In a short exchange between @anongoodnurse and myself, it was mentioned that
This site will never meet high expectations; it's a terrible fit with the SE network, and has been from the beginning
There are times I see this site working, and then we get a downturn for a while due to lots of personal medical advice (PMA) questions. In a sense, that will be a problem inherent with a site like this, I think, as it is open to laypeople.
My question here is what should we do to try to improve the situation? The disclaimer we have on the site seems to be ignored. The fact that we have already closed PMA questions recently does not seem to deter the situation. Maybe that is because of the number coming in before they get closed, I don't know. (Devil's Advocate)
We get the same problem in Psychology & Neuroscience with the odd personal advice question, but it doesn't seem to be anywhere near the level it is here. Maybe it is because there are a lot of TV doctors etc. raising awareness for certain conditions, etc. Maybe it is due to some other reason.
One point is that there was a time recently, where the whole first page of questions in the active list were all PMA questions that were rightfully closed.
Seeing this is going to be off-putting to anyone who comes here, let alone any medically trained people, looking for a good science Q&A site, which we hope this site can be.
As demonstrated by looking at the discussion in Can my post be reopened now? on the history of Deriving life expectancy from FLIPI index data for FLIPI(3) High Risk since it was reopened and migrated, such questions can very rarely be successful in being edited to be completely free of the original intent of the question.
So, should PMA questions just be deleted? Should they be deleted after, say, 24 hours?
One issue with leaving them for 24 hours is that they are still sitting there in deterent of not just more PMA questions, but the professionals we need to attract to get this site working as it should, with answers provided relatively quickly instead of good questions stagnating due to lack of knowledge within a community who try their hardest to help as much as possible.
Having said that,
- The 24 hours can be used to look at a PMA question to see if it is one of those extremely rare ones that could be completely generalised and made no longer the personal medical advice originally sought.
- The edited question can then provide some useful information to trained medical professionals as well as laypeople on the subject put forward.
- If anyone wanted to take the subject on, they could even post it as their own question and gain the rep points for it. This turns the situation around.
- Deleting PMA questions will declutter the site and leave us with the questions that benefit everyone and stops and disincentive for professionals joining in.
Where do we go from here?