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On a site like Health, there will often likely be a temptation to close questions as being too personal, and not answerable because the advice would be too specific to that one person. I think we should try to be as useful as possible, and wherever possible, edit the question to reword it so that it is generic enough to be answered on this site rather than just closed.

  • I think your reason for posting is admirable. I think the solution you have come up with is not the right way of doing it. We should educate heavy CVs that what they do is wrong, not edit to mean they don't want to do it. – Tim Apr 6 '15 at 11:11
  • Changing the wording of a question is tricky as it is very easy to change the meaning of the question asked so it was not what the poster was asking and might get them bad information – Joe W Apr 11 '15 at 19:52
10

It's difficult to apply a "rule" so broadly as stated. In general, we don't like to edit a user's question to change the context of what they are actually asking. Nor do we embrace this concept of "too localized", that someone's very specific question should be watered down to apply to all.

Sometimes you can take an interesting subject and make its contents sooo generic, that you take all the intriguing, applied questions on the subject, and turn it into a bland retreatment of articles you might find on Wikipedia. No thank you.

Before we identify an actual wide-spread problem on the site, I would suggest not taking that leap of saying all questions should be transformed into their generic form. I think you will find it will make the site less interesting and useful. But let's see how that pans out in actual practice.

  • 2
    I myself would be happy to leave personalized questions in place. What I'm concerned about is that some people (like medica with whom you were discussing this a while ago) might get a bit close-happy with questions that are too personalized, so I'm wanting to defend against that. – Jez Mar 31 '15 at 20:27
5

We all know that we get a lot of questions for personal medical advice here, but I feel like some of these could be easily edited into something answerable, because the personal part of it is completely inconsequential to the actual question, for example this question has now been edited:

Are babies turned upside down after birth?

I feel like instead of close-voting, people could have simply done a similar edit by themselves. Even more importantly, this individual was clearly not asking for any sort of immediate advice, they were asking generally about medical practice; the personal part of it was merely them explaining their motivation with some vague mention of the future. The OP is clearly not intending to ever deliver a baby, they A) Saw something on TV and B) thought critically about whether this was a legitimate procedure or just made-for-TV.

I think most of us can agree that this type of question is so much different from these other recent questions that most definitely deserve close votes:

Sharp pain on anus (interior sphincter)

https://health.stackexchange.com/questions/17028/is-there-any-evidence-that-propranolol-inderal-can-behave-like-a-steroid

MRI brain for my girl 14 y

I think questions like these are clearly too personal and cannot be edited, and close voting is correct.

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    Keep in mind that close voting is a multi step process. I voted to put that example "on hold" until it is edited into form. By now I regard that as the most import function of this site's immune system. Whoever edits a Q into form, that's the way to go. And then re-open. But it is an evergreen and perennial problem that OPs are way too often not the ones editing; at all, lest "into form". I applaud the effort to edit from anyone, but we need to increase OP edits. – LаngLаngС Jul 31 '18 at 13:39
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    I think experienced SE users understand the close process a lot more than new users. I think close votes are pretty intimidating to new users and may discourage them from participating further, including editing their question to meet the needs of the site. I would also say that in my experience in some of the lower-pop stacks that I frequent reopen votes are very hard to get through without moderator intervention - there just aren't enough people voting on reopenings. – Bryan Krause Jul 31 '18 at 16:35
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    Curiously, your example still just does not show up in my queue for re-open. & Still not stellar. Mais oui – VtCs are unfriendly for newbies, agreed. But my data says: on this site especially, most newbies fire&forget their Qs whether closed or flying, never to return. That made me think that "on-holding" quickly is necessary to avoid bad Qs being answered (encouraging more of them), and getting a newbie to edit is a really good/fantastic sign. Seems that other sites are even more draconian with closing. We want to be nice, and we need to be strict. Review-edits are an extra burden. – LаngLаngС Jul 31 '18 at 16:46
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    My view is much simpler: I've run out of time and patience for editing such questions. Yes, I often see I could spend a few minutes editing it into shape, but those few minutes get multiplied by 5 the next day, every day. After a while, with few of those questions having much value to begin with and receiving few if any good answers, it gets really old. – Carey Gregory Aug 10 '18 at 0:40
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    In the end, I don't think being more welcoming to new users with personal medical questions is the way to get where the consensus has agreed we want to be. Medical professionals, academicians, and informed laymen aren't going to be attracted to a site full of such questions. They're going to skim the list of questions and go elsewhere, so editing isn't a good solution, IMO. – Carey Gregory Aug 10 '18 at 0:42
  • I agree. I used to spend lots of time editing, but it didn't seem to stem the tide of those sorts of questions. – DoctorWhom Aug 20 '18 at 7:19

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