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10:56 AM
@Caleb Thanks for answering all my awkward questions, answers and comments. I want to stress I agree with the proposals; I'm just challenging them a bit to demonstrate that they stand up to scrutiny and to try and make sure we haven't missed anything (as opposed to challenging them because I disagree with them)
I do find it interesting that other SEs are much more advisory in nature though (How do I do X? Why does Y happen?) where the answers don't usually need to cite a supporting reference, whereas both C.SE and BH.SE are going down the "answers should be supported" route
Do we know what the approach is on Jewish Life & Living?
And, a related but different question - should "Christianity" be renamed "Christian Life and Living" to distinguish it from BE (and to provide a closer synergy to the Judaism SE)
I guess if we did that, church history questions would then seem off topic, so perhaps it's not such a great idea
11:16 AM
Not quite sure where this is going to take us, but here's my train of thought...
What Jesus taught was radically different to the understanding of the religious leaders of the time. They had oodles of written laws and documents that they could reference. Jesus had the scripture, and did reference it, but his interpretations and what he taught from those scriptures were very different from the accepted norm.
Yet Christians would claim it was Jesus, not the religious leaders of the time, who was the expert
If StackExchange existed then, would Jesus' expert answers be accepted as such here?
In other words, if someone comes along with a doctrine that doesn't fit into any of the established denominations, and hasn't been written about, yet still stands up to scrutiny and accords with the teachings and actions of Jesus and the epistles - would their answers be ok?
Perhaps I'm straying too far into the realms of the hypothetical.
11:37 AM
I'm now going to try and attempt to answer my own question. What the religious leaders of the time were experts in was Judaism as it was then. What experts in Christianity are experts in, is Christianity as it is now. If someone were to come along with a teaching/interpretation/etc as different to established Christianity as Jesus' teachings were to the Jews, that person would be teaching something different from the established faith.
Jesus was of course an expert in Judaism but what he taught was not Judaism, it was Christianity. His answers weren't expert answers on Judaism as it was then, they were expert answers on Christianity
@Waggers I think you've nailed it here. We are a site about christianity as it currently stands (much like the experts in Jesus' day were experts on Judaism).
Besides, if we really had strayed so far off the path that God intended for us I'm not sure he'd be using StackExchange as his principle medium for telling us that
@waxeagle Feeling very relieved now. I was beginning to get myself into a bit of a pickle
@Waggers I'm not opposed to new thinking and teaching in general. Provided that it is stands up to scrutiny. However, this isn't the place to formulate or propogate those teachings. We should try to stick to established stuf
@waxeagle Absolutely. Otherwise we end up becoming a discussion forum
11:53 AM
@Waggers right. Also looked in on the J.SE meta and FAQ and couldn't find anything about answer guidelines
@waxeagle We're pioneers!
@Waggers more like "we have a quality problem!"
@waxeagle Yeah. I guess the reason they haven't explored this on J.SE is they haven't had the need to.
@Waggers I think thats exactly it. Now they do have some question guidelines, and I haven't looked to hard at their actual Q&A just meta to see if they see problems
12:10 PM
star light...star bright...
12:20 PM
@Waggers Have you seen Skeptics? They instantly delete anything that doesn't have a bibliography! The deal with other sites like SO or U&L is that answers are often self-verifying. Anybody that stopped by on U&L and just starts making up junk unix commands for people is going to get downvoted off the planet in about ten minutes. Here it's harder to look at something and go "that's right/wrong", instead people go "that sounds nice".
@Waggers I believe they require references to Rabbinic writings actually. They are way more scholarly than we have been.
@Waggers Personally I think "life and living" would make a bad title, people have enough of a hard time writing focused questions without that wording. It works for Judaism because they are much more technical / orderly / religious / detailed as a faith anyway. If anything I would advocate something about "doctrine and tradition" or something to weed out the things that can only be answered by opinion (For example "pray folding hands or clasped"?)
@Waggers This isn't a place to do progressive theology and develop a new faith, only answer questions about the orthodox version of it, just like Judaism.SE is for Jews. If your theological viewpoint says that Christianity should be something other than it is, this isn't the place to vent or hash out those views. That's just not a QnA format thing anyway.
12:36 PM
A: What makes a good focused question?

RichardProblem I would like to request a refinement to the idea of exegesis. (Specifically, "doctrinal exegesis" as specified in my previous answer regarding definitions. Very early on, I pushed that personal exegesis is on topic. I think we've all agreed with this so far. However, I believe that t...

OK, I posted a long reason of why I believe that personal exegesis is off topic.
Bah! It's on the wrong meta post...
@Richard just started reading it.
might actually be worth spawning a new question with each option as an answer...
@waxeagle That's not a bad idea. But I can't really see personal exegesis leading us anywhere except back to where we are right now!
Personal exegesis for a doctrinal question should be off topic. Personal exegesis from a broad question = C.SE right now. :\
@Richard I think I agree for the most part...
If we are trying to pin it down to established doctrine/tradition then personal opinion is already off topic at that point
@waxeagle Right exactly. Even though it's doctrine/tradition about exegesis of a given text. It's not the text that's being question but the understanding from the point of the doctrine/tradition.
(even though it really appears to be the text that's in question.)
@Richard stated another way? Personal exegesis is on topic, but your doctrinal perspective must be stated and the exegesis must reflect the beliefs and traditions of that perspective...Which I guess is exactly what answer 2 is.
which makes it doctrinal exegesis rather than personal...
1:23 PM
the way this is going, might we eventually migrate all personal exegesis questions to BH.SE?
@dancek I hope not, I think that would blur the boundary even more rather than clarify it
@Caleb I'm absolutely with you. I'm just not convinced this stacks up with the "anyone who self-identifies as a Christian is a Christian for the purposes of this site thing"
We're coming up with a more robust definition of Christianity, in terms of established doctrine and biblical basis. I for one think that's a good thing
1:39 PM
@waxeagle Yes, that's what I'm getting at.
@waxeagle Doctrinal exegesis is definitely personal in that it's personal exegesis. However, it must be supported by the doctrine. (At the very least, it must not go against the doctrine).
@dancek Ultimately, yes, in a sense. But if you're looking for a understanding of a passage of the Bible that isn't necessarily bound to a specific doctrine, would you rather go to the experts who know how to dig into the original Greek and Hebrew or would you seek out people who are experts in doctrine?
I think that personal exegesis is right at home on BiblicalHermeneutics.SE I think that Doctrinal exegesis (or personal exegesis that lines up with a given doctrine) fits very nicely on C.SE.
We might need to define personal/doctrinal exegesis. Or are we saying that all exegesis is personal?
The overlap here is still huge, though. Since all exegesis is still personal exegesis. (even if you reference outside commentaries, it's someone's personal interpretation). Requiring that the exegesis line up with a doctrine, I think, is a good way to go.
@Waggers Right. All exegesis is personal. But exegesis here should line up with a doctrine.
@Richard ok. I think I understand. (I'm behind the curve today!)
So what may seem like a corporate exegesis ("As denomination X we believe that verse Y means Z") starts out as an individual's personal exegesis, that other accept as their own personal exegesis and thus form a corporate, doctrinal exegesis
[That should read "others" not "other"]
@Waggers I think you've nailed it
Simplistic, over-generalised example:
Question: what does [verse] mean?
C.SE answer: Baptists believe it means X, Methodists believe it means Y, Catholics and Anglicans don't have a formal view on it
BH.SE answer: It comes form the [language] phrases A and B, which translate as C and D or E and F
1:53 PM
@Waggers pretty much, although what does [verse] mean may need to be specified to what does [tradition] believe [verse] means. Or have a tag that narrows it.
@waxeagle Right, exactly.
A general "What does [verse] mean?" would be off-topic since it's not doctrinal. It would become "What does [tradition] believe that [verse] means?"
@waxeagle (which would be on-topic here but off-topic at BH)
@Waggers Exactly!
@Richard We've got to stop doing that :)
and quite frankly [tradition] should be specified in tags. No need for it to be in the question title
(sort of like we do with RPG.SE)
1:56 PM
@waxeagle The only danger with that is that not everyone reads the tags. But I guess they could be educated
@waxeagle I agree. But until we get the community used to the idea of looking at the tags, I think putting it in the title is a good start.
@Waggers Stop doing what?
@Richard Writing (almost) the same thing at the same time
LOL ;)
@waxeagle Using tags like that is quite a well established SE convention I suppose. The same thing happens on SO. But of course not all our users will be familiar with SE at all
@Richard How would we cope with "What do Christians believe [verse] means? Views from any tradition/denomination (etc) welcome"
@Waggers right, but that is a user education thing. If we are going to treat denom/trad like a programming language/RPG system (which is effectively what we are doing) then we are going to need to treat them the same way in question titles and tags
2:00 PM
@Waggers Off topic as too broad. Or migrate to BH.Se
How about "How does the meaning of [OT verse] differ in Judaism and Christianity?" - is that on topic anywhere? My guess is the best place for it is BH.SE but perhaps it doesn't fit in to any of BH.SE/C.SE/J.SE
@Waggers Yes, that would be BH.SE. We've already established Judaism as on topic for BH.SE.
Plus, its wide ranging scope is better suited for that site as well (since the answer is non-doctrinally bound).
@Richard Ah, that's cool. So do we still have an overlap? Seems to me like we've now established fairly clear boundaries
(provided the community agrees with this conversation of course)
Well, there is an overlap.
The problem is that BH.SE has realized that all interpretation must come from a specific doctrinal standpoint.
So, any questions regarding interpretation from a doctrinal standpoint are valid on both BH.SE and C.SE.
So, "What is the Protestant view of [verse]?", it would be just as at home on BH.SE as on C.SE.
Having said this, I think BH.SE would consider this more of a question regarding Christianity and request that it be moved. Yet, with our current definitions, it would be on topic.
@Richard But if the OP specifies a doctrine it goes on C.SE and if they don't it's too broad for C.SE and goes to BH.SE
@Richard Yes, I'd say that was too broad
2:08 PM
Oh, true. "What is the Mormon view of [verse]?" would be a better example.
@Waggers More or less. If someone is seeking exegesis from a particular viewpoint on BH.SE, it (so far) is acceptable.
Let me find the meta post regarding that....
Q: Are questions about the Old Testament from a purely Christian perspective off-topic?

Jon EricsonThis morning a question arose about whether Jesus fulfills a prophesy in the Old Testament. From a Christian perspective, this a fairly standard lens through which to look at the Tanakh. Obviously, the question is quite foreign (and potentially offensive) from the Jewish perspective. Richard c...

That's from BH.SE.
Thanks, I'll take a quick look
I was trying to push against requesting a given perspective (as you can see from my answer). However, the community disagreed with my conclusion.
So, asking "What is the Mormon viewpoint of {verse}?" is on topic there.
@Richard Perhaps this issue needs to go to the main SE meta to get a view from the wider community as to whether the SEs need to be mutually exclusive, and how to go about agreeing the boundaries if they do
@Waggers It's commonly accepted that overlap is common. Whenever the topic is brought up in the Teacher's Lounge (chat room for moderators), there's always a huge list of sites that have overlap:
SFF and Literature (Science Fiction Literature), Gardening and DIY (Landscaping), etc.
Those are the two I know, but there's more like 6-8 overlaps between sites (12-16 sites that have overlaps)
Is it seen as a problem?
2:21 PM
No, it's accepted. The idea is that if you're looking for (for example) landscaping from a gardening perspective, ask there. If you're looking for landscaping from a DIY perspective, look there.
It's left up to the asker to determine where to ask. Questions that are blatantly off topic are migrated, of course.
There's even some overlap between C.SE and Philosophy.SE, to a degree. (Currently)
So I guess we shouldn't worry about our overlap with BH.SE
Q: Can there be free will in heaven?

FabianThe most common explanation I heard from christians for the theodicy is that suffering is caused inevitably by the free will of humans. The argument is essentially that a world without suffering is impossible when you allow free will, as you can't prevent humans from causing harm to each other. ...

@Waggers Right, I wouldn't worry about it at all.
So what I think we've established is:
1. all exegesis is personal.
2. All personal exegesis is doctrinal.
3. All exegesis questions are on topic at BH.SE.
4a. Exegesis questions that specify a denomination are on topic at C.SE;
4b. Exegesis questions that don't specify a denomination are off-topic at C.SE.

Is that right?
2:45 PM
#2 should be: All doctrinal exegesis is personal. By comparison, personal exegesis may not be doctrinal. (See my example translation here.)
Otherwise, yes.
Also, 4a: it's not just a denomination. All doctrines could apply. There are some doctrines that aren't denominationally bound (such as Young Earth Creationist, or Muscular Christianity)
Great summary, by the way!
@Richard Thanks. Knowing that you've got somewhere is always nice. Knowing where you've got to is better.
That was terrible
Knowing that you've got somewhere is always nice. Knowing where you've got there is better.
Oh, and
5. It doesn't matter that there's an overlap
3:03 PM
@Waggers True.
Will topics about Christian behaviour still be on topic? As in, the interaction of religion and society?
Q: What should a Christian do when the state permits something the church does not?

TRiG Some laws don't evolve or change, some laws are just objectively wrong to begin with. Laws and court rulings providing for abortion, same sex 'marriage' and no fault divorce are laws that require immediate action and can never be followed by any Christian if it forces them to violate t...

Q: Why do many Christians object to same-sex civil marriage?

TRiGInspired by Joel Spolskey's question on Jewish Life & Learning, I ask why it is so common for Christians to fight against religious freedom by seeking to impose the restrictions of their denomination on all others.

Fact based questions will. Christian behavior sounds more like sociology. If you can make it about Christian Sociology, maybe.
Aah, I see.
They will if they're seeking viewpoints of specific doctrines.
right I think trying to generalize to "Christians" is where most questions have gone wrong so far.
"What is the Presbyterian belief regarding same-sex civil marriages?", for example.
Q: Can you be a Christian and serve in the Military?

Nick122Can you serve in a military service and not violate the will of God?

3:06 PM
Its not something that can be generalized for the most part
"Do Episcopalians permit service in the Military?"
@waxeagle Okay. That makes sense.
or "Do Catholics permit service in the Military?" etc.
So the question I'm brewing about why right wing Christians tell lies whenever it suits them is on topic, if I can manage to phrase it carefully.
@Richard you might even be able to generalize it to "Do Protestants permit service in the Military" but you are probably on thin ice because Protestant is awfully broad and disorganized (as opposed to catholic or orthodox)
3:07 PM
Believe me I have no shortage of examples. It's just trying to find a non-argumentative phrasing which is giving me difficulty.
@waxeagle Right, I agree. "Protestants" is generally too broad of a term for most topics except maybe exegesis.
@TRiG We all have examples that are off topic. It's going to suck having to re-evaluate my 68 questions and 146 answers. :\
@Richard yeah. Does protestant encompass both Mormon and JW? I can't remember if they claim those. I mean Baptist + Presbyterian + Methodist + Lutheran is already incredibly diverse
Fortunately, there's only 68/146, but still...
not to mention the Charismatics (of all flavors) and CoC
@waxeagle Episcopalian, too. I think Mormons are considered Protestant, even though they may not claim it themselves. That's a real tough one. Let's see what Google says!
3:10 PM
@Richard I was just hiting wikipedia
looks like if you don't fit in teh Catholic or Orthodox box you get put into the protestant one
"The term Protestant was not initially applied to the reformers, but later was used to describe all groups protesting Roman Catholic orthodoxy."
Yeah. It's Orthodox, Catholic, and Everything Else.
@waxeagle JWs (and I suspect Mormons) view themselves as restorationists.
@TRiG right, which makes them a sub group of protestants...so yeah "What do protestants say" is even too broad for my tastes...
@Richard the way that meta question on BH.SE is turning out seems wrong. I had to chime in...
Oh, thanks!
I can see where they are coming from.
* All exegesis comes from a certain standpoint.
* When asking for exegesis, we should be able to specify the viewpoint we are seeking
* Therefore we should be allowed to ask for a certain viewpoint.
The problem is that this is a slippery slope that changes BH.SE into C.SE.
Biblical Exegesis should be specific enough to be able to stand on its own, in my opinion.
3:21 PM
@Richard its true, although how I look at the OT and how a Jewish person looks at the OT will lead to two different hermeneutical methods being applied
@waxeagle Absolutely.
@Richard in theory this is valid, Unless the exegetical frameworks are different.
@Richard yeah, this really sounds like a beginning of rescoping the site to encompass pretty much all expert questions related to Christianity.
This whole line of reasoning lead me to this post regarding this very large topic:
Q: How much doctrine should we allow? What is the general guideline?

RichardRecently, a question regarding 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (regarding women being silent in church) was asked. The literal interpretation of the text in itself creates and implies doctrine. However, this question was asking about the historical context and interpretation of this text. This is clea...

I tried to avoid the same question that they were referring to in the other BH.SE meta post. But it was the genesis of that topic.
We have yet to reach any good conclusion!
Actually I wonder why many of the obviously knowledgeable Christian people active in BH.SE never came to C.SE. (for the record, why I'm not active on BH.SE is that C.SE was first, still requires a lot of things to succeed and I currently don't have much time)
3:24 PM
@dancek my guess is that they saw the rats nest of questions on C.SE and ran the heck away.
on BH.SE they saw a clean site with a reasonably well defined topic where questions were geared at a higher level of knowledge and jumped right in
3:48 PM
I agree. That's been my draw: BH.SE is a site where I can post answers and be argued based on the content of the answer, not the theology.
A: How do we reconcile the futility of Ecclesiastes with the reward of heaven?

RichardIn the beginning, God made it clear that we are from dust and to dust we will return. This concept remained the dominant theology prior to the revelations of the prophets. With the revelations from the prophets (Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc.), Judaism moved into the realization of eternal life....

3:58 PM
I flagged one of my questions asking for migration to BH.SE. Is this a good way to do it? I won't be proposing many other migrations for the time being, but the particular question is very on-topic for BH.SE as I see it. And I'm still looking for the expert answer.
@dancek that works ok.
4:12 PM
@dancek I can't gaurantee that this will be moved soon. We still don't have moderators over there yet.
There kind of has to be some consensus that the question is on-topic for the site that is accepting the question. Since there's no moderators, it makes it difficult. I'll ask on BH.SE chat to see if there's some consensus.
@Richard that's a good point. There's not much anyone can do over there while there are no mods :)
We can ask the SE employees, since they're the real mods. But, it's probably best to let it be for a while until we get some pro-tem mods over there that can make the judgment calls. Tough choice.
@Richard yeah I think we let it sit until the BH.SE mods are appointed (should be soonish, I've heard rumblings on their meta that you guys have gotten emails about it)
Really? Huh.
@Richard I thought so. Maybe I just inferred that incorrectly
5 hours later…
9:40 PM
Big question: When do we start enforcing these guidelines?
I suggest about 24 hours before you announce that you're enforcing them ;)
How long do we wait to gain "community consensus"? I've heard no rumblings of dissent except from one person, who eventually consented with this viewpoint (to my understanding).
Is it possible to begin enforcing them "gently"/gradually?
to give people a chance to protest, and be gently guided
without all at once laying down a firm hammar
Yes and no. We can start enforcing them only on new questions (and only on the questions).
But, once we start with that, all new questions will be off-topic for a few days until we get people used to it.
It's not a super gentle process. :\
I hope my two newest questions fit (or nearly fit) the new guidelines.
9:44 PM
Yes! I saw that new question pop up and I was so glad! :)
@Caleb @dancek You guys are in the room... Any particular opinion about this?
is "calvanism" a narrow enough focus for these questions?
Yeah, definitely.
In my opinion...
@Flimzy I like the questions and I think the focus is just fine. Though I know too little of Calvinism to really know if they're good questions :)
10:01 PM
@Flimzy I think so. I think we generally have agreed that EITHER denomination/tradition OR some sort of named doctrinal standpoint counts as narrow enough scope.
Calvinism covers several denominations but its' far more focused than even "protestant" or "orthodox", so I think it's fair game. We can always call it out in comments if some particular issue comes up that is too broad to deal with.
@Caleb: I suppose whether 'calvinism' is narrow enough also depends on the question. "What is a Calvinist wedding like?" is probably not very useful.
@Flimzy Why have a wedding at all if they were already married before the foundation of the world?
@Caleb: I don't think she would like that answer... :P
Hey guys I'm going to boot some of the chit-chat to the main Christian room so we can keep this one about the topic/focus issue. My head hurts with all the different areas to check in on anyway! (Keep chatting, just notice the scope of each room :)
@Caleb Good idea.
10:11 PM
Q: Why did Jesus use the expression, "I tell you the truth"?

WikisI used to think nothing of it until someone said, "it makes you wonder what he was saying the rest of the time". One of 22 examples exists here: John 16:7 (NIV) But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if ...

so would this question be off topic according to the new guidelines?
And likewise, would @Richard's question be off topic? (it reads like opinion)
Note: There is a lot of mis-use of the term "off topic" going on. Most of the questions being asked about whether something is "off topic" or not is actually about whether a particular question is "constructive" or not. The issue with the focus in the guidelines is not the scope of the site (on/off topic subject mattter) but HOW the question is asked and the scope of the question (which is what not-constructive is about as a close reason for things that are crazy broad/unanswerable/etc).
@Flimzy Not off topic (the subject matter is very much on topic) but I would say that's a fairly low quality way to frame a question because it invites opinion answers and there is no framework for determining what is a good/bad answer. It's likely to get left as low-quality but it could possibly be closed as not-costructive pending an edit that makes it an overview question. (this is an easy topic to show from a couple different hermeneutic approaches that it all boils down to the same thing)
10:28 PM
Which brings up my question: When do we start enforcing these guidelines?
Actually, I'm taking off for the weekend. (like, now!)
Have a great weekend, everyone!
@Richard Next week :)
it's a bit early to begin a weekend, isn't it?
@Flimzy I get three day weekends every other week. To compensate, we work 10 hour days. :\
When I worked 10 hour days, I got 3-day weekends every week
at any rate, have a good weekend
When I worked 10 hour days, I wasn't in chat rooms all day ;)
10:33 PM
@Flimzy Yeah, we should... but that's a different gripe.
Actually I've started referencing these guidelines in comments to posts already but it's not enforcement, just hit or miss encouragement.
@Ray LOL =)
10:55 PM
:2166054 Sorry, wrong room.
:) no prob
@Ray: Wanna come to Christianity to discuss my question in greater detail?
@Flimzy I joined Christianity 8 years ago
har har

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