We all love Physical Fitness Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

2 Answers 2


Every single answer that is given here is without doubt "It depends". If a person is coming here they are often completely in the dark to the world of fitness. Yes almost all research into fitness and nutrition is up in the air but these people just want direction, not specifics.

This is why 4chan fitness does well. Their recurring advice of OATZ, SQUATZ and DEADZ gives direction rather than making newcomers feel like they are in over their head. Its obvious that these recommendations are exaggerated and not correct in all circumstances but following them is a step better than doing nothing.

People come here and ask questions, get hit with the debates and arguments over "specifics" then continue doing nothing towards their fitness goals.

In general I feel the site is more about the "academic" side of fitness, where scientists who are well read (But hardly fit) argue over optimums and ideals rather than encouraging people into the fitness world.

  • Some good points, but I think that you are wrong on the last paragraph. If you look at the top 80 contributors profiles (and also check some of their answers), it is clear that they are practitioners, not scientists.
    – FredrikD
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 9:40
  • 2
    That's a side effect of the types of questions that we get. If people would simply state their goals, constraints, and ask what to do, they'd get much better answers here. But instead, people ask "Is there a benefit to weightlifting without pushing yourself", "Optimal strategy for 4min pushup test", "How can you bicycle for some hours three times per week without losing weight", "Working out in the morning vs the evening". These types of questions are asking for debates over specifics.
    – user4644
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 18:35
  • 5
    We also have the "Oatz, squatz, and deadz" answer. Anyone that asks how to get big and strong is directed there pretty immediately. Perhaps you're noticing a lack of recurring simple advice because duplicate questions are closed. New non-duplicate questions will necessarily begin to be focused on the specifics rather than the generalities that have been well-answered already.
    – user4644
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 18:39
  • Actually that makes sense, surely there must be a better response to duplicates than to "close them"? I am just really against any form of negativity towards people who have actually taken the step towards getting fit. A FAQ seems to be the cookie-cutter answer to this problem but I don't know if it is 100% appropriate for this site.
    – Darcys22
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 0:27
  • 2
    We could publish a blog post that answers such questions
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 14:47
  • Actually im quite interested in how people get to our site to ask the recurring question (Im small and want to get big/I want to get a 6-pack/I want to lose fat fast) without stumbling on the well answerd questions? Clearly its not through google. Any seasoned users coming here from stack overflow should already know to search the apropriate question before posting one... So - who are these people?
    – K.L.
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 11:09
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    Also, closing duplicates is perfectly normal and fine for this site. At stack overflow, the questions are very detailed, and a single comma in a code snippet can change everything. But here, most people wanting to lose fat will do EXACTLY the same things. It doesnt matter if youre 20 or 22, if you weigh 90kg or 100kg. It does not matter if youre 40 or 50 years old! Hence the small diversity and good duplication mentioned in a blog post on codinghorror by Jeff Atwood does not apply here. For every one of those questions we could do an effective copy&paste.
    – K.L.
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 11:12
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    Also, I dont think that this should be a "feel good" site, thats only purpose is "encouraging people into the fitness world". There are plenty of sites for that. We are supposed to be experts on the topic, not hypers or "thats cool bro, keep going and feel da burn!" guys from other "encouraging" sites. Thats why I actually have some faith in the answers I get here, while I distrust all the publications and books on fitness. We are dabbling in the details and looking for optimal routines, cause actually "doign something is better than nothing" isnt very helpful and doesnt help users to learn.
    – K.L.
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 11:16

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