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Proposal: Religion

I am a devout Christian. I am also a Pastor and a Christian Apologist. While I think it is necessary to have religious discussions, I am slighted toward thinking that a site like this has the potential to create quarrels more than reliable answers. How would this be avoided?

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    You would be surprised how SE community can managing well this kind of problem. Of course nothing is perfect and absolute. Some sites are easy, other are hard. – Maniero Feb 2 '11 at 19:44
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The answer is deceptively simple. The Stack Exchange sites neither encourage nor support these "discussions" that cause other types of sites to fail in very predictable patterns. The purpose of a Q&A site is to provide on-topic answers to canonical questions; period. Anything else is closed as off topic. Trolling or subjective-and-argumentative questions are closed through vigilant and sometimes heavy-handed community self-moderation.

That's what keeps the Stack Exchange sites such high quality. Good content floats to the top. Nonsense and noise is either pushed down or removed from the site completely.

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    More specifically, five high reputation users can close any question as "subjective and argumentative"; this typically happens in minutes. – Charles Stewart Feb 2 '11 at 19:49
  • I totally agree with what Robert says - for example, mi.yodeya.com looks like a great example how an on-topic religious Q&A site can work. But I think except if inter-religious communication is the goal, Religions definitely need separate sites. – Pekka 웃 Feb 2 '11 at 20:20
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    At first I thought that each religion would need their own site. But after reading this answer, I think that SE could be format that would work. It is definitely worth testing. – Keith Groben Feb 2 '11 at 21:16
  • @Keith Groben: And nothing is definitive. If things go wrong SE has strategies to find the better way. SE is a better place on internet. – Maniero Feb 3 '11 at 0:42
  • @Robert Cartaino Good response. Trolls are a big problem and not stopping such degrades places, so glad that SE makes sure that it has a clean site. Keep up the great work everyone. – Thoth Mar 8 '14 at 20:18
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While there are in theory checks and balances, and subjective and trolling questions are banned, this site is already establishing itself as very close to the borders of those limits. Here are some questions posted so far, which are likely in practice to be subjective and/or argumentative:

  • Why is the existence of God usually taken as a given in religious debate? (90% upvotes)
  • If there really is a god then why do so many bad things happen? 80% upvote
  • Is there a God? (50% upvote)
  • Why does God exist? (30% upvote)

That's 4 out of 10 questions posted so far that are pretty much guaranteed to start an argument and not provide an objective answer. That doesn't bode well.

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    @DJ Clayworth: I share your concerns, which apply to other sites like Christianity as well. However, arguments can be avoided IF the majority of community members agree to play nicely. (For example, a good answer to the question "Is there a God" would providing a list of the main arguments for and against. These arguments could then be explored in depth in other questions) My response to these concerns, then, is to do what I can to build that community of reasonable people. – Kramii Mar 8 '11 at 16:39
  • That's a reasonable comment, but if you look at the Christianity site it doesn't have nearly as many argumentative questions posed, and they don't have nearly as many upvotes. I'm at a loss to explain it, but this site seems to attract the provacateurs. – DJClayworth Mar 21 '11 at 14:02
  • It's also worth noting that on a Christianity site, "Is there a God?" is going to cause much debate (remember questions there should be answered from a Christian perspective) and "Why do bad things happen?" has a limited number of generally accepted viewpoints, which can be articulated in a good answer. – DJClayworth Sep 1 '11 at 14:38

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