Based on this meta question and the ergnomics tag I assume that ergonomics questions are on topic for this SE. (Although maybe they should ideally live on the as yet unborn Medical SE?)

With that in mind I created these two questions:

The first one has been closed as not a real question. My intention is to find out: what is the general ergonomic advice given to laptop users? e.g. Like those little pictures you see given to desktop users about keyboards distance and wrist alignment, but for laptop users specifically.

  • I know some people who use laptop stands, but I haven't found non-product advice regarding these, so I deliberately left the question open-ended.

  • Maybe my understanding of ergonomics is too naive, but I'm looking for general advice (e.g. you should sit like X, you should position your screen like Y), not trying to target a specific complaint (e.g. you should do Z to solve your sore left wrist you use for the mouse).

The second one is not closely related to ergonomics, just something I want to bear in mind while managing a mass purchase. My intention is to find out: what is a feasible and reasonable way to buy a whole lot of chairs at once, given that it's worth investing in but the advice I've found is focussed on individuals not groups. It has been closed as not a real question. This I find confusing because there are some really good answers.

With my intentions in mind, how can I reword these questions so that they are constructive, non-ambiguous, and generally awesome? Uh, and be opened again.

  • 3
    Fantastic! This may sound condescending but its brilliant to see new (to here at least) users working to improve their posts.
    – user5305
    May 16 '13 at 17:02
  • @RhysW no-one is too experienced not to learn :) I can see the issue here is that my grasp on the topic itself is fuzzy - this also helps me understand other users on SEs I'm more familiar with, who might be in a similar position
    – lofidevops
    May 17 '13 at 8:39
  • @d3vid you'd be surprised how few people take the effort to do this sort of thing.
    – enderland
    May 17 '13 at 17:32

You did a really nice job with the chair question. What makes it such a great question is that you've clearly defined the problem and what you're trying to solve:

How can we purchase a large number of chairs (presumably all the same model), and ensure that they are a good fit for everyone, including ergonomically?

This is something that applies to the workplace, is a problem in the workplace, and something that our community can answer with facts, references, and specific expertise.

However, the other question is a bit more vague; it also contains some elements that aren't fit for the Q&A model. It's assumed that every question on the Workplace should ideally be answered with facts, references, and specific expertise, so when we just simply ask for links to other sources, your problem shifts from "here is my problem. How do I do X" to "I know this problem has already been answered, so I just want you to be my proxy and do the research for me".

It's a subtle distinction. Unfortunately, it can lead to very low quality answers, link-only answers, and may not take into account your specific situation.

Fortunately, questions like these are prime candidates for editing and reopening. I'd suggest taking the same approach you take with the chair question. You're a laptop user. You or someone in your office is experiencing back/neck/wrist whatever pain as a result, and your question is:

As a laptop user, what technique or tools can I use to avoid pain in my (wrist/back/neck, etc)?

I edited the laptop ergonomics post to try and get the ball rolling, but I don't know specifically what problems you're coworkers are trying to solve, so I leave that to you to edit further.

Mostly, I removed the plea for links and external resources. Instead, word your question so that it treats our community as the experts. If they don't post resources or experiences to back up their answer, you may downvote those answers or you may leave a comment challenging it. Our community generally upvotes answers that they know to be correct or that are backed up.

When you've made your edits, I suggest jumping into The Workplace Chat, drop in a link to your post, and ask if the community can take a second look at your post and help you tailor it further.

Lastly, thank you for trying the ergonomics questions here. Ergonomics is a workplace problem, and it's a topic that I can see our community servicing, as long as we can back up our assertions.

  • 3
    I agree that the question needs to be more focused. But I think that the question needs the long answer blurb, and moderator vigilance to prevent this from becoming a list question. I would even go so far as to suggest that a strongly worded warning from a mod against posting me too answers would be appropriate. May 16 '13 at 17:59
  • great feedback for these questions and in general, I've already got some helpful answers thanks to your edit, I'll make more changes as soon as I can
    – lofidevops
    May 17 '13 at 8:43
  • 1
    others have made a few edits since yours and I've got some great answers since then - I think removing the pleas/alternatives was the essential bit, but this answer has tons of other great advice too, thanks!
    – lofidevops
    May 24 '13 at 11:15

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