I have a question about my Skeptics Stack Exchange post: How does fasting affect your immune system when you are having infection?

The question is incorrectly flagged as duplicate despite valid clarifications in comments. It seems I am not the only one. But, I can't comment elsewhere due to reputation. I also see a tendency of existing members to try and suppress new members by adding negative remarks unreasonably (I have seen it in few other well researched questions as well) and not even correcting the mistake even after giving valid responses. In my case, I had well researched the topic and as an additional information gave a link to another related question. But, someone marked it as duplicate without even trying to understand the difference. When I added clarification, he removed it from the question, asking me to write it in comments.

All of this is not really helpful and at the end of the day, I am finding some other forums more useful than stack exchange. I hope stack exchange addresses this issue.

  • Instead of giving commentary on what you think is wrong with us as a community could you perhaps focus on why you think your question is not a duplicate. I've reviewed both, and to be honest although the exact wording is different the linked duplicate seems to answer your question perfectly well.
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 5, 2016 at 14:54
  • And no, I dont think your comments on the question properly clarify why you don't believe it is a duplicate.
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 5, 2016 at 14:56
  • @Jamiec, I have answered that in the original question. Please see my comments there. Unfortunately moderator removed my edits and his comment only makes a weak attempt at explaining why he thought that its a duplicate. I have given a much clearer reply there.
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 14:57
  • @Jamiec autophagy is not synonym to fasting. Autophagy is a catabolic process where a cell "eats itself" and recycles the intracellular constituents. Intermittent starving is one of the ways autophagy gets induced and studies only show that intermittent starving boosts immune system. Thus the studies on autophagy don't completely answer my question. Moreover, research also shows some cancer cells also induce autophagy and rely on that for survival. In such cases, inhibition of autophagy is a strategy. I have asked this question only after doing enough research.
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 14:58
  • This sounds more like a question of Biology than skeptics. Honestly I would have closed your question, but not as a duplicate but for just being off topic. We have a requirement that claims must be notable I have no idea if yours is or isnt, but you would need to prove it is - the burden is on you. Note that the question linked as duplicate does exactly that - has a source of the claim.
    – Jamiec Mod
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:00
  • I raised it because I found a similar question in the same forum and I am sceptic about the claim
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:02
  • Regarding notability I have answered that as well. This claim is common in some Asian countries like India where Ayurveda is practiced. Unfortunately, its difficult to show you references here due to language problem and not every text is available online.
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:04
  • @Abhay If you have access to the text, quote it here with a proper citation. You can provide a rough translation as well. If you do not have access to the text, we have no way of knowing that you're remembering it correctly. Oct 5, 2016 at 15:35
  • @called2voyage - I have just done that and improved my question. Please re-review the question
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 16:44
  • @Abhay Reviewed and upvoted. Unfortunately, I don't have enough rep to cast a reopen vote. Oct 5, 2016 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


Welcome to Skeptics.SE. I'd recommend having a read of our Welcome to New Users.

In particular, this section:

Generally, a high-quality Skeptics question will:

  • Point to a statement that someone well-known has made (or a number of less well-known sources)
  • Quote from it (a direct quote, not just a paraphrase)
  • Express some doubt and ask if it is true.

This isn't a prescriptive rule, but it is a strong hint as to the types of question that go well here.

Your question suffers because it doesn't have a notable source. You say one of your friends argued it. That is generally a sign of a poor question because:

  • We can't be sure it isn't just a half-baked idea one person has had. It isn't worth our time debunking every single nonsense idea someone has.

  • We can't check the source of the idea to see what it is based upon. We can't determine what definitions they were using. We can't even be sure that you are quoting the claim correctly. It is too easy for us to get the wrong impression, and tackle a strawman.

Your question suffers from a minor because it doesn't have a clear proposition for us to investigate. It perhaps should be "Does fasting affect your immune system..." rather than "How does it affect your immune system..."

Finally, your question suffers because it still isn't clear how autophagy is supposed to be separated from the issue. If autophagy promotes killing the infection, how do we extract its effect from the speculation that starving the invader has an effect? It still sounds like a duplicate.

  • 2
    "Finally, your question suffers because it still isn't clear how autophagy is supposed to be separated from the issue. If autophagy promotes killing the infection, how do we extract its effect from the speculation that starving the invader has an effect? It still sounds like a duplicate." Well, not really. This is just a simplistic but dangerously fallacious logic. It's like saying running keeps your hearth healthy so if you run when having heart attack, you should try running." The question only "sounds" duplicate because of this fallacious logic.
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:28
  • sorry for the typo above - I meant - It's like saying, "running keeps your hearth healthy so start running when having a heart attack."
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:39
  • The question is a notable belief in Ayurveda that you can starve any infection by fasting, which is followed by millions in India and some other Asian countries. I can possibly edit the question to fit the rules and will try that as well later tonight. But, is it going to help, when moderators try to suppress genuine question and not allow "real" expert on the topic to answer?
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:40
  • I have improved the question as per the rules and given sufficient explanation why its a valid question and not duplicate. So, please re-review the question.
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 16:55
  • The link to original question is - skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/35382/…
    – Abhay
    Oct 5, 2016 at 17:02
  • I'm happy to report that the question has now been reopened and edited. I think it is much stronger now. I hope you are also happy with this outcome.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Oct 6, 2016 at 2:34
  • Thanks for reopening the question.
    – Abhay
    Oct 6, 2016 at 10:43

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