Q like this get a lot of upvotes for some reason Long term effect of masturbation on Estrogen receptors

Spoiler: the paper doesn't mention masturbation in its abstract:

Males of many species present a long-term inhibition of sexual behavior after several ejaculations, known as sexual satiety. It has been shown that androgen receptor density is reduced 24 h after a single ejaculation or mating to satiety, in the medial preoptic area, nucleus accumbens and ventromedial hypothalamus. The aim of this study was to analyze if the density of ERĪ± [Estrogen receptor alpha] was also modified 24 h after a single ejaculation or mating to satiety.

I haven't actually read all of it, but the q doesn't justify why it's asking just about masturbation (with any quote from the paper.) Still it got 7 up-votes and 0 down-votes (before mine), as if it were a well-researched q.

And yeah, I've even read the methods section of the paper now:

All observations were made under dim red light, 2 h after the onset of darkness. Each male was placed alone in a test arena and 5 min later an intact receptive female was introduced, except for controls.

Those rats got some real action, not masturbation.

I have the feeling this site has tipped to the point of too many participants like that (i.e. trolls and their perhaps-not-so-cognizant cheerleaders), from a quick inspection on the main page. (See also my previous rant: Upvoting under-researched questions )

2 Answers 2


I wanted to answer another question with this problem first before answering here.

I whole-heartedly agree with @StevenJeuris, and also lament any negative impact that highly-voted questions may have on participation of valued contributors such as @Fizz.

I did upvote the question at hand, and do not intend to change that. As I mentioned previously, I upvote questions with references, and do not upvote those without. I do not discriminate reference quality, which I realize means that it's easy to game my vote, but as I said, I only get 1 vote.

Like the question at hand, the question I just answered includes a reference that fails to support assertions made by the poster. I argue that (1) this is better than not providing a reference (hence the upvote), and (2) that even a bad reference is better than none because it provides context with which to compose a useful answer. My answer to the other question followed @StevenJeuris's 4th option: Address the error in the answer.

Again, my reasoning comes from my pre-existing bias that answer quality is far more important than question quality. Someone asking a question is expected to not know stuff - eg, how to interpret a research paper to validate assumptions. This is part of why this forum exists.

Whatever my personal reasoning for upvoting, this is a community forum, and highly upvoted questions are obviously of interest to the community. I don't know why that should upset anyone - I am personally only upset by highly upvoted answers that are incorrect, as good answer quality is the ultimate goal of the StackExchange.


Well-caught! Citations are not always indicative of a well-researched question. That happens, even in peer-reviewed scientific work.

That is why we need curators like you to stick around to down vote, comment on, and even close vote problematic questions like this. But of course, this is a huge time investment, time not all of us have, which is why the problem with this question likely went unnoticed for so long in the first place.

You have a couple of options here:

  • Choose to participate less since this is not the type of curation you want to invest time in. Totally your right!
  • Simply down vote, maybe leave a comment, and move on (which you did, thank you!)
  • Edit the question to correct the misrepresentation of the cited paper. That would be a suitable option in this case, since the question has not attracted answers yet.
  • Answer the question, as part of which you highlight the erroneous assumptions that lie in the original question and emphasize the specific context your answer applies to which is not indicative of the original intended question.

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