What's our position on "give me a resource" questions? For example, just today we've got...

List of Medical Trade Shows


Do medical laboratories determine accuracies for their blood tests?

Questions like that are immediately off topic on some other exchanges (eg, stackoverflow). The reasoning there is we're not a substitute for research. You need to do your own basic homework first and come here only when you can't find or don't understand the answer.

I'm prone to agree with the other sites' thinking on this, but does our "prior research" policy really cover it well enough for people to understand?

Relevant previous meta discussions include:

Off Topic? Tools/Tutorials/Off-Site Resource

Should recommendations be on-topic?

  • 4
    I actually REALLY like the second question about lab results, because it is very practical and was asked with background knowledge of statistics and a practical purpose for the info. So I answered it, because I don't actually see it as a "gimme a list" type of question like the first one is. I struggle with those types of Qs because where to get info is one of the most important things to learn as a professional, but it opens a can of worms for the entire spectrum of those questions. There may be a clear divider here, I'll chew on it.
    – DoctorWhom
    Nov 1 '18 at 6:03
  • 4
    I second DoctorWhom on the lab results accuracy/calibration question...I really hope someone drifts by that has experience working in such a lab and knows the ins and outs better. Nov 1 '18 at 15:58

For reference, I undeleted and then closed the question so that people with lower reputation can view it.

I am initially inclined to say that no, it's not on topic for the site. From one of the questions on the scope shift, you outlined the following (Borrowed from Narusan):


If your question is about...

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

… then this is the right place to ask.

For a lot of items, I try to have a litmus test question. In this case, it is "Will knowing this information advance my knowledge of medical science?", which in this case, is no. Just knowing where there are trade shows, and/or what trade shows exist, does not fit either the criteria listed, nor does it really fit my test question.

Additionally, this is a limited usefulness answer. Just because company A is hosting a trade show in a location this year, there is no guarantee that the same company will be hosting a trade show again the next year. Link only answers are pretty much verboten all over the SE network, and this is essentially asking for a list of links.

  • 2
    Yep. That trade thing is not "medical science" –at all– but about trade shows that capitalise off of medical science. "Link only" is bad. "Lists" are bad. "Best" is bad. There is no AdvertisingSE, and the Business-tab has no fitting candidate so… Nov 1 '18 at 14:24
  • @LangLangC - It's not fair to demonize trade shows. They serve a purpose, and have a legitimate place. Often there are interesting keynote speakers, and some also offer CEU's for attending certain lectures. Yes, there is a vested interest by the advertisers hoping to get new customers, but to simply decry them serves no purpose.
    – JohnP Mod
    Nov 1 '18 at 14:28
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    I would add that one of my frustrations with those types of "give me a list of ____" or "where is the database of ____" questions that I see on other stacks as well is that they often don't seem to be motivated by interest in the topic but rather on interest in the data which you can often presume based on the rest of the SE profile of the person asking. I guess I feel like that's a worst case scenario for when someone should really be doing their own homework, we aren't here to find interesting datasets for you to mine. Nov 1 '18 at 16:01
  • 1
    @JohnP I deleted that question because it was cross-posted to another forum and the cross-post had some actual research effort. That's the question AliceD wanted to migrate. So I deleted it so she could migrate the better version. That's all moot now since we've decided it's off topic; just wanted you to know why I deleted it.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Nov 1 '18 at 17:20
  • 1
    @CareyGregory - I get that. The reason I undeleted and closed was because of this meta discussion. If a question is deleted, then only 2k+ users can see it.
    – JohnP Mod
    Nov 1 '18 at 17:49
  • 3
    Just to add, that question was also cross-posted to half of StackExchange including CrossValidated, Academia, Psych, Biology, and OpenData, and the same user has cross-posted mass-closed questions in the past as well. Nov 1 '18 at 19:29
  • Would medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/q/17808 fit into the off-topic category in this case as it would not pass the litmus test per se Nov 2 '18 at 7:58
  • 1
    @ChrisRogers - Very much an edge case, but could possibly be on topic under "research".
    – JohnP Mod
    Nov 2 '18 at 13:59
  • 1
    @ChrisRogers I have to reassess my criteria now because I liked that question for some reason, maybe because it was more specific? Nov 2 '18 at 17:12

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