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Personally, I find Cognitive Sciences' close vote message "Questions about the behavior of an individual person are off-topic. If you are concerned about a potential medical issue, please seek the advice of a medical professional. For more information, see Why was my self-help question closed as off-topic?" a particularly well-formulated 'self-help' close vote reason.

However, there are borderline questions that pop up quite regularly, where people share their personal account about phenomenon X, and then finalize the question with something like "Is condition X normal / rare / investigated / recognized / ...some other generalized term?"

I find these questions hard to assess for their merits, and particularly difficult to decide whether to vote for question closure, because OP does his or her best to generalize the question. However, the larger part of the question often is a very personal account, and hence, quite anecdotal in nature.

A recent example (where I, reluctantly, voted to leave open):

https://cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/10863/could-i-have-induced-my-own-sleep-paralysis-problem

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    Personally I still think it easily applies in these cases as well. Part of the self-help close reason includes it is not framed from a scientific perspective (what this site is intended for). – Steven Jeuris Aug 10 '15 at 11:19
  • @StevenJeuris - as in, vote-to-close with above reason is the way to go? I'm happy to do so. – AliceD Aug 10 '15 at 11:20
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    For me, the distinction comes down to whether the question seems to be motivated from plain personal experience and generalized to fit our format post-hoc (bad), or whether it's a general question with some thought behind it where the personal aspect serves as an example or illustration (good). I suppose I agree with Steven. – Christian Hummeluhr Aug 10 '15 at 14:30
  • @ChristianHummeluhr ... but you formulated it better, and think that could constitute a valid answer. ;p I would post it as such. – Steven Jeuris Aug 10 '15 at 17:26
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    I think that some people have it in their nature to include anecdotal experience with questions, as anecdotal experience often sets the stage for the question to come into fruition, and so it is hard for some non-academics to separate the two from the process of discovery. Generally it is better when things are kept to-the-point without the background information, but if the question is phrased in a way that anyone could benefit from the answer (and not just the original poster), we could edit the question to make it more general instead of closing it altogether. – Sydney Maples Aug 10 '15 at 23:49
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For me, the distinction comes down to whether the question seems to be motivated from plain personal experience and generalized to fit our format post-hoc (bad), or whether it's a general question with some thought behind it where the personal aspect serves as an example or illustration (good).

We shouldn't confuse a question containing an anecdote, or personal pronouns, with that question being anecdotal. Of course not. Regardless of how useful a question it may have been if it hypothetically had had a scientific answer, however, neither should we pretend that a question which is informed by anecdote can be made to have a useful scientific answer simply by removing personal pronouns.

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    Thanks for this - I have started close-voting such questions now. We should get the answered % to 90 :) – AliceD Aug 12 '15 at 13:42

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