I am a biological engineer, and I spend my time creating new technologies. Those who have worked in research will know that demonstrating a nice, real-life application of a new technology is an important step of technological research. I am wondering whether it is OK to ask questions such as:

I have a proof of concept for a new technique that can achieve XXX in context YYY, within the limits of ZZZ, in which biological context could I apply it?

I know that one should in theory create technologies to address a pre-defined problem, but that is not the point of the question. Let's assume, for example, that a competing team came up with an unrelated and better solution for that exact problem, so the problem does not exist anymore and I need to expand the scope of my project.

I see conflicting information on meta and help pages, so here are the pros and cons that I came up with:


  • The help page recommends to avoid questions if "every answer is equally valid", which would possibly be the case here - provided that the answers are not scientifically aberrant.
  • It does sound like "an open-ended, hypothetical question", which the help page also describes as being bad.


This kind of question meets many criteria of the "guidelines for a great subjective question". Such acceptable questions:

  • "inspire answers that explain why and how"
  • "invite sharing experiences over opinions"
  • "insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references"
  • "have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone"
  • "are more than just mindless social fun"

Are such questions acceptable, if the user posts enough technical details to avoid pure speculation?


1 Answer 1


I would say that this sort of question is too open-ended for this format - I think you've accurately identified the problems with this sort of question in this format.

I disagree with a lot of the pros you listed: I don't think the answers will be why and how, I think they will be biased towards opinions rather than experiences, I don't think they will be backed up, constructive, etc.

Unfortunately I think it just won't work well here. Also, I've seen a lot of questions like this, maybe yours would be better, but in my experience they usually trend more towards "I know engineering, I have this engineering solution, can this be used for biology?" and it's really laughably bad. It's not the same situation, but https://xkcd.com/793/ from XKCD often applies.


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