at the belief there's some sort of anti-MRI agenda here. I find that downright bizarre. I mean, why would there be? But please do visit the multiple, lengthy threads on this site that span many years wherein medical advice questions have been debated and policies derived by community agreement, and offer us your thoughts on how we can improve.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Aug 7, 2021 at 4:12
  • I appreciate the humor, thank you. However, the bottom line is that people are still not asking and answering MRI questions.
    – djk
    Aug 7, 2021 at 17:52
  • 3
    @djk So? Why is that a problem? Why is the site responsible for the things people ask? This is a small beta site with low volume. Have you looked up comparable tags? I did and here are some comparisons: mri = 7 closed/47 found (14% closed), ct-scans = 2/19 (10%), ultrasounds+transvaginal-ultrasound = 4/20 (20%), x-rays = 4/21 (19%). So there's nothing unusual about MRI questions as compared to other imaging techniques. What is the problem you're trying to fix and what do you propose as a solution? That would have been a better question, along with the research I just did for you.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Aug 7, 2021 at 20:59
  • So basically, doctors are afraid to ask and answer imaging questions, in general.
    – djk
    Aug 7, 2021 at 22:13
  • 2
    @djk You know, you might want to spend some time here and do a wee bit of research before jumping to bizarre conclusions. Why on earth would anyone be afraid to ask and answer imaging questions? Like most obsessions, yours makes no sense. I answered your question, so I think we're done.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Aug 7, 2021 at 23:07
  • I'm open to hear your opinion as to why nobody is posting nor answering medical imaging questions.
    – djk
    Aug 7, 2021 at 23:53
  • @djk Your statement is incorrect, and I'm tired of your game. I've answered your question. Now you might want to go back and fix your original question to cite the source of the MRI image. Got it?
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Aug 8, 2021 at 4:03
  • 2
    @djk Maybe you are more familiar with StackOverflow? MedicalSciences.SE is a tiny tiny TINY community by comparison; very few people visit this site to ask questions of any type. There is no medical topic that is comprehensively surveyed here.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Aug 9, 2021 at 15:22

To draw on the 1990's growth of the internet analogy - The reason the internet grew so fast at this time was primarily due to regulatory laissez faire. That is, the government did not regulate and/or tax the internet in the early 90s, and this directly enabled its growth.

If we can vote to pre-empt the "medical advice" takedown rule (say, with a simple disclaimer), it will become harder to conflate useful medical questions with "personal medical advice," then more people will ask and answer medical questions.

(This is an answer to "why don't more people ask and answer medical questions?" My original question is a how question.)

  • "If we can vote to pre-empt the "medical advice" takedown rule (say, with a simple disclaimer)" I am not sure exactly what you are suggesting here. If someone is asking a question based on their medical history or set of symptoms, they are seeking medical advice. For a number of reasons outlined in this meta post, we can not, and will not, give medical advice. Plus we already have a disclaimer on the site. Aug 20, 2021 at 7:25
  • According to your link (thanks for that link btw), the MN Supreme Court has ruled that MDs can be sued (and can lose their license) for providing free medical answers. It appears unless US laws get changed, there's no way that anybody can ask useful medical questions on a US site. To answer your question - what I am saying is that the current "medical advice" criteria, unless it is changed, provides a blank check to take down any post. Don't believe me? Give me a [useful] medical question, and I'll show you how it is also medical advice.
    – djk
    Aug 21, 2021 at 20:54
  • 1
    If you are talking about this ruling it has nothing to do with free medical advice. It is to do with malpractice suits for wrong medical advice which could cause harm. As said in the link provided before, MDs need access to your full medical history if they are going to be able to assess medical problems and the advice required. This doesn't matter whether you are in the US or anywhere else in the world Aug 22, 2021 at 5:37
  • 1
    Wow. Anyway, I can imagine several on topic MRI questions. Even ones with specific images could be possible if the went something along the lines of “consider this set of T1-weighted images (best from multiple pt), why does the following contour….” It would almost assuredly be a professional question for a professional answer.
    – Atl LED
    Sep 17, 2021 at 3:35

You must log in to answer this question.

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