Lately I am perturbed to see so many questions which are basically meant as posers for Christian bashing rather than for a healthy discussion on Christianity. The answers and comments are not at all constructive but damaging to Christian belief. Can something be done about this or is it time for those who have this notion to say 'quit' and let it be run by Christian bashers from atheist and Islam?

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    I have to ask. Was the purpose of this site to be a "christian resource site"? As far as I know were are here for Q&A about Christianity, what the site is after that is somewhat secondary. Yes we'd love to be a primary resource for questions about Christianity, but I don't think we've tried or even want to be a "Christian resource site". Yes there are some quality issues, this isn't new, it's something we've battled since day 1. But let's not forget what we are. We are a site about Christianity that is owned and managed by a secular company. – wax eagle Aug 3 '12 at 15:44
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    If you see problematic questions, vote them down, vote to close, and/or flag them. If the moderators become aware of users who have a pattern of trolling, we'll toss them out. We've done it a few times before when people refused to shape up and abide by the standards of our community. – Mason Wheeler Aug 3 '12 at 15:58
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    @MasonWheeler Please don't vote down questions (or answers) just because you find them problematic. Vote them down if they show little effort of research from the author. – user1054 Aug 3 '12 at 16:44
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    Read Caleb's post here: Brothers, we are not Christians – quantumSoup Aug 3 '12 at 20:37
  • Good this question came out. I wanted to ask the question 2 days ago. Downvote is easy because people don't even know how to shape their questions or answers to fit everyone's believe and you definitely offend some. I reserve further comments – tunmise fashipe Aug 4 '12 at 2:25
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    Surely it is simply: the type of questions that you want to see asked - ask some of those – Marc Gravell Aug 4 '12 at 7:55

I agree we've taken a major step backwards in question quality lately. I've been too busy to spend the time it takes to reign it in, but that doesn't mean that others cannot step up to the plate.

  • We need to write some meta posts like this one, but going into detail on why some of the recent questions are problematic.

  • The community needs to step up the voting effort. We've seen that good quality questions recently get little attention while some that attract participation from non-Christian perspectives get votes just due to interest. Those who can recognize whether answers accuractly reflect the perspectives they claim to speak for and whether answers cover all the views called for by a question should step up their efforts to upvote answers that do this.

  • Questions that call for discussion or really aren't aimed at getting a Christian doctrinal answer should be closed. Answers that don't represent Christianity and are just participation from a philosophical angle should get downvoted/commented to explain why they aren't appropriate.

I'm sure there is more, but those are a few action points to get peopel started!

  • If that is feasible, the immediate remedy to this would be to filter out all such questions and delete them. I said immediate since t his would ensure that this negative comments and answers whivj ate agaist Cjristisn faith would not affect the fsith of feeble who sincerely lokking iu – JoaoRodrigues Aug 3 '12 at 15:35
  • Tried deleting above as I wanted to correct the comment to 'If that is feasible, the immediate remedy to this would be to filter out all such questions and delete them. This would ensure that these negative comments and answers which are against Christian faith would not affect the faith of those who try to strenthen it. – JoaoRodrigues Aug 3 '12 at 15:46
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    @JoaoRodrigues immediate deletion is only used for extremely egregious content. It would not be an option. It is much better if our users vote to close such questions as not constructive or downvote them. – wax eagle Aug 3 '12 at 15:53

As has already been eloquently stated, this is not a Christian site. I don't think it can function as a "Christian resource site". At best, it's a place to share ideas and learn from each other. Nothing on this site is provably authoritative, as even within valid Christianity, there is a lot of disagreement on different points and doctrines.

The value of this site isn't so much as a resource site, where you can come for definitive answers. The value is in the ability to learn different ways of looking at things. To understand how our brothers and sisters view things.

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    I'm pretty certain we will not be able to shake the ruling from overloards that says that will be the scope of this site, but we could change our policy in, for example, insisting that answers identify WHICH Christian perspective they speak for instead of leaving it to the reader to guess so much of the time. – Caleb Aug 3 '12 at 15:12
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    The inclusiveness of the site has NOTHING to do with the quality problem. Most of the problem questions are from people who probably don't identify with Christianity at all, and just want to ask awkward questions. This would in no way decrease (and I suspect would increase) if we defined Christianity to include only North American Evangelicals. – DJClayworth Aug 3 '12 at 16:39
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    I find the problem is that people view it as "this isn't MY Christianity", so they must be anti-Christian. Fact of the matter is, there is no clear definition of a Christian. I believe this is by design. If you look at the history of Christianity, it wouldn't have spread if it were any other way. – user1054 Aug 3 '12 at 16:50
  • @Dan Andrews: The recent troubles are definitely not caused by people who claim to be Christians and oppose other people who also claim to be Christian but "this isn't MY christianity". I've not even seen a single example of this in the recent dozens of posts. The troublesome posts are usually deliberate trolling, in the form of "I have this opinion about Christianity, and I'll disguise it as a question so all can see how stupid they are." – vsz Aug 5 '12 at 15:09
  • I guess I have to agree with all the comments, so I deleted the portion of the answer that has caused so many comments, but kept what I believe to be more relevant. – David Stratton Aug 5 '12 at 19:24

if homosexuality is a sin, why isn't abstinence?

The above is a perfect example of why I have almost completely stopped using this site. People have stopped asking about beliefs, doctrines and particular scriptures and started asking asinine questions that assume huge logical errors. There are a dozen more I could list here and in fact this is not the worst of them.

I am with Caleb and his suggestions. I also suggest that we get more mods because like Caleb said about his own time I have noticed many of the mods don't have a lot of time to stomp this out. And the more of these questions we get the more they will show up in google which means the more of these type of people we will get.... well you can see the cycle.

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    FYI: High-reputation users have a role in moderating the site and can help the diamond moderators be more efficient with their time. Please use tools such as voting, editing, closing questions and flags to take ownership of the site. – Jon Ericson Aug 3 '12 at 18:19
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    I've just closed this question. Is X a sin is a useless series of questions. – wax eagle Aug 3 '12 at 18:27
  • @JonEricson trust me when I have been on I have taken the time to do those things. But its hard to want to get on when that's ALL your doing. – Ryan Aug 3 '12 at 18:54
  • Given that high profile American Christians have been on television and stated categorically that unions between homosexuals should not be permitted because they do not produce children (note: abstinence also does not produce children), I think it's a great question, highly topical, and a shame that it is closed. I think that C.SE is going backwards not because these questions are being asked, but because it refuses to answer them. – Kaz Dragon Aug 7 '12 at 7:14
  • @KazDragon the question is about what is and isn't a sin, that's not something we can really determine in this context (We can't deal in absolutes, there are plenty of Christians who don't believe homosexuality is a sin at all). Finally, whoever is making this argument about why homosexuality is wrong should probably have their credentials checked...and revoked (previous is an opinionated statement probably unbecoming of a moderator, but I'm gonna post it anyways). – wax eagle Aug 9 '12 at 1:37

Please be careful as you can consider something "offensive" just because it's challenging. Healthy discussions about Christianity are not the same as sitting around a camp fire and singing hymns. While I mostly agree that there have been some bad questions, it's up to our mods to close them and the users to down vote them. Please don't consider a question a bad question just because you don't want to deal with it - this is an SE after all.

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    strongly disagree with "its up to our mods to close them" mod closures should be rare it's a rep based privilege and should be used. – wax eagle Aug 3 '12 at 18:27
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    I strongly disagree that a question should be down voted just because it's not consistent with the common belief system. A down vote should be for a question that shows little effort. Down voting is promoted by the mods here and which isn't consistent with other SE's and StackExchange. One of us is wrong. – user1054 Aug 3 '12 at 18:36
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    Its not that the questions are offensive, though some of them are, its as I said above there just not good questions. Lots of questions on this site are offensive to someone (I mean cmon there is a huge disparity between all the groups that label themselves christian) but those questions can still be GOOD questions for their intended audience. Questions that assume, or make leaps of logic or are just poorly constructed are what we are talking about here. And lately there have been a lot of those types of questions. – Ryan Aug 3 '12 at 18:57
  • Posing challenging questions with deceptive motives, is what has been seen in last couple of questions. The real motives get exposed in comments and arguments offered which typically are not always contructive – JoaoRodrigues Aug 4 '12 at 4:55

Maybe we could formalize a rule, either in the FAQ or here, to be cited? For example, we could filter out most of these low-quality questions, by asking the following question: what was the motivation of the one who asked the question?

  1. was it asked with the goal of learning something, because the QA was curious about something and sincerely wanted to get an answer to something which was unknown or not clear for him/her.

  2. was it asked not to get an answer, but only to "prove a point", usually using the straw-man strategy. In this case the askers already have their answers they firmly believe in, and only ask so that others will answer and they can point out what they believe as inconsistencies in the answers.

There is actually a rule on the site: you should not post rants disguised as questions, or questions that solicit a debate.

(we had a similar discussion when a large number of questions were focusing on Noah's arc)

While sometimes the true motivation of the QA cannot be understood, most of the time it is blatantly obvious when a QA is trolling. The most dangerous type is when one trolls just for the purpose of being downvoted, then loudly proclaims how easily those "stupid Christians" get offended, and how they want to inhibit his right of free speech.

As a conclusion, I think the "question solicits a debate" is a usable method to close such questions.

  • -1 I disagree. There are good questions and there are bad questions. To which there will be good answers and bad answers. Motivation is irrelevant. Even the worst kind of troll can put out good questions. The votes tell on these. – Kaz Dragon Aug 7 '12 at 7:15
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    @KazDragon Nine times out of ten motivation is a good indicator of quality. But I agree, if we make it into a rule it'll be used as an excuse to shut out alternate views that one doesn't agree with. Better to have such questions asked and then voted upon than ban them by faq. – Monika Michael Aug 7 '12 at 16:09

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