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Disclaimer: my question was just closed as being out of scope. OK, fair enough.

But what I wonder is - why is it out of scope and should the scope perhaps be widened to include it?

To recap: my question wasn't about a specific claim, but rather a set of claims (medical research results) and how they are verified. Instead of asking "hey, help me check if this particular claim is true" I was asking "hey, help me get the tools I need so that I can check this and other similar claims myself".

Which, I think, is even more useful than just verifying a specific claim.

I couldn't find any meta posts that touch on this, but perhaps I just didn't come up with the right keywords. Has this been discussed already? If so, I would greatly like to see the reasoning behind this decision. If not, what are your thoughts?

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  • I see your point that you can probably find a claim that would technically fit, i.e. some source saying "most medical research is reliable", but probably that would be too broad for it to be verifiable by some conventional means, i.e. a meta-analysis. – Fizz Jan 27 at 3:34
  • FYI some claim to the contrary en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… which is itself controversial. – Fizz Jan 27 at 3:39
  • @Fizz - That actually wasn't my point. :P My point was of the "give a man a fish and he will be fed for the day; teach him to fish and he will be fed for life" variety. That is, why don't we allow questions that would teach people to verify claims themselves? – Vilx- Jan 27 at 6:16
  • I think there is a faulty assumption behind the question: "It would be great to have an educational website that teaches critical thinking concepts." is very different to "This particular web-site which has attracted a community around its limited scope, should have its scope widened to address a separate need." I am not saying it can't happen. I am saying the hurdle to justify such a change is fairly high. – Oddthinking Jan 27 at 13:41
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The scope of the site is in the tour:

Skeptics is a question and answer site for applying scientific skepticism.

(Original emphasis)

It is elaborated in the Help Center about what's [on-topic]:

Skeptics Stack Exchange is for challenging unreferenced notable claims, pseudoscience and biased results.

Skeptics is about applying skepticism — it is for researching the evidence behind claims you encounter. It is not for speculation, philosophical discussions or investigating original claims.

New users (even users familiar with the Stack Exchange format) should read our introduction to the site before posting.

If you have a question about the accuracy of public claims made in the media or elsewhere, if you're interested in the evidence behind what you hear or read, then you are in the right place.

(Original emphasis)

That last link points to the Welcome to New Users which reinforces:

Questions must be about a notable claim

(Original emphasis)

This deliberate limitation goes back to the original scoping discussion for the site on Area 51.

Consideration about whether to change this was briefly discussed during the Beta phase

Other posts on the subject:

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