The FAQ currently contains the clause:

practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face

which people are using on this site to mark theoretical questions as off-topic. For example see this question: Body's adaptations to training in hot conditions?

I looked at the FAQ from various other stackexchange sites, including mathematics, physics and biology, all of which contain the same clause. However in mathematics, physics and biology, theoretical questions are frequently encountered without having to explicitly state how the theoretical question related to the asker personally. For example see these questions: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/6794/do-adjacent-axons-in-a-nerve-influence-each-other, https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/47368/limitations-on-how-far-one-can-travel-in-the-universe.

So why then is the FAQ worded the way it is? My understanding is it is because of what comes immediately after in the FAQ, that is,

Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

I therefore believe that "practical, answerable questions" can include theoretical questions like the ones posted in the physics, biology and mathematics stack exchanges, and also like the question from fitness stack exchange which I linked above.

  • 2
    I don't think the linked question is a problem - there's not an unreasonable jump that you might wish to train like Roger Federer or that training in high-heat conditions could be applicable. I think "ambiguous" cases are why it takes 5 votes to close (and why we moderators need to be careful when voting since that circumvents the 5 vote system)
    – G__
    Jan 22, 2013 at 18:54
  • What does an upvote/downvote on a discussion convey? (I know on feature requests, it conveys support for or against the feature request.)
    – user4644
    Jan 22, 2013 at 19:00
  • @Kate Pretty much the same thing, whether you agree or disagree with what the person is asking and likewise with answers.
    – user241
    Jan 22, 2013 at 21:59
  • 1
    @Kate Note that downvotes in meta are generally not considered hostile, just votes of agreement/disagreement
    – G__
    Jan 22, 2013 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


On that particular question I only voted to close to help the migration process. You can't vote off topic and have it migrated automatically in a beta, sadly.

The reason why the FAQ is worded this way is because it is derived from the big three SO, SF, SU, where this line was added to prevent "what happens if I write code like this?"-questions, that are of no apparent use other than wild speculation. Or worse: "imagine I had the most powerful computer of all times, could I solve blabla?"

It depends a bit on the specific site how much sense it makes to enforce this rule. For your specific question it is a bit unclear why you are asking (basically XY-Problem as Kate already explained).

I think a slight change would be enough to make the question completely on topic. If the main question was "How does training in hot weather affect the performance in cold or normal conditions" it would be completely on topic, in a good answer you'd probably also receive the changes to the body that affect the performance (if any).

  • On the whole, general information questions do not tend to make very good questions because they tend to be overly broad and encompass too much (which can result in an answer that you could write a book about). Making it more specific like in you stated in your answer is better.
    – user241
    Jan 24, 2013 at 3:11

There isn't such a thing as misinterpreting the FAQ. We just interpret it. The fitness.SE community interprets the FAQ and determines what is in-scope and out-of-scope in our stackexchange. Where there are disagreements about interpretation, Greg's point is good... it takes five to close a question.

But, about your particular point...

  1. The guideline that people ask practical, answerable questions based on problems that you face really helps avoid a bunch of XY problems. A theoretical question removed from an actual problem may not actually help the asker through the particular problem that they are facing.

  2. Often, fitness questions depend on details about an individual's circumstance, so it makes a question better when it's tied to specifics of an actual problem.

  • Thanks Kate. I see what you are saying about avoiding XY problems, but I think sometimes people just ask questions out of curiosity in knowing how the body works. In my question for instance, I am curious about whether such training will improve my own performance, but I'm mainly interested in the physiological adaptations in general. This interest is innate, in the same way one can wonder about the stars in the sky, without having a specific problem they face.
    – Kenshin
    Jan 22, 2013 at 19:03
  • On the second point, I agree for some questions details are important, but for others I believe they are not. For instance, some adaptations are common to everyone, such as short term increased heart rate when exercising, and long term increased stroke volume etc. I hoped the question that I asked involved such general adaptations that would be applicable to nearly everyone.
    – Kenshin
    Jan 22, 2013 at 19:05
  • @Chris if the question was only about improving performance it would be completely fine. I don't even think that it needs to be worded in a personal way, maybe tied to a certain sport, but not necessarily. The part about the physiological changes however would be more on topic on biology.SE.
    – Baarn
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:34

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