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Did I do what Cascabel advised me to (maybe I didn't understand correctly what did she advise me to do)?

On their second comment she wrote

If standard, safe methods of cooking from some authority is all you want, then I would suggest deleting almost all of your question, and just asking that - no need to mention anything about lectin, phytates, bloating, etc, etc. As-is, most of your question is encouraging answer to cover far more than just authoritative sources for safely cooking lentils.

On their third she told me

You can use authoritative notions of safety, which you say is what you asked for, but then they're not going to care about the things you're listing as potentially present/unsafe by your standards. Or you can ask a question based on your standards of safety, in which case this needs more clarity about your standards, and you're not asking for standard methods from an authority. You can't have it both ways, and you need to pick one for this question to be reopened.

On their fourth she refused to answer what counts as clarity on "my standards" and went of to explain

This is basically exactly why health/nutrition questions are off-topic here. If you want safety, we can go to authoritative references. If you've decided that's not good enough for you, you're welcome to ask specific questions, e.g. are there lectins and if so how to cook to remove, but if at any point you leave it up to others to guess what's going to be "safe", "poisonous", or an "anti-nutrient" by your standards, or what effect something will have on human bodies, that's off-topic here.

I see no advice other than deleting almost all of my question and just asking for the guidelines. This seems to be one of the 2 options I need (necessary/sufficient for opening) to make. I want to know whether I understood correctly and whether I already did that.

The question could be made more general and more fitting for meta (imho). Is it appropriate to expect moderators to answer such a question on the spot wouldn't that be considered proper etiquete?

A tells B to do something.

B does something (an edit) which they believe is (corresponds to) what A told them to do.

B asks A whether that which they did was in fact what they were told to do. That includes issues of missunderstandings (if B didn't understand well what A told them to do they might fail to do so because of the misunderstanding).

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  • I'm a "she", not a "he"; please correct your question.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Feb 18 at 19:19
  • @Cascabel Apoligies I missed one (I am not sure If I can claim it was a typo). I changed everything (it was they since I didn't know anything about your person now it is she) Commented Feb 18 at 19:53

3 Answers 3

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No, you did not do what you were asked to do. You have edited your question more than once, and made it much shorter but probably no more answerable, certainly no more likely to produce an answer that will help you with the problem you face. You were then asked to bring any further discussion of it here, which you have done.

Your original question asked about boiling lentils, and referred both to a substance you consider an anti-nutrient (lectins) and a sludgy substance you see in your cooked lentils and don't recognize. With that background you asked how to cook lentils to be safe.

Comments have indicated to you that official government and public health sources consider the only safety issue in cooking lentils is that they be actually cooked, rather than raw. You have rejected this advice because it doesn't consider the anti-nutrients. Other comments have speculated on what the sludgy substance was, but despite asking what it might be, you seem to reject those comments also.

You've been told that the site will not answer "how can I get the lectins in my lentils to a safe level?" as a question. You can ask which cooking techniques reduce lectins the most, you can ask whether cooking for longer once they are cooked reduces lectins more, you can ask whether [some proposed technique] reduces lectins to [some numerical level that you have worked out for yourself], but you can't ask the site to draw conclusions about health or safety beyond those available from government and public health sources.

What you are left with at the moment is a question that doesn't mention lectins at all, nor your current technique, nor your worries or dissatisfaction with that technique. If you are able to get it answered, what good will that answer do you? Probably none at all.

For the moment, please stop fussing about whether moderators have mistreated you, and accept the rules of this site as they are. With that stipulated, how can you reword your question to get yourself some useful information about your lentils and the way you cook them now?

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In a very literal and narrow sense I would say that yes, with the current version of your question on the main page (created after you asked this Meta question and Cascabel answered) you have met our site's guidelines.

In a broader sense, I realize that the whole experience is likely frustrating for you, and the current state of the question resolves the problem for us, but not for you. What we have been trying to bring across is that we are not equipped to give you the resolution you need.

The core problem here is that your initial question contained a worry ("There is something wrong with the lentils I prepare"), based on a complex mixture of facts, correct conclusions, ideas taken out of context, and dire misconceptions. Taking this apart and helping you re-orient your whole world view on the matters involved, is too huge a task for the 3-4 paragraph answers we can generally give.

So I will reopen the question in its current state, and can even give a short answer. I suspect this might turn out to be unsatisfactory for you - but this won't be a sign that your question needs more editing and a better formulation. Rather, it would be a sign that you have reached the limit of what we can do to help you, and that you may need to find other people to help you resolve your situation.

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  • Honestly, this whole question history is a case study in why we don't take nutrition questions.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Mar 5 at 22:29
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Your question

Many people tried to help you fix your question, and notably all of my comments you've quoted describe the issue and/or how to fix it:

If standard, safe methods of cooking from some authority is all you want, then I would suggest deleting almost all of your question, and just asking that - no need to mention anything about lectin, phytates, bloating, etc, etc.

You can't have it both ways, and you need to pick one for this question to be reopened.

If you want safety, we can go to authoritative references. If you've decided that's not good enough for you, you're welcome to ask specific questions [...]

Your question is still trying to have it both ways. You're asking for an authoritative, UDSA-level safety recommendation that also includes some nutritional concerns ("anti-nutrients") that you have personally elevated to being a safety concern. You cannot have it both ways. Please pick one.

If you choose to go the route of defining your goals in terms of the compounds in the food, then I have in fact already answered your question about what counts as clarity about your standards, in the comment you quote and claim I refused to answer:

If you want safety, we can go to authoritative references. If you've decided that's not good enough for you, you're welcome to ask specific questions, e.g. are there lectins and if so how to cook to remove, but if at any point you leave it up to others to guess what's going to be "safe", "poisonous", or an "anti-nutrient" by your standards, or what effect something will have on human bodies, that's off-topic here.

Notably, this is not a site where answers will survey relevant research on health/nutrition topics and provide health/nutrition recommendations. I understand that this may ultimately mean that we simply don't handle the root question you're looking to ask, and I'm sorry we can't help you and everyone with everything. We have a limited scope, and those things are outside of it.

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How our site works

It is indeed good etiquette for people (including mods) to attempt to help people with their questions, including what is and isn't on topic, in the comments on those questions (and we did!) -- until the discussion becomes larger than comments are well-suited for. At that point we move to meta. That is not a refusal to answer; it's simply discussing/answering in the right place.

We commonly ask things to move to meta after just a few comments if we can see that the discussion is better had here, and failing that, a common threshold for considering heading to meta is 20 comments. Your question currently has 43, and notably, there's been repetitive back and forth, with each of us saying variations of the same thing. Meta is the right place for this; thank you for bringing it here.

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  • And as a note - I'm busy today and wrote this on my phone; I'm sure there's things I haven't covered, and I'll revisit later.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Feb 18 at 19:52
  • Correct me if I am wrong. As I understood it clarity means not leaving room for guessing what are anti-nutrients. Commented Feb 18 at 20:01
  • There is no guesswork involved as there is no guesswork involved when people talk about bacteria. They don't go making an explicit list of hundreds of bacteria. Most even don't know the different types. USDA officers (even lab ones) aren't all Biologists/Microbiologists. There are techs, mathematicians. IT scientists, Commented Feb 18 at 20:07
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    Relevant government agencies publish recommended daily intakes of various nutrients, or maximum levels of contaminants and recognized toxins. But those guidelines do not exist for the compounds you're asking about. Different people will consider different things to be "anti-nutrients", and have different levels of them that they believe are healthy and/or safe. We are emphatically not interested in attempting to settle those debates, so we only permit questions about those compounds if you explicitly define what you find acceptable.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Feb 18 at 21:58
  • I don't know that I fully understand what you're trying to say about bacteria, but if you're implying that any guidance about food safety will cover "anti-nutrients" (including the compounds you mentioned) in the same way that they cover bacteria, I'm sorry, but that is false. Sure, there's stuff like safely cooking kidney beans (where phytohaemagglutinin aka lectin levels are toxic not just "anti-nutritious") but again, that's safety. Research exists about the health/nutrition impacts of all kinds of compounds, but it's not at the point of consensus and government guidelines.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Commented Feb 18 at 22:08
  • I hope the last edit fixed the issue of trying to have it both ways. Commented Feb 18 at 22:37
  • @GeorgeNtoulos as a matter of general rule, things that can send you to the hospital on the order of hours or days are "food safety" issues, and things that can cause illness or death on the order of years are "nutrition" questions. Bacteria in food usually falls into the former category, anti-nutrients would fall into the latter. The former is covered by government agencies' recommendations and regulations, the latter is not, and you would need to define what your parameters for specific substances are.
    – Esther
    Commented Feb 19 at 18:51

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