« first day (3 days earlier)      last day (89 days later) » 

4:59 PM
@fredsbend However, an answer opposing your proposal received more votes than either the question or your accepted answer (which is really just a bit of cheerleading).
@fredsbend We've already got a meta post. It's the one you wrote and implemented. Why split the discussion into two meta posts? Is my proposal going to get any more acceptance from the conservative Christians who control this board than it did in the original meta post.
I'm uninterested in making another meta post because it's a waste of time. I'm currently mulling over whether to appeal to SEI over the prejudice embodied in the current conservative religious definition of marriage.
Your argument that this is how the users of this site use the word "marriage" lacks merit, as @Flimzy pointed out in his opposing answer. It is an inaccurate definition that represents a particular religious position.
And since marriage is not the exclusive reserve of any Christian denomination or group of denominations, but a word used across all denominations, defining it as a particular group of Christians defines it, even if that group of Christians is a large one, is a faulty and inaccurate definition.
Really, the definition is itself an assertion of sectarian religious bias. That's what's wrong with the definition.
5:32 PM
@LeeWoofenden Flimzy may oppose the proposal, but his answer does not distinctly do so. By his own admission, he offered it as an extended comment. It contains no concrete language of acceptance or rejection and certainly no reasons why. Further, it offers no real alternatives.
From Flimzy's answer and why I upvoted it:
> I think the key thing to remember when discussing these tags is that we are not defining, nor defending doctrine. We are using language to talk about complex concepts about which there are many opinions.
> So lets keep this discussion on the merits of vocabulary, and not on the perceived legitimacy of particular types of unions.
Like I said before, in a Christian context, I strongly suspect that the first thought that comes to mind when one hears the word "marriage" is "one man, one woman".
Same-sex marriage is a small subset of that, hence and separate tag.
Meanwhile, an "opposite-sex-marriage" tag makes every question about that smaller subset unnecessarily.
These are arguments about the words, not the doctrines. Your arguments continue to fail to convince me because your concerned about doctrines and their legitimacy, and whether the tags mean anything to that end.
It's certainly possible that tags can be skewed to represent one dogma over another, but trying to "represent" them all equally is sometimes more harmful than useful. I believe this is one of those cases.
@LeeWoofenden It's only a waste of time if your arguments keep in the same vein that you've been in. For example:
> Therefore, it is contrary to the nature and intent of this site to continue to define "marriage" as "traditional marriage between one man and one woman," thus excluding same-sex marriage.
We're not defining terms. We're not trying to. In fact, we're trying to specifically avoid that. The goal here is to make useful tags with useful usage guidelines.
Nov 29 at 0:22, by fredsbend
Get some sample questions from the site and "retag" them here in chat. So find ones that should be tagged marriage, but not necessarily the other two, and so one. Then if you think there are combination cases show those two.
Do this is a meta post. That's a proper proposal. And it may be more well received than you think.
5:54 PM
@fredsbend No. I'm concerned about "marriage" meaning what it means in the culture, not what it means in the minds of a subset of Christians.
@fredsbend Yes, it was a comment. And the purpose of that comment was to oppose the assumptions behind your proposal.
@fredsbend Of course we're defining terms. That's what wiki tags are for. To define terms and their usage for the purpose of classifying questions as fitting within the definition of that term.
And as @Flimzy pointed out, if we exclude same-sex marriage from the "marriage" tag, we're excluding from the definition a whole class of usage of that term that is common both in the culture and in Christianity.
@fredsbend Why would I make entirely new arguments in a new meta post? Does my approach to the issue change just because it's in a new meta post of my own creation rather than in a response to yours, and in a chatroom? If I made a meta post, it would say the same things I've said here.
Clearly that view is not popular, because my answer on yours immediately began to draw negative votes. What makes you think that saying the same thing you've been doggedly opposing in every venue, and that got voted to the bottom of the stack in my response to yours would draw a more positive response in a new meta post?
Clearly what we've got here is the precise sort of "popularity contest" that is supposedly not supposed to happen on Christianity.SE. Religious stances on a hot-button issue are overwhelming the supposedly secular nature of the site, and forcing the definition of "marriage" to conform to the conservative Christian definition of marriage.
But to boil it down to its essence, what we need here to adequately cover the bases is three tags:
- "marriage" as an overall tag covering all types of marriages
- "same-sex marriage" as a tag specifically to deal with the major debate on same-sex marriage
- "polygamy" to deal with polygamy as a major issue in Christian history and doctrine
We don't really need an "other-sex marriage" tag because people normally just use the word "marriage" when they want to talk about that. And if they want to be specific, they mention "heterosexual" or "one man, one woman."
If we have no general term under the overall "marriage" category, it leaves everything but monogamous heterosexual, monogamous homosexual, and polygamous marriages out. And though those three terms do cover most of the ground, if you talk to LGBTQ activists, they will tell you that there are other categories of marriage as well.
Those categories of marriage need a tag to cover them, but they are not common enough in the questions on the site to merit their own tags. So where do they go? The current three-tag structure provides no place for them, because there is no over-arching tag that can handle all questions relating to marriage.
So the current tag structure is not only inaccurate on a secular site in that it uses a conservative Christian definition for a general term, it is also inadequate in that it leaves many possible questions with no tag at all to cover them.
If I were to write a new meta post, that's what it would say. And would it receive any better response than it has in the three different places I've already said it?
It's clear enough to me that the "marriage" tag is a hostage to the conservative / liberal split in Christianity about the nature of marriage. And at this time, the conservatives here have won, because there are more of them, and they have more power here. That's not how this site is supposed to work.
6:23 PM
@LeeWoofenden I believe I've been saying exactly that since October last year.
The tags are currently meeting that end.
@LeeWoofenden Can you give a few example questions like these?
@LeeWoofenden I think it probably would be better received.
@LeeWoofenden This kind of crap, probably not.
@LeeWoofenden This is new information from you.
@LeeWoofenden This is similar to your answer on the original post.
I keep pushing the meta post because that is the protocol for these kinds of things.
SEI, if you appeal to them, will probably first ask if you posted on meta.
The least you could do is post a new answer to my OP that gives this new information with real alternatives.
Chatting here with me will never get you anywhere. And appealing to SEI probably won't either.
Unless your just complaining now and are already ready to give up.
7:13 PM
@fredsbend In practice, "polygamy" almost always means one man with several women. Someone asking a question about group marriage would likely not want to use the polygamy tag, and might not even think of using the polygamy tag. That's what general category tags are for. To provide a home for questions that may not have a more specific tag to cover them.
@fredsbend It's the same thing I've been saying all along. Just more organized.
@fredsbend And it's just as true now as it was then. That's what all of your statements about it have boiled down to. Other than that, there's simply no good reason to define "marriage" on a secular website as "marriage between one man and one woman."
@fredsbend Another example: a marriage between two transgender people, or one transgender and one non-transgender person. Is this "traditional marriage" as defined in the current marriage tag? Is it a marriage between one man and one woman?
So what tag would be used for those marriages? A person not asking from a conservative Christian viewpoint would not use "same-sex marriage," because the people involved identify as opposite sexes. But the current exclusive definition of "marriage" would not be a good fit for such a question either.
So a person asking such a question would be left with no really applicable tag to use.
Once again, the short version is that although "marriage" is used as a general term in the society as a whole, defining it here in an exclusively conservative Christian way leaves no general term for "marriage" available for questions that don't fit well into any of the more specific categories that are "big" enough to warrant their own tags.
"Marriage" is the obvious general term for all sorts of marriage.
@fredsbend You've given me no good reason to think otherwise.
Here's an example of a question on the trans issue:
Q: Is a marriage between a transman and transwoman in accordance with Roman Catholic canon law?

Double UIs a marriage between a transman and transwoman in accordance with Roman Catholic canon law? The transman and transwoman can still engage in intercourse to make babies, but the transman would be the one to get pregnant, assuming that they still have functional sex organs. I am asking this ques...

Does this really fit within a "marriage" tag "for questions about attitudes and doctrines regarding traditional marriage"? I think not. But what other tag could be used for it?
De facto, "marriage" is now being used as the catch-all tag for any questions about marriage that don't have their own specialized tag.
7:32 PM
@LeeWoofenden I'd rather we make a new tag for group marriage, if that need arises, which is what I've been saying since the beginning. Tags are created when needed, not in anticipation of being needed.
@LeeWoofenden Actually, I think the question does fit with the tag. Catholics are very traditional, and this question is asking if this is a loophole that Catholics would view as a "traditional marriage".
@LeeWoofenden New question types require new tags or bending the use of existing ones. That's the nature of tagging. We can try to plan for every contingency, but that sounds exhausting and may prove unfruitful.
Now, we could change it to how you are suggesting, but the problem you are illuminating still exists, but in a much bigger way now.
Traditional marriage is the larger bulk of the use of the marriage tag. Leaving them with only the marriage tag, which would now include any kind of marriage is exactly the same issue as the trans hypothetical questions you mention.
@fredsbend No. If we change it the way I am suggesting, it will eliminate the need for a plethora of specialized tags. There will be one general tag under which all questions about marriage can be tagged--even niche questions that will never require their own sub-category.
The difference here is that there's much few questions about non-traditional marriage types than the traditional type.
In practice, the bulk of the questions in the "marriage" tag will be about "traditional marriage," because that is the dominant form of marriage. But it will still be possible to use it for other types of marriage not covered by "same-sex marriage" or "polygamy."
@LeeWoofenden If I'm interested in niche questions I'd hope they have a tag.
It makes them easier to find them.
But if they are all under a single tag, hidden in a sea of traditional marriage questions, then I'd never find them.
@fredsbend Should we have a tag for "swedenborgian views on angels?" No. Because a specialized question such as that fits under the general "swedenborg" tag. Tags are useless if there will be only one or two questions that fit under them. That's what general tags are for. And "marriage" is the obvious choice for a general tag covering all questions about marriage that aren't "big" enough to have their own tags.
@fredsbend You're not going to find oddball question by looking in the tags anyway. You'll just do a word or phrase search, and find it that way.
In practice, people use the word "marriage" to refer to all different kinds of marriage:
Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. ...
No "one man, one woman" in the whole opening segment, which is where the overall definition of a term is given.
In practice, tags are probably most commonly used by clicking on one of the tags on an existing question. I doubt many people search the tags to find questions. At most, some regulars will have favorite tags so they can keep tabs on their favorite subjects.
However, new questions are supposed to be tagged. So we need to provide general tags that will cover a whole category of question, in case there isn't a more specialized tag to cover it. Once again, "marriage" is the obvious choice for the general tag in that category. But the current definition turns it into a specialized tag, even if the "specialization" is quite broad.
So in essence, we have no parent tag on the subject of marriage. We have only child tags.
(broadly) any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage:
Anthropologists say that some type of marriage has been found in every known human society since ancient times.
From: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage
7:51 PM
@LeeWoofenden It should be tagged swedenborg and angels.
This does make some sense. But brevity and conservation of tags should have some consideration.
This is an example of a sound definition that provides the parent category, "marriage," together with several common sub-categories: "opposite-sex marriage," "same-sex marriage," "plural marriage," "arranged marriage." All of these fit under the general category of "marriage." And any types of marriage not covered under specifically defined sub-categories still fit under the general term "marriage."
A marriage tag and a "traditional marriage" tag on nearly every question seems a little silly when we can just use the marriage tag.
The only reason I don't think an "opposite-sex marriage" tag would be useful is that I doubt many people would actually use it.
"same-sex marriage" is useful because that is a specific and hotly debated subject that therefore requires its own category tag.
Same for "polygamy."
@LeeWoofenden There's a decent amount of questions on same-sex marriage. Tags help group them. That's a niche question. trans- marriage questions, on this site, are not because there's only one as far as I can tell. That's an oddball.
@fredsbend When there is a specific tag to cover a particular segment of that general subject, my understanding is that we use the specific tag but not the general one. But that does seem a little fuzzy. It might be better if there were an actual, hierarchical structure of tags, so that child tags are arranged under their parent tags structurally.
7:56 PM
Tags also help identify experts.
@fredsbend Right. And that's why that one question uses the (general) "marriage" tag even though it doesn't really fit the definition of "traditional marriage between one man and one woman" used for the "marriage" tag.
@LeeWoofenden Well, tags are supposed to stand on their own.
Yes, fuzzy.
In practice, people are going to use the "marriage" tag for questions about marriage, regardless of what definition we put on that tag.
@LeeWoofenden Like I said, I think the tag does fit, actually.
@fredsbend You really think that the Roman Catholic Church would define the marriage of a transgender man and a transgender woman as "traditional marriage"? What about the marriage of a non-transgender man with a transgender woman, who would, I assume, be considered a man and not a woman under Catholic doctrine? Should a questioner use the "same-sex marriage" tag for that? Or the "marriage" tag? Where would it fit?
7:59 PM
@LeeWoofenden No, but the question is trying to do that.
It's really a bad question and not one we should look to to help us make tag usage guidelines.
@LeeWoofenden From here down is some better reasoning than before. I think at this point, there is a workable arrangement from what you are suggesting.
Why would it be a bad question to ask, for example: What is the official Catholic doctrine on a man marrying a transgender woman? Isn't that a reasonable, on-topic question for Christianity.SE? And yet, there is no tag that really fits it.
I like the idea of generalizing marriage tag.
@LeeWoofenden Because the answer is overtly obvious. Sometimes people just ask dumb questions. It's a legitimate question, but it's really a waste of time.
A better question would be "What is the Church's reasoning that a trasgendered man is actually still a woman?"
@fredsbend Then substitute a less well-known denomination for "Catholic."
@fredsbend But that's not a question about marriage, so it's irrelevant to this topic.
@LeeWoofenden Does denomination x support cultural practice y. Yes a legitimate question and certainly better than the other. Still boring to me and probably to most others. Yes or no questions are inherently lacking in analysis. Reasons why they give that answer are much more interesting.
@LeeWoofenden Right.
Back to the tags.
@fredsbend Besides, a question that seems "dumb" to you may not seem dumb to the asker. FWIW, I think that most of the questions on Christianity.SE are dumb, trivial questions. But they're questions people are wondering about, and they're on-topic here.
8:05 PM
I was thinking that we could create opposite-sex-marriage tag with usage guideline:
> use this tag for questions specifically about opposite-sex-marriage concerns. Use the marriage tag for more general questions about marriage.
And the marriage excerpt could be changed to
> Use this tag for general questions about marriage. For questions about specific types of marriage (i.e. opposite-sex, same-sex, polygamy) use those tags instead.
I do think that could work just fine, but I don't think people will use the opposite-sex tag appropriately, if at all.
@LeeWoofenden I could concede that 30 to 40% are trivial.
Under what use cases would an opposite-sex tag be used and not also a same-sex tag?
Can you find an example?
@fredsbend Right. Works for me. But I'm not sure how well it would work in practice. I think we'd have to constantly substitute "opposite-sex marriage" tags for "marriage" tags. And it would annoy a lot of people. I think my solution is simpler and potentially less objectionable in practice, if not in principle, to the bulk of people who will ask questions about marriage here.
@LeeWoofenden I thought I was summarizing what you were already saying. What did I say differently than you?
Q: Does the Catholic Church consider it sinful for couples who aren't able to conceive to have sex?

Red RackhamSay a married couple has sex, no babies are coming out, they go to a doctor, and they find out that they can't have children due to certain complications. Given that the Catholic church takes a strong stand on the reproductive nature of sexual activity, if they have sex, is it sinful?

This question can only be about opposite-sex marriage, and not about same-sex marriage.
Yes, that's a good example.
But is it an oddball? Are there others?
@fredsbend It happens to be the second question currently in the "marriage" tag listing.
I just grabbed the first one that wasn't closed.
8:12 PM
This one, maybe:
Q: According to Roman Catholicism, in what way do wives need to submit to their husbands?

GrasperWhat is the Catholic teaching on the way a wife needs to obey her husband? In Ephesians 5:22, we read: Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (NIV) I'd like to know if it's in a spiritual direction, moral direction or maybe intellectual direction? Or this does...

Without a male and female, wife and husband make little sense.
Could also have the polygamy tag too.
But that changes the context significantly.
@fredsbend Early on in the discussion I entertained the idea of an "opposite-sex marriage" tag, which way be what you're thinking of. But before long I recognized that it probably wouldn't be very useful because it wouldn't be used much, even where appropriate. The majority of the population does not categorize monogamous heterosexual marriage as "opposite-sex marriage," but just thinks of it as "marriage."
Is this like the other:
Q: What is the Catholic teaching on oral sex and impotence?

BerthaAccording to the Catholic Church, are a married couple permitted to engage in oral sex when sexual problems such as impotence make vaginal sex impossible?

Again, there's a stress on vaginal intercourse, but that could be because of the Catholic context.
So that's why I moved to thinking that an "opposite-sex marriage" tag wouldn't be very useful.
This question only exists because of Catholic dogma.
It looks like an opposite-sex tag would only be used by catholics.
I recognize that my three-tag system with a general "marriage" tag and also more specialized "same-sex marriage" and "polygamy" tags is not perfect. But given the way those terms are commonly used, I think it's the best overall system we're going to get.
@fredsbend Conservative Protestants also believe that "marriage" means the same thing as "opposite-sex marriage." They would (be forced) to use "opposite-sex marriage" for most of their questions about marriage, also. I don't know what the lay of the land is on this subject in Orthodox Christianity.
8:16 PM
@LeeWoofenden Well, it sounds like you support the exact same usage currently done, but only really object to the wording in the excerpt.
@fredsbend Yes. I think that de facto the tags function as I'm suggesting we define them. And I think the tag definitions should reflect that.
@LeeWoofenden Yes, I believe so. Not too useful upon analysis.
@LeeWoofenden Now it sounds like you have no quarrel at all. If the tags are to be used as they already are, then the excerpt should provide guidelines to that effect. Do they not already do that?
@fredsbend My whole approach is basically just a more specific working out of what @Flimzy said in a generalized way in his answer / comment on your original proposal. We should define the terms the way they are actually used, not use tags to require people to use terms the way we want people to use them. As he said, it's about vocabulary.
Marriage tag: catchall. Use this tag for questions about marriage. For questions about specific types of marriage (i.e. same-sex, polygamy) use those tags instead.
@LeeWoofenden I do think that it does already do that.
@fredsbend Umm . . . the actual tag excerpt is:
> Use this tag for questions about attitudes and doctrines regarding traditional marriage (one male and one female). For non-traditional marriages, use the appropriate tags, such as polygamy or same-sex-marriage.
8:21 PM
Right. That's what it is now. And I believe that reflects its most common usage.
@fredsbend I'm confused. How does that relate to:
> Marriage tag: catchall. Use this tag for questions about marriage. For questions about specific types of marriage (i.e. same-sex, polygamy) use those tags instead.
That's what you seem to be proposing.
Feels like a semantic argument.
You are recognizing that users use the tag for traditional marriage and probably will into the foreseeable future, but do not want to just clarify that in the excerpt.
@fredsbend Semantic? One defines marriage as a specific type of marriage: "traditional marriage (one male and one female)." The other defines marriage as the general category, similar to the Wikipedia and Dictionary.com definitions I linked to above.
Let me correct that. This is a semantic argument we are having now. But you seem to be proposing less semantics, less than I think is necessary to give appropriate guidance on tag usage.
@fredsbend Yes, that is what the bulk of the questions under the "marriage" tag will be, because that is overwhelmingly the most common form of marriage, and thus generates the most overall questions. But I'm proposing that it serve both as the general category and as the de facto home for marriages that would otherwise be tagged "opposite-sex marriage" (but as already discussed, that tag just wouldn't work well).
Perfect? No. But I think it is the most realistic way to define and use those tags because it corresponds to how the word is used in the culture.
In practice, the word "marriage" is used both to refer to "traditional, one man, one woman marriage" and as a general term for marriage of all kinds as a socially and legally recognized relationship. Unfortunately, Christianity.SE does not have the power to change the way people in the culture use the English language. Rather, we have to reflect how people in the culture use the language.
8:26 PM
@LeeWoofenden So the excerpt should read something like
> Use this tag for general questions about attitudes and doctrines regarding marriage. Also use it for specific questions relating to traditional marriage (one man, one women). For other marriage forms, use the appropriate tags, such as polygamy or same-sex-marriage.
@fredsbend We could do that. But I think it's unnecessarily complicated, and likely to raise red flags for people. I think it would be better to do something like this in the excerpt:
> Use this tag for questions about attitudes and doctrines regarding marriage. For questions relating specifically to same-sex marriage and polygamy, use the appropriate tags.
The main definition could, if we wish, point out that this tag is both the general tag for marriage and the home for questions about traditional, one man, one woman marriage.
The excerpt would say as much as your average person thinking about "marriage" would think about the tag. The full definition would give more for those wanting more detail and specificity about what, exactly, this "marriage" tag on Christianity.SE is all about.
This system would, I think, cover what the bulk of people in the culture think about marriage anyway, without being unnecessarily polarizing right in the tag excerpt.
Once again, is it perfect? No. But I think it's about the best we can do given the way the term "marriage" is actually used in the wider culture.
Gotta walk the dog. I'll check back in later.
8:44 PM
@LeeWoofenden Honestly, I don't see that as different at all from what it currently is.
@LeeWoofenden I understand the sentiment here. I'd be fine with the change.
In the tag wiki, we can explain that the tag doubles for traditional marriage questions because of all that we've said here.
I would like to see this wrapped up in a meta post though. There's a lot of fluff in our chat here that people would have to sift through.
If you don't want to make the meta post, I can. I'm pretty busy today, so I might not be able to get to it for a few days. Maybe longer.
At least, I think we should ping a few of the regularly in the upper room and have them peek in here.
9:43 PM
in The Upper Room, 29 mins ago, by Nathaniel
@fredsbend Yes, to me just reading the end would have been sufficient. I don't have an objection to [marriage] being a high-level tag that often, but not always, refers to "traditional" marriage, so I'm fine with that modification.
in The Upper Room, 19 mins ago, by Matt Gutting
@fredsbend Yeah, that makes sense to me too.

« first day (3 days earlier)      last day (89 days later) »