There are a number of questions like this one:

I still have stomach fat despite losing so much weight I can see my ribs. How can I get rid of it?

where the base answer has been given multiple times, so folks are quick to downvote or vote to close the question entirely. I concede that the question needs a lot more detail to be

  1. Properly answered
  2. Applicable to the OP
  3. Something we can learn from

The more I learn about training, the more I find that some people respond differently to the typical advice that would be given. So while the basic principles of the answer really don't change (eat less, move more), the process of troubleshooting what isn't working can help many people figure out what they could be doing better.

The question I linked to is just representative of the type of question that is very quick to be voted a duplicate. I'm wondering if that really should be the case. Instead, I think we should be coaching the OP on what additional information would be helpful to answer their question.

1 Answer 1


I came over from stackoverflow, where you often feel like you have to beg and plead to have your question stay open. It can get closed for nearly any reason and it's honestly bugged me. I finally sat down to ask a question and an hour later it's closed and I'm given some response I can't discuss or lobby (in any effective way): not a great feeling.

With fitness I think that attitude is terrible, because maybe amongst all the stackexchange sites we have the one that really can keep people alive longer and put them on a path towards health, strength, and longevity.

I have a lot of allegiance to the question asker if it's remotely in the ballpark of fitness. They're trying to make their life better and if it means I have to make sense of a bad question (instead of closing it), or re-type something not so different than something else (instead of closing it), I will.

I vote to close things too, but in the end I'd much rather have people getting quality answers than the top-answering-folk feeling like they have a nice and tidy library of answers.

The highest rate and frequently cited questions and answers will percolate to the top anyway; I don't see the harm in being less militaristic especially given the stakes (potentially being the agent in changing people's fitness trajectory).

  • My concern with that is the more off topic questions that we answer, is the more that will proliferate. "If that, why not this?". If we can edit/guide to get a better question, I'm all for it, but answering blatantly off topic questions, no matter the intentions, will eventually produce a muddled mess of a site.
    – JohnP Mod
    Jan 12, 2015 at 16:58

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