Is this question about chemistry?

In the comments I tried to justify my close vote but after some thought I questioned where we should set the boundary between "chemistry" and "the surroundings". The post clearly involves biochemistry but would require a significant description of regulatory pathways, as a web search for "how are cellular levels of PUFA regulated?" will reveal. Are regulatory pathways a subject for this site? Note I am seeking a broader answer that attempts to describe where this site judges the boundary of acceptable subjects to lie.

If I was too quick to vote to close then I'd like to suggest reopening the question.

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    $\begingroup$ While this may be only borderline off-topic, as far as the scope is concerned, the question shouldn't be reopened, unless rewritten - should be much more specific and clear to do that. Certainly not anything like "how does cell decide"... $\endgroup$ – Mithoron May 27 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron I agree that the post had other flaws (poorly worded, strange logic). Perhaps if it had been worded better and more logically it might have a better reception in chem SE? $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn May 29 at 6:12
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    $\begingroup$ I for one would sure welcome here a good question about, for example, a regulatory enzyme, but the question you mention, even if rewritten would be probably too broad. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron May 29 at 15:56

Without discussion of the linked question, I would suggest that Chemistry is not the right place for many biochemistry questions. Instead, there is the Biology SE, which includes tags for molecular-biology, biochemistry, pathways, and other related things.

As an aside, given several relatives and in-laws who can talk all day about signaling mechanisms, receptors, and what not, there really isn't much applicability of most of what is covered here in Chemistry. (To me it rapidly becomes black magic, but that is on me, not them).

So, I recommend Biology first.

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  • $\begingroup$ That comment on the existence of the tag is a good indication that biology is a better site for this kind of question. I agree with the black magic sentiment, though there are branches of chemistry (orgo for one) that also seem a bit magical. Chemistry being such a broad field it shouldn't be surprising that one cannot grasp everything discussed here. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn May 29 at 6:20

The chemistry / biology interface is a bit of a grey area (see also: When is it appropriate to ask questions about Biochemistry and Chemical Biology? which doesn't exactly have an answer that I would call clear), so for me to unhesitatingly pronounce judgment here seems inappropriate. But my two cents is that if the focus of the question is on a molecular-level mechanism by which something happens, then staying here is great. If it's not, or if it's mainly about a higher-level "abstraction", then it is probably better on Biology.

I don't know much about this specific scenario, but I concur with the other participants that this is one case where closing & migrating is warranted. Of course, this isn't meant to be a purely negative reaction towards the question ("it's off-topic, let's get rid of it"): I also think that OP will get a better shot at an answer elsewhere. If there is no real disagreement then one of us mods can carry that out soon.

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  • $\begingroup$ After reading the linked post and beyond including this Area51 post I lean toward migration. Next time I'll flag it and save us some time :-) $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn May 29 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BuckThorn We usually only do migration when we know it is on topic at the target site and off-topic here; in most cases we determine that by letting the question get closed, and then ask someone from over there. It might take a day or two. You can hint the OP towards another site though, make sure to tell them to delete one of the duplicates. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン May 30 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン Done... $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn May 30 at 12:53

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