@Beofett How about the swollen ankles example Susan mentions? On topic, or off? Amy commented that the health of the mother is about raising children (and the comment has 2 upvotes). I think there's quite a difference between "health of the mother" and "parenting". If "health" is on-topic then, by inference, anything that relates to the parents is on-topic too. Slippery slope.
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun Susan's answer received very few votes, and Amy's comment seems to have as much support as Susan's. Unfortunately, I think the consensus answer is overly broad, but it has a clear consensus.
I'd say the appropriate approach would be to open a new meta to clarify, but I can't imagine anything in our meta getting 16 votes the way participation has been :(
@Beofett I think your comments are good. It's almost comical that the user bothers writes so much in defense of a 1-line answer, but I can see his underlying reason (though I support you in disagreeing with it). The user's profile page indicates that he's new on the network, although he seems to fare better on the 3 other sites.
I wouldn't wield any mod powers to close the answer, though. The post is not offensive (which would be a reason for me), just low quality. Let the community and the system do its work.
Actually, the answer is nearly spot on. The problem is the question... it asks "are there any?" and the answer just says "yes there are."
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun I want to avoid using my mod powers with this user, as I don't want him to feel like I'm persecuting him. However, this is exactly the kind of answer I tend to flag for moderator attention (and subsequent deletion) on other sites.
The problem with your expectations on that particular question and answer are that you are in essence demanding that any answer provide quasi-scientific expertise that the answerer will almost certainly not possess. Is the poster better-served by access to the information desired, or a novella by balanced mama giving her uninformed, unscientific opinion on poisonous chemical concentrations in children's toys, and the medical effects?
The question in this case is not asking "what medical treatments should I undertake", nor "please diagnose my symptoms". "What are the risks of x" is not what I would call "medical advice". Saying "studies show that smoking is linked to cancer", and then providing links to studies, along with quotations and summaries, is not what I'd normally categorize as 'dispensing medical advice'
There are so many studies that plopping the abstracts of all of them on the (very broad) point would be a ridiculous proposition. But if I choose certain studies as more worthy than others, I am giving what's tantamount to a scientific and/or medical opinion.
... besides a worthless one.
I was the only one to answer, and the only one to help the OP. He said he hadn't done due diligence, and obviously isn't to the point where he can narrow down his question much. I helped him. You did not.
The fact is that we actually do have members with specific expertise that qualifies them to provide quality answers to some of these questions. We have at least one biologist who specializes in pollutants, iirc, for example
@Iucounu Again, if the question was too broad, the appropriate response is to edit the question to improve it, flag for moderator attention, vote to close (once you have sufficient rep), or downvote the question
Instead, what I've done is give the OP the information he requested.
There is no possible problem with my answer. Any broadness or vagueness of it is really a complaint about the question itself, since no more specific answer may be given without writing a book and/or suggesting expertise a poster doesn't have.
This is becoming very circular. I've tried to explain to you why posting a link to a google search is not acceptable by the standards of this community, and you keep responding on saying why the community standards are wrong.
It's still way too broad. A book could be written in answer, the OP hasn't done a significant search on his own prior to posting, and you are calling for non-experts to synthesize research results where they have no business doing so.
This is a parenting forum, not a scientific forum. No PVC poisoning expert will happen along here, ever, I'm guessing.
But that's not to say no one should broach the subject of plastics and poisons, just that the answers will by nature be non-scientific when posted by non-scientists, and non-medical when posted by non-doctors.
@Iucounu Then feel free to post a meta question suggesting that subjects like this should be off-topic, along with your reasoning why. That's how this site works: the rules are defined by the community, through discussion.
If I were to go edit the question to remove a somewhat inappropriate request for other users to synthesize truly huge masses of research, I imagine that my edit will be removed.
No, Beofett, that's false.
Nice try, but there's no absurdity to reduce to here. It's only the overly broad questions that are overly broad; only the ones calling for scientific expertise that are scientific in nature. What's absurd is the suggestion that no question could possibly call for an overly broad answer, or scientific or medical expertise.
@Iucounu No, your claim is that "providing a huge list of unsorted, unfiltered data in the form of a google search is a valid, and helpful answer". The claim that the question is overly broad or requires scientific or medical expertise is a separate issue.
Nope, it's not a valid paraphrasing at all, nor was it identified as such.
I did provide plenty of useful info, exactly the info that was called for. I question the usefulness of your edit, adding a call for non-experts to synthesize masses of research for an OP, essentially doing his due diligence for him and possibly presenting the wrong perspective on the information. There's just no way to spin non-experts posing as experts that's going to work well.
@iucounu I have attempted to explain why your answer received the response it did. I have tried to explain why providing a google link (whether "filtered" or not) is not an acceptable answer. I am not going to sit here and bandy further semantics. You can accept that explanation or not; it is entirely up to you.
@Iucounu I have also provided you with information on the proper avenues for proceeding, since you have issues with the validity of the question itself (and my edits). Again, it is up to you whether you choose to take it.
My suggestion is that going forward, some discussion happens on just how much non-experts should be expected to usefully synthesize research studies for other non-experts. And that instead of slamming users with whom you've got a personal beef when they post the only answers to a broad quesion, and are actually providing useful information, that the main focus be on the question from now on.
I think you are a bit predisposed to dislike, based on our shared history. I'm not saying that I blame you for it; it's a free world. Nor do I particularly dislike you. I do think you're doing a very poor job of remaining unbiased.
A link to a google search is not an acceptable answer by our current standards. If you think it adequately answers the question, then please consider it a clear sign that the question needs (possibly drastic) improvement. That's not to say you can't post such an answer. Merely that you risk downvoting, or even deletion (and not necessarily from a moderator)
If you have questions or concerns about the appropriateness of questions/answers, we welcome discussion in our meta site
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun for some reason its not showing for me... could you please ping me?
@Iucounu finally, our community policies and rules can and do change, if there's a strong desire on the user base to make those changes. I honestly do welcome you to participate in meta to help define what you feel are potential problems, and/or what suggestions you may make for fixing these issues.
I suppose that in the short term, before I look into additions to the rules, I could add to the question to state why it's not possible to provide a synthesis of all the research, from size and appropriateness perspectives. That will add more to the answer, hopefully helping the OP's thought process. It's not extra help in the form of facts, but hopefully help nonetheless.
@Iucounu Not a bad idea, but take a look at the comments between the OP and the recent edits he made first. I'm hoping he comes back and works a little to fix the question some more. In a way, I feel his comments made the question worse
@Iucounu here's a helpful trick: in the text-entry field, press the up arrow key to get a chance to revise your most recent chat message. It works for a short while after posting it, for exactly this reason :-)
@TorbenGundtofte-Bruun I seem to not be able to do anything right today :( The person who asked this question now seems upset with me (the original comment started with "don't have to be rude" before she edited).
The upvotes on my comment seem to indicate that people agree there isn't nearly enough info in the question, but the OP insists "all the details are there".
If you get a chance, would you mind responding? I'm starting to feel like everything I say comes across wrong lately
Nevermind, it seems unlikely she'll come back, so I tried by best to respond appropriately while she's still here.
@Iucounu I have not offered any advice on PVC plastics. Other areas where I have offered advice or often either related to my profession and experience in it or in my own life experience as per the FAQs. I did not suggest you not use links or citations, I suggested that you summarized briefly what a couple of the studies you've encountered state - or, you could, as I did, not answer at all and wait for some one else who does know more about it to answer.