Question in question:

What should I consider when getting tympanostomy tubes (grommets) for my child?

I have a close vote (and presumably a downvote) because:

This is clearly asking for medical advice and I have voted to close it.

Yet, in the question itself it's specified:

I'm not concerned with the procedure itself, or seeking advice on whether or not to have the procedure done. I'm concerned with lifestyle adjustments, inconveniences and extra costs that may be associated with tubes, so that we can prepare mentally and financially for this situation.

What further disclaimer is necessary to be not considered a medical question?

Here are some other similar questions asking about caring for your children in regards to injuries or medical conditions, but not specifically about medical advice, or getting information about outcomes of procedures to help parents get proper information:

Deep cut in index finger of 19 months old baby - how to re-bandage?

What are the risks of surgery for a tongue-tied toddler?

What are possible risks to a child's health from having an indoor cat?

Wrist tendonitis from carrying babies

Can Prozac stunt a teenager's growth?

There's more, but this is a fair assortment of different types of questions. Of note, is that none of them specifically say they're not seeking for medical advice, but none of them have any close votes for medical advice.

  • 2
    There are some people on this site who insist that their minority opinion is "clearly" the way it should be. The site runs on majority opinion, however, so I wouldn't worry overly about the close vote. The question is fine. – user420 Oct 30 '15 at 12:09

What you have is sufficient. One close vote is nothing to worry about. It's possible someone just didn't read carefully or misinterpreted what you wrote. If it was 3 or 4 votes or your post got closed, then I would worry about it.


I'll try to explain my reasoning:

A child has a medical problem, and they're going to get a surgical fix for that medical problem, and the asker is asking here for advice about dealing with that medical problem and surgical solution.

That is clearly undeniably asking for medical advice. Asking for medical advice while saying "I'm not asking for medical advice" doesn't mean that you're not asking for medical advice. The correct answer should be "ask your doctor".

See, for example, Reddit's /r/AskScience information about what is or isn't medical advice:


1.) If your question includes the words “Me, I, or My”, and asks about the human body, then you are asking for medical advice. By including the reference to you, any answer is, by definition, giving you information about your own personal medical status. That, my friends, is medical advice. For those of us who are medical professionals, answering the question can open us up to issues with liability, even if the question is something as simple as “Why do I have hair on my head”. I realize it may seem trivial, but a simple re-wording to “Why do humans have hair on their heads” COMPLETELY changes the question to something we can allow.

2.) If you’re asking about something related to the human body that you experience, that the majority of other human beings do not experience, then you are asking for medical advice. If it isn’t something normal, go see a doctor. We cannot diagnose you, even if you think it’s not something serious. I recognize many of you are just looking for some extra information about an “oddity”, or maybe even trying to decide whether you should go see a doctor, but that is not a service we can provide. Besides the fact that it can be illegal for some of us to answer your question, you shouldn't trust this type of thing to strangers on the internet.

3.) Asking about "a friend", family member, celebrity, or even the homeless guy down the street is still medical advice. Just because it isn't about you, doesn't change it from being medical advice. If you are asking about a specific individual, it's off limits.

4.) Adding a clarifier at the end of your post like, “I’m not asking/looking for medical advice”, does not change the fact that you ARE asking for medical advice. We get hoards of posts like, “I have this weird burning sensation when I pee, what could it be? Oh, by the way, I’m not looking for medical advice.” Yes, yes you are looking for medical advice.

5.) Posts that provide any recommendations to an individual about their body, diet, medical/psychological status, et cetera, are considered giving medical advice, and are not allowed.

Now, that's Reddit, not here, and they're very different sites. Do we want to be less responsible than Reddit?

The fact that you can find a bunch of other medical questions that haven't been closed just shows either that moderation is inconsistent (fair enough; different volunteers do it across different times and community feeling changes) or that I'm wrong and there is no ban on medical questions here and anything goes, have at it, oh and hey can you identify this rash?

If you're arguing that medical questions shouldn't be banned, well, go ahead in a new meta question. That's the de facto state anyway and there's some support for that position.

  • As has been stated repeatedly: just because you say "this is undeniably asking for medical advice" does not mean it is, in fact, undeniable. In fact, time and time again, you've claimed things that were, at best, borderline, were "undeniably" off-topic, been outvoted (by non-moderators), and then blamed moderators for not agreeing with you instead of the consensus. – user420 Nov 18 '15 at 22:03
  • @Beofett which part of this question isn't medical - the bit where the child has a medical condition, or the bit where the child has medical treatment for that condition, or the bit where the parent asks about living with the medical treatment for the medical condition? – DanBeale Nov 18 '15 at 22:19
  • Is there a middle ground between the two extremes of it either is or it isn't? That moderation is inconsistent or that there's no ban on medical questions here and anything goes? I mean, I'm a doctor, so practically the whole world can be viewed through that lens (Was Van Gogh a schizophrenic? Was his use of yellow caused by digitalis toxicity?), but The OP clearly didn't think it was a medical question, and neither did I, really. Parents might use "me" and "[body part]" in the same, non-medical question. – anongoodnurse Nov 19 '15 at 10:20
  • @anongoodnurse community voting has clearly and consistently indicated that there is a middle ground, and that the middle ground is roughly where moderator and community participation have consistently fallen, as votes on this and other metas, as well as the actual questions, have shown. – user420 Nov 19 '15 at 11:40
  • @Beofett - Are you saying that a moderator's reply is in order here? I'm not exactly sure of your meaning. – anongoodnurse Nov 19 '15 at 11:44
  • While it's true there's an established history on meta leading to our current middle ground, there's no reason for users to not continue voicing objections (or, as here, provide a broader explanation for a vote to close a question). – Acire Nov 19 '15 at 11:45
  • @anongoodnurse I'm saying that the questions DanBeale is saying are clearly off topic are frequently considered perfectly acceptable by the community, and in most cases no action is required. There is a middle ground, as you suggest, and the community has been fairly consistently (from what I've seen) following that agreed upon middle ground. – user420 Nov 19 '15 at 11:49
  • @Erica of course not. I'm merely addressing the "undeniable" and "inconsistent moderation" aspects of this claim, as those statements are simply inaccurate. – user420 Nov 19 '15 at 11:51
  • @Beofett - Ah, Thanks for clarifying. – anongoodnurse Nov 19 '15 at 11:58
  • This logic would mean that a parent asking for activities to keep their post-surgery wheel-chair-bound child physically active would be off-topic, because that child has a medical condition, because of a medical procedure, and so everything remotely related to it is off-topic. What I was asking for was related to health and hygiene & safety considerations, which are specifically on topic, for a part of life for nearly 1/3rd of toddlers in the US. – user11394 Nov 19 '15 at 15:52

You must log in to answer this question.