I recently posted my first Skeptics question: Does training while wearing weights improve body performance?

I got some criticism towards some aspects of my question and even a down-vote before I edited and fixed with the help of a moderator and it received an up-vote so I thought it was completely improved.

As is, it should be ok, but today a user voted to close my question as off topic, so instead of cluttering the comments section I thought I'd open a meta question.

Now, I'm not new to the SE system, therefore please don't take this as a whining question. But it certainly surprises me that my question is criticized because of the mere presence of cartoons mentions. Because, like I specified in the question itself, my question is not about superhuman stuff. I used cartoons because they were the most prominent claims I could remember of, but I'm sure that everyone has heard about this type of training in their life, because it's mentioned everywhere, from movies, to sites, articles, etc. So I wanted to ask if that kind of training had those effects as everyone claims/claimed.

Plus, a similar question was asked time ago with references from cartoons and comics. So we are either both off topic or on topic, or I'm missing something here. I'm not attacking that question, just taking it as an example; I'd like to know what are the flaws of my question without comparisons, so I can finally improve it to fit on this site because I don't think it belongs to Fitness SE.

2 Answers 2


We require people to prove that the claim notable, actually believed, and I assume this is what people are questioning. I say assume because I don't see the issue here. Your question is in the same realm as the recent Bat-Signal question, in my opinion.

I think the issue here is whether claims made in works of fiction are on-topic or off-topic.

I would argue they are on-topic here, within a certain limit. Claims from fiction that are repeated enough may become believed by the population, even if they are wrong and even if the writer never intended to deceive his audience, and any belief that reaches that point should be questioned skeptically. I think there is a point where those become on-topic here. I cannot yet verbalize an objective criteria to determine which questions are on-topic and which are not, but I do think those questions are on-topic.

  • Thanks for answering! I can't honestly (personally) remember other cartoons/movies/sources for those claims, but the Wikipedia page I linked showed a lot of references. That proves, in the least, that this is something spread and not something that I personally believe. According to the topic you provided about "notable claims", I think that 99% of the people here have heard about this before, if not 100%. If my question has other flaws, fine, I can fix it with your (community) suggestions, but I disagree that the claim is not notable enough. (Wow, the comment came out quite long.)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 15:08
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    @Alenanno "Having heard of it" is only a necessary condition. We need to avoid absurdities, straw men, or completely vague claim. This is what, I think, Borror0 is trying to say when he states it's hard to "verbalize".
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 16:59
  • @Sklivvz What is meant by "straw men" here? Sorry, I don't get that term.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 17:03
  • @Alenanno en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man basically, misrepresenting a claim to "prove" it wrong by proving the misrepresented version wrong. For example, if the original claim is "beer is harmful" and an OP misrepresents it as "a pint of beer is deadly", then he's using a straw man.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 17:10
  • @Sklivvz Thanks for the link! Do you think my question fits one of those cases you listed?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 19:35
  • @Alenanno, I was not trying to imply that
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 22:10
  • @Sklivvz Don't worry, I was just asking what was your opinion. I was unsure about what you thought so I wanted to ask. :) By the way, about the proposal to migrate my question to Fitness SE, I don't think it would be fit to that SE as I'm not asking about how to get fit. What do you, and the other mods, think I should do? Or should I just wait for answers to my question? Thanks for the patience!
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 22:21
  • I think there's some improvement in the wording, as probably people don't understand the claim. Also an example of someone stating that they believe the claim is going to help. The thing is, since answers are to be answered via research, etc, then there has to be someone who has taken the time to research what you are asking.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 22:25
  • From the post:"Obviously removing the "superhuman" factor that those cartoons show, I'm strictly referring to the real world. I know I wouldn't be able to move at superhuman speed, but does training with weights actually improve my body's performance? " - The OP is specifically removing the claims made in the works of fiction.
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 17:26

My problem is this question is basically questioning resistance training. If it were questioning some new fad, like the shake weight, I could see some merit. This is essentially questioning a proven and time tested method of physical training(resistance training) and therapy. As such it needs a notable claim that it is false.

If the question were about the specific effects claimed in a specific movie(s) that I could see being on topic. But this is questioning that there is any benefit to it and specifically not the aspects shown in the film.

I think this question would be well received at fitness SE. But this is not a skeptical question so much as a question about the subjective merits and results of a specific type of resistance training.

  • Thanks for posting. You said that this method is tested and proven, fine. What I'm asking is: from who and where, because all I see are sources that I'm not sure of. In other words, I'm not sure these sources (indefinite) are reliable. So I'd like to see papers or articles, obviously from medical sources, that attest such methods do work. If you want to close it as OT, let it be. If you think, and the mods do, that my question is more specific to Fitness, well, I'll stick to the community decision. It'd be better to ask Fitness mods first, though.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 17:27
  • @Alenanno - It is called resistance training (aka lifting weights). The fact that the weights are relatively light does not change that fact. You need a notable claim that this specific type of resistance training is ineffective for it to be on topic on this site. I think that it would fit well on fitness (at least the core of the question asking how effective it is while perhaps removing the fictional reference).
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 20:33
  • 2
    @chad, wouldn't a notable claim that it is effective be sufficient, given the OP is doubtful of it?
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 23:35
  • @Oddthinking - These are the sites rules not mine. This is a form of resistance training. Resistance training is a proven and accepted method for improving physical condition. The rules are in such a case that the op would need a notable claim that it is false. Otherwise i can post "I Dont believe that global warming is man made" prove it questions.
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 17:41
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    I'm not familiar with such a rule. Citation needed :-) If you made the global-warming question specific enough (pick one aspect, rather than expect book-loads of evidence) I would think it fine.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 23:05
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    "This is essentially questioning a proven and time tested method of physical training(resistance training) and therapy" Yeah? So what? So create an answer saying that resistance training is proven with sources. The OP might not be familiar with resistance training or how it works or why it works. Just because I think its obvious and well known that vegetables are good for you, doesn't mean that questioning it here isn't allowed.
    – Sam I Am
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 6:39

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