I'm confused about this.

On Stack Overflow a lot of question are "I've got a problem" type issues. People generally respond with code to fix the issue. Bad answers are voted down. Inexperienced users rarely get a chance to answer. It is what makes that a great forum for information.

On Home Improvement there is a lot of "how do I do this" questions. Good answers are voted up and dangerous answers usually gain a comment saying why are they are dangerous from other users complete with suggestions to check the local code and talk to local contractors.

Here on Health beta SE a person asks "I've got a problem" and you guys freak out. That is what I don't get. If you go to any good online health support group instead of closing a question they usually answer: "Go see your doctor". With a lot of advice on how to accomplish that.

For example a person that fainted might ask:"I've blacked out today in my math class. My best friend says I had a seizure because I was shaking when on the floor for a few seconds. But my teacher says it was probably just a simple fainting episode. What do I do?"

Admittingly whenever seizures are mentioned someone always states a variation of: "You have epilepsy. I should know I have epilepsy too and that is exactly what seizures are like."

And it is usually followed by someone giving a variation of good advice: "Most likely that will have been a fainting spell. They are far more common than seizures. Brief convulsions with simple fainting spells happen more frequently than people realize. There is a small chance that it could be serious. So, first time you ever faint or have seizure like symptoms, go see your family doctor when you can next get an appointment. If you still feel bad from the episode hours after, go to the ER now. Please help you doctor and write down everything you and a witness of it can remember. Here is a survey for faints and seizures to help start the conversation with your doctor: http://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/files/files/161020-VH-STARS%20US%20Fainting%20Checklist.pdf "

So I don't get what you guys are afraid of. Why don't you have a strict policy of telling people how to accomplish seeing their doctor when a person asks for a personal diagnosis question? I would have thought that detailed circumstances to see a doctor would be on-topic.

Your ban on such questions tends to chase people away. And telling people that they should go see their doctor with specific suggestions will result in them sticking around the forum. And if they want specific details about the whys and hows they will ask more questions.

And bad information is less common on health support groups than most people assume. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160108134651.htm http://www.glamour.com/story/your-internet-health-forum-obs

  • I agree-- I think it's kind of ridiculous to set up a QA website when you can't effectively Q or A.
    – user9176
    May 11, 2017 at 6:09
  • I agree, I think it's important that people work with their doctor and not take any advice from others online. However sharing ideas of what one can ask a doctor can be helpful. Such as asking one's doctor, "I heard that this ___ may help me, what do you think?"
    – padma
    Jun 29, 2017 at 4:11


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