I just posted a question to Stack Exchange (in "Biology") after a long time.

Theoretical question: is it possible to be almost fully female (except reproductive organs), very feminine one, but have working male genitals?

After several hours of thinking and doing my research, I've spent like an hour or more writing the question, even partially answering it, while describing it thoroughly and showing that I did much of own research, so it's not closed for some trivial reason or not putting enough of effort into answering it myself. I tried asking it quite clearly, while enumerating multiple things that can be relevant to it or be problematic, while emphasizing that it's probably overextending and the answer can be actually simpler than I think, explaining that I can be missing some specialistic knowledge but still try to find the answer myself and understand the issue. Pointing out several things that can be a problem, explaining why they can be the problem and that I am not sure about them, as well as emphasizing on possible connections to the other things. Describing the problem and issue on hand precisely, to give better understanding on all the aspects that it can be related to, while still being clear about what I ask about. I clearly repeated what exactly I want like 2-3 times, so it's not ambiguous what I ask about. Result?

Closed. This question needs to be more focused. It is not currently accepting answers....

Also, closed in generic way within few minutes. Not a single comment...
So disappointing...

Then, I eventually commented myself, to explain some more and ask for at least some hint or help in comments, while being nice and friendly with that first comment even though I was to get emotional and having blood pressure greatly increase...

Did I really spend several hours for to get it just closed, with no explanation, downvoted by a mod without a single comment?

Shortly after my comment, mod responded (in comments) literally starting from pointing something completely irrelevant as a main issue, something that I added as an extra to give a better understanding of my background... totally pulling out Strawhat Argument fallacy on me, followed by laconic:

"Questions here must be focused on a specific biological question, and should show evidence of research effort towards that specific biological question."

Like, what kind of evidence of me putting an effort I should give, other than DESCRIBING THOROUGHLY ALL THE ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM THAT I COULD THINK OF? Should I make a video about myself doing online research? Make a selfie with anatomy book in my hand? Maybe do a livestream or a podcast?

I tried to respond with few comments, giving extra background and try to actually argument for what I wrote, reiterating that in my opinion question is okay and that I showed an effort, maybe even got slightly emotional in one of them... just to have mod CLOSE the comments section entirely too, delete almost all of my few comments except of the longest one that I made somewhere in between, then suddenly change narrative about what the problem is - "(...) "Is it possible" is also usually not a very useful way to phrase a question (...)" . So now there are suddenly like 2 new different reasons for closing my 2 pages long constructive question? I explained my question very well, describing what I mean by "possible" with practically drawing out the whole image and ways that I think can be used to solve it, strongly suggesting the scope of possible answer while clearly explaining what I am unsure of or where my knowledge is lacking... I can't just learn a giant chank of anatomy, human's biology and many different researches and cases that are known, even if I thoroughly search for a long time (with which I started...), which is why I am asking a question to the people that can know something about it. Telling that even a hint or partial answer will be enough for me, as I will still be thinking about it and doing my own research.

Eventually, I desperately tried one more time and flagged two of the mod's comments with some extra info, hoping that someone else will look into it, just to have another one to comment and repeat the same thing, rephrased in a different way, i.e. just meritorically nitpicking on something I wrote while it's not even applicable... While adding:

"You do have a main question, but most of your existing prior research points also end in additional questions. My suggestion: cite the sources from which you draw prior research and summarize their points (vs asking follow-up questions relating to each)"

So... I have too many questions, making my question not focused, thus mods advice me to ask.. even more follow up questions? And what should I cite as sources, give a link to like 50-100 random internet pages that I went through while doing my "research"?

So which is it? Is it not focused because of too many questions or I should add more questions? What should I replace "is it possible" with to make it with the characters limit that the title can have? Isn't title just a title that should be clear enough to give someone a background about, while the actual explanation is done within the question itself and can go on for thousands of characters? Shouldn't you try to analyze the problem yourself and do some work, then if you hit a wall you ask others for help?

Why explaining your question thoroughly, with giving all the insight you can think of, propose own solutions and explain where exactly you are unsure about how things work, being "not focused enough", if all it's doing is literally focusing the question down to what you are truly asking about? Aren't we making the question more clear, if we add the explanation of our thought process and possible cons and pros? Consider where things can go awry?

I think I'll give up for now, I wasted several hours for nothing and am still shaking...

Maybe tomorrow I will try to rephrase it somehow, but looking at my last few experienced with Stack Exchange I am afraid that I will just spend like 5-10 hours, editing the question, just to have... nothing at all to happen, with question still being closed without any feedback, like I heard it happens for many people...

Thus, if you made it so far, I would be grateful for some advices about what to do with my question, unless this question here will be closed with no explanation within next 5-10 minutes too.. :-(

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Both the linked Q on Main and the Q here on Meta can firstly be greatly improved by condensing them to readable posts. I'm not even going to read all of this - science is my work and hobby and answering Qs is fun. Yet, time is the one most scarcest good in my life and I bet I speak for many around here. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    May 3, 2023 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ There's no such thing as a straw hat fallacy. Going on about how much thought and work you put into things and making such a basic mistake kinda just shoots the whole post in the foot. I, too, stopped reading. $\endgroup$ May 6, 2023 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


Should I make a video about myself doing online research? Make a selfie with anatomy book in my hand? Maybe do a livestream or a podcast?

No, you should cite something in the field of biology to support your question, and narrow your question to focus on something specific in biology.

As the effort you've already put in has shown you, sex is complex and touches on many different systems. Adding details does not automatically provide focus.

If your question was "How do I build an automobile?" it would be closed on any StackExchange site relevant to automobiles, and it would not help the focus of your question to acknowledge that an automobile is quite a complex thing and to build one you know you're going to need some sort of engine as well as a source of fuel and equipment to get the fuel to the engine and some way to make the wheels spin and a way for the operator to control the wheel spinning rate and a seat for them to sit on. Yes, coming up with a list of all those things takes effort but it's not the type of effort that makes a focused, answerable question in the SE format.

A single, answerable biology question motivated by the work you've done might look more like, "Do female-typical levels of estrogen cause male infertility?" To ask that question, you would want to present some specific background on estrogen in males and females - for example, demonstrating whether or not estrogen concentrations overlap between the sexes.

On a separate note, there is often conflict when people want to use science to do non-science things. In science, we typically observe a phenomenon, and then try to explain it. Going the other direction isn't a great fit for answerable scientific questions. It can lead to interesting discussions, but SE is strictly not a discussion forum. "Possible" is not a very useful bound for many questions in biology; you can't produce testable data that a thing doesn't or couldn't exist. It may make more sense in a science like physics, where laws make some things simply impossible. In biology, as long as you don't break physics, pretty much anything is possible as long as you're sufficiently flexible. Many organisms exist that are neither male nor female, or switch from one to the other at some point during their lifespan.

You're writing a book, so you can do whatever you want in your world. If you want to base your book in reality, then you'd be better off starting with reality, maybe starting with intersex conditions and the bounds of fertility associated with those conditions, and then build a book from those real-life observations, rather than starting from a pre-built world and trying to figure out of it's "scientifically valid" or something like that.

  • $\begingroup$ So, what would you advise me to do? Maybe I am super dumb and just don't understand, but I genuinely want to find out more about how it works, with my question being simple: can I have a woman with male genitals? You say that everything can be possible in biology, but if so, then what about my case? Giving just one example of how it could work would fulfill what I ask for, and you yourself literally say that pretty much anything is possible. If so, why close the question to prevent others to answer this possibility you mention, if it's clear what I'm asking about? $\endgroup$
    – Kusavil
    May 3, 2023 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ And yes, I am reading right now into things like what presence or absence of certain genes means, including what presence the SRY gene on given chromosomes triggers, but anatomy is enormous, I could spend years reading and still be lacking. Do I really need spend years to be allowed to ask a simple SE question, without it getting closed for some random reason? I still fail to see what the problem with not being focused is, as the question is simple. You can't have 5 or 15 legs. You can't have 342317 eyes. What's wrong with asking what is possible? $\endgroup$
    – Kusavil
    May 3, 2023 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Kusavil I gave an example of a direction you could go. I think you're beginning to appreciate the scope of your question, I think you're just misunderstanding the purpose of this site. The purpose here is not so that you can walk away and say "Biology.SE says X so I'll put it in my book", we are building a Q&A repository that's useful to future visitors who want to understand biology. If you want to understand a broad topic in depth, that takes a lot of work! Please don't treat the close reasons and quality standards here as random, they're purposeful. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    May 3, 2023 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ Note that the quality standards apply to answers, too, so an answer that just says "yes" or "no" is not acceptable - we expect references and thorough explanations. Another reason that questions need to begin with a reasonable scope. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    May 3, 2023 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ What you write about the main purpose here (to not help other people now, but to leave some legacy for future visitors) strongly contradicts what SE itself says in its "About" page, i.e. that "Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network help people find the answers they need, when they need them.". I will definitely keep looking for my answer, especially with SE being hostile to knowledge seeking people like me. For example, I asked ChatGPT and it quickly pointed me to things like ovotestis and explained more about SRY genes. I will re-read all you wrote and rethink it. Thanks, stay well! $\endgroup$
    – Kusavil
    May 3, 2023 at 1:39

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