I know right now I'm talking to myself, but I just asked a question which would probably be flagged as 'off topic' because I didn't ask a question 'about Christianity' I just asked a question that wants a Christian answer and Christianity is well known for attempting to answer.

So rather than asking, "How does your faith in Jesus give your life meaning?", I ask "What is the meaning of life?" Which in this venue ought to mean the same thing.

However, this doesn't fly on the other SE sites. On programmers.SE for instance, I can't ask "What is the meaning of life?" I can't even ask "What is the meaning of programming?".

However, this site is not a site for "professional Christians", so perhaps it'll be more lenient.

  • I did ask this question before my question was closed. This post is not about the question being closed.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 23, 2011 at 19:42
  • 2
    +1 To OP for this (meta) question. Regardless of whether the OP's question on the main page was closed, this question is still valid. The OP is basically asking "Is such and such an off-topic question?" SE goes beyond saying that this type of question is valid. They say this type of question is one of The 7 Essential Questions of Every Beta. blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/07/…
    – Stainsor
    Aug 25, 2011 at 19:12
  • 1
    Isn't this similar to the endless "What is a good cartoon for programmers?" questions?
    – TRiG
    Sep 1, 2011 at 20:45

3 Answers 3


I closed this as "Not a Real Question". The problem isn't context - yes, you should assume that all questions asked here are asked in the context of Christianity. The problem is... Well, what are you asking?

  • Do you want to know what I (the Reader) think Life means?

  • Do you want to know how Christ gives meaning to my life?

  • Do you wish to know what Christ has told us to do with our lives?

  • Do you want to know why we were created, what purpose this vale of tears serves in God's plan, and when it will be complete?

  • ??

In other words: are you asking a GTKY question, are you asking about Christ's teachings, are you asking for broad revelations of God's ineffable plan, or... something else?

On this, as on all SE sites, your first goal when writing a question should be to communicate to the reader the specifics of the problem you are trying to solve. I got the strong impression when reading that question that you had either not put sufficient though into it to refine an answerable question from your thoughts, or that you were being (ahem) somewhat flippant.

  • Oh no, not at all and I think I improved it, I really had the Catechism in mind when I wrote the question. I just figure, if the question is answerable in the Catholic Catechism, then it's answerable on StackExchange. I legitimately wanted to see the protestant answers, that's why I didn't ask the question in it's present form. Now I'm asking if a one liner is sufficient to explain why we're here.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 23, 2011 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Peter: and see that - what you just said in the comment - is a much better, much more practical question. An answer could dissect the purpose of the catechism, source its inspiration, interpret its meaning... Without diving head-first into existential topics. You should consider re-editing... Or better yet, just asking a new question, since the original version has effectively poisoned that one.
    – Shog9
    Aug 23, 2011 at 21:01
  • OK, I think I did it justice, it would be a pity to see question #1 go into the trash heap, even if it's not the penultimate question I wanted it to be.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 23, 2011 at 21:13

I don't think your question was closed for being off-topic, so much as it was just not objectively answerable.

Due to the topic of this site, I think we'll be struggling a bit to define "subjective & argumentative" (now known as "not constructive") for awhile. I think this one falls too much into the red zone, though.

Normally StackExchange sites are meant for "practical, answerable questions" and should not allow too much in terms of "chatty, open-ended questions".

The question you've posted runs far afoul of those guidelines. I strongly suggest reading the FAQ, and the StackExchange Blog posting on Good Subjective/Bad Subjective.


Your question was closed appropriately, even if it was implied that the question was titled "…for Christians." That is not at issue.

This site is ultimately a site about Christianity. It cannot reasonably become a site for any issue that could possibly be of interest to Christians. Instead of allowing questions on any topic, Stack Exchange sites are supposed to build a canon of knowledge about very specific topics.

With a topic like Christianity, staying focused on that core purpose becomes even more important than ever. Calls to become "more lenient," are really just a veiled way to expanding the purpose of these sites to include more conversation and other aspects of a support group.

That is not what we do here.

Questions are to represent real problems or questions about the topic of Christianity; Not just imponderables, hypotheticals, or requests for everyone opinions.

Even if you were to ask "How does your faith in Jesus give your life meaning?", that isn't really a great question for this site. If there is no expectation that any one answer could be more correct than another, you're simply building an indiscriminate list of stories, opinions, or other “getting-to-know-you” stuff.

Simply stated, the premise of the question was not a great fit for this type of Q&A. It is a better fit for a general discussion forum. We simply forgo these types of questions in the interest of building a great canon of knowledge.

  • I asked this question half an hour before it was closed, your answer has pretty much nothing to do with what I'm asking.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 23, 2011 at 20:53
  • @Peter Turner: If you want a pedantic answer if the two versions of your question imply the same thing, then I'll just say "yes." But I thought it was worthwhile to note why it wouldn't have made a difference in the closing of your question. Aug 23, 2011 at 21:19
  • Well, there's a third version of the question now. And your use of the word Ultimately to infer beginning and end is very appropriate here, as it was the first to be asked, the first to be closed, and the first closer was the ultimate closer and hopefully the ultimate reopener.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Aug 23, 2011 at 21:22

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