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12:03 AM
@Alypius they get 3 at-wills unless the take heroic effort /badrpgjoke
12:14 AM
@JonEricson That question would be too general. Why do you think it might be too localized?
@Alypius "Too localized" means that not many people would get anything out of the question. As a practical matter, I can't think of how the answers to that question help anyone. But I could see how the general question about the type of poverty that church leaders practice might be more broadly useful.
For instance, I met a Jesuit who studies meteoroids meteorites at the Vatican. He took a vow of poverty, but got to keep his MIT ring. I assume the pope's situation is similar.
So asking the general question could be more broadly useful than the question you asked.
This is the fellow I'm talking about:
Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, SJ (born September 19, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan), is an American research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory. Life Consolmagno attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School before he obtained his B.A. (1974), M.A. (1975) degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. (1978) at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, all in planetary science. After postdoctoral research and teaching at Harvard College Observatory and MIT, in 1983 he joined the US Peace Corps to serve in Kenya for two yea...
@JonEricson It helps by actually providing an objective way to judge poverty of church leaders.
@Alypius I'm not sure I understand. John Paul II got to keep exactly as much after death as I will.
@JonEricson possessions at the time of death. Not after death. We're not Ancient Egyptians here.
Surely, the poverty of church leaders should be judged by what they have at their disposal during life.
12:27 AM
as opposed to after death?
@Alypius Right. If a CEO can command a private jet to take him anywhere he wants to go, we don't say he is living in poverty just because the jet belongs to his company. The question now sounds misleading, in addition to too localized.
I'm not sure how you'd put "at his disposal" in a neutral way. He has all my personal property at his disposal.
@Alypius What are you asking again? It seems we aren't talking about John Paul II anymore.
@JonEricson I'm asking you why you think it's too localized. You're suggesting that a better question would take into account the fact that the pope can use a jet. I think that's utterly subjective.
@Alypius Subjective is ok:
Robert Cartaino on September 29, 2010

Stack Exchange is about questions with objective, factual answers. We’ve been crystal clear about this for as long as I can remember, even back to the earliest, pre-beta days of Stack Overflow. It’s right there in the standard Stack Exchange FAQ:

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion. This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered!

Thus, questions that are not answerable — discussions, debates, opinions — should be closed as subjective. It seems simple enough: Fact good; opinion and discussion bad. But why? …

But our questions should help people learn something.
(And to be clear, I'm not suggesting what you say I'm suggesting!)
12:37 AM
Translate "utterly" as "bad".
The question is intended to get an objective fix on the personal property of a typical pope. I'm assuming that pope's don't sell off stocks in anticipation of death, so "whatever he had on him" when he died is representative of what he owned at any point in time during papacy. I'm not sure why any of this would not be obvious.
@Alypius Please read the point in the post I linked to labelled: "Great subjective questions are more than just mindless social fun."
Yes, I'm aware. Determining what sort of personal property the pope owns at a typical point in time is not "mindless social fun".
@Alypius I'll stop pushing. Well see how other people think about this. Maybe I'm missing something.
Hmmmm. I have to say that I agree with Jon's VTC as 'Too localized'.
36 mins ago, by Jon Ericson
@Alypius "Too localized" means that not many people would get anything out of the question. As a practical matter, I can't think of how the answers to that question help anyone. But I could see how the general question about the type of poverty that church leaders practice might be more broadly useful.
A much blunter way to put it would be "Who cares?".
1:01 AM
So...if he wanted to buy a book or some item from Amazon, it's just billed to the Vatican? Does he get some kind of stipend, or something like that to live on for personal things? Just because it's not a "salary" I have trouble believing he doesn't get something to work with of value, or some way of getting items outside the modest daily needs to live by. — Bart Silverstrim 24 hours ago
If the pope has scarcely any personal possessions, this question is answered.
And there is no other way to answer it.
If you ask "what physical items does the pope have at his disposal?", then the answer is "nearly all of the physical property of nearly all loyal Catholics".
@Alypius Hmmm. In what sense though? Surely not legal - a Pope in the Vatican should not have any legal jurisdiction over a loyal Catholic in the United States.
I'm not sure why I even brought this up. Almost every time I point to something I've posted, even tangentially, either here or on the site, I end up with multiple mods poring through various criteria by which that can be closed, or how it doesn't fall under some rule. It's like I'm under the scrutiny of the caricature of Cardinal Richelieu.
@El'endiaStarman I don't know, you tell me. If we're talking legal, then we're talking "personal possessions", and jets and various other objects that the pope may ("like a CEO") have at his disposal aren't included.
If we're not talking legal, then there's no way to reckon. The current pope has all off my physical property "at his disposal". This isn't because of canon law, it's strictly out of my own personal wishes, which I think many other Catholics share.
1:16 AM
@Alypius Well, Caleb, waxeagle, and I pretty much consider it part of our duty to help new and not-so-new users, as well as keep an eye on pretty much every sector of the site so that when trouble starts brewing, we can step in and bring things under control. That'll explain why it seems like you keep getting harangued by mods. (Plus the fact that Jon Ericson is a mod too, though not of this site.)
Do realize though that most of the time, we're just acting in our capacity as regular users of the site. Most of the other regular contributors don't visit chat very much.
@El'endiaStarman As moderators I don't think you have this luxury, just as you lose the luxury of a normal non-mod vtc...
@Alypius Well, what do you think I mean when I say that we're mostly acting like regular users?
I think you mean that you can speak as regular users. You can't. Your words have the weight of the fact that you're a mod behind them. For example, you can't leave a comment that says "this question is quite bad, and should probably be closed" on a question, because then it's a puzzle why you didn't just close the question.
@Alypius As has been said before, our ability to insta-close makes us more hesitant to VTC when not fully sure. That said...
I'd guess that in such a case, the mod doesn't really want to commit to closing, since mod-vtc is quite powerful, and mods don't want to make the wrong call. It's easier to just leave negative comments and wait for others (who trust your judgement) to vtc. But that's a bit of an abuse, in my view.
1:29 AM
I actually meant that the three of us have been involved in every aspect of this site (and significantly so) for eighteen months. I read every post on Meta (and I'm sure the other two do as well). We handle a significant number of flags per week/month. As such, we've got an understanding of what's good, what's bad, and what's okay that has been honed by experience. Plus, we enforce the decisions of the community, which have been set out on Meta.
But that's hardly how a regular user acts.
@Alypius 'Regular' in the sense of 'frequent'.
@Alypius, @El'endiaStarman - would the perspective of a mod from another site, who has absolutely no idea what issues this site has, be helpful? Feel free to say no, of course.
@MonicaCellio Go right ahead. :)
@El'endiaStarman ah, that makes much more sense.
1:33 AM
@Alypius Excellent, some confusion has been cleared up. :)
@MonicaCellio no problem at all
@Alypius perhaps a better question is "is this question actually answerable"?
I was elected on Mi Yodeya last summer. Because I have the "mod hammer" I generally only close or delete if it's egregious; it's far better for the community to act. I do leave guiding comments sometimes, but knowing the perception of the diamond I strive to be careful. I've found that asking questions works better than making statements. "Could you say more about X?" "How do you account for such-and-such problem?" etc. I wrote an MSO post about commenting; I'll look for it in a minute.
I will sometimes cast the 3rd/4th/5th close vote; we don't have all that many users with the priv yet. And we consult each other in our private chat room for things that aren't obvious, anything from closing/deleting to intervening in a comment war.
Here's the MSO post I mentioned: meta.stackoverflow.com/a/140578/162102
So anyway, yes, mods' actions on the site carry extra weight, and I think most mods are well aware of that. Do we always get it right? No, and when we mess up we try to fix it. Almost everything we can do on the site is reversible, except that feelings once hurt are hard to repair (so that's why I think that's particularly important). But that said, mods sometimes have to do things that people don't like; nobody likes to have his post deleted, but if you have to, you have to. Try to explain.
@waxeagle Like I said, "I end up with multiple mods poring through various criteria by which that can be closed" ... "too misleading?" "interesting mindless fun?" "no, nobody would even care?" "how about, it can't be answerable?"
@Alypius we read a lot of the stuff that comes across. Plus if your talking about it in chat we monitor chat. I'm not sure how I ended up there (it was probably the first question the last time I was on). But I seriously considered casting a close vote on it the first time I saw it.
One of the things I'd point out is that we know you can be a quality contributor and as such it's worth our time to try to help you improve your questions and answers.
1:45 AM
@waxeagle Ok, so you judged that you should not close. Stick to that. Don't go on later trying to drum up support for a close. And if you found a reason not to close it, perhaps you should hesitate about joining in on the drumming.
and trust me, there is plenty of your questions and answers that I haven't read. I don't have time to read everything that comes across the site, and I don't actually ask and answer that much so I don't spend a lot of time doing non-moderator tasks here. If I'm coming across something of yours it's either because it's been pointed out ot me by a flag or something else.
@waxeagle THIS. The new quality contributors we get tend to be few and far between, so we seize every chance we can get.
@Alypius I didn't close right then I decided to give it time to breathe, see what hte community thought (because it's borderline and should get more eyes on it before a "Close" get's slapped on it). And because I wanted to think on it a bit more and maybe bounce it of some other folks. We don't make decisions in a vacuum.
@El'endiaStarman Sometimes a terrible job of this is done:
Seriously? Is a question easily answered by a google search really necessary, esp one directly answered (by yourself no less) by ripping off a small bit from Wikipedia? This is supposed to be a place for questions that require experts to answer (and sometimes, even ask). — Caleb yesterday
@waxeagle yes @Alypius I can vouch that if they are taking the time to correct you, it's because they want to see you blossom. They don't do that for a lot of folks who most of us don't think are worth the effort
@Alypius apologies for it being discouraging, maybe it came on too strong ;) But I can assure you these folks mean it well
1:51 AM
@Alypius You can do better. Google and Wikipedia are fantastic sources of information in their own right, especially for basic stuff. C.SE is for the stuff you can't easily Google and get a good answer. When we had our site evaluations in the past, part of the criteria for whether a question was good was whether or not it was well-answered by Googling.
I'm presently #6 on this yearly scoreboard and I've been here a month of the year so far: christianity.stackexchange.com/… so I don't feel particularly under-valued by the site.
@Alypius thanks. I think another point worth bringing out (maybe there, maybe elsewhere) is that closing isn't necessarily permanent. If a question is unclear, makes bad assumptions, or is otherwise problematic, but all that can be addressed, the best thing to do is to close it (to prevent answers before the question is ready), explain in a comment, and offer to help the user address it if you can. This has worked for me, for what that's worth.
@Alypius that's fantastic. And I was just checking out your profile a few minutes ago and noticing the volume of your contributions, that's great. We need folks like you who are willing to contribute a lot of time and energy to our site. Don't take our criticism personally, we just want you to encourage you to make sure you're post quality stuff.
If the moderators are "seizing every chance they get", then why get into a controversial dispute? It's easier to just say "hmm, let's open it up, it's not really doing any harm". But instead I have a mod telling me I'm "ripping off" wikipedia (note the tone, not the content), and implying that my question has no place on a site that sometimes requires experts to ask questions.
@MonicaCellio definitely this. 99% of the time if we mod close something, we leave a comment suggesting how the question can be improved to be reopened (I usually even suggest the OP flag it when it's fixed so I can quick reopen it).
@Alypius not what we're saying. the complaint on that post is quite specific and you've been told to take any further dispute there to meta.
1:58 AM
@MonicaCellio Yeah, I've actually said the same thing to some newer people who were facing a close. It's really not a big deal. This is part of why I've let a number of closes slide.
The main issue was with how the close was done. Hostile negative comments, and a close is slammed down by another mod with 0vtc. Then after I expanded the answer (which was the intent from the start), the two mods back off with "hmm, expand the question just a bit"
@waxeagle I'm not complaining about the post, I'm complaining about the mod response. That's more tricky to handle.
@Alypius feel free to take that to meta too. It's the right venue for it.
or the SE com team.
@Alypius ok. See my previous comment about having no idea what's going on on this site specifically. I was just trying to bring some general mod perspective in case it helped.
@Alypius keep in mind that action was taken on the question not the answer.
@waxeagle @Alypius: To expand on this statement of waxeagle's, you are part of the community. We moderators are bound to uphold the community's decisions, regardless of whether we support them or not. (We do have a bit of a stronger voice, but that's more due to our standing as long-time users.) So, if you take it to Meta, and a new consensus is reached, we are bound to go along with that consensus.
@El'endiaStarman in addition even if only a moderator response we can do it in a more refined long form post instead of rapid fire chats or comments. Plus it's more searchable.
ok I'm out for a bit. Gonna go play Sequence. I'll be back before I head to bed.
2:10 AM
@waxeagle Last time you mentioned that game, it didn't 'click'. Now it does. I've played it several times, but it's been a long while since the last game.
@El'endiaStarman board game or video game?
@waxeagle Board game.
@El'endiaStarman ah, I'm talking about the video game which is very different (it's a rhythm game in the style of guitar hero (it's actually much more like Amplitude but that came out before the instrument games did)).
@waxeagle Ahhh...hehe.
although the boardgame is quite awesome and was somewhat influential in the courtship of my now wife :)
2:12 AM
@waxeagle Ha! Very nice! [claps] :D
2:29 AM
Hmmm... I've been encouraged by how active both @Alpius and @fredsbend have been. We have two relatively new members contributing volumes to the site. I wouldn't want to discourage either of you... But, having been around to see the type of really low quality content this site once attracted, I'm fully in support of the moderator's actions...
I think, and this is no fault of your own, that sometimes you attribute the moderator's actions (and possibly those of the other long-term regulars) as directed at you, whe it's not meant to be.
@MonicaCellio yeah - I didn't mean to direct that to you. And your input is definitely helpful.
As someone said above, you show great potential, and it is absolutely worth our time to try to help you to improve.
Most of the time when I VTC, my decision is tained by the reminder of how bad things once were... The guidelines really, really helped to clean things up.
@waxeagle Could you link me to a post where moderator behaviour was brought up and had some sort of positive response?
So now when we get visitors that show potential (and I' thnk you've moved past the "visitor's" status) comes along, we all try to guide but unfortunately, we come across as critical.
@Alypius understood. From the discussion in chat yesterday/today I can see that there are some tensions here, and it'd be a shame if any of you were alienated by that. I hope everyone can find ways to work together.
2:35 AM
@waxeagle I'm not talking about the question or the answer. Is this an effective way to retain "quality contributors":
Seriously? Is a question easily answered by a google search really necessary, esp one directly answered (by yourself no less) by ripping off a small bit from Wikipedia? This is supposed to be a place for questions that require experts to answer (and sometimes, even ask). — Caleb yesterday
For me, personally, and I think I see this in the moderators, there's a sense that if we loosen up the guidelines too much, we'll open the door for the really bad questions. It's hard to vote to close and delete questions that aren't constructive, if we don't have a solid set of guidelines defining what "not constructive" means. And it's hard to do it in one case if we're not consistent across the board.
again, note the tone not the content. I don't want to argue whether or not Caleb was fundamentally right about the triviality of the question (I don't think he was)
@Alypius yes, it's harsh. Do you understand why he was harsh? It's harsh because he expects better from you.
@Alypius You're still here, aren't you? We wouldn't talk that way to a new user, not unless they had demonstrated some truly awful characteristic (ignoring all the rules, posting spam, soapboxing, etc.).
@MonicaCellio Yeah. It's not an endemic problem here, though, I think.
@waxeagle Give me a break. I don't care what he expects from me. I care about the tone he's using. That doesn't encourage me to "do better", it encourages me to question judgement on that particular case.
2:41 AM
@MonicaCellio I apologize that I'm feeling lazy and don't have motivation to answer this question, but I didn't want to leave you hanging, so here is a basic summary of Orthodox views on reconciliation
@El'endiaStarman So... it's fine, because you know that I'm resilient or something? That doesn't make it any less harsh or inappropriate. I've seen a similar tone taken with random new users.
@Alypius are you fishing for an apology or...?
@Alypius mods get grumpy and have bad days too :P
@DanO'Day hey, nobody owes answers; it's a volunteer effort. Thanks for the link!
@Alypius - We all get frustrated at times. I agree, seeing Caleb and his methodology here, I don't think he'd have said it if he didn't think that you were worth the effort. The fact that he said it like that sounds like he really does expect better of you because he doesn't think little of you. Maybe we should wait and see what @Caleb has to say about it. It really does no good for us to be discussing this without him.
Perhaps he was simply tired, or frustrated. Nobody is perfect. (Isn't that the central theme of Christianity? That, and forgiveness?)
At any rate, none of us knows his mind, or what he was thinking, feeling at the time.
@DanO'Day No, I'm fishing for an admission of making a bad call, and some backing-off in general.
2:44 AM
@Alypius why? and at what expense? (the backing off, that is)
@DanO'Day Yeah totally understood. I don't blame anyone personally.
@Alypius I just went and looked at your earliest posts. I was surprised to find that very few of them had comments of any kind. You came in and started contributing at a high-quality level.
I'm feeling lazy lately, haven't been answering much, I've even promised to answer a few that I haven't gotten around too in awhile (sorry @Pavel)
@DavidStratton what effort am I worth? The effort it took to say "hmm, could you expand this a bit? seems like you're just asking for a definition"?
@Alypius you may have been one of many he reviewed. No offense, but get over it ;)
(now you can accuse someone of being mean) :P
2:51 AM
@Alypius - not that post in general. I'm talking about human nature. I've had employees and students that I know are capable of a lot, so when I see them take the easy way out, slack off, or simply not put in any effort, I tend to give them a swift kick (metaphorically speaking) when I'd roll my eyes at someone I didn't think is worth the effort. Caleb's post, the one you're fixated on, is one of those cases. It's a C-level post from someone who should be in the B+ to A+ range.
@DavidStratton And has been in the B+ to A+ range.
@El'endiaStarman - Absolutely.
@DavidStratton my grad advisor was the same way. He didn't care if I had typed up a 50 page paper. If he suspected I hadn't done my best, he threw it in the garbage and yelled at me to do better
@El'endiaStarman Thanks. By the way, I don't feel too under-valued or anything. The issue here isn't just with that response, it's just an example. I think this particular conversation started when I linked something I posted and mods began (as usual, in my view) to come up with issues and reasons to close.
@DavidStratton Awesome. It's not an F, so it shouldn't be closed. I'm not Caleb's pupil or employee, I'm effectively a random stranger on the internet.
@Alypius- please bear in mind that past experience, not with YOU has conditioned us to maintain standards that simply don't make sense for someone who wasn't here a year ago.
2:54 AM
@Alypius Not to us, not anymore you aren't. :P
I wish, now, that we hadn't deleted the truly bad questions/answers, so we could point to them and say "See, this is where that path leads..."
To be honest, a C on that question is generous, IMO, but I've personally posted my share of F questions and answers. And boneheaded comments.
I myself have the dubious honor of having the second most-downvoted question ever in the history of the site. -8 before I flagged for it to be deleted. (I wasn't a mod yet then.)
Do you remember what the first most-downvoted question was? I see the current ranking champ is -7, so it must have been deleted.
@DavidStratton No, I get that. And certain standards do make sense. But if I'm getting generally good feedback via rep from the community at large and heck from the mods, it's annoying and a waste of my time to have to deal with that. If I end up here for a while, I'd rather get that out of the way now. If I'm not, then it clears up an issue for others.
@El'endiaStarman Part of the issue there is that (and here I'm just repeating what I've been told) that sort of response affects the general tone of the site. Someone looking at it from the outside sees a site where mods flame users for (arguably) sub-par questions.
It went three months before it got deleted.
My -8 question was deleted within five hours.
3:06 AM
@El'endiaStarman -WOW! That deserves even more down-votes. That's the "Plan 9 from outer space" of StackExchange questions - arguably the worst ever.
There are tears in my eyes, but I've asked worse. And my self-answer was equally bad: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/3667/…
@DavidStratton And your self-answer was the only one I upvoted. Probably 'cause I didn't look at the others when they were posted later. >.>
And they got UPVOTES! Sad.
I tend to be generous with my upvotes.
3:14 AM
@DavidStratton Honestly, the question is there to mark the election of the pope by giving some background information on what the phrase "habemus papam" means to Catholics. The question gets 0 downvotes until it's blasted by one mod and closed by another. Then it becomes some petty argument over how the word "meaning" must mean "definition".
Do I seriously have to replace "what is the meaning of" with "what is the background, history, and meaning of"? You're all really making me jump through that kind of hoop?
@Alypius the question still stands, why didn't you put more effort into the question itself? Why is it less than a paragraph?
and why have you refused to do the simple task of expanding the question into something we can in good conscience reopen instead of drawing it out?
I closed it because it's not a good question. The simplest reading is that it's asking for a definition of a latin phrase. a more complicated reading shows a lack of effort on your part. Either way it's a closed question.
@waxeagle ...all of a sudden, I am reminded of Ali, who obstinately refused to add a simple citation to one of his posts.
if you have a problem with that assessment and believe it should be reopened as is then please post to meta.
@waxeagle Because I knew the answer. Also, the pope was being elected. Also, I was on the phone.
@El'endiaStarman Ali didn't have a citation to add.
So just to check then: Caleb's comment there, as seen by a random person visiting this site, is perfectly fine, and represents this community well?
@Alypius that's what I'm getting at. You didn't put effort into the question and your answer (at the time I closed the question) was an answer that might have been subject to deletion (it was a wikipedia link and a quotation from the article with a single sentence of original text).
that's not what we want to see from self ask/answers.
3:22 AM
@Alypius - I say we wait until @Caleb can come back and see how he answers that.
@DavidStratton or the comment can just be deleted as it should have been when I flagged it, and re-instate it if there's a problem.
by the way, would the question really be re-opened if "what is the background, history, and meaning of..." was added?
@Alypius yes, and then I can purge the whole d**n comment stream.
I'd prefer to see that question be a couple of paragraphs indicating you know the translation, but expanding it beyond "what is hte meaning of" is good enough.
So just to check in a totally rhetorical way: when a question is closed, can anyone besides the question-asker edit the question?
@Alypius yes
@Alypius Yes.
3:30 AM
same edit rules apply
and... nobody bothered to simply edit it?
@Alypius - so what you're really after is having one moderator openly go against another moderator, rather than letting the original moderator have a chance to reconcile? Surely you can see how that would be problematic.
@DavidStratton I closed it, I'll happily reopen it an clean the comment stream if it's edited.
@Alypius 1. I don't know your actual intent on the question (and this is an edit I could consider to be a change in intent). 2. When I know a user is active and a regular I'm far more likely to ask them to edit than do it myself because I want to help them learn what's considered quality here.
@Alypius I'm going to bed, flag that question if you edit it and I'll reopen it in the morning. For now I'm clearing the comment stream as I consider the comments resolved.
@waxeagle Or just ping me here...
This college student usually stays up past 2 AM...
@El'endiaStarman yeah, I gotta be up in blech 6ish hours
3:41 AM
@waxeagle I know that feel. I got four hours this morning. I basically slept through three fourths of my first class. >.>
@waxeagle edited
yeah, I've been up too late every night this week playing computer games. And I feel like Murtaugh...
@Alypius reopened.
@waxeagle Woo Eragon reference! ... I still have yet to read Inheritance...
@El'endiaStarman I was thinking Die Hard
haven't read Eragon
as in "I'm too old for this !@#$%"
@waxeagle ...that's twice now we've taken the same phrase to mean two different things. :P
3:46 AM
@El'endiaStarman happens :)
(although I was prepared for the first, but not the second as I had both references for the first, but I'm not up on Eragon, though we do own a copy)
2 hours later…
5:45 AM
@DavidStratton After thinking about it (concerning my comment about some mods being aggressive) I have ultimately decided that Caleb (who I had in mind) is not only high rep and a mod, but has been part of the site for longer than almost everyone. Although I think his tone can be harsh, I, therefore, agree that his interests are not skewed. He cares for the quality of the site and the ability of its regular members. I have learned to trust his actions and opinions are helpful even if I don't see it.
Q: "based on actual problems that you face"?

AlypiusThe FAQ, which is copied from other sites, says: You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. That can't be right, can it? Do we reall...

Plus, I am deciding in general, that conflict is difficult to handle over text without sounding insincere. Also, every member of the community can't always agree, so, although I have felt unjustly downvoted, criticized, and closed a few times, I think I have done a good job just letting it ride and self examining instead. Maybe in a month or two I will realize that I was in error. Maybe not. Either way, it is not that big of a deal if my questions are closed or people downvote and answer.
Also, the mods have a lot of pressure on them. That pressure is only increased if we complain to them about closing or re-opening or whatever. Instead I suggest we try to rally response from the community. Post in chat and on meta. I tried recently but only got three. I tried before that and got none. Doesn't mean I won't try again in the future.
2 hours later…
8:00 AM
@alypius and @mawia I made an answer as well.
A: Can people in Heaven communicate with each other?

fredsbendMawia and Alypius gave a good answer here for a mainstream follower. That would be that mainstream teaches in the immortality of the soul. They would say that the person must go somewhere after death. The other side, which is sizable, teaches that the soul is not immortal and the dead are dead; i...

8:10 AM
@Alypius I have been considering a self answer post on the 'mortal soul' according to 7th day adventists, but still thinking about the best way to go about it.
I have done a lot of study over the last two years with a full time Adventist missionary.
8:39 AM
Q: What should we do about answers that include significant portions of other answers?

El'endia StarmanThis doesn't seem to come up often, but it did happen recently, so I figured this would be a good time to bring it up. On the one hand, we want answers to be inclusive, complete, and (usually) not short. So, if there is a particular topic with three relevant Bible passages that cover different a...

@El'endia New guy bad question with lots of potential. Need your experience on helping him.
@fredsbend I think you're doing fine yourself at the moment. Others will come along and they may comment themselves. I myself am going to bed now.
G'night all!
9:17 AM
@DanO'Day That looks interesting. I've queued it up on my Kindle.
9:30 AM
@Alypius I think you need to balance this perspective in light of the shear volume of posts you've contributed lately. You have high visibility because your name is constantly on the front page. Of course this is going to bring some scrutiny. Your posts have ranged from very high quality (esp answers) to pretty poor. We all have been there. Everybody has misses. But posts here, particularly from regulars, are subject to peer review.
Sure we do that with an often critical eye, but you seem to be asking for a free pass. That isn't how it works. Relatively few of your posts have gotten critical reviews, but the ones that have you have adamantly defended. That's where we're clashing. When you start defending poor quality work rather than fixing it, we're going to butt heads.
But this whole conversation has to be set in the context of the bigger picture where you have some great posts out there too, and we're not letting sub-par stuff slide in with it.
@Alypius Annihilationism and Conditional Immortality About 17 million members are Adventists and about 8 million are JW. So at least 25 million believe this, basically.
@Alypius Re my comment. My comment was harsh. I do apologize for the tone. I should have been more firm and less harsh. However I'm somewhat bothered by you bringing this up -- not because the comment isn't public record but because we had a long conversation in private where I brought the issue up and we talked about WHY I was being hard on you.
I thought we had a general understanding that it wasn't the tone that bothered you but the content. In chat here I find three times you brought up the tone asking people to ignore the content. In our discussion (including the rest of that very long comment thread) I thought it was clear we disagreed over the actual call, so I let the comment stand while that was worked out.
I'm sorry, I should have used kinder words. But I stand by the judgement made by another mod on that question, and I would still make the same call myself. Based on the question's own merits at the time (re-affirmed by the direction the answer took) it needed to be closed.
@Caleb That can't be right. If someone has twice as much visibility, they shouldn't just get twice (or more) as much "scrutiny", they should also get twice as much "positive stuff", whatever that is, to balance out the "scrutiny". That's not even the issue though, I'm just commenting.
@Caleb Which ones are those? I recall two, but both had exactly the same sort of issue.
@Caleb And I'm not defending poor quality work. I'm objecting to the response. I don't think that I always must do an excellent job. I'm ok with not getting tons of upvotes sometimes. Maybe I just want a question answered.
@Alypius No? Well you have the apology anyway. But why bring up the tone of my comment (after it had been discussed) if that isn't the problem? If the problem you see is a bad call on the closure, then no I don't back off of that because I still think it was the right call. If there needs to be further discussion on that, meta is the right place to take disputes on closure calls.
@Alypius I'm sorry, as submitted it was an F. It should have been closed. Actually a more apt analogy isn't a grade, but a paper that got turned in without all the blanks being filled in. That isn't a reflection of you as a person, but that post was originally a miss. It needed a re-do. It needed some more work done before turning it in.
@Alypius Yup. All three of those things showed and produced a poor quality post. It happens. So does calling posts to task when they come in sub-par.
9:53 AM
@Caleb I'll have to look back, but: if I'm talking to you, I can set tone aside. But we ended that conversation by putting aside the content (different issue) and pointing out that the tone was the problem, and once that was clear, I agreed. Hostile talk looks bad to others. How does that criteria apply to the post that you made?
@Alypius No, my comment tone was directed far too much at the current flood of low quality questions we were dealing with and not enough at making the right permanent impression. My comment should not be taken as representative of what we are about. But the question closure should.
@Caleb No problem, and no harm done
@Alypius Editing takes lots of work. There was so much low quality stuff coming in at that moment that the couple of us paying attention to quality couldn't possibly edit everything up to par. Sometimes we can pitch in (see my total edit count!) but sometimes getting the original OP to slow down and training them to do it right in the first place is the only way to float.
@Caleb Because your comment brought on -3 votes, it seems to also have brought on a close. If a mod judges that it was bad enough to close, my view (further above somewhere, in response to something or other), then it should be a close, not a comment inviting others to close. We can set all that aside though, just a comment.
@Alypius Actually that's kind of the way it is. Positive feedback on SE is pretty much just an upvote. Negative feedback is a downvote and/or a critical comment that is supposed to generate an edit until the comment can be deleted and the vote changed to an upvote. There isn't a balance of affirmative/critical comments. Comments are ephemeral second class citizens. Quality posts get upvoted and stand the text of time.
10:00 AM
@Caleb I actually still disagree about the content. I'm not sure if the issue was that it was too short, or lacked context -- I agree with those, but I think they're excusable occasionally, given the volume of new users who do get a free pass on that. The question of how we should handle definitions is more complicated, and will probably end up on meta at some point.
@Alypius By your own admission, that wasn't the problem here. You didn't "just want a question answered", you knew the answer. And your original post was a self-answer with nothing but a clip from wikipedia. Of course we aren't always looking for perfect excellence, but that fell below the bar. Both the question and the answer deserved closure and deletion on their independent merits, and the total was even less than the sum of the parts.
@Caleb I think it turned out well by comparison to many other questions here, so I disagree that it was close-worthy (no need to open that up again), but if the question is "why is it bad when you can do so much better!", then, well, I was busy
@Caleb Ok, then we're definitely on the same page about what we talked about before and the issue I brought up earlier with your post, so all is well.
@Alypius I'm not asking you to set aside my tone. On the contrary I'm apologizing for it. The rest of the other conversion specifically didn't deal with content because those discussions should be public record here. Which is why we're here talking about the content of your post and the decision to close one of them.
@Caleb In what you reply to, I'm just complaining about the apparent triviality of the edit that I had to do to get it up to par. It went up half a letter grade (according to the analogy we were using then). We can forget that, though.
@Alypius No, it was actually closed BEFORE I commented. I sometimes do comment pointing out an issue and sometimes that does generate close votes (as hopefully it should) but in this case I would have closed it flat out if it hadn't been already. And you can blame the downvotes on me all you like but it deserved them. It didn't deserve the flood of upvotes it had gotten up to that point.
That was what we call a bike-shed question: something that catches attention and passing interest, often a passing wave, but isn't good solid encyclopedia level stuff. Some SE sites have these that hit hundreds of votes before a few more experienced community members note the problem and get them closed.
10:09 AM
@Caleb Yes, in that case I wanted to put up an answer (not get an answer), at least starting with a wiki article. I didn't actually get around to expanding it until later, though.
@Caleb I think I probably disagree with you on the "this is just a definition question" thing, but that's for meta.
@Alypius The only take away value on that for me is that maybe we're slacking off and letting too much low quality stuff through if there is enough that people capable of higher quality stuff are using it as precedent/excuse.
@Caleb we were talking about a different issue though. In any case, I think we're on the same page there now, yes?
@Alypius It turned out well only because you edited your answer to be something different than it was originally and then adjusted the question to match. It's still marginal, but passable. "how it turns out" is an irrelevant factor in the initial close. One of the reason we close low quality stuff is so that people are forced to edit them up to par rather than letting them slide. If anything, the closure is responsible for the ok end result.
@Alypius If you want to continue that analogy, it went from an F to a D. Wax suggested a way to get a few more grade points and actually make it good rather than just passing. You havn't taken him up on it through.
@Alypius I'm complaining about the triviality too. How how about you do something more than trivial with it?
@Alypius Hence the not actually getting it open until later. Whether you or anybody else posts a similar one liner question with a self-answer copy/pasted from wikipedia with almost no original content, I and many others here would step in immediately to close without waiting to ask if more is coming. If more is coming, it can always get re-opened but we can only judge on what we see and that is not a pattern we'd give a pass even for a minute.
@Alypius You may have had in your head a direction you were going to take it, but what you posted started out as a straight definition thing. You can take it to meta if you want to make a case for those being ok. Typically they are not.
@Caleb I think the bike shed questions are a bit different. Those are the ones you see everyone chiming in on.
@Caleb Yes. Yes we are letting too much low quality stuff through! But that is another matter...
@Alypius I think that would be for you to answer. I thought we were on the same page before after our private conversation in which I brought up my tone, then I wake up to find complaints about it several times in chat. The tone of that comment I apologize for. Being hard nosed on the issue of low quality posts I do not.
I've been pretty blunt with you because you are adamant in defending things I don't think are defensible.
I'll try to take a different tone, but so far I'm unconvinced you see the issue we've been trying to point out.
@Alypius Ok. If you think that way I have to ask ... why did you just use "other folks are getting a free pass" as an reason why we should have excused yet another case?
10:26 AM
@Caleb the problem I had with the close was that it might have been better handled by a nudge using a comment "hey, could you expand this a bit?", which would probably have gotten rid of the "definition" issue without even bringing up the argument about definition questions.
@Alypius The original form of that question and answer were not something that needed a nudge in the right direction. It needed closing.
@Caleb I did do that. I included a bit more context beyond what I was talking about up there, which was just inserting 3 extra words. It's a short question though. There are other parts of the site that need polishing too.
@Alypius What you did to the question was the trivial update to make it passable, not the full make over wax suggested. He even gave you bits of wording to include. The inserting a few extra words was trivial, I think several of us still hope for more.
@Alypius I only have a minute right now. But let me lay this out for you. Self answer is for hard questions. On SO it's for the problem you worked hours and on and couldn't find the answer on SO, you tried it for a few more minutes and finally figured it out. On RPG it's for the rule question that you puzzle over and are about to ask and then you find the rules cite. Here, I'm honestly not sure of the best use for it.
But it should be for something that can't just be looked up in a few seconds. Questions that get self answered are ones that are problems you puzzle over and then solve for yourself.
And that's the second half of the dispute with your question.
@Alypius Of course there are tons of things, but we're discussing this one at the moment, and we're discussing it hard because it sounds to me like you are still trying to defend low quality work. Now you want us to let it go because other things are worse (while true, doesn't that sound like a cop out to you?)?
10:30 AM
@Caleb That was the issue with the answer. The question, I don't think it was worth closing because I think "what is the meaning of important religious term" questions are on topic. But as before, that's for meta.
@Caleb Because I'm going by the standards of the site. When I actively push on them I'm called arrogant or something, which is fine.
@Caleb No, no, I see the issue, I just don't agree, and the main issue with that is the "term" thing, which is meta
Here's an example from SO of a self answer I did where I puzzled over a problem and solved it before another answer appeared: stackoverflow.com/questions/13315246/…
that (to me at least) was a hard problem, but I found the solution I posted it as an answer. I'm not entirely certain what the equivalent is here, but there might be a meta post about that later today.
@Caleb I think we disagree on that because you think the questions are radically different before/after the edit, because you think "what does ... mean" is a def question, but I don't. (meta)
@Alypius I don't think they are radically different. I said above I thought your edit was trivial and the difference to the question only made it marginally passable.
@Caleb No, it's just applying your standards, that you use on the rest of the site, to my question. From my perspective, it's about the response that my question got. It was disproportional. That was (past tense) the issue.
Here's an example of a self-ask on this site. It got closed because while I had an answer in mind, I didn't ask a good question to house it.
10:39 AM
@Caleb Are you talking about the answer or the question?
@Alypius Question.
@Caleb Oddly enough I think I agree with svidgen's comment on that one. Maybe this is a Catholic thing?
The question itself is... well, not exactly broad. But something like that. But then looking down to Peter's answer, that actually is a special and interesting term that I recognize.
@Alypius He does have a good point, and that still isn't a great question. The point is SELF ANSWERS are hard. Its the nature of the beast.
11:00 AM
my plans for importing the baltimore catechism seem to be foiled...
11:39 AM
@Caleb Wow! That guy is tough one. Isn't it? :-)
@Mawia Who svidgen? The question topic?
12:23 PM
Rob Tisinai is collecting stereotypes and clichés on reasons why people oppose marriage equality. Anyone got anything to contribute?
3 hours later…
3:23 PM
@jayyeshu I just nuked a comment of yours that I felt was ill-advised given the circumstances. I actually agree there is a valid point to be made there, but am pretty sure that it wasn't going to help the OP understand the issue with their question or come to terms with possible Christian perspectives on it.
I'd be happy to discuss this if you like.
2 hours later…
5:12 PM
Who does most of the comment flag review? Is there a good strategy to follow when flagging comments?
@Alypius ...I think it's only mods. I don't remember ever seeing a comment flag in the 2k flag queue.
5:29 PM
I'm asking only so that I can get feedback from someone who does do a lot of flag review -- what sort of thing really needs flagging, and is there anything to not bother flagging?
@Alypius if you think it needs flagging, flag it, personally I'm pretty lenient on comments, regardless of the type of flag I look at the whole comment stream. If I feel like there is no value there I will nuke the whole stream. If there are some that drive the discussion off topic I'll prune those.
@TRiG gay marriage opens up the doors to any sort of marriage
@TRiG gay marriage enshrines immorality which will be taught to our children in public school and (gasp) on TV
@TRiG gay marriage is neither gay nor marriage
comment flags that are marked offensive get evaluated, I try to be sensitive to the flagger (even though we don't know who it is in the case of comment flags), but I never forget that this is the internet and as such is a harsher environment. If I think the flagger is being overly thin skinned I will dismiss with impunity.
@TRiG but seriously, it's better to talk about marriage in the positive sense. What marriage is, is what we should be defending; we don't have to be offended that other people want a share in it.
What waxeagle just said applies to me too. I typically look at the whole comment stream and the question and/or answer as well. A single comment will be the lone deletion something like half the time. Also, like he said, the bar for being offensive enough is higher given that this is the internet.
5:38 PM
In adding to the other mods feedback, which is on target, another movie maggot major factor I evaluate is time. A flag fit an of topic comment that is 6 months old it's very likely to get the comment deleted. Something a few minutes old is much less likely to get nuked unless it's seriously of course.
@Caleb Instapaper? (This might be a question for the e-book site that's stalled out in the commitment phase.)
@Caleb or the whole stream for that matter
@Jon yes.
1 hour later…
7:08 PM
hey @El'endiaStarman :P
@studiohack long time no see
Nice conversation about RIT and the deaf :P @El'endiaStarman
hey @waxeagle! been a while! I haven't been on SE as much, I've had new interests competing for my time.
@studiohack completely understand
@studiohack Hey there! :D
@studiohack Ha! Very nice! :D
whooops, both wrong versions of the photo. @El'endiaStarman I got that, it is pretty cool :P
@El'endiaStarman how is RIT?
7:16 PM
@studiohack It's pretty nice! Last quarter didn't go so well, but then again, that was winter quarter, which is always rough. This quarter is looking up. Plus, the BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) group that I'm part of is growing and regularly has about a third of the attenders as DHH. When I went to it last school year, I was like the first regular attender. :P
@El'endiaStarman Hey, I like the BASIC acronym! That's pretty awesome that that's working out
@studiohack Yeah, it's basically the best acronym evar! :P
@El'endiaStarman yeah. Ever hear of the one for BIBLE?
@studiohack ...no, I have not.
@El'endiaStarman Basic Information Before Leaving Earth
7:20 PM
@studiohack Ha! That's great! :P
@El'endiaStarman I know, right? :P
Anyway, I've got some stuff I want to do... Good to chat a little, @El'endiaStarman - you can tell our mutual acquaintances hello, if you like :P
@studiohack T'was good talking to you too! And yes, I shall. Next time I see him. :D
7:55 PM
I got long winded today :)
also is stupid
and seeding does not mean what I think it means.
so I removed both of them
and now I'm talking to myself
8:18 PM
Q: When should I ask a question I already know the answer to?

wax eagleWe have a lot of very intelligent users and they like to ask questions. Sometimes they ask questions they already know the answers to. This behavior is not only welcome, but it is mechanically encouraged thanks to a relatively recent feature that allows a user with sufficient reputation to immedi...

1 hour later…
9:20 PM
@Caleb what point were you responding to in the "actual problems" comment stream?
@Alypius Link?
@Alypius Um...it's an at-reply to your comment and numbered according to your numbering scheme. I was responding to possible intent #2 as per your comment.
sorry, I meant to ask, what did you think my comment there was a reply to?
nevermind, I see now
You suggested a possible motive for that question was "X tradition always has to defend itself on issue Y". My reply suggests that that if your motive for asking is you feel like your tradition needs to defend itself, that probably won't make a constructive question no matter what else you do with it.
This isn't a Catholic vs something else issue, that goes for any tradition. I've objected to the same concept when it was people from my own tradition asking questions that were born out of that sentiment.
9:28 PM
In response to what you were saying there: it's something I want to know. I have a problem. Sometimes, I have to explain that the pope does not juggle diamonds in his spare time. I also know what a relic is. I also know that people might actually know what the pope owned around the time he died. I also know that this is a recent, long-lived pope. Together, this produces the question that I asked.
As I said, I literally have no clue why anyone would care what Luther owned at the time of death. But I'm not going jump in on that, because that's not my area. I have no clue how to recognize what's interesting to "experts" (or at least, non-novices) in other denominations.
You reply with "I don't know why you are pressing so hard". The answer is because I don't think you see the point yet. That question was about a point in the FAQ about "problems you face". Manisearth did a good job of pointing out some of the basic issues involved and used an example. You defended the example as not applicable, but your defense gave reasons are exactly the kind of thing we're trying to say is not-constructive.
@Alypius That's just the problem though: it would produce way more interesting questions if you asked things you DIDN'T know. If you were asking about a denomination or a doctrine you didn't understand but really wanted to learn, that would be a reason problem you face.
@Caleb that's your opinion. My question tangential to why I even asked this question on meta. I basically read Jon's comment, thought "well, he has no idea", clicked the FAQ, and thought, "wait, why do we have this here if we discourage pastoral answers... what's the sentiment behind even including that in the FAQ?" So I asked.
@Caleb I. Don't. Know. What. The. Pope. Owned. At. Death.
@Alypius On the other hand this is a problem you see other people facing. Do you see how those are different? You know about the Pope's possessions already, you don't have to do any research to ask or answer that question. You already explain it to people.
@Caleb Yes and I think you're off base here. "Problems other people face" is typical of non-Christians who jump on here hoping to convert us with silly problems and paradoxes.
Hello everybody
9:35 PM
@DanO'Day Good day
@Alypius No, that's a whole 'nother type of problem and not at all what I'm talking about here.
man, I can't seem to keep my fingers straight today. I've had a bunch of syntax errors in my code all day, all simple fixes that took me way longer to find than they should have
one of those days
@DanO'Day Howdy sir.
I'm talking stupid stuff, like using quotation marks within quotation marks
Nice question here by the way, I'm quite interested...
Q: Does the Nicene Creed condemn Chiliasm?

Dan O'DayI've repeatedly seen it asserted that Chiliasm was condemned as a heresy in the fourth century by the Church when it included the phrase "whose Kingdom shall have no end" in the Nicene Creed. However, I have seen much more scholarly sources that assert it was never officially condemned as a heres...

9:37 PM
@Alypius @Caleb hola
I'd love to see what sources get used to show the origins of each phrase in that creed.
@Caleb thanks! I'm trying to get to the bottom of it. A bunch of Orthodox folks claim that was written to refute Chiliasm, but Pelikan (who later became Orthodox) said Chiliasm was never officially denounced - which would make sense
@Caleb It's closer to what you mean than my question is. Have an example of what you do mean?
@Caleb same here
@Caleb I'm reading books to basically understand each line of that creed right now, so I may end up answering it myself - but these books are 700+ pages so it'll be awhile
lots of church history reading these days
@DanO'Day Off the top of my head if you'd asked me I would have said it was never officially denounced (at least not in a major council/creede sort of context), but I don't actually know that. That some Orthodox folk think that phrase in the Nicene Creed is related to that was news to me.
9:40 PM
@Caleb yeah but Orthodox folks have a lot of fanciful explanations for everything ;)
@DanO'Day <chuckle> Better you saying that than me. But I know what you mean.
@TRiG He made them Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
@fredsbend Yikes! I'm embarrassed for whoever says that. ;)
@Caleb for instance, there is a part of the Divine Liturgy where the priest waves a cloth over the Eucharist. We were doing a class on the meaning of the liturgy, and the priest asked why this was done. We got 20 answers from the congregation, stuff former priests had told them. Everything from a wave offering, symbolizing the Holy Spirit descending on the gifts, etc.
@Caleb and you know what the actual reason was? Back in the day, they were trying to keep flies out of the wine. It is still done today. I burst out laughing. That's a great example of how things work in Orthodoxy
@Caleb I presume you're familiar with the meat loaf pan story?
@TRiG Marriage is a sacred institution
Parts are meant to fit.
9:45 PM
@DanO'Day Awesome.
@DanO'Day Doesn't ring a bell...
Reminds me of the statue of Moses with horns in Rome. I thought my sister was pulling my leg when she told me about it. But no, it's real.
@TRiG They can have civil union but not marriage
@Caleb a mother is making meat loaf, and she cuts the ends off of it and sticks it in the pan. Her daughter asks, "Why do you cut the ends off?" She answers, "That's how my mom always made it." One time they go grandma's and the little girl asks her why she cut the ends off. The grandmother replies, "Because it wouldn't fit in my pan if I didn't." It's a story often used to discuss tradition
@DanO'Day I've heard that one using a thanksgiving Turkey.
@Caleb I was going to day, it's a common myth/story
@TRiG Allowing gay marriage would be condoning the behavior.
9:49 PM
@Caleb Orthodoxy is big on maintaining tradition even if it not understood, and not introducing novelty/innovation
The Moses (c. 1513–1515) is a sculpture by the Italian High Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. Commissioned in 1505 by Pope Julius II for his tomb, it depicts the Biblical figure Moses with horns on his head, based on a description in the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible used at that time. Commissioning and design history Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to build his tomb in 1505 and it was finally completed in 1545; Julius II died in 1513 The initial design by Michelangelo was massive and called for...
@Caleb when you study the Church councils, you will find that the early Church often considered its liturgy and prayers to be authoritative in doctrinal controversies. Especially Marian controversies (Theotokos/Christotokos, etc.)
I might work that into a BH question. ;)
@DanO'Day Yes. Which I think reflects badly on most Protestant liturgy. It's so poorly through out nobody would even wonder if it was indicative of anything.
9:56 PM
@Caleb yes and no. I have seen some Anglicans and Lutherans who follow Divine Liturgy pretty well. But overall yes
@Caleb for us it is important that we are confessing the same faith as the early Church. And we know we are when we say the same words they did
I see correspondence from @Jin re:design, does this mean C.SE is going prime time soon?
@DanO'Day Yup. Just 6-8 weeks to go!
@Caleb awesome!
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