12

As a test case, I was just looking at a question here that was similar to one that had been asked and answered at biology.SE.

In this case, the rest of the question on the biology site explains that it is about the mechanism of a physiologic phenomenon, which is unambiguously on-topic there. The health.SE question may have been more related to “clinical” (for lack of a better word) aspects, i.e. “what sorts of predisposing physical and/or circumstantial conditions might lead to my foot falling asleep?” However, it wasn’t totally clear to me that the Health.SE question was not about mechanisms. Even if it was, I’m not sure if it should be off-topic for that reason.

  • Are questions about mechanisms of human physiologic and/or pathopysiologic phenomena on topic here?

  • More generally, is it OK if the scope of this site overlaps with biology.SE?

7

I'll answer your second question first.

More generally, is it OK if the scope of this site overlaps with biology.SE

A lot of SE sites overlap with other sites, so this is fine. Example: StackOverflow can overlap with Vi and Vim, Programmers, Wordpress, etc. This shouldn't be a problem at all.

Now to the other question.

Are questions about mechanisms of human physiologic and/or pathopysiologic phenomena on topic here?

Physiology is "the biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts." Pathophysiology is "the functional changes associated with or resulting from disease or injury." For some health questions, you will have to dive into physiology and pathophysiology a little bit to get answers. I think that questions that involve these can be on-topic, as long as the question presents an actual medical problem. I feel that my question, even though it is on-topic on Bio.SE, is a that has to do with health, and is therefore a good fit for this site.

Allowing these types of question to be on-topic may cause some extra overlap, but that is to be expected with sites like these. There will still be more than enough questions that won't overlap, as Bio.SE doesn't only deal with human biology, and a lot of Health questions wouldn't fit under the scope of Biology.SE.

In fact, this could be a healthy overlap. We might get questions here that aren't on-topic, so we can migrate them to Bio.SE and vice-versa.

  • 1
    biologically, I don't understand why "a lot of Health questions don't have anything to do with biology" – Ooker May 19 '15 at 14:08
5

I will go 1 answer at a time:

Are questions about mechanisms of human physiologic and/or pathopysiologic phenomena on topic here?

  • Yes. As long as it pertains to your physical being and/or a disease process. I think that there is a cutoff to what should be added to this, but for starters I think some is important.

More generally, is it OK if the scope of this site overlaps with biology.SE?

  • Yes. A lot of SE's have overlapping content. But as long as the sites are mostly different in scope and post content, then that is ok. As some homework, we should focus on making the scope as different from Biology as we can while still staying with our goals and site definition.
5

Not really an answer but this won't fit in a comment and this is meta so maybe that's ok...

I asked this question about physiology related to glaucoma, and commented that I didn't know if that was on-topic here. (I hadn't yet seen this meta question.) If I had thought is were definitely off-topic I wouldn't have asked it. My reasoning for asking it here rather than Biology.SE was this: it seems to me that health people will know more about relevant physiology than biology people will know about relevant diseases. Medicine requires that you learn some physiology to understand the effects of diseases and health conditions. While I assume there's some level of the inverse -- that studying biology requires some understanding of certain diseases and conditions -- I'm guessing that the balance leans toward asking such questions here.

So that was my reasoning, but I also knew that I was pushing on scope a little bit when I asked it.

  • Personally, I think your question is fine. I don't have the time to answer it at the moment, but it will be answered. – anongoodnurse Apr 24 '15 at 14:51
  • Thanks @anongoodnurse. New site + new user can sometimes mean mistakes, so I'm glad to have the reassurance. – Monica Cellio Apr 24 '15 at 14:52

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