Let me start with just reiterating that we all want the best for this site. As the tone gets more and more hostile (or is perceived that way by me), this is something we should all remind ourselves of.

We (the avid user base of Health) have identified a threefold problem: - a multitude of off-topic questions - not enough good questions - low user base

These problems form a cycle of doom: bad questions -> low user base -> not enough good questions -> bad questions and so on.

We have tried breaking through the cycle by communicating more why questions are bad (but it gets challenging with a low user base), and by asking questions we know the answer.

This was not enough to break through the cycle. Many new users gave us the feedback that they thought their question would be suited for Health.SE due to the name.

We have therefore updated the How To Ask page and tried to direct users to that page to make them understand why posts are off-topic before posting, but we again received the feedback that scope and the intention of the site do not match the name.

Furthermore, veteran users and former mods have stepped away from the site because of the amount of bad questions.

Similar to our sister sites Physical Fitness and Psychology, we think that the name change will discourage and prevent the „Doctor Google“ Problem we are facing right now.

We had articulated this belief roughly 4 months ago and received the encouragement that the change can happen. However, since then, nothing was heard.

I am not complaining that no action was taken, and I will not complain if our plan is rejected, but it seems rather unprofessional to leave a proposal hanging for 120 days without comment. In this case, the damage was done (as can be seen by the roughening tone, sadly), but for future sites it would be better to communicate precisely what needs to happen when and give updates (similar to the monthly product team updates on Meta).

With that being said, I hope we are all on the same page now, and I‘m looking forward to an improved communication by the SE team, as well as a less toxic tone by us users!

  • 1
    Maybe adding the relevant metaposts that belong to the constructive things we tried and sometimes even accomplished here in one place makes it easier for the intended audience. As in: let's document the tries, effort and positive things in one place with links? Seems to me that the whole process you talk about here started more than 120 days ago and has quite a number of posts circling around that topic. Aug 21, 2018 at 15:55
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    @LangLangC Yeah, but I‘m only on my mobile for the next 3 weeks, and I‘m not going through links and copy pasting them here. Feel free though. The links are all in my Meta.SE posfs
    – Narusan
    Aug 21, 2018 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


This answer should provide a short cut list to the relevant meta threads on "the next steps" that are dealing with our complaints, self-diagnosis, improvement ideas and requests as well. This includes major problems identified, minor changes made, a range of ideas discussed, and opinions voiced regarding site name, scope and desired changes.

It is almost a given that the list will be incomplete. So please, help me edit it to comprehensiveness. The number of plusses should indicate how well those sub projects went. Improving How-to-ask is considered accomplished with +++. That is even more incomplete than the rest. I do not feel competent enough to determine that for all below.
Again: please edit what I missed here. Please also add comments, maybe blow, maybe as edits below the posts link?

If any of those posts do not belong on this list, comment again. Mor important: if any of those links below do belong here, but do not have plusses besides them, i.e. are not satisfactorily answered, maybe re-visit the corresponding post again?

Self-evaluation: September 2017

Permissibility of non-medical sources Sep 8 '17 +

We Need a Crystal Clear “Rules for Asking Questions” - Agree or no? Aug 1 '17

Quality of References Sep 17 '17 ++

Are the questions threating the Health.Se Community? Jul 31 '17

Improving our How To Ask page Aug 22 '17 +++

Rethinking our Site Name Nov 17 '17

Defibrillating Health.SE Sep 14 '17

Re-Evaluating Site Moderation Sep 30 '17

Feature Request: Remove Link Restriction Oct 21 '17 +++

Please don't answer questions that are off-topic Aug 16 '17 +

Moderation on Health.SE - do we need a different model? Apr 10 '15

What would you want name and scope to be? (i.e. next steps) Mar 7 18

Where do we draw the line between personal diagnosis request and “made generic” “differential diagnosis” Feb 16 18

Who is the target user of Health.SE? Jan 23 18

Please ONLY upvote if the question is good quality and on-topic. Sep 22 '17

Canonical question about how to evaluate health benefits Sep 20 '17

Tour example questions copied from Gardening & Landscaping Oct 15 '15
(I know we discussed this multiple times, also in chat. Yet, this is the latest meta I found on this pesk problem.)

Your Input regarding the Future of Health.SE Nov 3 '17

Standard comment situations: suggestions for close votes and down votes Mar 12 18 ++

We need to change our attitude towards new users! May 29 18

Refocusing from Health to Medical Sciences May 4 18

Should we initiate assisted dying? Mar 6 18

Should apparent requests for treatment be closed or turned into generic questions? Apr 18 '16

How long can this site be popular if everybody is asked to see a doctor? Aug 13 '17

Linking Personal Close Reason to DoctorWhom's answer

New ''Off-topic" close reasons Mar 14 18

Common format for references Mar 17 a 18

Preliminary update on transition May 1 18

Am I allowed to answer questions if I'm not a medical professional? May 9 18

Unsure whether this should be sorted by date. I am sure this list is not finished, but I am for now. Please complete this list.

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    Huge thank You. I‘ve added one more link, that’s all I can think of
    – Narusan
    Aug 21, 2018 at 21:27
  • 3
    Incredible work LangLang
    – DoctorWhom
    Aug 22, 2018 at 3:37

For starters, you can stop closing questions while people are in the process of answering them. I was attempting to respond to a question where the user was suggesting symptoms of Candidiasis of the skin and was going to suggest some steps to diagnose further when the question was closed before I could post my answer.

Second, I have what I believe to be a solution to my question which has received over 20,000 views and for some stupid reason I cannot post the answer because my reputation is too low. I don't care how low a user's reputation is, they should NEVER be locked out of their own question.

  • 1
    The second one, about you not being able to answer your own question, sounds like a bug. Could you post a new question (tagged bug) and describe what happened? The only question I see on your account is open and protected; protection means you need at least 10 rep on the site, but you have that, and I wouldn't expect it to apply to self-answers (though maybe I'm wrong?). Anyway, if you post a new question we can get the attention of someone at SE to help figure out what's going on. Thanks. Aug 29, 2018 at 1:22
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    We're in the process of redesigning the site and we have as a site decided not to answer personal advice questions, so those questions are being rapidly closed to try to keep the tide of unanswerable questions from being overwhelming. Answering those questions perpetuates the problem. If you wish to edit a question to reword it to meet site guidelines so you can answer it, you're welcome to do so. If it's closed before you are able to, please submit a revision and reopen request. We just don't have the manpower to reword/ rewrite all problematic questions, so they have to be closed instead.
    – DoctorWhom
    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:46
  • @DoctorWhom "Personal advice denied" is not part of the proposed redesign. It is just to be carried over as well. at-public–wireless: This question is intended primarily as a meta-meta post for SE staff etc. Your first paragraph might therefore be a better fit as a contribution on one of the other recent questions here on meta, while the second might, as Monica pointed out, be a bug reporting question on its own here. – Although: "we" have no way of knowing who is currently in the process of doing what. Closure while someone is editing may be bad luck. Best prevention: edit Q before answering. Aug 29, 2018 at 11:25
  • @MonicaCellio I believe all my 56 reputation on Health site comes from my association bonus from StackOverflow Aug 29, 2018 at 13:37
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    @publicwireless you got an association bonus, you offered a 100-point bounty (cancelling it out), and I see positive rep from other events on the site. Do you know if you're able to answer questions that aren't protected? (That is, is protection restricting you, or is there some other problem and you just happened to bump into it on a protected question?) Did you get any error messages? If so, have you tried again? Maybe it was a transient server problem? Aug 29, 2018 at 13:48
  • Yes I can answer questions that aren't protected. In regards to answering my own question which is now protected: I get no error message, it just doesn't provide a text box for my answer Sep 19, 2018 at 18:15

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