I recently posted a question about an unfamiliar term found in Jewish literature that referred to a medical condition involving release of blood. The condition was characterized as a 'golden vein'. I had found a source to translate it as hemorrhoids, but wasn't certain. As it was, the question was flagged as off-topic and migrated to Mi Yodea (the Jewish StackExchange site) where it happens to have received a satisfactory answer.

(The question under discussion: https://biology.stackexchange.com/posts/35934/revisions)

However, I would think that prior to having the answer, the prudent way to find one would be to:

1) Investigate if some property of hemorrhoids lends itself to being called golden 2) If there is some other physiological phenomenon perhaps currently described as 'golden' in the medical literature.

The proper community to direct said questions to would be the biology community (or maybe health). Just because the source of the question was in Jewish literature doesn't change the nature of the question. For the same price it could have been found in Greek or Polish literature, even contemporary, and I'd be trying to find a synonymous medical condition etc. in the mainstream lit.

Who else besides for biology.se would have the knowledge to confirm or at least be able to deny the possibility that 'golden' describes some biological aspect of hemorrhoids or another condition?


This question is not a request for reopening or for a vote if the original post was or wasn't off-topic. It is a sincere attempt to understand why it was flagged off-topic I thank any who take the time to help me as such (if the answers actually answer the question)

If you believe that the question was on topic, but was just too vague, then please say so instead of playing the 'off-topic' card again and again.


Why something is called "golden" in a Jewish literature can be answered only by those who understand these texts. This is a matter of semantics.

In biology.se you should ask questions that are based on biological principles. Questions on terminology are fine if they are about standard usage.

Just tell me this: how can a biologist know why someone called haemorrhoids as "golden" in some part of the world? Medical textbooks certainly don't.

  • $\begingroup$ I personally have not had experience with hemorrhoids. But possibly some aspect of it is naturally described a golden - only a biologist/doctor/nurse would be able to answer that definitively, or reference some other condition that is described in contemporary medial literature as 'golden' (or is self-evidently 'golden'). If the term 'golden' used in the text was intended (or evolved) from a physical description, people familiar with 'Jewish' texts won't be able to help me. $\endgroup$ Jul 10 '15 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ To reiterate, I want to know if a biologist has seen a description of some aspect of hemorrhoids in their own experience/in the literature, or has seen some other physiological phenomenon that is 'golden' (and relates to blood, as mentioned in the original question). $\endgroup$ Jul 10 '15 at 6:50
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    $\begingroup$ @afuna As I mentioned, terminology questions are on-topic only if they are related to standard usage. In any case you got your answer. We did direct you to the right place. So understand us when we say that this is off-topic here. $\endgroup$
    Jul 10 '15 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ (missed edit window) thanks for your response, but I'd like to raise two points again: the fact that I got my answer doesn't change my question here - the answer might have been solved from a biological point of view - that there is some gold color etc. involved in hemorrhoids. When asking the question I have no way of knowing if the source of the word is some language aberration or a true description of hemorrhoids. Only a biologist can help me with that. How could Judaism.se tell me about hemorrhoids? $\endgroup$ Jul 10 '15 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @afuna If you want to ask about haemorrhoids then you have to ask a precise question about that. What is golden about haemorrhoids is quite an unclear question. Your question is about a cultural reference. If you want to know biological details your question should be framed accordingly. See our other questions. $\endgroup$
    Jul 10 '15 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ so if I had a imprecise question about hemorrhoids (because of my unfamiliarity with the subject) to whom should I pose a question about them? ?? $\endgroup$ Jul 10 '15 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ @afuna you should do a google search first or check wikipedia page on the subject and if you have doubts regarding the biology of it, ask here. $\endgroup$
    Jul 11 '15 at 6:12
  • $\begingroup$ as I see it, the issue has changed from being off-topic to the problem being a lack of research. But that's just an assumption of yours. I did read the Wikipedia article and googled the topic of hemorrhoids. Just because I couldn't find a reference to a 'golden' aspect of it doesn't mean I should give up. It means I should ask the experts - which should be you (or the Health community). If the question would have been posed simply as "Is there a medical condition that causes a part of the body to have a gold tinge" I doubt that the question would be considered too off-topic. $\endgroup$ Jul 11 '15 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ cont. The fact that I provided background information regarding why I ask the question doesn't change the 'topic' of the question. It's just a question of semantics. Please, tell me how you would have flagged the question as I just phrased it $\endgroup$ Jul 11 '15 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ @afuna but your original question was phrased as "Is there any reason that hemorrhoids would be described as golden?".. This would have been closed as unclear because it is quite unclear. $\endgroup$
    Jul 11 '15 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ I came to Meta to understand why the question was closed as 'off-topic': are you agreeing that 'off-topic' is an inaccurate reason, and offering a different reason for closure: 'too vague'? (re: being unclear, is it the term 'golden' that is unclear, but 'having a gold tinge' would be better?) $\endgroup$ Jul 12 '15 at 3:44
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    $\begingroup$ @afuna Hey why don't you discuss this over in chat. $\endgroup$
    Jul 12 '15 at 5:37

Here's how I see the time line of events:

  • 1) you wanted to check the meaning of a term which you think had a biological meaning
  • 2) you asked biologists
  • 3) they said it had no biological meaning
  • 4) they kindly told you where you might get answer
  • 5) they very kindly redirected your question to that place
  • 6) it got answered.

Now you appear dissatisfied (seeing your chat with wysiwyg) that your question was not answered by a biologist but by someone who knew the answer?? That is very odd. Show some gratitude. It's like getting upset if you ask a chef how the earth stays in orbit around the sun and the chef calls their friend who has degree in astrophysics to get you an answer.

"Who else besides for biology.se would have the knowledge to confirm or at least be able to deny the possibility that 'golden' describes some biological aspect of hemorrhoids or another condition?"

That's exactly what the biology SE community did for you, but they didn't stop there - they still helped you get an answer.

There are many possible reasons why things can and do get closed, but generally speaking, 5 (the number required to close a question) high profile frequent users of biology se, or one moderator, will be pretty good at judging whether something is on or off topic. It's something we discuss extremely frequently.

Individual questions can also be off-topic for more than one reason, your question will have gotten close votes for being i) off-topic (not biology, was a question about Jewish literature, there is also a separate health stack exchange site), ii) unclear what you are asking, and iii) poorly researched. You may have edited it to make it more clear, but those votes for closure citing clarity as the issue stand until the voter retracts them, and will remain if they still think your question is unclear, or off-topic for another reason.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that a post on Meta implies ingratitude. It was an attempt to understand why the question was off-topic. In response to your points, 1) I don't understand why the 'literature' argument keeps on being made: the term found in the literature could have had a biological meaning, because an alternative meaning was found doesn't invalidate asking the question to a biologist 2) The answer given on Judaism.SE is not definitive - it's just a possibility, which leads to point 3) $\endgroup$ Jul 13 '15 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ cont. 3) nobody denied that hemorrhoids has a 'gold' quality, and how am I to know if the 'migraters' have specific knowledge of hemorrhoids etc? 4) If the question is off-topic because it belongs in Health, then that is the answer - say so instead of the other incorrect points being raised $\endgroup$ Jul 13 '15 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ 5) The fact that five high-profile members voted it as off-topic doesn't help me understand why it's off-topic: that's why I'm posting on Meta so that they might explain it to me. Just using their status is an appeal to authority. $\endgroup$ Jul 13 '15 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ Ok - you posted a question thinking it was about biology but it wasn't, the best clue we had to a possible answer was that it was from jewish literature, so we helped you ask there. And I say you haven't shown gratitude because of your very aggressive demands, people here volunteer their own time and effort - you have no right to make demands. And my reference to experienced users was not an appeal to authority, it is simple logic - someone familiar with biology se is probably better able to say what's on topic, just as a lawyer is probably better able to interpret law than you or I @afuna $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    Jul 13 '15 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know which demands you refer to. I ask a question and am willing to debate a point rationally. Is that a demand? Aggressiveness? (maybe you consider intellectual honesty to be aggressive.). Re. an appeal to authority, you're absolutely right that a biologist is better positioned to say what's more on topic. I agree with you fully. But I'm trying to understand why it is, and as such, appealing to their stature seems to me to be an appeal to logic. $\endgroup$ Jul 14 '15 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ I get the feeling that you consider my post here to be a demand for a biology answer, and that's why you consider it enough to tell me that they are experts in what's off-topic, but I reiterate that that's not what I have in my mind. Back to the main question you say that I thought is was about biology but wasn't - do you mean b/c it belongs in Health or b/c someone on Judaism.se offered their own original etymology for the term - albeit an interesting explanation not a authoritative answer. i $\endgroup$ Jul 14 '15 at 4:14
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    $\begingroup$ "your question will have gotten close votes for being i) off-topic (not biology, was a question about Jewish literature, there is also a separate health stack exchange site), ii) unclear what you are asking, and iii) poorly researched" - it's described as not biology because, though you thought it was biology, it is actually a better fit for either Health or Judaism stack sites. @afuna $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    Jul 14 '15 at 6:00

Personally I do not understand what the fuzz is about as the question was well-received and well-answered at Mi-Yodeya https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/61060/an-obscure-reference-to-a-golden-vein.

I think the moderators here did a very nice job migrating it and I agree with @WYSIWYG that your question is one of semantics. Migration is pretty exceptional and your question would not have received an answer here I'm sure, at least not an answer with the authority you have now received at Judaism.


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