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12:02 AM
I feel like the high rep members of the community are too stringent on the answers and the way they look. Ironically, I think it is caused by the scope of the site being too broad. Being low rep, I know I don't have much cred to make these kinds of suggestions, but I think we can all agree that the site has way too low of traffic and users posting questions and answers for how many people are Christians in the world. Do we agree that the site is far under performing its potential?
12:16 AM
I think things are as expected for a beta SE site. People might be a bit too cautious for a "the site is underperforming, and I know just how to improve it" argument :) Why do you think the members are too stringent?
In the meta, high rep persons are saying thing like 'no personal research' in bold, 'I fully support downvoting and bludgeoning the user if they don't provide sources.' They are expecting experts, such as actual priests and doctorate theologians to post answers here, when that is just not going to happen. meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/501/…
"No personal research" does not mean that the site cares only for the opinions of priests and so on. They want experts because experts know not to provide their own opinions.
12:32 AM
meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/777/… and meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/779/… show that there are others who think the faq needs a rewrite on this.
And the other link above you is exactly about that problem. Those experts are not going to come. And I didn't say opinion. I think my answers thus far are very low on opinion. Caleb, a very high rep user, said somewhere on meta that his opinion will always affect the answer. Duh. So why do we get downvoted then and closed, etc? Because the scope is too broad and they don't want to appear to support anything particular and the faq is lacking.
Having your opinion affect your objective answer is not the same as offering up your opinion as an answer. I'm not sure why @Caleb closed, you should ask him. How do you describe the part of your answer that says "Say he faints. I would say that the bread has not become Body because the liturgy of the Eucharist is one act of worship"?
I was not saying Caleb closed my posts. No one did. It has apparently happened on what appear like legit questions too me. That question was not in your first post; it was from the comments. The Catechism did not address such a hypothetical so I simply made a logical deduction from the Catechism itself. Cut it out and look at just the first part. Does it not answer your original post?
12:47 AM
I'm not talking about your answer, I'm asking you to look at my quote and tell me what you call that, so that I can use the same word, so that we can be on the same page
In its context I call it 'logical deduction from fact'.
1:05 AM
Do you think it is impossible to provide answers without "logical deduction from fact"?
1:29 AM
evening guys.
@fredsbend I'm just sitting down to read your meta post in full. Anything specific I can address?
@waxeagle Howdy.
I'm not sure what to make of the post, but I don't think Islam.SE is the best model for us.
@JonEricson did you get the day off today?
@waxeagle If I had wanted it. ;-)
I telecommuted since the office was closed.
@JonEricson yeah, no thanks.
@JonEricson gotcha.
Not sure if this is relevant, but I think I violently disagree with @fredsbend:
Q: Where Quality is Job #1

Jon EricsonUntil recently, there's been a some concern about the quantity of questions and users. Sites sometimes get quiet...too quiet. But I'd like to propose that we need to shift to focusing on quality, even if it hurts our traffic: It's hard to see, but the Christianity.SE line passed the Mi Yodey...

1:38 AM
I'm not yet sure what he's saying
@Alypius Hi there! I enjoyed your question that was moved over to BH.SE, by the way.
@JonEricson oh, incidentally, I replied at hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/4207
@JonEricson thank you
@Alypius Are you asking about this:
Q: What kind of clothes did Jesus wear?

MikeThere are a couple references in the gospels indicating what Jesus wore but not many. His undergarment was 'seamless' according to John 19:23. He also may have had the 'fringes' or 'tassels' of the garment that Jews wore as we see a woman touching a 'fringe' of his outer garment in Mathew 9:20. ...

yes, that's the one I mention
@Alypius That one is too old to move. After 60 days, questions cannot be migrated.
1:44 AM
right, though in any case, I don't think it should be moved
May I ask why you don't want your question on BH?
I think it's more appropriate to C, and will get more activity there - C has more members, and the question touches on a major denominational dispute (in the most neutral way I thought possible)
I think that many of the questions and consequently answers on C are inappropriate and harmful to the site, see meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/a/1492/3941
@Alypius I think it would be a better question on C.SE if it tackled the denominational dispute head-on.
so the question I asked was something like a rewrite of christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/866/scripted-prayers
@JonEricson how would such a question be asked in a useful way?
@Alypius Hmm... Let me think about it.
@Alypius It seems like this ground has been well covered on C.SE:
A: What biblical reasons are there for using the Lord's Prayer as a pattern for prayer rather than a prayer to repeat verbatim?

Jon EricsonLet's look at the immediate context: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your roo...

I'm reading your meta-answer, by the way.
1:56 AM
"Mt6:7 is a pretty big deal, and people definitely want to know what it means - how can I ask what it means without asking a terrible question?" was how I approached it
@Alypius May I ask what your tradition or denomination might be?
Catholic, how about you?
@Alypius I'm an Evangelical. I grew up in the Evangelical Covenant and now I'm a member at an Evangelical Free church.
Ok. I think I understand where you are coming from a bit better.
We can disassociate your name from the BH quesiton, if you like.
@Alypius I wonder if something like "How does the Catholic church interpret Matthew 6:7?" would meet your needs?
oh no, that's fine. I'm not dead set on having it migrated back, though I think it would be appropriate (I think it's on topic)
I'm not so sure about that format. I think that creating a bunch of "How does X see Y" questions would dilute the search results, and might have other problems
@Alypius I hope I can encourage you to let BH keep it. ;)
2:05 AM
Any reason to not have it in both places, if it's on topic in both?
A: Can something be asked both here and on BH.se?

Jon EricsonI'm in agreement with Caleb, as usual. Targeted cross-posts are not just ok, but encouraged.1 I'd like to take this opportunity to propose a question triage procedure: If the question is junk (and we've all seen junky questions) pick one2 or more of the following actions: downvote vote (or...

2:17 AM
I see - I'll probably bring it up with @Caleb before I do cross-post, though, in case he has advice on improving it for C
@Alypius Definitely. He's certainly an ideal person to ask. ;-)
@JonEricson what was the issue you had with "bible trivia"?
For example, if someone is asking whether Jesus wore sandals in the Bible, yes it's a bit trivial, but what's the harm?
@Alypius Well, it's clear in the FAQ that "what the Bible says about a subject (unless you specify a doctrine/tradition)" is off-topic.
On-topic are questions about "understanding the Bible from the perspective of a specific viewpoint (like those listed above)".
@Alypius That's not necessarily the type of trivia I mean. ;-)
Such questions aren't really about Christianity.
They are more like "stuff Christians talk about", which isn't what the site is all about.
I wonder if there's a clear enforceable criteria there, though. If someone asks "what was the miracle performed at the wedding", is that off-topic?
@Alypius Man and wife becoming one flesh? ;-)
I'm not sure I understand the example.
Do you mean "How did Jesus turn water into wine?"
Or do you mean the literal trivia question that can be looked up in a Bible?
2:32 AM
No, I mean you have a Christian who forgot what the miracle was, or who got into some obscure argument over the matter. Right - it's one of the easier things to look up in the Bible
@Alypius Yeah. That's a boring question:
Jeff Atwood on February 29, 2012

We’ve observed a particular pattern of questions emerging on several Stack Exchange sites.

All these questions are effectively guessing games.

I remember myself playing this a bit childish, but in some ways awesome game, where you control a tank, and can pick up and stack turrets (and maybe something else) from enemy tanks you kill. Maybe they also had different platforms (and if it’s one with wheels then technically it’s not a tank, but hey). It was around 2000 (or maybe even earlier) and the game had 3D graphics. …

That's sort of the problem I have with the "Is X a sin?" class of questions.
No, that doesn't fit, because there's a clear and single answer
@Alypius Do you mean there's a clear answer to the is-it-a-sin questions?
Really? The problem I have with those questions is that they invite interpretation, and I think people are especially bad at interpreting sin questions (especially people who want to hear that they have not sinned)
@JonEricson no, the above is re the sin point; before I meant it's clear what the marriage miracle was
(so it wouldn't quite count as a guessing game question)
@Alypius Got it. I think I agree upon reflection.
@Alypius By the way, inviting interpretation is exactly what we do on BH.
2:43 AM
the reason I'm even defending the trivial questions is that they really do seem to get asked, especially by kids, and I'd much rather have this site show up than ask.yahoo
One thing the Stack Exchange network has nailed is SEO. I'm shocked how often one of the sites turns up somewhere in my Google results.
Yep. But you won't get that without the questions being asked
it's actually the reason I asked the "do angels sing?" question - apparently, it's on the minds of many. I can't yet think of a good way to ask "can an angel fall in love with a human?", which may be for the best...
Interesting. By the way, we should convert to .
I don't see any problem with that question. It would be a problem if the answer were as easy to find as I had initially assumed. ;-)
yeah, I actually ended up spending a bunch of time looking up more about the "four living creatures" that Mike mentioned, then asked and answered my own question
@Alypius There was a BH question that touched on that passage recently. It's a tricky passage.
3:00 AM
it really is a bit weird that angelic singing isn't extolled in the Bible, as in "and they sang really, really well (because their voices were made to praise God)"...
@Alypius It's not strange to me; it's us humans who were designed to worship and glorify God to the greatest degree. [citation needed]
might be right, certainly giving praise is the perfection of all beings. I've heard it said that God is glorified more by the celebration of a single Mass than from the praises of all the angels in heaven
angelology seems more correct, but angels seems more common (and searchable)
I'm not sure if it would be problematic even if trivial - Sally looks up "do angels sing?", finds this site, and now she knows where in the Bible (or elsewhere) to point while she says "seee, angels really do sing!"
3:28 AM
@fredsbend just a note, generally comments directed at someone should be left for the comments section. Posts (question or answer) should stand on their own. If you have an edit to make, make the edit, don't direct it at anyone. If that comment stream is deleted the answer won't have the required context.
3 hours later…
6:48 AM
@waxeagle I know. I was just getting frustrated that every time I posted Caleb disapproved. Having about the third highest rep on the site I was not happy that I was not meeting his expectations. I will edit the post and make it appropriate.
@Alypius I just want to say that I am not trying to urge you to accept my answer. That is exclusively your right to do or not do so. I just am not sure what you want the answer to look like? As some have illuminated there is contention even in the Church about it. That doesn't happen often. Maybe as exact an answer you want from an executive Catholic source does not yet exist.
Write to a local bishop maybe then tell us what he says.
@jonEricson I wholeheartedly agree that the Islam site is way on the other side of the pendulum and that surely is not good. I was just pointing out that there is another side to the pendulum. Your use of the words violently disagree is what bothers me a bit. Also Alypius described it as 'hostile'. I see parts where your post objects to mine [Quality is Job #1] But I think they match in areas with peaceful harmony, also.
It's just off-putting.
7:13 AM
@Alypius "Do you think it is impossible to provide answers without "logical deduction from fact"?" This is kind of a poor question. There are really only a few kinds of answers that can be correct for the kind of answer you gave and I would tier them as so: Fact only -- logical deduction from fact -- logical deduction from another's logical deduction from fact -- conjecture based on likely but non-verifiable fact.
Ok hermeneutics.stackexchange.com picks up the slack mostly from here. Why did no one mention this before. I could have left the dog in the cage. I not saying merge the two sites but maybe better integration is a good idea.
4 hours later…
11:04 AM
@Caleb Delete that post is fine with me. I am adjusting to some things after being calmed down in chat and waxeagle's comments to my post. I still think the faq needs to be better.
1 hour later…
12:08 PM
A: Should the rules on answers be loosened/clarified?

CalebWow that's a lot of thoughts for one post! I am not going to try to engage all of your points, but here are a few things that come to mind to keep the conversation going. There seem to be a few misconceptions going on here that maybe we can clear up with a little history. Before we start with th...

Hey folks I'm about to catch up on the chat transcript, starting from the top, so give me a second here.
@fredsbend Um ... yes that could probably have used splitting, but why don't you let that first monster stand, process the feedback you've gotten and then start fresh with anything you still see as outstanding issues in individual meta posts.
@fredsbend As noted in my answer as well, I don't think we agree at all that the traffic is too low. Of course we want it to grow, but I think most of us would rather see slow but steady growth that keeps the quality bar high rather than explosive growth that knocks the bar off entirely. We're not trying to be everything to everybody, only fill a niche and fill that niche well.
@fredsbend I wish I had an off hand example of "personal research", but I don't think the problems addressed by language like that is quite the one you're concerned about. Hang around a bit and learn the ropes ... I have an idea you might come to agree that rules like that actually protect you rather than hinder you. Our focus on Christianity and it's doctrines from an academic angle rather than on being a replacement for the church is what makes this site what it is.
@fredsbend Also, please slow down and make sure you don't cross your wires. Your chat message starts out saying "on meta, high rep persons are saying...", then you quote something somebody said in chat. chat != meta. You have to understand the person saying that has never bludgeoned anybody and has been a model for patient diplomatic approached to people that probably deserved to be bludgeoned. Please allow for a sense of humor and take time to learn people's personalities.
This goes for meta too, but it's particularly important for chat.
@fredsbend Those posts are from '11 BEFORE the last FAQ re-write. In fact they were two re-writes ago. You have to understand that sometimes material on meta is dated. We try to keep content on the main site as timeless as possible (for example we close questions about current events that won't matter to anybody next week), but things on meta aren't always that way.
Periodically, the same issues need to be aired out again all over to see if the community is still behind existing directions. I for one thing the FAQ could use help still, but please don't try to quote somebody talking about a previous iteration as support for criticizing the current iteration.
@fredsbend What do you mean by "they don't want to appear to support anything particular"? I'll admit I'm baffled by this entire line of chat. I think you might be conflating multiple inter-related but not equal issues.
@JonEricson Huh what? Is today a US holiday? Blimey if I can remember which one...
@JonEricson You're welcome to disagree as violently as you like as long as you don't ... um ... get violent over it ;-)
If you do I might have to step in with my mod-hammer to call you out. By force.
@Alypius I'm happy to reconsider the move, but lets talk about it first. it was specifically the fact that you opened something that is a denomination dispute without framing it in that context that made it a better fit on BH.SE rather than C.SE. You can't ask for exegesis on an issue provides a boundary line between Christian traditions on C.SE without addressing it specifically do a tradition.
If you want your question to provide some background history and textual analysis, it should stay on BH. If you want it to be about how Christianity has historically differed on the issue, then we can bring it back but it needs to be framed in a way that people of different traditions can agree that their tradition is represented properly.
@Alypius It was your language of trying to sound neutral that made me think BH would be a better fit, to fit well on C.SE it would need to take the opposite approach. Does that make any sense?
@JonEricson True story, they do do it well. However don't forget how much Google tailors your results to YOU. Some of my searches that always lead me back to SE don't even turn up SE sites if searched from an anonymous session through a proxy.
@fredsbend Don't bother editing it now since both I and wax have also included replies in our posts, but ya in the future I don't mind being called out but try catching me in chat first.
On that note, did you actually find my comments to be "hostile" or did you conclude me to be hostile after somebody else told you we were that way? Even before my one mistakenly judging your knowledge of an issue it seems you'd labeled me as "hostile". (Although I still think you've mis-represented cessationism, I'm willing to retract and just deal with the post not your person!) I may be strict, but does the fact that I wanted to see your posts improved (not repressed) not show at all?
1:39 PM
@Caleb President's day
@Caleb they also favor sites that constantly update, something SE's model caters to perfectly cc @JonEricson
@waxeagle Oh huh. I even went over to the google home page to see if there was a clue in their logo, but they have some fancy solar thing up for Copernicus.
@Caleb twas yesterday (Monday)
but I don't think they put up a doodle for it
@waxeagle And internally cross-link topically related content, which tags and related question links do quite well.
2 hours later…
3:41 PM
hey all
@Alypius hiya
@fredsbend I only bring up my question as an example. I think the issue might be that people might disagree on what counts as "deduction" and what counts as "conjecture". In your answer to me, you thought it was deduction, but I think it must have been conjecture. This is because it was certainly wrong: the canon law point shows that it is possible to consecrate each separately, but very, very wrong, a serious sin.
@fredsbend I haven't looked closely at your other answers (sometimes I find that they are somewhat lengthy), but I suspect that others might have similar issues with the structure of your answers. It is very easy to get off track. My own "strategy" for giving better answers is to sit and worry that I've said something wrong about God ...so I shy away from answering
@fredsbend It might be helpful if you chose some specific rule to follow in your own posts, so as to improve them, since everyone can always improve. I would suggest making them shorter, to put the answer right at the top, and to double check after writing (by re-reading the question) that every part of the answer answers just the core question.
@Caleb Reading your response to the post on meta - for reference, my comment to fredsbend was "This site is somewhat hostile towards wording like "I would say...". Even if you were right, I am asking what the Church says."
@Caleb fredsbend is surely exaggerating when he says "and basically that he would only accept a quote from the pope as an answer". I'm also not sure that it is best to encourage what you properly call inference (what fredsbend calls deduction, and what I would call speculation or conjecture)
4:13 PM
@Alypius Of course it is admirable to (and would that all Christians did) worry about how you're words represent God, but remember in the context of this site that what we are representing is not God or truth so much as what various Christian traditions make out about God and truth. It's one step removed ... we are in a sense "meta" for church. If we were front lines representing truth itself, we need to operate more like a church, and moderate based on doctrine. We don't do that.
Your answers should be judged on how well they represent Christianity and its various and sundry doctrines, not how well they represent God.
@Alypius Also, I would not recommend shorter being better. Being off topic is one problem (and one I've raised with a few of @fredsbend's posts) but I would encourage full developed long answers, esp from somebody obviously capable of producing them. You are not alone in your preference for short answers, but you are in the minority here.
Q: Does Christianity.StackExchange.com have issues with answer length?

Jim G.It's no secret. Some of the "experts" on Christianity.StackExchange.com are steeped in Scripture. Some could answer nearly every moral question with Biblical references. I think this is great! However... Sometimes very lengthy answers seem to be a bit off-putting. I'd venture to say that the av...

@Alypius Why phrase that in the negative at all? Why SAY we are hostile to something? Isn't that sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Why not point people to what we ARE trying to encourage. If we're actually hostile at all that's a different problem.
@Caleb oh I understand, but that doesn't mean that I personally should act only according to the rules of the site. I actually disagree that this site is secular, because I think that if the answers were not informed by the faiths of the people involved, it would not work out.
@Caleb For example, your answer to that "why is the death of Jesus significant" question was remarkably good (though I winced when you did not cite 100% hateful), and I don't think that an answer like that could come (easily, if at all) from someone who wasn't faithful
@Caleb I don't actually have a preference for short or long, but for fredsbend, I think "shorter" is good advice. I was only advising on the particular case. It's much easier to apply "shorter" than it is to apply "make posts more focused".
4:34 PM
@Caleb I think fredsbend was already feeling that the site really was being hostile to some of his answers. I actually responded at all only because I read your much earlier request for more voices. In this case, directness seemed the best approach, and I don't know if responding in a way that danced around that "hostility" issue would have helped. Bringing the issue up directly seems to have brought him to meta, which seems for the best.
@Caleb I certainly agree with you that it's usually best to be especially polite - to compensate for the fact that we can't see the other person
4:57 PM
@fredsbend Bad choice of words, I suppose. What I meant was that judging from our meta-posts we seem to have very different philosophies of how the site ought to develop. I hope we can build on the places we do agree. ;-)
@Caleb Washington's Birthday President's Day (You've been away too long. ;-)
@Caleb No doubt. I turn off personal results when I want to check stuff like that. (Or use "incognito mode".)
5:30 PM
@Alypius After thinking about it a while, the sort of questions you are talking about are not the sort I'm thinking about. We thrive on "long tail" questions. That is one sense of the word trivia, but not the sense I'm thinking of.
When I talk about Bible Trivia, I'm thinking of questions that seem to be about Christianity, but are really about the Bible, it's history, Judaism, etc.
Ofttimes those questions have better homes on other sites where they can be discussed without everyone worrying that God will be slighted or bad theology will be advocated for.
@JonEricson I think perhaps those belong in the tail. Say I'm meditating on the Bible. I want to know what God is saying to me. But the way I begin is by making sure I know the plain, literal meaning of the passage.
Not that that ideal always comes true. On BH, we are embroiled in a doctrinal argument about what day Christians should celebrate the Sabbath. It's hidden under the surface of dispassionate questions and answers. In this case, the questions might be better asked here with all the doctrinal cards on the table. ;-)
Is my question about Christianity? If I ask if Jesus wore sandals, am I really asking about Christianity?
@Alypius Not everyone (or even many) agree on the plain, literal meaning of any text. We all bring baggage with us.
@Alypius no. It's generally of no consequence to one's faith or doctrine if Jesus wore sandals or sneakers.
but it's technically on topic here, but would be far, far more effectively answered on History
5:39 PM
@waxeagle Agreed. It's interesting as a historical question (History.SE) or maybe as background on a specific text (BH.SE), but it's not really important to most Christians what Jesus wore.
@JonEricson oh definitely, but I would prefer that baggage. I've seen some weird stuff on H hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/2876/2052 , and I don't want answers that are that creative
By the way, this question might have been better on C.SE:
Q: Did Jesus wear pants?

Jon EricsonWhile researching this question, I came across an article I'd rather not link to1 that asserted that Jesus wore pants. The particular bit of evidence they cited was: Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness h...

Some people make theological hay about how robes are women's clothes.
But I hate to even link to the site I read that on or draw any attention to them.
@Alypius Right. And I guess there is specific baggage you want to have with you. ;-)
@waxeagle I don't think we can make those kind of assumptions. There are Christians who are, for example, extremely dedicated to "reenacting" (sometimes "re-presenting") certain parts of the life of Jesus - some go as far as to nail themselves to crosses. To them, it might matter a great deal for their faith
@Alypius right, and for them my first sentence doesn't apply. it's tricky, but if they frame it in that context it basically becomes on topic to some reasonable degree (even if they aren't going to get as good of an answer). That said, even though I don't think it's useful doesn't make it off topic. It's technically a question about biblical history, it's just uninteresting from the site perspective (for most people)
@waxeagle But what might be interesting for more people is exploring that group and their theology.
5:45 PM
as you've correctly indicated, basically any topic, provided proper framing is on topic here (though I have a pretty good radar when people are being silly instead of real).
@JonEricson yes.
@JonEricson what can we learn from their practices, what do they get right? what do they get wrong? what interesting things can we learn from them. And that's our purpose here, ultimately. To expose folks to the whole of Christian doctrine and leave it to the reader to pass judgement on right/wrong/misguided/out of left field
@waxeagle Basically, dig through their baggage. ;-)
@JonEricson yep. this is unclaimed baggage.
if someone's asking, it's probably important. I've seen some pretty pointless-seeming questions
@Alypius not necessarily, but we try to give the benefit of the doubt
by the way if you're ever in a position to go to Unclaimed Baggage, GO. they have a museum in addition to all kind of found things for sale. Including Hoggle unclaimedbaggage.com/p/blog/…
@waxeagle sure, that's what I mean by "probably". My point is mostly that I get pretty confused when I try to think of good ways of telling the difference based on seeming importance. Seems like question votes would decide the matter.
5:57 PM
@Alypius nah, question votes are often a very poor indicator of quality/importance, they are more likely a measure of popularity.
@waxeagle I seem to recall there was a store like that here in the LA area: LAX and a half dozen other major airports means lots of unclaimed bags.
@JonEricson yep
they used to be an excellent place to pick up CDs and thumb drives, these days I'd bet they run a nice little deal with cell phones and laptops.
but the real coup is the clothes, all kinds of odd things. I once bought a priest's cassock there.
fun fact, you can buy plastic collar inserts on ebay and amazon
@waxeagle I guess my point there is that if I saw a seemingly-trivial question like "Jesus in sandals?" with a bunch of votes, and no apparent hostility or opinion-waving in the question or answers, I'd probably change my mind about the triviality
@Alypius reasonable.
I asked the "do angels sing?" question recently, and I thought it was really very trivial at first (I asked in order to generate search engine traffic). When I looked at it closer though, it's actually really weird and interesting - contrary to the answer given, it's looking like the Bible really is careful to (always?) have angels crying out, proclaiming, shouting, etc. rather than singing
6:18 PM
@Alypius I haven't caught up on chat log yet, but before I read I wanted to note that I just handled most of your flags. And most of them were great -- we really needed to handle that series of junk posts -- but the last one I actually disagreed with. I declined it because even if I agreed with the issue (which I did not), it was something a normal user could have intervened on without needing a moderator to do. It calls for an edit if you think it's an issue, which you can do as well.
However, I didn't see any evidence for the question being "hostile" as you allege, only really confused. Without the original wording of the question, it might not be so easy to spot how confused the OP is on the issue and so answerers wouldn't know what to set straight. That's my 2c anyway.
@Caleb what was the last?
To quote a line from the Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I'm not sure it means what you think it means." Seriously, I'm beginning to think you mean something different by hostile than the rest of us.
Q: Were there any denominations before the Roman Catholic Church?

fredsbendI am familiar with the Roman Catholic Church's account of their origin being from Peter when he was standing over the shrine to Pan while Christ was still alive (the 'on this rock I will build the church' part). However, many protestants object to the validity of this argument and interpretation....

and thanks, it's always nice to hear that something like that was useful - I've avoided flagging a few times because I hadn't had time to catch up on the process. (There's no sense in spamming flags if there's no consensus on how to handle something)
@Alypius You can "disagree" all you like, but SEI is a secular company and they have a secular agenda for hosting this site on their platform. This is an established fact. But being a secular site doesn't make the content coming from users secular. Of course the experts in this subject matter are going to be (for the most part) the people with backgrounds in it.
@Caleb have I used that word much? I used it in a rather guarded way when responding to fredsbend. In the recent case, I do mean something a bit weird that I'm still unsure about, but what I say in meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/a/1492/3941 gets the rough idea across
6:26 PM
@Alypius I don't mind seeing flags if there is doubt on how to handle something. If you know it needs something but unsure what, a flag is actually fine. It gets more experienced eyes on the matter and moderators are exception handlers -- it's our job to figure out how to handle the tricky stuff. The flag I did decline was specifically because the action required (if any) was an edit or a VTC, both of which are normal user actions.
@Caleb I agree, and that's exactly what I mean too. I guess I was just resisting what I saw as waving the secular flag around so as to ward certain types of answers off... a digression, though
@Alypius I'm not sure what kind of answers we'd be warding OFF in the name of being secular. If anything I see it as the other way around. We cover a broader range of topics for not being scoped to even the most basic tenants of Christianity.
I see why you declined it. I think that I can't edit yet though, so it does need attention that I can't provide
I have to go for a bit, I'll be sure to catch up when I'm back
@Caleb I just mean when someone first comes here and mistakenly starts talking all doctrine, saying the site is strictly secular might be less effective. I say this because somewhere I saw a useful first-time poster comment, after being corrected, "after reading the rules I see the site is not for me"
@Alypius I actually wasn't talking about "politeness" at all, although that is of course valuable. I was trying to communicate something about direction --- the direction you approach somebody from and the direction you're trying to send them. If you reply to somebodies content with "we're hostile to this", all they are going to do is feel repressed. That's what I meant by self-fulfilling.
If instead you say "we really like to see references to church doctrine on this sort of answer, do you have any to add", that gives them a direction to go. We still discourage unsupported opinion, but coming at it from behind and pushing them forward rather than from on top and pushing them back gives them a way to improve.
@Alypius Sure you can. You can edit posts with no rep at all. It will get peer reviewed until you are at 1000 rep, but the entry bar is at 0.
@Alypius This site isn't for most people. That's fine. We're a niche thing.
@Alypius The problem usually isn't just that people talk doctrine. We're all about doctrine. It's been suggested that we name the site that. The point is we're not about truth, which is where most people get off on the wrong foot. They want to talk about truth, by which they usually mean their personal pet doctrines, but they don't want to reference them and they don't want to talk about what Christianity IS only what they thing it SHOULD be.
@Alypius If the truth about what they wore really matters to them in their faith, that's all the more reason to ask on History not here! Our version of the question would only inform them about the beliefs of their sect, not about what was true one way or another.
7:11 PM
GUYS! I thought you had my back here!
@Caleb I do! (What makes you say that?)
How on earth did you let me answer the question "According to Calvinism, is God always loving?" with "No, absolutely not."
@Caleb Yeah, I do. I figured it would taste better than a shoulder...
9 hours that answer stood and nobody even commented to say I had it all backwards.
@Caleb shows how much attention I'm paying <_< >_>
7:14 PM
Turns out I answered the body of the question, but the title asks the reverse question. Quite awkward really.
@Caleb Heh. I've used that trick in the past. It gives the illusion that I'm not "taking sides".
@JonEricson It sure gave me a jolt when I read my own answer in the context of the title rather than the question. I'll make a heretic out of myself yet.
@Caleb God makes heretics out of us all.
@JonEricson ...that sounds like a quote! Is it?
@JonEricson Easiest work he ever did.
7:26 PM
@El'endiaStarman It just came to me. It sound wise, so I must have read it somewhere. ;-)
That's one problem with being well read -- you can never be quite sure when you have an original idea.
@Caleb sounds like a movie plot
8:16 PM
odd, had my site assn as A51 for a moment there
@waxeagle I noticed that. You look a little blue now. ;)
@JonEricson much better :)
@El'endiaStarman I found it! [PDF]
@JonEricson Haha, nice!
8:34 PM
@Caleb I see what you mean for directing people point. I had a different view there though. The issue wasn't the content, the issue was that he was struggling with policy in the questions/comments, and was not really able to say "I feel like this site is against me" without seeming dramatic. So I found a place where I did disagree with him and (actually rather delicately) said "yes, guilty as charged"
I should probably have added "let's talk", but he did end up on meta rather quick, which is probably the best place to help him
@Caleb I'm caught up with the difference between Truth and doctrine, what I meant by "talking doctrine" was "advancing doctrine"
@Alypius ...which is not what most of us are referring to. Those are what we've been labeling as promoting "truth".
@Caleb yep, I misspoke
I get your point that the questioner might be better off asking elsewhere. Is that the same as what counts as on and off topic?
@Alypius Not exactly. There is a lot of scope overlap between some sites, so it's not so much a matter of just on/off topic. In some cases it could be on topic on more than one site, in which case we try to judge what kind of answers are expected/wanted and where those answers will be most constructive.
For example your question that we migrated to BH recently ... the question itself could have been on topic on either site, but the sort of answers you seemed to be fishing for were not going to be considered constructive on C.SE, where-as they were just what BH specializes in.
8:52 PM
I wasn't fishing for the sort of answers that I've seen on BH
the answer that I managed to get on C was actually surprisingly good and neutral
@Alypius You're always going to have to deal with oddballs, but even with the smaller user base there is a lot better original laguage knowledge going around over there, and if neutral is what you are after, that's where neutral answers are going to be in scope,
@Alypius Yes, but that was in spite of the system not because of it. That answer didn't belong on C.SE, it was all decked out for BH from the get-go. (That user is also a regular cross-over guy).
9:11 PM
@Caleb is it certainly off topic for C, though? I was thinking perhaps I could cross post it
@Alypius I wouldn't cross post it verbatim -- but you could do a revised version. I think @JonEricson nailed it by suggesting you hit the related divisive issue head on and straight up ask for the history of that. Forget trying to be neutral on C.SE.
I'm not after that, I really do want to know what tradition of prayer Jesus was mentioning
@Alypius Then BH really is the best fit for that question. The tradition of prayer he is referring to isn't going to be part of Christianity, it's going to be something orthogonal to it.
9:29 PM
It's part of Christianity because Jesus, Himself, spoke about it, which surely makes it a Christian issue
@Alypius But not a christianity.se issue. It's confusing, I know...
I think a question that could work here is to ask if Jesus has in mind prayers like "Our Father" and "Hail Mary".
@JonEricson no, that part isn't confusing. I understand that certain Christian issues do not belong on C.SE, but I think that this one and others like it does belong
But I think the first has been asked and the second has some tangential issues that muddy the waters.
@JonEricson I think that sort of question should rightly be deleted
@Alypius Why?
9:36 PM
Because we want Christians and scholarly types to join this site. Yes, I do mean the very same ones you want to have join.
Another way to ask might be, "Is it legitimate to use Matthew 6:7 as an argument against the Catholic prayer tradition?"
@Alypius I'm being dense right now. How would asking that sort of question discourage Christian scholars from joining us?
asking if Jesus meant "Our Father" is immediately going to run into the issue of literal prayer. I mean, just think of what the answer would look like. "Absolutely not, because Jesus instructs us to pray the Our Father immediately after". Was that even what was being asked?
@Alypius Got it. It's too easy. I agree, in a way.
But it's surprising how many people ignore context. ;-)
@JonEricson because the sort of answers it gathers will make this site look highly unprofessional to scholars, un-Protestant to Protestants, and un-Catholic to Catholics, and in general not a site one would want to be seen associated with
@JonEricson what would happen in that case, though, is that people would attempt to get into the real issue. Any Christian knows it's not enough to just say "Absolutely not", you have to explain the whole thing about literal prayer. But at this point, you start interpreting according to your own denomination (giving "Truth"), and we're all in trouble
@Alypius How do you mean? What sort of trouble will we get into?
9:46 PM
@JonEricson I like your revised wording a fair bit more, by the way, though I still think it might lead to an "offensive" answer (by "offensive", I roughly mean "bad")
@JonEricson well, the site becomes more a place to try to advance our own religious positions than to answer questions
@JonEricson The rewording that you give is probably best split up into "What is the Catholic prayer tradition", and "what are the characteristics of the prayer tradition that Jesus criticizes?"
@Alypius I don't follow. Certainly a good answer to the sorts of questions I posed would include quotes from relevant authorities. But the answerer need not agree with what they quote.
@Alypius The first might be a bit too basic. A Google search might point directly to the official answer. (I haven't tried yet.)
@Caleb Very good points. Maybe hostile was not the right word. Definitely tough, but the faq is lacking by your own admission so you understand my frustration. After you and others spending the time on me I am much more appreciative of the way you are doing things here now, but I still think it needs something more. Not sure what. I will digest on the meta post I made for a while then post a smaller more pointed post.
@JonEricson well, how would you answer the question of legitimacy?
@Caleb I know the bludgeoning was a joke but still shows that he want to quickly nip something in the bud I think slightly without reason. Though I admit I did not read the context.
@fredsbend I'll own up to being tough.
9:56 PM
@Alypius Personally I leave the judgement of whether a source is legitimate to the readers. Obviously a Protestant website isn't the best sources of Catholic doctrine!
Frankly anything we put in the FAQ is never going to get people's heads around our site all in one pass. That's part of why we've dumped reams and reams of words on meta ... trying to help people get through their initial misconceptions and onto something constructive.
@Alypius Ok. Lets continue on the example of my question. I will edit it with what you said in mind then tell me what you think.
@JonEricson but your question wouldn't be asking about the Catholic position on the matter, but presumably on the "biblical" support
@Caleb In my large meta post I suggested a classification of questions which will have certain kinds of answers. What if the asker had to select one from the category before posting?
@Alypius I probably don't understand my question! ;)
10:00 PM
@fredsbend No it doesn't show that at all! Context matters. You represented that as if it was the way the high rep users handled themselves to newbies on meta which isn't at all the case, and the context in chat was purely humerus. The idea we've wrestled with historically isn't "nipping something in the bud" but actually sticking to our guns when people come along that really want to keep posting low quality stuff with no references.
@fredsbend remember we're dealing with the hand we're dealt here. SEI isn't going to make a major feature change just for us.
@fredsbend For better or worse, we don't have the option to make that sort of change to the way the SE engine works. The classification of questions is purely a metal exercise on the part of us the users and for our own internal communication, the ask question for will always be a blank slate.
..."if your answer will offend a Christian of some denomination, it doesn't belong here - stick to true facts that you can prove" might be a pretty effective rule
@Alypius It's amazing how little it takes to offend some people. I think that rule would result in no answers at all. ;-)
@Alypius Effective at what? What's the problem you're trying to solve? We already have a rule about not being offensive in general, but not offending any Christian denomination based on doctrinal content is practically impossible. Hence the match question/answer scoping we've settled on.
10:03 PM
I intend it to be a rule for posters and newbies, not for mods
@JonEricson Ultimately, I'm reasonable but I sometimes put up quite a fight before I get there. I look forward to running into you on the site.
@Alypius By the same tokein ... what is a "true facet you can prove"? Prove it to me.
@Caleb again, it's a rule for posters, not for mods
@Alypius rules apply basically universally here.
@Alypius Well, users are mods too. ;-)
10:05 PM
there aren't special rules for mods, we have some special privileges, but mostly we're just users
while there's surely someone in some denomination that is "offended" by "Catholics believe in transubstantiation", such a person is not among the "management" community here
@Alypius Diamond mods, such as @Caleb, @El'endiaStarman and @waxeagle, do a pretty good job of separating their personal beliefs from the operation of the site. They try to keep a level playing field.
@JonEricson I'm sure they do, which is why I think the rule would work
@JonEricson Mason Wheeler is another diamond mod, but he's very rarely in chat.
@Alypius what's the purpose of the rule though. We don't just make rules for no reason. What purpose does it serve.
10:10 PM
pick a bad answer on the site, and you'll probably see that it's offensive because it is wrong about a denomination, or is giving a denominational viewpoint as the general viewpoint
Also rules aren't just made in chat here. If you want to change site policy, propose it on meta so the whole community sees it, not just the small subset that's in chat. We can keep talking about it, but nothing will be decided here
@Alypius Define "bad". ;-)
@waxeagle easy-to-follow criteria for posting a good question
@Alypius Both those things are already rules and can be community enforced, no need for mods to step in at all.
@JonEricson no, you define bad ;) really though - according to your own standards, have a look
10:11 PM
@Alypius ? we've written reams on good questions, not sure another rule is going to help
@Caleb @Alypius I made a comment on the denominations post and I think it does need a rewrite. It can be much better. What do you think?
@Alypius If you can come up with that, by all means please post it to meta. We've tried and never come up with anything that makes it easy for newbies to understand the scope issues. We'd love to hear it if you can write it.
@fredsbend which post?
@waxeagle because I suspect the rule is much easier to apply than the more abstract specific rules. It's a litmus test. "Hmm, is this going to aggravate the Catholics/Protestants/Mormons?"
@Alypius why should an asker shy from a potentially controversial topic though? we've handled them adeptly our entire history.
do you see an issue with questions being offensive to other groups?
10:16 PM
@Caleb I don't think technically it is actually difficult to do. I could probably do it and I'm not that smart. I can understand keeping the template because other sites do not have a need for that; they probably would reject it to keep all the sites looking the same.
ok, time for me to go home. Will check back in later.
@waxeagle Which 'which post?' I think the only one of mine you have answered is the big on on meta.
@Alypius I encourage you, if you've got something solid, to write up a meta post outlining it so that we can look at the whole proposal and respond to it instead of piecemeal in chat.
and with that I'm home to have a beer.
me too, bye.
@fredsbend It's not a matter of technical feasibility. The SE crew has some crack programmers. The issue is that for philosophical reasons that bind the whole network, all the sites use roughly identical workflows for consistencies sake. If you did convince them a change would be in the best interest, it would have to be for ALL the sites.
Frankly I suggest you hang around and learn the ropes for a while before you try to bring up that sort of change. You'll get a lot farther with your ideas if you demonstrate a proficiency with the current system, which you still are not up to speed with.
10:42 PM
@Alypius Just so you know, Stack Exchange sites don't really work well with litmus tests of any variety. I think the one you propose is not really going to work. If I ask a question about Martin Luther, there's a good chance it's going to offend some Catholics (and maybe even some Lutherans!).
10:54 PM
@JonEricson can you think of such a question? While also believing that Lutherans are reasonable folks? (If you can't believe that Lutherans are reasonable folks, don't ask.)
Q: Did Luther Really Use Bar Tunes for his Hymns?

Thomas ShieldsThe title sums it up: I often hear it said during the debates on liturgy and music styles that are appropriate for worship that even Luther used common bar tunes (equivalent to days pop songs) for his hymns. Is this true?

s/Lutherans/Catholics, though same applies
Here's one that offends my tradition:
Q: Do Calvinists rejoice in the destruction of sinners?

Jon EricsonI recently re-read "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and I was struck by the pleasure Jonathan Edwards seemed to have taken in describing the emanate destruction of sinners: The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, a...

I can't imagine the first one being offensive, especially because I presume that Thomas is the very same Lutheran that Thomas had in mind when he posted and answered his own question. "Is this misconception about X really true? Nope!"
Entirely unrelated, but potentially interesting! How to Become Pope (YouTube link)
11:03 PM
@Alypius And I can imagine it to be offensive. What about this one:
Q: Is it true that Martin Luther used some bad language in his own writings?

brilliantIs it true that Martin Luther cursed a lot and even used some bad language in his own writings?

He also hated Jews, late in life. Should we be concerned about the Jews for Jesus folks being offended? ;-)
@JonEricson you're (presumably?) not a Lutheran, so maybe you really shouldn't be asking that sort of question - if you feel that it might offend, then that's a good indication that you should avoid asking it
@Alypius Truth is, the only real requirement for asking Stack Exchange questions is curiosity. Obviously, offensive posts are edited or deleted, but the rules of what is and is not offensive are purposely vague. We don't have a Miller test.
I'm not talking about criteria for decisions, I'm talking about giving guidance to posters
@El'endiaStarman That's fun and educational!
@Alypius But we kinda need to all get on board with what guidance we should give. And I don't care for your criteria suggestion. (No offense, I hope. ;-)
11:23 PM
@JonEricson I'm subscribed to six YouTube educators' channels, and there are a couple others that I sorta follow.
11:48 PM
@El'endiaStarman should be noted that not all Catholics, priests, and bishops will be competing against you at each stage
also, while the procedure described is how one becomes a Cardinal, the Cardinals really can just elect any Catholic male
@Alypius That's like saying any person born in the United States, lived there permanently for 14 years, and is over 35 years old can be the President. It's true, but it's just not going to happen. It's been quite a while since we had a President that wasn't a Senator or Representative. Also, Grey pointed that out at the beginning of the video.

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