The borders between different sites is always an interesting point of dispute. The following question was [mod-] closed.

Why is wind cold for humans?

It was basically closed because it was about physics. I commented that it was about sensory systems and psychophysics, making it as much psychology as physics.

Another user said: But it's not about sensory systems, [it] is [about] the perception of cold [just like a] thermometer [held] on the skin [would be] report[ing] the same thing.

To which I say that it is exactly my point and the reason it should not be closed, as this question is borderline Biology. If one asks what the wavelengths are recognized by the retinal photoreceptors, it is also not closed because it is physics (closed perhaps because of being homework and the likes, but just as an example).

I am of the opinion this question should be re-opened. Further, a borderline question like this does not deserve mod-closure, and to me it is an excellent borderline-defining Biology-inclusive question.

  • $\begingroup$ One comment from me, since I am the person who finally closed this question: I skip most close votings now, since my votes are binding (and will cause direct action). However, I voted to close here, since this was the fourth vote (and there would have been others) and I think this posting is off-topic in the present form. I think it can be edited and then put on re-open vote again. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Jun 28 '15 at 9:25

A question at the border between two SE topics can sometimes be understood as seeking a different kind of answer depending on which SE it's posted on.

In this case, posting the question on Physics.SE would ask for an explanation in terms of physics: for example, losing heat through evaporation. Posting the question here would ask for an explanation in terms of biology: the skin receptors involved, how perceiving wind as cold figures into homeostasis, etc.

As it was, the OP was happy with an answer that was mostly in terms of physics. It's hard for a person asking the question to know in advance that the answer might mostly be about physics, of course. Knowing the answer can't be a precondition for asking a question. Something helpful you can do in this case is post a comment that the answer will mostly involve physics, preferably with a brief summary of the main concept, and suggest migrating the question to Physics.SE.

That also might lead the OP to add some detail to the question, which could clarify the kind of answer they want, like "Is the loss of heat through evaporation enough to explain the perceived drop in temperature?"

Of course, explaining a little physics or chemistry is not such a bad thing, and probably inevitable in biology. To be on topic, such an explanation should be part of the answer, not the whole answer. The explanation can include a link suggesting where to find more information about the relevant physics or chemistry, to keep that part of the answer brief.

  • $\begingroup$ Agree. This goes for all interdisciplinary topics. $\endgroup$
    Jul 7 '15 at 9:00

Please note that it was not just closed by a mod. It already had 3 close votes.

I agree that this can be edited a bit (some clarifications in the question) to suit biology. You should vote to reopen it.

In general, before editing such posts we should ask ourselves if:

  • that was the intention of OP
  • it changes the question drastically

IMO, the OP should change the question based on the suggestions. We should definitely leave our suggestions but it is up to the OP to decide whether they want to accept those suggestions or not.

  • $\begingroup$ not just, but a mod made the final decision, and not as #5. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD I did not vote to close it. If you think it is fine then vote to reopen. And no angry downvotes, please. I just gave a suggestion. $\endgroup$
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ I am deliberately keeping things anonymous, I am not attacking anyone personal - just fuelling discussion. Voting for re-opening will not help much as I did not vote to close in the first place. I think this is an excellent opportunity for discussion. Editing it with the number of answers and upvotes... I'd rather not :) $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:38
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ It's not an angry downvote. Here in meta it is just to express one doesn't agree. Voting in meta is different. And I'm not emotional. Please let's keep this objective... $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD Why do you assume it will be useless before even trying. I agree that it is on-topic but it needs some work (a bit of clarification). And what don't you agree? I am not justifying its closure; I am just suggesting what should be done before you edit a question to make it "better". $\endgroup$
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ One may disagree with [other] components in the post and downvote. Please do not take this personal. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD I am not taking it personally. Now, that the votes are binding I usually skip most reviews. I vote only on places where I clearly know are off-topic. That's why I am saying that you should vote to reopen; there would be others who agree with you. The question surely needs a bit of work. $\endgroup$
    Jun 27 '15 at 14:47

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