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2:14 AM
Just like with StackOverflow, the top-voted questions are some of the worst questions. What should happen to these--should they be closed?
@Ray I would say yes. Just because people like it doesn't mean it's good for the site.
That would help show people "model" questions
Personally I look at the top-voted questions to see the example of what a great question should be... that's something I'm not seeing here
Just my $0.02
8 hours later…
10:11 AM
@Waggers: Re your comment in the GoogleDoc -- We weren't sure what to do with those because they don't really fit in any specific place in the posts we've planned but we found it useful for ourselves to have them around so we were all using the same definitions while writing together. What do you think about writing a reference meta post that just tries to give some definitions like that that can be used in common across the site?
2 hours later…
12:20 PM
@Caleb I can see that going two ways. If we can agree on some definitions it would be a helpful resource to make sure we're all on the same page. But agreeing definitions could be a can of worms, as we've already seen with arguments about the site's definition of "Christianity".
Of course, people could voting to choose the definitions they most agree with. The trouble is that the set of definitions with the highest votes isn't set in stone since there's no time limit etc on voting
@Waggers Although you don't have to accept the answer with the most votes
@Ray No, but if we're looking for community agreement I'm not sure the original poster, whoever he/she happens to be for that particular question, should have the casting vote
I could ask a question, answer it with my own weird definitions, and accept it. That wouldn't make my definitions standard for the site - or at least I certainly hope it wouldn't
@Waggers right, we are looking more to build consensus, gain support, be shown we are wrong etc.
essentially out of this we want to build some guidelines on questions an answers (the next post) solicit opinions/comments/quarrels etc and modify, update them.
I would suggest that those definitions could go into the FAQ, but to be honest I don't think that's the right place for them
@Waggers I don't think these others terms would be nearly so hard. Also consider that terms like 'exegesis' and 'doctrine' are not very widly understood even inside Christianity. People that don't know what they mean typically don't use them. A little education would help those people arrive at a working knowledge of what is meant, and the people that know what they mean anyway and have their own ideas about how to use them are a probably also well aware of the OTHER possible usages.
12:33 PM
@Caleb right, and lets not forget we are supposed to be an expert site, expert sites should use expert terminology (correctly with some agreed upon definition obviously)
@Caleb Good points. To be honest they're not terms I use every day outside of this site.
Is the right place for those definitions not the tag wiki?
Not very visible to most people I know, but the can be pointed there if necessary
...and that incorporates the definitions into the site
@Waggers its a good place to start. After that you/we can do a meta post asking for definitions and then post links/quotes from the tag wiki
Of course that only works if we have tags for the terms we're talking about, (which we do for doctrine and exegesis)
@Waggers right
I don't think it's likely we're going to want to define terms we don't have tags for
I've proposed a change to the doctrine definition (I don't have tag wiki edit privileges so it's in the queue). The current exegesis definition is quite comprehensive so I'm leaving that alone for the time being. It could probably do with shortening at some point though, I doubt many people will want to read all that
12:54 PM
@Waggers What I was getting at was more that once you get concensus, you can accept an answer and worry a bit less about other answers getting more votes over time
I think definitions are important. However, I added them just to make sure that everyone understood the context that we are referring to when we say "doctrinal" versus "exegetical" questions. The line gets very blurry and so we had to come up with a very clear explanation. The source of this has been meta posts on BH.SE and discussion here.
I don't think that these definitions are good or valid for use outside of these discussions. Furthermore, I think they are quite invalid. However, we need to be able to say "This is a non-doctrinal exegetical question" and be understood by everyone. So, I added the definitions in order to be clear.
@Ray That makes more sense
Hmm... actually, re-reading the definitions, it looks like I chose the standard definitions. Maybe not the best route, there...
@Richard Someone had to stick their neck out :)
Sorry if this is old ground.... I fully support the drive to up the quality and attract experts to the site. But is there a risk that in doing so we might alienate the casual enquirer who just (genuinely) wants to know more?
@Waggers yes
1:04 PM
Does it matter?
The risk is there and we haven't talked about it much. But some things that we should definitely be doing.
1. Be friendly about it. help new users edit their posts into shape
2. Remember its an expert site.
@Waggers yes and no.
(Trying to think of another awkward yes/no question....)
Arguably it's harder to attract experts than (not sure of the right word here - "uneducated" sounds completely demeaning) enquirers, so our efforts should definitely be on the former. No question there
@Richard Excellent comment in meta by the way... " there are three types of questions: What is the belief or application of X? (doctrine) What is the meaning of the Biblical passage Y? (exegesis) What is the difference between ESV and NASB? (factual) All expert quality questions must fall into one of these three categories"
There's a holy trinity joke to be had in there somewhere
@Waggers novices?
1:25 PM
@Ray Yeah, that's a lot better!
Ack... back. (Morning meeting)
@Waggers It's a distinction that took us a day to hash out. We saw that we wanted to refine things to doctrine, but then realized that we wanted personal exegesis to be on topic as well (which we've back-pedalled a little bit on). Finally, we accepted that factuaion questions (ESV-vs-NASB, historical, etc.) must be on topic as well.
Truthfully. I expect that there's some small genre that we're missing out on. Hopefully lumping everything else into "factual" is a flexible enough guideline.
2:06 PM
Question: If we capitalize Bible, should we capitalize "Biblical"?
This doesn't answer the question but I would say we shouldn't always capitalize Bible; we should capitalize The Bible but not a bible.
@Waggers by extension then biblical should not be cap'd
Answers.com (which I don't particularly trust, but anyway) also says to use lower case: wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_biblical_as_an_adjective_capitalized
(It cites the Columbia Guide to Standard American English)
Hmm... Yeah, that makes some sense. When I think about it, it feels right. (Not like that should be a good basis.)
@waxeagle I shouldn't have capitalised the The
@Richard I guess you should think of it like any other adjective. We don't capitalise holy, godly, good, etc.
2:14 PM
Maybe we should swing wildly the other direction: THE BIBLE and BIBLICAL support.
Hehe. j/k
@Waggers LOL nice train of thought!
Great minds think alike
Once we get some examples in there, I am fully supporting the current version of the next post (Suggested Questions Guidelines).
We need to get examples and so we probably should use examples from whoever posts it. I don't care who decides to post it. I can, if you'd like, but I think we agreed that each person should post one of these. So, either @Caleb or... someone else (I guess @waxeagle posted the initial question).
* rather that each post should come from a different person here.
@Richard I think we can do examples in answers not the main post.
2:27 PM
@Richard Right, and it doesn't have to be a mod either.
I don't have time to work up examples from my posts at the moment but I could do the next post if you like.
@Richard I like your examples in each catagory but I do think those would be better served in an answer. I want to keep this one a little bit on the shorter and readable side so it makes a good long term reference to link in comments.
Without the examples, are we go for post on this? @waxeagle @Richard?
2:43 PM
@Caleb I'm good to go
@Caleb want to post the question?
Q: What makes a good focused question?

CalebIn response to Can we reverse the trend on low quality posts? we would like to propose the following thoughts on what defines a good focused question. The primary focus of this site is a place to ask questions about Christianity. We have identified a couple of key aspects of constructive questi...

Are we go to post the answers question as well?
@Caleb Actually, this makes an excellent point that we don't need to have the examples in the question. If we remove the examples, I'm good to go with it as it is.
Aah. Little late there. :P Heh.
I agree with the post (I think) but I'm not sure what to do now other than vote it up. Is there a question for us to answer?
@Waggers basically its intended as more of a forum type post. Discussion/dissent/assent are encouraged. Possibly finding examples from your own questions of good or bad questions.
Also suggestions for modifications and improvements are welcome in answers
2:57 PM
The nice thing about this approach is it also gives us a way of organising the tags. Every tag should be a subset of exegesis/doctrine/fact
Although a "fact" tag seems a little odd perhaps
@Waggers yeah...
@Waggers For now answers that agree or disagree and present examples / case studies are encouraged. Suggestions on how to improve these guidelines are also welcome. Eventually there will be more of a call to action in editing new questions and cleaning up old ones.
and I think doctrine is probably too vague to be a standard tag
@Waggers I don't know about those umbrella tags, but all tags themselves should probably indicate one or the other of those catagories.
@Caleb right
I think that might be what he was trying to get at
2:59 PM
Spot on
Voting up is a good start though, we can't move ahead with making these proposed guidelines actual guidelines if it's not clear the community is onboard.
3:27 PM
@Richard took a pass at adding to the paragraph we were talking about.
Which paragraph? The biblical support paragraph?
@Richard da
@Caleb et al, I appreciate the humble approach you folks seem to be taking--getting community buy-in etc
@Ray this doesn't work if its the 5 of us trying to impose our will on you guys. Its your site. Plus this is going to be a lot of work to get it cleaned up, and if our top users don't buy in and commit to doing some of it its too much for the mods...
@Ray If we're going to make this work, community buy-in is critical. The moderators can't manage a change of this size on their own. We have to have community support.
3:31 PM
so there is some self interest here
i imagine the "what will be the community's role in getting the site in shape" will follow the meta series?
@Ray yes. Although that hasn't been discussed much
we haven't really talked about how to implement changes. We don't want to break the front page, but there are probably 100+ questions that need to be closed/edited/improved
So far, all I've been doing is voting and flagging
@Ray right the question will be which of 3-4 different paths are we going to take
1. Close old stuff until OP or caring comm member returns and edits into shape (can then be flagged for reopen)
2. Compile a list and gradually go through and edit
3. Ignore old stuff unless it resurfaces and then clean it up
Whatever we do as soon as we reach some consensus that these are the guidelines to follow they should be applied to all new questions.
@waxeagle Sure it has. You missed that part :)
3:45 PM
btw this is me spitballing so if you have suggestion for how to improve old questions voice them.
@Caleb doh...
@Ray Yes, as we gain some consensus on what the goal is we have some ideas on how to get there if people are willing to pitch in and do some of the work. There will be lots of commenting, editing, flagging, VTC/VTR etc to be done.
We can't just tell people to go get to work without some relatively stable guidelines to work from tho.
@waxeagle I don't think #1 should be an option; its a bit overkill. #2 seems most reasonably. #3 largely defeats the purpose of what we're trying to do
(sorry to jump in the middle of a conversation)
@JustinY basically a combination of all 3 is really what I see as being teh best solution. 1. Close the egregious stuff, bikeshed questions and whatnot. 2. compile a to fix list and start on it. 3. if stuff that is down the list comes up to the front fix it while its on the front page anyways...
@waxeagle I like that a lot. I've already started working on my own questions.
@JustinY excellent. self cleanup will be one of the best ways for those of us who have bought into this to make it happen.
but again don't forget that edits bump and we don't want to flood out new questions on the front page for the most part.
3:51 PM
@waxeagle Yeah, I've considered that. Plus, I don't have that many questions to begin with.
@JustinY yeah I think I have <50 posts total :(
4:03 PM
Just catching up on the 'new focus' effort if any of you went through this on programmers.SE you'll know how annoying this can be if you hold a minority opinion. I'm glad we're requesting adding 'doctrine or bible' backup to everything, but could we just switch it to 'scripture and tradition'.
That's essentially what we mean. We've often used the phrase "doctrinal tradition", since we're trying to encompass everything from traditions of a denomination to the YEC movement.
I'll add an answer to the questions post about this.
4:38 PM
A: What makes a good focused question?

RichardFor reference, I think it's important to define our terms: Doctrine - the body of beliefs established and supported by a group of people Doctrinal Questions - Questions regarding the beliefs and practices of the group of people. NOTE: For the purposes of this discussion, these questions in...

5:22 PM
@PeterTurner That's just different words for the same thing. Your "tradition" is doctrine -specifically established church doctrines- and scripture/bible are interchangeable anyway, although I do like scripture better.
5:41 PM
Catholics have a solid definition of doctrine, though, that doesn't include tradition. That's the reason for the request.
That was brought out in the comments to this meta post:
Q: Christian History and Prayer vs Doctrine and Bible

Peter TurnerNot to rehash these questions: Should history questions be on topic? What are the limits on history/historical questions? Are questions on what Christians have done in history on-topic? But in refocusing to be Christian-Doctrine-and-Biblical-Basis.SE have we ignored the limits we previously s...

5:56 PM
@ElendiaStarman does my change fix that parenthetical in the doc?
@waxeagle Much better. :)
@ElendiaStarman the former was valid language, but confusing. And we can't afford to confuse people...its bad enough we didn't do this a month and a half ago :)
@waxeagle Hah, yeah.
Then again, we didn't have BH.SE a month and a half ago. :)
@ElendiaStarman true, but honestly we knew the question quality was bad...BH.SE showed us just how bad. And how untenable situation we were in if it continued
6:14 PM
@waxeagle Yeah.
@Richard should we ask shog or grace note to come by our meta and comment give thumb up or down on this whole process?
6:28 PM
@waxeagle Yeah, that's a good idea. It seems like there was someone else that was involved in the Prog.SE mess, too. (Mark Trapp?)
I think Mark has been watching us pretty closely, though.
@Richard yeah Mark is a good one, and yeah he was one of the people we brougth in from the beginning
OK, Where are we at on the "Good Answers" post?
As it is, I believe it's ready.
@Caleb @waxeagle @ElendiaStarman Do you guys feel it's ready?
Also, who's going to post it? El?
@Richard looks good to me. I think its @ElendiaStarman's turn
@Richard I haven't read in a while but unless it's been majorly re-written since I did yesterday there probably isn't much for me to object to or add :) I'll give 'er a quick read but I'm trust you guys :)
Fire away!
6:49 PM
Whoops, didn't hear the pings... :P
@Caleb The only thing I did was to change the titles to bullet points (to match the Questions post).
@ElendiaStarman So, if you think it looks good, go ahead and post it!
@Richard Actually just fixed a typo. s/questions/answers/ :P
Last bullet point.
Q: What makes a good supported answer?

El'endia StarmanIn response to Can we reverse the trend on low quality posts? we would like to propose the following thoughts on what defines a good supported answer. In order to give a valid answer about Christianity, it will almost always be necessary to reference a specific doctrine, biblical passage, or oth...

@ElendiaStarman @Caleb @Richard hub post updated as well
@waxeagle Sweet.
Awesome. Many thanks, @ElendiaStarman
7:08 PM
@PeterTurner I am curious to know what you think the "minority opinion" is here. I've been trying to keep an ear our and people have voiced concerns but so far I don't hear a concrete minority opinion that is contrary to what we're trying to accomplish. I don't want anyone to think we're running over them. Part of the job of moderators is to listen and get input and figure out what the best direction is even if this comes from a minority. We are listening.
7:25 PM
Well, I am going to go take a nap. :P
Seeya guys! :)
@ElendiaStarman ciao
3 hours later…
10:13 PM
...no posts for all that time? o.O
10:24 PM
Yeah... We got those major three posts out. That was the biggest effort, in my mind.
The next posts should come once we get community consensus.
I considered working on them, but I decided that I'd neglected my accounts for too long and decided to post a few answers instead.
Tomorrow, I'm going to raise the question: When do we move forward with this?
(Ignore that for now. :P)

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