Every once in a while there are some close votes of human biology questions that are explicitly on topic here. It came up again today here. Not the best question, I'll admit, but it shouldn't be closed as health related. I would remind everyone that we currently have three bullet points describing What questions are on topic on Biology.SE:

  • general questions about biological concepts
  • questions about the biological mechanisms behind medical conditions
  • questions about techniques in a biological or biochemical laboratory

VTC instincts may come from a lack of familiarity, but remember, biology is a big field. I think that's one of the reasons this is a healthy, active stack. Human disease mechanisms and the basic sciences that inform medicine are certainly a subset of biology and have been explicitly on topic. If the community wants to change that and send any human disease related question to MedicalSciences.SE, lets have that discussion, but I think this would require a meta discussion first, followed by a change to the help center language, and perhaps a custom close reason or migration path.

Please don't close questions about the biological mechanisms behind medical conditions without getting community consensus that we no longer want to answer those types of question here.

Re: 2019-nCoV if we decide this and other specific biology concepts or disease mechanisms are off topic, we should make that explicit in our help center article. For example, biological concepts and disease mechanisms are on topic, unless they are about 2019-nCoV.

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    $\begingroup$ Who proposed that 2019-nCoV was off topic? Certainly not me — as your reference to my recent post suggests. Personally I have voted individual questions relating to 2019-nCoV as off-topic either for one of the reasons provided in the list (in which case you didn't know about it until it was closed), or for a reason I entered as "other". In some cases my close vote was joined by four others and the question was closed, in others it was not and the question remains open. Other questions on 2019-nCoV that appeared on-topic I have ignored. I have a right to do that. That is how SE works. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ What is VTC? The only biological term in the list on Wikipedia is "Vesicular-tubular cluster". Surely not? $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 17:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ VTC is a SE abbreviation for vote to close $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for explaining that piece of SE jargon. You have not answered my question as to who proposed that 2019-nCoV was off-topic, and specifically whether you think I did. If you cannot do so then I think you should remove your final paragraph. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ @David you created a thread, which I linked, which proposes sending people with questions about 2019-nCoV elsewhere. That is why I included the last paragraph, and why I linked to that thread in that paragraph. $\endgroup$
    – De Novo
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ I did not suggest that such questions were off-topic. However I may originally have phrased my question, it is now unequivocal that this is a suggestion for sources of information if "posters did not obtain the information they were seeking". I have edited my question and answers in response to feedback. Please acknowledge this by reverting your question by removing the last paragraph. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 21:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think the article you link to is now a community wiki. Do you still think it is relevant? And what have you got against SE Medical Sciences? Shouldn't posts go to the most appropriate forum where there are most people interested in them and hence more likely to answer? $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 22:13


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