We have established that personal medical advice questions are off topic. I’ve noticed that there are some (many) questions that provide a personal anecdote about a medical problem the OP faces but then ask a more general question that is obviously a thinly veiled personal medical advice question. Also, sometimes when I’ve tried to help by editing a personal question to make it more general, it turns out this way.

In spirit, these may be the same as personal medical advice questions. However, strictly speaking, they are not. In order to preserve the OP’s intent when trying to help edit questions to avoid personal advice, I find this type of thing difficult to avoid.

Should questions like this be considered on topic?

  • 1
    Note: although I have a history of posting meta questions in order to air my opinions, I’m honestly uncertain about this one and would like community input.
    – Susan
    Jul 23, 2015 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


I believe they should be, yes.

I think a question that might help people besides the OP are one of the types of questions that should be answered on Health.

Given a personal question:

I have Meniere's disease, diagnosed by my symptoms of episodic vertigo and tinnitus, but I've had no testing at all. What testing should I undergo?

I see no harm, and I see potential benefit, in an edit to make it less personalized and more generally applicable. To that effect, an edit such as the following would make this question acceptable to me:

How is Meniere's disease, an illness involving the inner ear, diagnosed? Is the disorder diagnosed on symptoms alone, or is testing required? Are there any risks associated with diagnosing Meniere's by symptomatology alone?

What are the downsides of answering a question like that? It is no longer personal advice, but the general approach to a relatively commonly diagnosed disorder, so the personal advice aspect is gone.

I can't see a downside.

This question is a personal advice question. However, ruptured tympanic membranes are a common problem, and the general advice given is helpful not only to the OP, but to anyone looking for information on perforated tympanic membranes in general.

Tight glasses are a common problem, but it was asked as a personal question. Likewise, the number of people who worry about forgetfullness is innumerable. Transsexuals requesting HRT are uncommon, but answering a more generalized question about what doctors may refuse to do is possibly helpful to others.

My approach is to have as many questions as possible answered. There are some that are hopelessly personal and can't be answered. There are some that are so simple (as in, so little work was done before asking the question) that I don't feel compelled to put in the effort to answer with references, but am glad if someone else does.

For me, the bottom line is if there's a baby in the bathwater, I'd like to save it.

You must log in to answer this question.

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