Ok, from the sentiments expressed on this meta question and answer/comments, there does appear to be support for a change in direction on the site.

I am going to talk with community moderators (Those folks that run the whole shebang), and see what the options are for this kind of thing. In the meantime, I would like to see some constructive discussion on what kind of topics you would want to have as both on and off topic.

While that is being determined (And if there is SE support for this), I would like to see constructive posts about what we would want to be on and off topic. Constructive, solid suggestions with concrete examples would be preferred.

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    Just fyi, I posted an answer with an opposing viewpoint. You might wait a bit to see how the voting goes on that one before declaring optimism. – anongoodnurse Mar 7 '18 at 16:35
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    A first idea. If I find time to expand that, I'll write an answer here. I'm also interested in what others think. – Narusan Mar 7 '18 at 21:06
  • @Narusan-in-coma looking good. Shall wait for your post. – Graham Chiu Mar 8 '18 at 4:04
  • Two things I am unsur about now: Is nutrition now taboo (help says otherwise), same for public health. Seems to have been discussed but no consensus I'd recognise reached. – Not knowing what's beta-blocked: we need more and well thought out phrased custom closed reasons. Is this a step you want to see here? – LаngLаngС Mar 9 '18 at 13:28
  • @LangLangC - Nutrition as a topic is now off limits. Nutrition in support of an ongoing training program is on topic. i.e. "Here is my workout routine for the week, am I consuming enough protein to support it" would be on topic. – JohnP Mar 9 '18 at 14:15
  • Given your example: This is an answer for fitness? – LаngLаngС Mar 9 '18 at 14:16
  • @LangLangC - I'm unsure what you mean, then. We haven't changed anything in the help for this site. Nothing has changed for this site. Nothing will change for this site in the immediate future, until/unless we get guidance and permission from CM's, and the community comes to a consensus on what should be on and off topic. That's why I keep saying, everyone needs to relax. This is not a process that is going to happen in a week. – JohnP Mar 9 '18 at 14:18
  • The training part confused me then. – I am quite relaxed about nutrition, but help hasn't changed, and some are not relaxed about that topic in Qs. If nutrition is in a Q it now always gets into close-queue. My point: we need to change help before being so aggressive against anything food.– My point in general: I'm increasingly uncomfortable opening the close-review. One point further is that we might be in need of more custom close reasons, giving benign newbies a more constructive feedback for why hold/close hit them. The hammer-mood-approach currently is a bit unfriendly / unproductive. – LаngLаngС Mar 9 '18 at 14:26
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    @LangLangC - That's because most of the nutrition questions that we get are just plain crap or easily answered by google. We aren't trying to replicate google, as one of the CM's puts it quite often. – JohnP Mar 9 '18 at 14:27
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    @LangLangC - I have some indications that the rebranding towards medical sciences is in the approval stages. I am waiting on the next steps/guidance along with the other mods. – JohnP Apr 4 '18 at 20:15
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    @JohnP Good news, thx. – LаngLаngС Apr 4 '18 at 20:20
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    What's the outcome from the discussions with the CMs? I suspect a name change will have the greatest impact and want to see this happen soon. – Graham Chiu Apr 28 '18 at 23:38
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    @GrahamChiu Last I inquired it was in the works and had support. There have been elections and some other items that have had emphasis, but I anticipate movement soon. – JohnP Apr 29 '18 at 1:00

We had this discussion last fall (when we created the Area51 site MedicalSciences as an effort to cultivate a parallel professional-level community and drum up participation on Health) and these were the consensus definitions at that time. We can continue refining from there.


This meta is discussing names.


[NAME] is a site directed primarily at professionals in medical and allied health fields, students of those professions, related academics, and others with a sound understanding of healthcare-related sciences.


If your question is about...

  • clinical guidelines
  • disease prevention and management
  • human physiology and pathophysiology
  • pharmacology
  • diagnostic and prognostic methods
  • public health
  • research

... then this is the right place to ask.

We exclude some often asked questions as off-topic, like:

  • medical advice
  • diagnosis requests
  • treatment recommendations
  • second opinions
  • fundamentals of biology or chemistry (see Biology.SE and Chemistry.SE)

Please see a healthcare provider for any individual health advice; such questions will be closed here.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for [NAME], it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.

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    MedicalSciences doesn't look as though it's going to make it out of Area51. We should turn health.se into this but I don't like the name! – Graham Chiu Mar 11 '18 at 7:24
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    Oh yes, I realize it's not viable in Area51, and we'll probably close it one of these days soon. We can use some of the proposed questions there, though, for this site if we want. – DoctorWhom Mar 11 '18 at 10:54
  • @GrahamChiu we can do a final revote of the name change if desired before it's confirmed. But we have had this poll running since last fall and MedicalSciences has been the most highly voted. Partially because it makes it even more clear that it's a professional-level site in line with the scope we wanted. Do you agree with the scope as above, or are you hoping to make it even more narrow? – DoctorWhom Mar 11 '18 at 11:09
  • @DoctorWhom I think we should explicitly exclude nutrition and diets and alike from the scope, because there aren't really any solid questions being asked – Narusan Mar 11 '18 at 14:03
  • Physiology should be biology I think, and I hope we can provide second opinions – Graham Chiu Mar 11 '18 at 16:22
  • @Narusan-in-coma I'm definitely for eliminating nutrition, diets, exercise etc except for in limited circumstances. The evidence is there for a lot of things but there is much more misinformation out there, and vastly differing opinions. It'll eliminate a huge % of our low quality questions and unanswerable questions too. – DoctorWhom Mar 12 '18 at 0:08
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    Without resisting it if others reach this consensus, I am not for "eliminating" nutrition, not least because there is so much BS out there. Differing opinions on that what remains viable is imo all well and can be reflected in answers and the voting. – Most important seems to me that we define the changes, document them properly before implementing them. Looks like current activity scares posters away and violates policy. Our own policy and that of SE in general. That said, after scope and audience the most pressing changes are documentation and custom close reasons. – LаngLаngС Mar 12 '18 at 12:16
  • How does disease management not include treatment recommendations? Hmm... – anongoodnurse Mar 30 '18 at 16:45

Hitherto we seem to have been the target for almost anything related to human biology. This has lead to a very unfocused Q&A site with poor questions and answers.

I think we should move to a Q&A site suited to medical professionals, i.e. the questions are those that one professional from one speciality might ask another in a different speciality. I think this should keep the question quality high since the person asking the question should be able to find the answers easily enough to easy questions so these won't get asked.

I've posted a few representative questions:

  1. When to phlebotomize in Eisenmenger syndrome?
  2. Does the Warburg effect have any relevance to the effective treatment of cancer with diet?
  3. Is a drug holiday off bisphosphonate therapy a valid strategy in the management of osteoporosis?

to show where I think we need to be going.

Since this site would be medico to medico I think we can accept requests for second opinions but only if it is framed in an entirely anonymous fashion with relevant medical history, examination and results. Anything short of that would be targetted for closure as being a poor question.

Questions on human physiology should be off topic, and moved to biology.

And nutrition should be excluded unless it's parenteral nutrition though even that is more the realm of nutritionists.

So, since I'm advocating the move to the practice of medicine, we name it medicine.se. If we get surgical questions, they would go to surgery.se

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    I think if we try to narrow our scope down to just healthcare providers, we will lose scholars and students of health related fields... which I honestly think are highly valuable contributors. Some of our most active users have been pre-med students and health science researchers. Also I am not sure we've shown that we can attract enough healthcare professionals to keep the site alive by themselves. – DoctorWhom Mar 11 '18 at 11:10
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    BUT fostering professional-LEVEL questions is a different thing than targeting just professionals, which is why we crafted our scope as above. Also, an issue regarding the "second opinion" paragraph above, although I like the idea in theory, I doubt how it can be executed without confusing everyone about the advice rule. The average person will not be able to clearly see the difference between a well-phrased case presentation and a request for medical advice, or why their advice question is rejected while that is accepted, and it can cause confusion. – DoctorWhom Mar 11 '18 at 11:16
  • If they can frame their questions at a professional level then I don't mind. But I don't think we are targeting students. We could leave second opinions for a later rollout, but I think it could be very attractive. – Graham Chiu Mar 11 '18 at 20:07
  • And don't forget we have had a number of MDs come and go because of the lack of focus on quality professional level questions – Graham Chiu Mar 11 '18 at 20:24

As priorities go, here are mine, in order:

  1. Really STEP 0, if markdown would allow for this: Continue with the current consensus model, name, scope, close reasons. Be friendly to new users, remind them of policy and guide them to the proper documentation on this.
    No change in our behaviour towards any new model at this step!
    Just strict application of current rules!
  2. Flesh out name and scope issues. Have a moderator declare or proclaim this and the following steps as official, once our targets are reached
  3. Define three well thought custom close reasons to catch as many situations as possible
  4. Establish this new documentation (or updated old ones) as the current consensus, the FAQ, ideally also in our help-documents
  5. Make these changes official, they need to clearly written down somewhere and easy enough to find, at least for us when reminding users in comments
  6. Now apply these new rules as the new current consensus. Always pointing any newbies to the reasons and rules we documented

We have a share of users coming to this site posting something, maybe horrible in our eyes, but in good faith and sometimes even according to those guidelines available to them. When these users come to meta or start to complain in comments "but your help says…" they are understandably confused and they are fundamentally right to complain and ask for clarification.

As I wrote before, I would miss nutrition as a topic, for example. Health or even medicine without including nutrition seems wrong. But if it is the current consensus and clearly documented as well as easy to find, then OK, out of the window with it.

It would be a mistake to gallop into application of new rules before we thought this through and documented it. While we are all eager to improve things, before this is done properly, every user acting according to his own vision for this site's future is acting as though we are confused and conflicted about this. To be fair, currently we are conflicted about this. As anxious as we are for change, this will hopefully speed up the process without compromising anything vital for what I would call due process.

I propose at least two different meta-meta posts "FAQ new users", pointing to the current consensus building meta posts; "FAQ regular users" pointing likewise o the current consensus on things like "how to review", "how to comment".

Both of these might seem obvious, or not. Fact is that they are way easier to change – that is to update – than all those brick walls we have hit when updating e.g. help-center files. And while some posts already on meta are already the current consensus, they are not always easy to find, and therefor not easy to link to if to be used in comments. As examples on how to implement that I suggest to orient this target on how Skeptics did it: FAQ: What are theoretical answers?

  • STEP -1 would be get in touch with the SE team for any change to roll out regarding scope/name change etc. Or step 1/2, where ever you place it. – Narusan Mar 12 '18 at 23:27
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    Well, I do not have any (good) experience on that. I know nothing about procedure for that. I was sort of promised some input from there which didn't materialise, I do not know how well our mods can get into contact there or at what point of these steps… – If anyone truly knows: comment on that further or just edit this answer. – LаngLаngС Mar 13 '18 at 0:01
  • We don't need to make friends with users who are giving us unnecessary work! We can just use the canned response to off topic questions. – Graham Chiu Mar 13 '18 at 8:12
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    @GrahamChiu Yet we have pissed of valuable users before, and because our scope is differing from our enforced scope, it is understandable that new users have trouble with this site - both professionals and non-professionals. – Narusan Mar 13 '18 at 8:14

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