I have often wondered when people ask an Old Testament question why sometimes they will be told to ask Judaism.SE as though everything in the Old Testament was not a Christian subject. If I ask a question on Christianity.SE I am looking for an answer that might have a Messianic twist even though it seems purely 'Jewish'. In fact, I would be offended if I asked a question about God or his behaviors and then had my Christian question 'tossed over' to another religion that has an entirely different view from mine!?

What is the thought process here? Today in the middle of answering a question it was migrated, so I just posted my answer on Judaism.SE. Will I have to answer more and more Christian more questions there now? Should I plan to answer questions on Islam.SE in the future? Does a person asking a question on a forum about Christianity, not implicitly expect an audience familiar with Christianity to answer?

Note: I do not mind joining other sites and can enjoy answering or asking questions there, I am just wondering if the person asking would not go there themselves if that was the audience they wanted to ask a question from.

  • 4
    I apologize for my role in this. When asked if Mi Yodeya would accept the migration I said yes (as it's on-topic for us), but I neglected to drill into that and ask why it was being migrated and whether BH would be a better fit. I regret the frustration this has caused and will try to be more careful in the future. Apr 5, 2013 at 15:04
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    @MonicaCellio - by the way this is really mostly about nothing. No apology is required at all. It's more about a trend of thought communicated by many to me, that has me confused - so I naturally ask.
    – Mike
    Apr 9, 2013 at 11:22

5 Answers 5


First of all, we are not a Christian site. If that is the expectation people have when asking here as opposed to somewhere else, they are barking up the wrong tree anyway.

Secondly, your post here gets a little carried away with the identifiers. I could go down the list and argue each one isn't really cut or dry. We are not a Christian audience, the text in question is the Hebrew Scriptures and it wasn't a Christian question it was a history question. Also we have very few migrations to Mi Yodea. 5 in the history of the site. One of them is as blatant as "Are Jews ....". The only thing to do with that is send them over to ask a Jew. We have 2 migrated questions to Philosophy (one from an OP from there and the other a question about Stephen Hawking's idea of God) and zero to Islam. In over-stating your case, I think you made it weaker. It sounds almost like a rant.

Finally, I do actually agree the migration was probably out of place. The question would be equally on topic both places and usually when that is the case, leaving it where it is is the preferred option. The major exception to this "rules" is Biblical Hermeneutics with which we have some scope overlap. In those cases the same question may be on topic either place, but the kind of answer expected and the framework they put around the question might determine if we migrate it or not. The migration you are specifically questioning could be better off addressing an audience with broader knowledge of history from the required perspective. I can see why somebody might have suggested migrating it even if I wouldn't have myself.

In answer to your question about will you have to answer more and more Christian questions on other SE sites, the answer is no. If specifically Christian questions show up on other sites, they should get migrated here. If somebody asks something about Christianity on Islam, we will end up with the question. If they ask about Islam's view on a Christian issue, that isn't our job to answer anyway. The same goes for Judaism. There is a certain genre of questions that show up on Philosophy, History and Skeptics (check out the bible and christianity tags on each for example) that might interest you, but they are clearly not questions expecting a Christian response.

Of course somebody asking here usually expects a Christian response, but often times they are lost and throwing questions at the wind. Just because they asked here doesn't mean we are actually the most competent audience on the SE network to field the question. There are some history things that if they don't have a good tie in to Christian doctrine or practice, we're better off punting. Same for Jewish practice. Even though it's relevant to Christianity, if the question is specifically about Jewish something or other, they should answer the main question and the OP can ask us about any specific Christian takes on the matter.

  • This answers the question quite well. Actually by 'Christian audience' I was more thinking people knowledgeable or interested in the subject of Christianity, rather than Judaism, or Islam.
    – Mike
    Apr 4, 2013 at 23:02

There may questions (El'endia Starman lists some criteria) off-topic here and worthy of migration to Judaism or Islam. But if it is migrated, then, as the asker here notes, the question's asker may be disappointed by the result. I think a possible solution is to close the question here with a comment indicating that it should be brought into this site's scope or migration will follow; await such an edit; and, if there is no such, only then migrate.


Since this question is quite clearly about my question, then I'll chime in.

I don't mind at all that the question was migrated. Indeed, I think it was beneficial. Mike's answer was helpful (and accepted), but I received another helpful answer from a member of Mi Yodeya, from a different interpretation of the passage that I would probably not have received had it stayed on Christianity.SE.

I've only been active on here for a month or so, but this is the first question I've seen migrated. I don't think there is a problem, or a potential problem in this area. I did not specifically ask for a Christian perspective, rather the implication was I was asking for a Biblical perspective. Since Christians and Jews share the Old Testament, I think it was equally on-topic both places.

In short, I think the migration was helpful. El'endia Starman was correct in that I would not have thought to ask it on Mi Yodeya, so it is also helpful that the migrate feature exists.

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    Your response is somewhat expected and gracious. I was using your question as an example for a broader set of people where they might not be as gracious and as liberal as you are. Cheers.
    – Mike
    Apr 6, 2013 at 2:09
  • I completely understand. Thanks for the thoughts and the answer to my question
    – SSumner
    Apr 6, 2013 at 4:19

From the FAQ:

You may ask questions about any area of Christianity. Your own beliefs do not not preclude you from asking questions, but all questions must be directly related to Christianity.

Taking the example that you're referring to, that question is about a specific passage in the Old Testament that does not have any relation to Christianity whatsoever. Not even a possible Messianic twist.

Not all Old Testament questions are off-topic. For instance, the Ten Commandments are used as a basis for some of Jesus' teachings in the New Testament. Laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy may or may not still apply to us today. The first few chapters of Genesis are fodder for on-topic questions as they deal with Creation and very fundamental aspects of humans. The Flood is on-topic as it is a fairly significant part of Christian apologetics, particularly those that assert the infallible/inerrant nature of the Bible.

Off-topic Old Testament questions would include those such as how to apply a specific law (such as not cooking a young goat in its mother's milk), or reasons that God ordered the Israelites to do a particular action, or what a particular symbol represents in Jewish culture, or other similar questions. Basically, if its interpretation can be sourced from and contained within the Old Testament or other Jewish works, it's off-topic.

An edge case example: asking about the law of keeping the Sabbath holy by doing no work on that day. A question that was simply seeking a clarification on just what exactly constitutes "doing work" would be off-topic for this site, but a question asking how Jesus healing a cripple's hand constitutes work might be on-topic. Asking why Jesus ignored that prohibition on doing work on the Sabbath would definitely be on-topic.

A person asking a question on a Christian site may implicitly expect a Christian audience to answer, but a Christian audience is not necessarily the right audience to ask.

And yes, if we migrate a question from here to Islam.SE (like, say, whether Muhammad believed Jesus was the Son of God) and you still wanted to answer it, then yes, you would have to answer it over there. Also, SSumner didn't previously have an account on Mi Yodeya, and it is unreasonable to expect that everyone will know the best place to ask questions. That's why we have the migrate feature.

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    Re "a specific passage in the Old Testament that does not have any relation to Christianity whatsoever. Not even a possible Messianic twist": (1) Doesn't every passage of the Christian Bible have relation to Christianity by virtue of its having been included in the canon? (2) Surely no one on the site checked every commentary on the verse before it was migrated. I'm not disagreeIng with you (I don't know enough about Christianity or Christianity to do so), just wondering.
    – msh210
    Apr 4, 2013 at 18:50

It's about providing the best possible answer to a given question.

Sure, we could take a stab these questions, but when it comes to the Old Testament, the other site is going to have people who have a much stronger focus for that area, and therefore should be able to provide a much more complete answer.

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