Is the site just supposed to be for Experts in mental health to talk to each other, or is it supposed to be for people in general, experts and non-experts alike, to share experiences and information, insight & support?

Proposal: Mind

2 Answers 2


A problem I note in the questions is that the majority seem to be self-help questions, which are a particularly dangerous breed of question:

  • They act, implicitly, as medical advice. That alone is a legal nightmare and Cognitive Sciences doesn't allow them for that reason. Questions are expected to be about general research into specific matters, now "how can I apply this to my personal situation", which is localized and possibly dangerous. I'm particularly concerned about the apparent self-help questions about clinical depression, many of which seem to implicitly or explicitly be about avoiding medically prescribed drugs. That can literally kill people or cause them to commit suicide.
  • Cognitive Sciences pretty much covers all expert, non self-help aspects of this proposal.

A site for non-experts would certainly be different from Cognitive Sciences, but I don't believe it would be a good Stack Exchange site. Sharing experiences, insight and support is not what Stack Exchange is about; it's about good answers to solid questions.

I'd generally suggest that this proposal be closed this as a duplicate of Cognitive Sciences, a Beta site, but from the existing questions the topics I don't feel they'd be welcome (without significant reworking) on Cognitive Sciences, or on Stack Exchange in general.

  • 2
    Solid questions can be asked by non-experts as well.
    – user72809
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 13:57
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    @CamilStaps the problem so far is that the site does not appeared catered to solid questions, experts or no. The fact that none of them appear to be asked by extperts is an extra nail in the coffin, and seems to be a driving force for the critical mass of non-expert questions. It's much easier for an expert site to teach non-experts how to ask well than for a non-expert site to accidentally ask solid, answerable questions.
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 17:46
  • I totally agree with you and just wanted this to be explained some more ;-)
    – user72809
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 17:58
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    I think the goals of this site are very different from Cognitive Sciences and it would not be appropriate to merge the two. I think there are so many opportunities within this defined topic for specific, factual questions that need expert answers and which would also be helpful to people.
    – nicholas
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 18:07
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    @nicholas well then, what exactly is different from this site? Psychology, cognition, neuroscience and related fields are all on topic on cog sci. Unless this is support group.se I don't see the differentiating factor beyond...very subjective, unanswerable questions
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 19:06
  • @ben I think that cog sci takes this in a direction that's much less practically focused. what I think makes SO work so well is that it's about solving specific problems, not just exploring interesting questions within programming.
    – nicholas
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 21:49
  • Code Review is implicit advice; can I sue SE for security breaches because the answers I got there were bad? I agree it may be difficult to support this community correctly, but that isn't a valid reason not to try. Plenty of question sites get poor psych content. Maybe SE is exactly what this user base needs. Shouldn't we be identifying the difficulties and finding solutions rather than giving up due to difficulty? Non-professional sites exist for religions, parenting, cooking, personal finance, homebrewing, TV, etc. I fail to see how these are less dangerous or more objective. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 2:02
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    @TheXenocide ...is CodeReview telling potentially suicidal people not to take their medicine? Because there are literally questions about that in the examples, right now. These questions aren't just risky, they're already bad to a scary degree. Many of them implicitly or explicitly exclude the possibility of proper mental health care in favor of pseudoscience. Plus, like I said, if you take the extremely non-constructive amature hour bits out, it's a duplicate of an existing site anyway.
    – Zelda
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 12:45
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    @BenBrocka homebrewing can be poisonous, bad finance advice can yield bankruptcy and unsound finances which is a common cause of suicide, parenting can help or ruin a child's life, and there are many other possible travesties in the stack exchange sites I've already mentioned. Advice on Code Review could be responsible for literally anything since so much of the world relies on code (and the security of that code). Your words do not actually make anybodies' lives safer, as there are plenty of bad places to get advice already, but you do explicitly refuse to try to create an alternative. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:10
  • I personally agree that pseudoscience is dangerous, but you seem to imply that the policies of this site can't be set to try to provide better direction in a Q&A site than those out there with strong pseudoscience followings. Are the risks are too high or do you just want "uneducated people" to stick to their corner of the internet? Here we have a chance to set the boundaries in a way that doesn't push people toward (bad) advice elsewhere. Any dangers you've mentioned are obstacles before an objective not necessarily implicitly valid objection to the cause as a whole. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:14
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    I'd also like to know how it could be any more dangerous than religious Q&A sites which, among the methods and purposes of skepticism, might be the only less scientifically demonstrated "advice" than pseudoscience. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:16
  • @TheXenocide considering the example questions, it looks already too late to hold back against pseudoscience. Pseudoscience needs to stick out like a sore thumb as being clearly unacceptable. That's the case on Cognitive Sciences...it's not really at all in this proposal's question list. And the questions about not taking prescribed medications are seriously concerning.
    – Zelda
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:17
  • @BenBrocka medications are not exact. I've never seen a clinical trial indicate that 100% of those in the test group were better than those in the control group. Biological pathways are complicated. I do, however, agree that this is a dangerous line of questioning and that some types of questions should have policy measures in place. For this condition when people ask about not taking their medicine, perhaps the question should be closed with a notice about it being more appropriate to ask their physician? Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:20
  • Alternatively we could rely on medical professionals to answer the question. This A51 phase seems like a good time to try to identify the common pitfalls of discussing mental states and try to find solutions for them. The internet is full of places pushing pseudoscience and trying to profit from unfortunate circumstance. There's probably plenty of room left for sites trying to do something else. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 15:23

The site as proposed is for experts to ask and respond, providing their insight on topics that affect the population as a whole. Of course, like every SE site, there will be questions and answers from people who are not experts, but the expectation is that the expert answers will pretty quickly be voted to the top.

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    I should add that emotional 'support' is not a goal of the proposal-- we are seeking expert answers to specific problems and questions related to Mind.
    – nicholas
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 18:41
  • It might be helpful to clarify who is asking the questions. Maybe the description should be geared toward non-professionals seeking answers from professionals, though I'm not sure if any Stack Exchange communities like this exist or thrive. "Self-help" is also an overly broad term. This proposal process may be a fine time to try to identify the problems that can/can't and should/shouldn't be handled in this community. Question guidelines, moderation process and policies, legal requirements/disclaimers, and more will need to be ironed out for a site like this to be useful/successful Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 2:10

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