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At the time of writing, my question here is on the verge of being closed:
https://health.stackexchange.com/questions/462/sudden-neck-pain-when-leaning-back

This is exactly the kind of thing I was worried about when I wrote this meta post:
Should we try to reword "personalized" questions instead of closing?

This question is, IMHO, not off-topic. Yes, maybe if the neck pain continues over a prolonged period of time, you should see your doctor. However, there are many other less serious causes of neck pain that could be given as answers to this question, and many ways to treat it yourself.

As it happens, the pain has mostly subsided today so seeing my doctor would've been a total waste of time. This question is not individualized enough to justify closing or even voting down. At least it could've been edited to remove whatever people perceived as being "too personalized", although frankly I don't see much in there that needs editing.

Could we please get something into the FAQ that allows this type of question?

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    I did downvote this because I disagree with your starting statement, it should be being closed. If this is something you were worried about and can't accept the decision / capabilities of the users then this is not the site for you. – Tim Apr 11 '15 at 17:34
  • @Tim you do realize that this is the private beta period of the site? This is the time when its definition is most open to change, so you have no right to declare whether it's "the site for me" or not. We should be discussing what kind of site it is. – Jez Apr 11 '15 at 18:28
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    Yes, and we have had these discussions, and we have said that we need a "ask your doctor" close reason. It is upvoted to +21: meta.health.stackexchange.com/a/27/163 – Tim Apr 11 '15 at 19:26
  • @Tim that just means that some questions are too personalized. Not necessarily many. There is also a popular comment: "I couldn't agree more regarding the self-inflicted moratorium on legal and medical advice. Seriously tired of that BS." – Jez Apr 11 '15 at 19:30
  • Well those +5 didn't bother to down vote the answer. It is sitting at +22 -1. "Some questions are too personalised" well I deem that yours is - as do 4 other people. Waay too personalised. If you want, reopen it and we'll see if it opens again. – Tim Apr 11 '15 at 19:33
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I would not classify your question as being one that is editable to make it generic enough where I would feel comfortable offering an answer. For what it is worth, Fitness.SE has the same approach when asked questions like this, especially about acute injury.

Lets take a look at the base question. "What is the cause of this very sharp pain when I lean my head back?"

In all cases, no matter how I word this in my head, my answer would be the same - "Go get it checked out by a medical professional." It could be anything as innocuous as a "stinger", or it could be something that is potentially life impacting. I can't see a way to edit the question to not make it either a diagnosis, or an open ended list question. (I considered editing it to something like "What could have caused this neck pain when I leaned back? It no longer hurts, but these were the symptoms, and here is how it feels now". Again, there is a most likely cause (Stinger), but no real way to tell for sure.)

I also would not feel comfortable putting something into the Help section that allows diagnose my injury types of questions. We are not triage, nor should we be. I agree that some questions can probably be edited to save them from the close bin, but I don't think this is one of them.

However, what you can do is edit your question to include the history, the aftermath and make it a little less personally specific, and see if you get re-open votes.

  • Your comment about its being "an open ended list question" will, I think, apply to many questions on this site. I don't see any problem with those sorts of questions, as the advice given in such answers could still be useful to many people. As I said, in my case (and in the vast majority), this kind of pain is not life-threatening or even serious, and does not warrant a visit to the doctor (until it's become chronic, anyway). That advice is, in fact, inappropriate. – Jez Apr 11 '15 at 14:33
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    @Jez - Open ended list questions are off topic on every SE site. And at the time the pain occurred, you had no clue if it was life impacting or not. Knowing the litigious nature of society, I can't see an instance where we take the stance of diagnosing injury over the internet. Put yourself on the other side. Read the question as if someone else had posted it, and try to answer it. The only answer is "Well it could be this or this or that or maybe this other thing or it could be really bad thing X, Y or Z". – JohnP Apr 11 '15 at 14:39
  • @Jez - BTW, I did not downvote your meta question. I don't know who is going through and downvoting everything. – JohnP Apr 11 '15 at 14:41
  • It's not that open-ended is it though, JohnP? Also the litigation aspect of things has been addressed by Robert in another meta post. In short: we're not worrying about it. And my answer would actually be more like "it's very unlikely to be really bad thing X, Y, or Z." That's the only way we're going to be able to answer the majority of health questions. It IS all about percentages, and you can rarely give absolute answers here. – Jez Apr 11 '15 at 15:46
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    Okay, forget the litigation. I don't want to be responsible for giving out incorrect information, or supporting a site that is doing so. – Tim Apr 11 '15 at 19:35
  • And why would the information in response to this question be incorrect? It would merely be quite broad and include a "go to your doctor if the pain persists". – Jez Apr 11 '15 at 19:44
  • @Jez - And on what SE site is "overly broad" not a close reason? – JohnP Apr 11 '15 at 21:37

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