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3:13 AM
@IsaacMoses - whoops, I missed your earlier ping. Sorry about that! I should be around more during week days, so let's try and coordinate something.
 
@Dori How important is synchronicity?
 
And we're both here!
 
@Dori Good evening!
 
And to you as well.
 
Do you have time now?
 
3:22 AM
Glad you got a laugh out of the jawbone reference; I wanted to put a giggle in there so I didn't sound like a super serious anonymous jerk from the main office coming in to change everything.
Sure, now is good.
 
Believe it or not, I and some others are happy about the "main office" influence coming in as an impetus to break free of some bad habits.
 
I was ransacking my brain to figure out if or how someone could take offense at that comment, and I finally just decided to go with the mild version—I figured I could tell a lot by the reaction it got, and from whom.
Hey, I'm here and happy to play bad cop. What kind of changes would you like to see?
 
Wow. Glad I passed this Rorschach. :)
I'm in favor of ending riddles and surveys (latter was less of an issue), for one thing. How about you?
 
Nah, I know that tone doesn't come across well in text, and that it's particularly hard to tell with new people. I'm glad I passed! :-D
As Robert said, if someone has a real question, they should ask it as a question, not a riddle.
 
Also, (and this is a little less defined) I know that we under-moderated m.y, being a little too deferential to authors.
The new tech is already changing that tendency a bit, by, e.g., suggesting "low quality" material from new users for mod attention.
 
3:29 AM
Something I noticed (and can't find now) was a comment that was disemvowelled—has that happened much?
 
That was my first time. I'd seen the technique on boingboing and liked it, and thought it made sense in that case. The comment in question was belligerent, but it was the context for the following comment, which was more substantive.
 
There's been a lot of talk over the last few months about what's referred to as broken windows—if people's initial impressions are of a site with low-quality content, they think that that's what the site is about. So we're focussing a lot on helping mods focus on high quality.
 
On m.y there was very little real fighting, I'm happy to say. There were a few instances, and one that led to a user getting banned, but for the most part, people were civil. I expect that there'll be more little fires to put out as readership grows.
 
In general, if something is low quality enough to get disemvowelled, it's low enough to just delete outright.
 
Fair enough
What other broken windows have you seen that you think need mending now?
 
3:33 AM
Oh, there will be future fires; I know that just based on the mess we had with the short-lived atheist Q&A site.
 
I haven't been there, but I suspect that one difference here is that there's an existing community with existing communal norms.
 
One of the things I want to push the SE developers into doing is coming up with automatic glossary feature . I can read Hebrew, and I know more about the topic than the average SE user—but much of it is still over my head.
 
That'd be cool. The tag wikis kind-of serve that purpose, but you only get five tags per question
 
If they can come with up something that automatically does a look up on certain words (say, ones that aren't found in an English dictionary), and then makes a little pop-up if you hover over that word, I think that that brings down the barrier to entry.
OTOH, not that bringing down the barrier to entry is always a good thing…
 
And what, the pop-up would connnect to a wiki in which users could put a definition?
What's your opinion on this jargon question? Accessibility is good, but translating/linking every term can get very cumbersome.
 
3:39 AM
The atheism site had a bad habit of attracting trollish wanna-be preachers who thought they could argue people into believing in their particular brand of faith—I'm not sure what the m.y community has done with those in the past.
 
We had that once. That was the person we ended up having to ban, after multiple warnings.
 
I personally think that the jargon guidelines are great, but it doesn't appear that overall community has an interest in following it. Unfortunately.
So I was trying to come up with a way it could be done by computers instead.
 
Well, the guideline I wrote essentially demanded a great deal of defining/linking, so was naturally hard to follow.
 
And then there's the whole English/Hebrew/transliterated Hebrew issue (with occasional Yiddish as well)
 
I think, based on the discussion to date on the jargon question, that it might make sense to have a weaker rule that calls for no gratuitous jargon (the first point in my guideline and something Joel et al seemed particularly interested in) and suggests that people try to define/link terms when they think it'd be useful to readers.
I think that transliteration should be entirely up to the individual writer. Trying to standardize would be way too hard.
 
3:46 AM
Will the community go for it? I asked an interested non-Jew to take a look at the home page, and based on just the question titles, he said he could kind of figure out what we being asked about 30% of the time.
 
Could we go through some examples of titles?
 
Should we try to get that number up? And if yes, how? (And does it even matter?) That's what we need to figure out.
Sure
He was impressed that I was at about 70-80%
 
(If you don't mind my asking, now that it's become germane, what's your Jewish/Hebrew background?)
 
I figured it would matter, and no, I don't mind.
My father was raised Conservative to Conservadox, but he then met my mother who was brought up by her mother, a very poor illiterate immigrant. So, she'd been raised "Jewish," but only in terms of the few traditions her mother could remember and afford.
My family attended a Reform synagogue throughout my childhood, and my brothers and I did the more religious things Reform Jews do—Jewish summer camps, Hebrew school, Sunday school, etc. But other than that, Judaism was more a matter of culture than religion.
So, teenage years: Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, summer trip to Israel, the usual.
 
As for me: I was raised "Orthodox" (scare quotes b/c I don't like the label) and went to Jewish day schools from nursery through 12th. Studied in a partially English-speaking program in an Israeli yeshiva in Israel for a year before college. Speak Hebrew, though not fluently. Still observant ("O") and still studying Torah when I can.
 
4:00 AM
College: every time I looked into becoming more observant, I ran into people who assumed I was just husband hunting, Between that and the attitude of "you're a girl, you don't need to fret about that stuff", I got turned off by the more religious side. Note that this was 30-some years ago; I believe things have—in some groups, at least—become a little more flexible.
And now here I am a few decades later, always interested, but not even knowing the questions to ask. Literally, in this case.
 
Well, I hope you continue to hang around on main. No shortage of thought-provoking questions!
So, to titles: "Adoptee a Cohen or Levi?"
 
Well, at least that one is all in English! :-)
 
kind of
OK, more Hebrew in "Will I ever actually make “al mitzvat tzitzit” on a daily basis if I don a tallit gadol?"
Could be rephrased as "Will I ever recite the benediction called "al mitzvat tzitzit" ("on the commandment of the fringe") on a daily basis if I don a prayer shawl?"
Should it be?
 
That's exactly the kind of question that he & I discussed—I got it, he didn't
 
What came up in your discussion?
 
4:08 AM
He was baffled at the amount of in-jargon. And that's to be expected, to a certain degree, of course.
As I said, it may be a matter of: who is the target audience? Maybe if you don't speak Hebrew, this isn't the site for you?
 
I wouldn't go that far. I hope that neophytes would at least come with their questions.
 
Right now, someone with an interest who wasn't brought up in the tradition would be lost. There's a lot of jargon that's just assumed.
 
As I wrote in the Area51 [definition comments](http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/22435?phase=definition) when I re-wrote the definition:

2) "Anyone interested in learning more" // Unlike flying, law, or photography, Judaism intrinsically contains a mandate to educate. // Questions (and askers) welcome on all levels of sophistication. The experts in the core population are able and willing to address even the simplest questions with serious, backed-up answers. // Some types of questions (e.g. "Can you recommend an alternative for a talit bag with these specifications?") lend themsel
Hmm. So the problem is that if I want such people to ask their questions here, I probably also want them to hang around, which they won't want to do if they don't get most of the questions?
 
OK, looking at that last question, here's the words he wouldn't know:
"tallit katan", "al mitzvat tzitzit", Kitzur, Shacharit, halacha, b'racha, sidur, lehitatef, leshem ihud, rabenu iosef haim
And yes, of course, hang out on the site for a short while and you'll quickly learn what sidur and bracha mean
Impressive: if I Google "al mitzvat tzitzit" judaism.se is the #2 site after Chabad.
 
So we could:
1) Leave questions like this as-is and accept that people with limited background probably wouldn't want to hang around
2) Mandate/edit questions like this so that all non-English terms are replaced, defined, or linked, so that most potential readers can understand most questions
3) Something in between?
 
4:21 AM
I might be because I've trained Google to know that I want SE sites, but above Wikipedia? That's impressive.
 
m.y got lots of google hits every day and was highly-ranked for more of them than one would expect.
 
Well, my hope is that the SE devs (for whom I have HUGE respect) will be able to take a list containing pairs of words & phrases and their meanings, and auto-create those pop ups on the fly. That way, nothing needs to be done to older questions, and the community won't have to change how they ask new questions.
 
I fear that creating such a list might constitute a life's work.
especially given variant transliterations
 
true, true—but the nice thing is that it would be a growing document, so while it might not be a huge help at first, over time, it would get smarter and smarter.
 
Somehow wikifying it may work.
Basically like tag wikis, including the concept of synonyms
 
4:28 AM
Oooh, I like that… And it could be started by just grabbing lists like the one at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_prayers_and_blessings
 
Do you have a sense of the likelihood and timing of such a feature being created?
 
 
A couple more sources of semi-structured data: ou.org/about/judaism/index.htm jewfaq.org/glossary.htm
 
@IsaacMoses There's a regular meeting every Thursday with Joel, Jeff, and the community team. I brought this up then, and both J&J liked the idea. Anything that lets computers make things easier for people works for them, and this site is one of Joel's faves.
 
So, for the time being, leave things more or less as they are, language-wise?
... hoping for this feature to come out and make a strict policy less importatn?
 
4:33 AM
That's my goal.
 
If the devs do get into this and want to slurp up more existing glossaries, they should definitely ask on either main or meta for ideas.
 
(drat, it looks like those two sites have copyright policies keeping us from reuse)
 
There are people here with very relevant experience (including Wikipedia and Wiktionary editing, siddur proofreading) and interests.
It may be possible to get permission to use stuff like that if we ask nicely
How is this issue dealt with on SO and SF?
... or is it considered a non-issue because there's less desire to make newbies feel welcome to hang around?
 
I should have phrased it this way earlier: anything that combines community contributions and computing power to allow more people to understand a site's questions/answers—Jeff & Joel both love that concept.
Generally, if you're starting to learn programming, you know enough to be able to figure out what's going on.
Also, those sites don't have thousands of years worth of back history to learn ;-)
The tag wiki helps too, but it's more of an issue on this site due to the number of different transliterations.
 
... and we can't do Hebrew tags, right?
 
4:40 AM
Ooh, good question.
Given that both the German and Japanese language proposals recently hit 100% on Area 51, I think there's going to be a lot of effort put into internationalization
But I'm not sure that tags in Hebrew make sense—synonyms, sure, but I don't know about the tags themselves.
 
Hebrew synonyms would at least provide a standard for searchers who know Hebrew and don't want to guess different transliterations
 
My thought exactly
 
... so at least for now, it sounds like we're agreed on not changing the language/jargon policy just yet.
 
Well, I wouldn't discourage people from being more clear, but I think that in the long run, a technological answer is the way to bet
 
I think gratuitous jargon (e.g. "chinuch" instead of "Jewish education" or "maise" instead of "story") should probably be strongly discouraged and edited out when possible.
Do you want to tackle another issue?
 
4:52 AM
I agree completely—when there's an appropriate English term with the same context, yes, that's the way to go.
I have a personal question, but I suspect that it's going to come up more and more: there are questions where someone wants to know "the Jewish opinion on topic x "
(as if all Jews can 100% agree on anything)
 
Such as (recent example) homosexuality?
 
That's the one I was thinking of, yes. I live in California, so I saw how religious groups had a huge impact on Proposition 8.
 
Depending on how it's asked, and how people feel like answering, that could mean "What does Halacha think of this?," which has available objective answers (sometimes multiple).
 
So when someone asks "What's the Jewish viewpoint?"—well, there are a number of answers, depending on how you look at it.
 
It could also mean "what do different Jewish communities think of this?" which also could be answered objectively, but less so, since you can't point to sources as easily as with Halacha
 
4:57 AM
Yes, Halacha is pretty clear—but then, I never heard of organized Jewish groups (as opposed to a few other faiths I could mention) donating huge sums to get voters on their side of Prop 8.
 
It could also mean "what do all Jews think of this," which, as you hint, is pretty much un-answerable
 
I just very much dislike the idea of "Halacha says" being turned into "All Jews are required to hate all gays"—which is what happens with those who are inclined to make that kind of jump.
 
religiously conservative (small 'c') Jews have fish to fry that are seen as more pressing, I suspect
 
(I would think the Catholics and Mormons would have bigger things to think about too, but that didn't stop me getting push polls from Utah phone numbers)
 
Well, taking this question in particular, I think the overwhelmingly upvoted answer did a great job of describing what Halacha says in broad terms and distinguishing between that and how people tend to relate to homosexuals, and how people should.
 
5:03 AM
This isn't something where I have an answer, or even a definite question—but there are always those who are looking for bad guys, and I hate seeing us setting ourselves up for that.
 
(Catholics and Mormons care about saving everyone around them. Jews don't in the same way. Also, Jews tend to expend a great deal of political capitol on Israel, for which Catholics and Mormons don't have an equivalent issue.)
 
Oh, all true, no question!
 
What's an example of how you see a bad outcome taking shape?
 
Those who go looking for things to be offended about are almost always successful. Here's the Stack Exchange Network Content Policy.
But there are always those who will scream that they're being repressed, whether it's gays that claim some part of the answers are hate speech, or Christians whose questions are barely-disguised proselytizing.
 
Interesting information. (Also potentially relevant to meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/123/…).
Yeah, I expect that sort of problem will come up.
Worth thinking about, and maybe articulating as a full-blown meta question to see what [more of] the community thinks.
 
5:15 AM
As I said: I'm not saying I have an answer, or even a definite question; it's just something to think about.
More meta questions are almost always a good thing
 
Perhaps there are particular pathologies that came up on atheism.SE that would be worth referencing
 
Well, that site had huge other issues—for instance, we found that, for the most part, atheists didn't have questions for each other after the first round of "So, whaddya think of the latest Dawkins video?"
Imo, the newer Skeptics.se site is Atheists.se done right.
 
(I notice that other than that, this is the first religion SE to hit beta. The next ones may indeed have interesting issues in this area.)
Interesting (I haven't looked much at Skeptics either) Looks a bit like a crowdsourced Snopes.
 
There are plenty on their way; they just first have to decide how pure they want their sites. Can Catholics and Fundamentalists share a common Christianity site? That's going to be fun to moderate, I'm sure.
"crowdsourced Snopes" is exactly right. It's an interesting site for seeing how a community requirement that all answers must have citations can work.
Religion-wise, though, Biblical Hermeneutics could actually be pretty interesting.
 
Yeah, I don't know much about Christian Bible scholarship, but I suspect that there's a lot of interesting and objective discussion to be had there, very much parallel to some of the material here.
OK, I think I'm running out of steam. Shall we pick this up again another time?
 
5:28 AM
Exactly—some have been talking about merging that into the generic Christianity proposal, but I think if it stays separate there could be some really good discussion to be had. At a minimum, just the haggling over exactly what various Hebrew words mean would be great.
I know it's getting late for you, so I won't keep you too much longer. I just wanted to have a get to know you chat so we both know each other, and to let you know I'm here for further questions you have.
Have a good night.
 
Well, thanks very much for your interest and efforts. I'm confident that we'll [continue to] work well together. If there are other broken windows that you or others at SE think need addressing, I look forward to discussing them further here or on meta. Good night.
 
 
17 hours later…
10:14 PM
@SLaks, hi.
(And the rest of you, but you're all greyed out.)
 
Hi
 
10:29 PM
Why the lazy eight?
 
That's the Visual Studio logo
 
/me goes to Google....
 
Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It can be used to develop console and graphical user interface applications along with Windows Forms applications, web sites, web applications, and web services in both native code together with managed code for all platforms supported by Microsoft Windows, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, .NET Framework, .NET Compact Framework and Microsoft Silverlight. Visual Studio includes a code editor supporting IntelliSense as well as code refactoring. The integrated debugger works both as a source-level debugger an...
 
Ja, thanks.
 
I joined the SE network as a programmer
 
10:35 PM
Got it. (But I don't see where the profile you just posted is from. Is there a way to see the URL of a link someone includes into chat?)
OIC: SO.
 
10:55 PM
Well, HAND. Bye.
 

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