I'm thinking that disproving notable but bad life-hacks would be interesting ground for our site to cover.

There are some "life-hacks" that seem to get repeated all over the internet even though they don't really work and disproving these may serve to "make the internet a better place..."

I suppose that the bar would need to be fairly high to keep the noise down, but a format similar to the one used on Skeptics may work.


Migrated from comments:

I think simply providing a few references/links to establish that it is a "well known" life-hack and explaining how you tried it and why you don't think it works would be a baseline for a question.

Answers would probably need a little more supporting evidence, for or against, and perhaps a little explanation of the science involved.

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    Why couldn't you do this on Sceptics? – J. Musser Dec 23 '14 at 20:02
  • @J.Musser I suppose you could, it would be completely on topic there... I would hope that eventually this would be the first place people look for info on life-hacks though. – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 20:05
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    How would you propose that we would format such questions, and what information we would require of them? I'm not opposed to the idea. – J. Musser Dec 23 '14 at 20:10
  • @J.Musser I think simply providing a few references/links to establish that it is a "well known" life-hack and explaining how you tried it and why you don't think it works would be a baseline for a question. Answers would probably need a little more supporting evidence, for or against, and perhaps a little explanation of the science involved. – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 20:15
  • I was inspired to ask about this by a Mental Floss series, but some of the testing they show in the videos leaves a little to be desired and I think that, as a community, we can do better. – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 21:06
  • So is this really "I found this lifehack on the internet and I would like someone else to test it for me?" or is there something else to this that I'm not noticing? Would you see people self answering these? I'd just hate to see this spawn a ton of questions asking to test any lifehacks people can find before they put in the effort to try it themselves. – liebs19 Dec 23 '14 at 21:41
  • @apaul34208 So saying "I tested this and it didn't work so please check my work?" – liebs19 Dec 23 '14 at 21:49
  • @liebs19 I think more of a "I tested this using this method, these were my results and this is why I don't think it works." – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 21:51
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    @apaul34208 Ok, thanks for the clarification. I can see those types of questions being useful. Just not sure how high we need to set the standard for these types of questions (see Skeptics extremely high standard). – liebs19 Dec 23 '14 at 21:53
  • @liebs19 I doubt it would need to be as tough as Skeptics, just tough enough to avoid the problem of people asking others to test it for them. The comparison to Skeptics was more about how the "well know life-hack" could compare to their "notable claim" – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 21:59
up vote 14 down vote accepted

I would strongly discourage going so far outside the stated scope of this site.

The purpose of this site is to solve problems with your own brand of "life hacking." If someone answers with a hack that does not presumably work, it's perfectly fine to comment and discuss the validity of the answer within the scope of that question. The purpose of comments is to ask for clarification or to correct the post… or you can down-vote the post so it is at least vetted as incorrect.

But it is not the purpose of this site to then branch off into another brand of questions in a Skeptics-like site where your purpose becomes one of questioning, researching and debunking sketchy folk wisdom. That is not the purpose of this site.

Stay focused.

  • Could you please add a bullet point in the help center that asking to verify lifehacks is off-topic? – 200_success Oct 9 '15 at 20:41
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    @200_success We try to avoid cramming the Help Center with every way you can go wrong on a site. To my recollection, this was the only occurrence of this off-topic subject; as such, it does not yet warrant an entry in the don't-ask scope of this site. – Robert Cartaino Oct 9 '15 at 20:58

I am fearful that accepting/soliciting/receiving too many of these questions would create a cross-contamination situation and distract from the Skeptics site.

IMHO I think we could accept them here as they come in, as opposed to "close as off-topic" or DV, but simply point out the flaws in the life-hack theory. Possibly a link to a Skeptics post on the subject (if there is one) will help to reinforce that site (the Skeptics page) as the location to post them, but not necessarily derail this location from receiving them.

Setting up a "catch all" to accept these questions may not be of best interest since the existing Skeptics site could handle it.

However, perhaps a new tag along the lines of "disproved" could help field these types of questions and should we find they are coming in a lot and belong elsewhere we can quickly locate and mass migrate them?

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    There are many SE sites that cover similar if not overlapping territory, it doesn't seem to be a problem for most of them. Why would it be a problem here? – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 20:22
  • Too many could disrupt the process in place for Skeptics.. it is in that reason the Migration option exists to keep like things/topics together. Perhaps we review this: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/193815/… – Phlume Dec 23 '14 at 20:35
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    Nearly all questions on Skeptics could fit on another site. Take a look at their tags, many of them have dedicated SE sites. – apaul Dec 23 '14 at 20:45

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