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We established a while ago that lack of references to independent sources is not a valid reason to downvote or delete an answer because a requirement for such references would only serve to exclude answers from the perspective of Christian groups that either explicitly reject creating such documents or are too small/too new to have created such documents or have them prepared via study by outsiders, even when answers from such perspectives are germane to the question at hand.

Obviously, such perspectives would be off-topic if a given question asks specifically what, say, Miaphysite or Wesleyans or Neo-Arians believe, but if asks generally "What do Christians think/what should Christians think," then obviously answers from any Christian perspective (Christian, for the purposes of this site, being anyone who self-identifies as Christian) are appropriate, and we have to make sure we don't structure our requirements for answers in ways that exclude extreme minority perspectives simply because they make adherents of larger forms of Christianity uncomfortable.

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    Where did we establish this? Reference please? (On this point, that you claim was established by this community, there should be no such problem with finding the document.) – Mason Wheeler May 25 '12 at 18:53
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    I agree, where did we decide that was ok? A link would help you tremendously here. – wax eagle May 25 '12 at 19:24
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    Actually, your definition is wrong. It isn't any "one" who self identifies- it's any group. Please prove that you are a group. – Affable Geek May 31 '12 at 12:38
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This is incorrect.

Our strong preference is for people to cite sources and add references. We strive to be an academic resource and not having references cheapens this.

This is especially true when you make a claim that goes against the mainstream. Back it up with scripture or history. If you cannot do those things don't make the claim.

I realize this is a place where religious beliefs are shared, but cheapening what is hopefully a good academic resource with outlandish and unsupported claims is not what we are here for. If you were to say make a blog post with those claims in a well supported manner (or even a poorly supported one) and link to it, or quote from it in an answer, that would be welcome. But spouting unsupported and outlandish claims with no backup is not useful or welcome.

  • Except that's not true, because that would exclude answers from perspectives for which such documents simply do not exist (perhaps they're preserved entirely by oral tradition) even when such perspectives are relevant to the question that was asked, which clearly runs counter to the purpose of this site. – Steely Dan May 25 '12 at 18:56
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    @SteelyDan oral tradition is fine, provided there are resources given. (Also there is little excuse for purely oral tradition in the modern era, it's also incredibly unreliable) – wax eagle May 25 '12 at 19:03
  • And for perspectives for which such resources do not exist, requiring sources effectively suppresses them. Which is directly contrary to the purpose of this site. – Steely Dan May 25 '12 at 19:12
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    @SteelyDan if those resources don't exist how can you prove those beliefs exist? – wax eagle May 25 '12 at 19:19
  • For one, by being a member of such a group myself I can personally attest to it. Or perhaps I know members of other such groups personally, etc. – Steely Dan May 25 '12 at 19:33
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    @SteelyDan: Then document your views somewhere else. There are plenty of places on the net for publishing your personal convictions complete with all their trappings. Then if relevant questions come up here you can use that as references. However this site is not a progressive forum where new views should be first aired to the public. Answers here should stick to matching people's questions against a known corpus of doctrines. – Caleb May 28 '12 at 10:40
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In fact, the closest we came to "establishing this a while back" was that privately held opinion is decidelt off topic. Per this question, in which you advanced this view, the answer ended up at -2, whereas the opposite view- that in the absence of sources to the contrary, the subject of Christianity was assumed to be historic Chalcedonian Christianity, and that sourcing was required.

Put another way, in geologic terms, we care about the breadth of the rocks- not the one off piece of plastic that just got caught in the rock. This is not intended to denigrate your views- far from it. We would encourage you to maintain your own blog, to respond logically and critically (meaning in the well reasoned and well supported sense) and to extend the community- but not to turn it into a soapbox for privately held opinion. That would be to denigrate yourself.

Even Wikipedia demands references, sources, and claims of notability. Truly the best articles here even strike a solid note of "Neutral Point of View." Going back to Atwood, Spolsky, and now @Shog9- the idea of SE is part-Wiki, part reference. While we do not mean to replace Wikipedia, many of the stylistic guidelines would apply.

I don't mean to be harsh when I say, "Nobody cares what "I" think. We care about the historical and wide ranging breadth of the thrust of Christianity. In seminary, we learn to respond to and understand what is, even before we form an opinion as to what should be. That makes us better students, and ultimately better able to serve as ministers, because we understand before we seek to be understood.

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