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Proposal: Christianity

Faith is an emotive topic. As such, I suggest that the early establishment of posting guidelines will help maintain the quality of the site.

If you agree, please add your suggested guidelines as answers. One guideline per answer please. Vote for the ones with which you agree.

  • Excellent suggestions, but I think this applies to many, many sites on the StackExchange network. – Sampson Jan 30 '11 at 0:29
  • I think these guidelines could be discuss in meta.christianity.SE when it is created. – Maniero Jan 30 '11 at 11:07
  • Not wanting to raise hackles, but might take a look at atheism.se, there are similar issues there for working out what are good/bad questions. – Benjol Jan 31 '11 at 6:00
  • @Benjol: Good suggestion. Do you have specific issues in mind? – Kramii Reinstate Monica Feb 1 '11 at 13:02
  • @Kramii, sorry, nothing specific. I've just seen that lots of questions are getting closed - and not without some angst, because there questions/day stat is 'Worrying'. – Benjol Feb 1 '11 at 14:10
  • @Kramii: These are excellent questions to ask... but it's a bit premature to discuss them, and this is not the forum. When the Christianity Stack Exchange is created, it will have it's own meta site to discuss these issues. Save your questions for when the site is created. Preemptive discussions about the community management (e.g. the 7 essential questions) are off topic for this forum. – Robert Cartaino Feb 1 '11 at 15:08
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    @Robert: Fair enough. I must admit that I'm worried about the deterioration of discussions that is already happening, and had hoped to stem the tide by establishing guidelines early. But I understand the reason to close. – Kramii Reinstate Monica Feb 1 '11 at 15:23
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One request that I remember seeing on a forum years ago was for each participant to read over and study about 10 common logical fallacies in order to prevent them from committing them in the future. I'm not suggesting anything like this should be mandated, but it would be really nice if participants routinely examined their comments for fallacious material and made their best effort to self-correct. Hosting a local list of common fallacies, as well as examples, is usually pretty helpful.

  • There's a free book on the topic: Hunbug – Trinidad Jan 30 '11 at 4:33
  • @JonathanSampson now, what do we do with those who claim that the whole of CHristianity is one giant logical fallacy? (Or, less grandiously phrased, Christianity being built on a set of logical fallacies) Difficult, isn't it? – Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 30 '11 at 20:10
  • @jae I think there is no difficulty. I think the easy answer is that we will close those statements as off-topic. – Johannes Schaub - litb Jan 31 '11 at 3:26
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    @Jae: Not so difficult. If the question is vague or argumentative, we just close it. OTOH, if the question is "How do Christians answer the criticism..." and the questioner provides details of a specific logical fallacy and how it might pertain to Christianity, then the question can and should be answered. – Kramii Reinstate Monica Feb 1 '11 at 14:06
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Inform, don't preach This site is a classroom, not a pulpit.

  • What characterizes preaching? Preaching is a way to inform, independently of being it correct information or not. Is that using personal appeal which is forbidden? Like: "Repent!" Or is also considered preaching to openly state you have a personal opinion about the subject alongside with the exposition why it is so? Like: "All people should repent or they'll go to hell because the Bible says so and so" – Trinidad Jan 30 '11 at 4:41
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    @Trinidad Given the types of questions that are expected to be asked, I don't think personal conviction adds any value to the posts and serves only to make posts more personal, potentially causing upset and flame-wars. Exegesis of the text carries the value, not a hearty "amen" after each post :) – Sampson Jan 30 '11 at 5:04
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    So the issue is touchy people getting emotional then? =P Seriously, it just baffles me how you can say you know whatever you want to be true, except when it comes to religion. Even the craziest philosophers wanna-be don't get flamed for that. – Trinidad Jan 30 '11 at 5:13
  • @Trinidad no it's because stackexchange is a site for facts. That's why answers like "Windows is better than unix because of ...." are downvoted, unless they are explicitly marked as a personal opinion (in which case you state a fact). Answers need to be rational. If someone states "All people go to hell because the Bible says ..." then that is not rational, and so such a statement does not belong on stackexchange. You cannot conclude from what the bible says to whether there is another reality beyond. It will be downvoted. – Johannes Schaub - litb Jan 30 '11 at 8:32
  • First of all, if you don't believe the bible to be rational, you should be pursuing other things than discussing Christianity. About the site of facts argument, giving personal opinions is the way all SE sites work. Having a personal opinion does not make it true or false, that's why people try to explain why it is they have such opinion, and example of unfounded personal opinion you assume to be worth is what you just said: to back a statement with the bible is irrational. That's just your opinion without an explanation why it is so, you should practice what you preach. – Trinidad Jan 30 '11 at 19:59
  • @Trinidad why do you keep writing such nonsensical things? I don't need to explain anything. Look what I created by being inspired by the spirit of Area51: This is the "Bible Of Litb" which states "Trinidad is a marsman". Please, I demand you not reject this statement of truth of my bible! If you do nonetheless, please don't state the rejection as an "unfounded personal opinion"! – Johannes Schaub - litb Jan 31 '11 at 5:36
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Be objective, not subjective. Answers should provide reasons and evidence.

  • I guess answers should provide exegetical/historical/philosophical exposition/fundamentation. I would include inductive answers as subjective in most cases, tho. – Trinidad Jan 30 '11 at 4:36
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Critique reasoning, but don't criticize individuals.

  • We should be careful here to avoid some holy-wars to rise, we should avoid transforming the comments into a debate. – Trinidad Jan 30 '11 at 4:38
  • @Trinidad: Good point about the comments. – Kramii Reinstate Monica Feb 1 '11 at 9:30
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Seek first to understand then to be understood. If you disagree with someone, it is often better to ask a genuine question than to offer an opinion.

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