I'm curious about pickling wild edible mushrooms, but it can't get approved for this. Allow people to add pickling techniques for obscure things.

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    Sorry, but this is slightly inaccurate on a key point. Pickling wild mushrooms for eating is completely on topic. The issue is that you've asked about it for medicinal purposes, which is not. We can help you make what you want to eat, but we can't tell you what's going to be good or bad for you. – Cascabel Sep 26 at 15:23
  • I've answered in order to summarize our existing rules and my belief that they should not be changed. If you would like to make a case for changing things, that's fine, but that's up to you - all you've done so far is say you want things to be different, because you have an off-topic question you want to ask. I understand that it's frustrating not to be able to ask and get those answers, but if that were a reason to change the rules, we wouldn't have any rules :) – Cascabel Sep 26 at 15:47
  • making medicinal mushrooms falls in like with other preservation techniques. – a coder Sep 28 at 4:40
  • It shares something with them, yes, but unless it's identical (in which case you could just ask about how to pickle mushrooms in general) it is also a health question and is thus off topic for the reasons noted in my answer. Again, if you want to change this, you need to explain why (in an answer), and it's going to take a substantial amount of convincing given that this is a years-old policy that's had plenty of community support every time it's been discussed. – Cascabel Sep 28 at 4:43
  • I marked it as mushroom, and food preservation as well as rewrote the question to be very specific. – a coder Sep 28 at 4:45
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    But you also indicated that your goal was for them to be medicinal, which is the issue. From what you just edited: "How should I preserve it best to keep it as powerful as possible in the kitchen?" Your explicit goal is a "powerful" medicinal effect. From another of your recent: "In order to eat mushrooms that still have some life in them (medicinal)..." As long as you're asking us to help you produce something specifically medicinal, it's off topic. – Cascabel Sep 28 at 4:55
  • There must be a question we are not seeing. – paparazzo Oct 8 at 20:50

First, I'd like to note that our site's rules and what I'll say below absolutely does not mean health/nutrition questions are bad questions, or that people shouldn't want to ask them and discover the answers. It just means this isn't the place for it.


Roughly, our rule is that in order to be on topic, the key knowledge necessary to answer a question has to be about cooking. (There are of course additional restrictions, like avoiding overly broad or subjective questions.)

So for example, if you want to pickle mushrooms in general, or if you want to know how to make your pickled mushrooms less mushy, then all of the key knowledge to answer is about cooking, so it's on-topic. But if you want to make a medicinal mushroom extract by pickling, then the key knowledge to answer includes medical knowledge, so that's out of scope.

I think this rule has served the site well, and the reasons for it still apply, so it should not be changed.

The issue with health/nutrition questions was never that they aren't anything to do with cooking. It's that they are about health/nutrition. To summarize:

  • Difference of subject. Cooking is fundamentally different from health/nutrition. Yes, what we eat affects our health, but the actual subjects are very different. StackExchange sites are focused on specific topics, and our chosen topic is cooking, not health/nutrition.
  • Missing expertise. Our site is built around attracting people with cooking expertise. We do not have a similarly strong community of people with health/nutrition expertise, trying to build that would be extraordinarily difficult (to the point that people have tried to build it as its own site and struggled significantly), so we simply can't handle the questions.
  • Likelihood of misinformation. There is an awful of unsupported health/nutrition information out there, and an awful lot of people buy into it. This makes it incredibly difficult to uphold quality standards. Even requiring citations from scientific journals isn't really sufficient; studies are frequently misinterpreted.
  • Likelihood of debate. Worse, a lot of that unsupported information is contradictory, and plenty of people are ready to debate to the death in favor of their various contradictory views.

This isn't a complete list, but it's enough to justify our rules. And none of this is hypothetical. We've seen it all on older questions before these rules were settled upon and enforced, and periodically in comments even with the rules.

Much of that also applies to other tasks that are done in the kitchen but which aren't for cooking. If you want to wash your hair in the kitchen sink, or use your oven to bake glaze onto your sculpture, that's great, and at least it's less controversial, but it's still not our subject or our expertise, and I don't think it should be on topic here.

  • got it boiled down to food preservation of wild mushrooms now that I got some guided help on how to reword the question, and now know to ask more along the lines of how do I do X to this mushroom so it will be later safe to consume – a coder Sep 28 at 4:49
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    @acoder Not really. Your revision specifically makes it even more about preserving the medicinal qualities. You pretty much edited it to make it even more off topic here. – Catija Sep 28 at 14:13

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