What is the difference between "pastoral" and just "a question someone has because it affects them?" Because that is the main point of an SE, to answer questions that YOU have, that are relevant to YOU.
Sure, if someone is asking for an answer that is only specific to them, it should be closed as "too localized."
"Pastoral" should only mean "the center circle."
However, this does not mean you should not ask questions that are IMPORTANT TO YOU. On SEs, you are encouraged to ask questions that you actually, personally have, not just "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" thought questions.
So here's the first question to get closed on "pastoral" groundshere's the first question to get closed on "pastoral" grounds and it demonstrates the weakness of this approach.
Though the poster shares a bunch of personal details, he does not ask "help me!"... He asks extremely specific and legitimate Christian belief questions.
How is it fair that I am not aloud into heaven when God was the one who made me homosexual?
In that case, should homosexuals be able to marry and love one another (husband/husband, wife/wife) but be forbidden from sexual conduct?
How can a God who created my body and mind, create a world where I am specifically hated or considered "mentally ill", and/or "not of God".
If someone who wasn't gay asked these same questions, they would be legitimate? If someone was "just askin'" out of morbid curiosity?
So someone who actually has a vested interest in the question can't ask them? And you think that is a positive think that will make this SE more valuable?
There is a huge difference between someone asking for specific pastoral advice, and someone asking about general Christianity questions because they bear upon their specific situation.
I'll be honest, interpreting questions like this as OT is more restrictive than what other "subjective" SEs are doing. Go look at parenting.SE. The highest rated questions there are EXACTLY parallel to questions like this one. https://parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/1776/how-can-i-prevent-my-8-year-old-from-spending-time-with-his-bad-friend
Or heck, like my Tyranny of the Weaker BrotherTyranny of the Weaker Brother question. It's a point of theology, but it does affect me. Is that asking for "pastoral advice" and should be mod-closed? Because I see zero difference in nature between the two questions.
Furthermore, I hear concerns about legal implications of giving religious advice. Unless this is based on real feedback from the SE team, it is totally a made up concern. Someone might write bad code based on Stack Overflow and crush someone under a bridge. Someone can poison themselves off Gardening, or crush their kids' fragile little minds from Parenting. This is known and accepted, and is no different here.