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one global pandemic later, and I thought I'd crawl out of the clinic to look at this site again. Seems mostly the same names fighting the good fight against mostly the same problems.

I wanted to mention something that I think came up in a chat circa 2017, but I couldn't find a record of it, only mention of it in some offsite notes I took:

What would be the general thought of medical students being assigned to come on the site and answer x# of questions?

Not talking about letting them share accounts, or in any way treat them specially from the SE side. Rather, I have some students who could learn to deal with not as great questions in an in depth manner without using generative AI.

Obviously this wouldn't be instead of anything we would normally instruct, just another "tool" in my "minimizing downtime" toolbox. The flip side is that I could understand if that generally left a poor taste in the active members of the community, so I wanted to ask before I did it.


Should this have a poor response, I won't do it. Should the response be positive, or more likely, neutral people don't/care, I'll try to introduce some new users where I'll be reviewing their first few answers at least.

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3 Answers 3

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I have no problem with that. It could increase participation in general and perhaps leave fewer questions unanswered. And like you said, since there's nothing we're doing on our side to accommodate or discourage it, then it's entirely up to you.

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I'd love more participation here from medical students.

I think the biggest challenge is to collect well-asked questions, though, rather than answered. Not opposed to encouraging answers but something to keep in mind.

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  • 1
    "the biggest challenge is to collect well-asked questions" It's discouraging to see good questions being removed by Roomba, so why invest time writing a good question? But yes, +1 to get medical students here. Oct 8, 2023 at 0:30
  • 3
    @FranckDernoncourt By "good questions" I think you mean your questions; they aren't always the same thing, especially when you keep reposting some version of the same question, and especially when your questions are thinly-veiled personal medical advice questions.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Oct 8, 2023 at 0:34
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    No, I meant good questions from anyone that got deleted by Roomba because they received no votes and no answers, which is commonplace since there are almost no users here. Oct 8, 2023 at 0:36
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    @FranckDernoncourt Can you point to the good questions here that show research effort and have not been upvoted or answered?
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Oct 9, 2023 at 16:09
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    @FranckDernoncourt Ah, so your examples are all... your questions.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Oct 9, 2023 at 20:20
  • Because it’s much easier for me to find. Oct 9, 2023 at 20:26
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    @FranckDernoncourt You have an impressive number of deleted questions, well over 100. So I went through them at random, looked at 25 of them, and found that the majority were downvoted and had no answers; therefore, definitely candidates for Roomba deletion, and that's just the site working as designed. Those that had positive vote totals were closed by moderators for cause. The ones that had no votes and no answers were a small minority. So that leaves me wondering what your point is.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Oct 11, 2023 at 0:03
  • @CareyGregory You need a better sampler. Out of my 110 deleted questions, 32 questions have a score of -1, 9 questions have a score of -2, 1 question has a score of -3, 1 question has a score of -4 and the remaining 67 questions have a score of 0 (stats may be slightly off by a count of 1 or 2 most likely). Furthermore, people also sometimes downvote good questions here that show research effort, esp. when they don't particularly appreciate the OP. Lastly, I was an early contributor (user #43), and some policies got clarified over time eg about nutrition. Wanna see good question with -1 score? Oct 11, 2023 at 0:18
  • @FranckDernoncourt I'll take your word for the stats because no way in hell I'm going through 120-ish posts to tabulate myself. But my question remains unanswered: What's your point?
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Oct 11, 2023 at 0:24
  • @CareyGregory It's discouraging to see good questions being removed by Roomba, so why invest time writing a good question. Oct 11, 2023 at 0:47
  • @FranckDernoncourt Okay, but that's an SE issue, not an issue here.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Oct 11, 2023 at 3:49
  • @CareyGregory This site is part of SE, and the issue particularly affect sites with few users and few visits such as here. Oct 11, 2023 at 4:26
  • @FranckDernoncourt Jeez, I get it, but there's nothing we can do about it here.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Oct 11, 2023 at 5:01
  • @CareyGregory indeed, but you and Bryan are mods, which means that you have a more direct access to CMs than me, which gives you the option to give them that kind of feedback (good questions being removed by Roomba, especially on small sites such as here) Oct 11, 2023 at 5:05
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Carey and Bryan, who are currently both moderators of this SE responded to your question.

How about an additional answer, but from a "regular" community member?

I am not currently a moderator on this SE (nor have I ever been one on this particular SE), so I'll provide my feedback.

I think having medical school students answer questions is a fabulous idea, and I personally welcome such involvement.

It is challenging to get quality answers on this SE because the level of education and expertise required to write a quality answer is extensive.

I posted a question nine months ago, and I am so grateful to finally receive a quality answer (with a scientific reference!) instead of just two or three generic sentences.

Medical school students are well-suited to answer many questions here. Plus, providing answers will help the students learn new topics. As an added bonus, it will help the students hone the essential skill of explaining medical topics to a non-medical audience.

It's a win for everyone.

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