On an answer to a question about the Protestant (excluding Seventh Day Adventist) perspective on Sabbath-keeping, I left the following comment:

What translation are you using for Matthew 5:17 which has "magnify it"? (Your other quotes were KJV.) I am also curious about what denominational perspective this represents. Googling (Matthew 5:17 "magnify it") was not helpful in finding a translation and hinted that this might be coming from a Church of God (or perhaps Church of the Great God) perspective. Identifying perspective can be helpful in cases like this where doctrines differ between denominations.

I am a little concerned that the request for a denominational perspective may seem a bit pushy or threatening ("What kind of heretic are you? I want to know so I can choose the right kind of stones to cast at you."). I wrote "helpful" to indicate that such is not required but would likely improve the answer. (I probably should have written "doctrinal perspective", especially given this Meta question--and waxeagle's comment distinguishing doctrinal vs. denominational.)

I can somewhat understand being hesitant to identify the perspective (such may invite persecution or just dismissal of the content) and having difficulty naming the perspective (particularly when one feels it is simply a Bible-believing Christian perspective).

Sadly, questions on controversial topics are the ones that would most benefit from identifying a perspective and the ones that would most discourage the inclusion of such identification.

(That particular question's topic has historically been somewhat controversial. I suspect the six or so "drive-by" downvotes to answers since the question was revived is a consequence of diverse strongly held views.)

Anyway, is there a better way to encourage such identification and avoid seeming intrusive or likely to persecute/ignore different views?

  • 1
    Just ask. I might work a bit more up later. But really, just ask. It's not rude to ask someone who they're claiming to represent when they answer. We've said over and over that we're not here to generate new theology but the accurately write about what's already been written.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 0:17
  • I just vtc'd that post. "biblical, protestant perspective" is much too broad. So the problem here is with the question, not the answer. What the answerer wrote is fair because it was within the scope of the question. But the question is out of scope for the site.
    – user3961
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 7:12
  • @fredsbend I did not mean to imply that the answer was faulty (but that including a perspective would have been an improvement). I also think there is a place for overview questions, though as phrased that question is more likely to generate single-perspective answers (like mine :-( ). It is also not clear if excluding SDA is meant to exclude any perspective that has a similar retention of the OT law. The asker might also have been unaware of how broad the question is (so "on hold" with suggestions could be good).
    – user3331
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 14:17

1 Answer 1

  • Begin with a friendly greeting. It may put the reader in a good mood.

Hi, ____! Welcome to the Christianity Stacks Exchange. [for a new member]

Hi, ____! Welcome back to the Christianity Stacks Exchange. [for an old or returning member]

  • Make a brief comment about what you've read and what you think the question may be improved in a formal tone of voice. Pretend that you are a telephone operator, a librarian, or a sales clerk.

After reviewing your question, I am sorry to say that this question is not answerable at the present moment, because this question is not scoped to a doctrinal, denominational, or theological perspective.

  • Ask the questioner to specify or narrow down the scope of the question.

Seeing that there may be multiple good answers, I am wondering if this question may be scoped to a single doctrinal, denominational, or theological perspective.

  • End your comment with a closing.

Best regards, ____

  • While this provides some applicable advice, this Meta question was more concerned with answers providing an "identifiable perspective". Are you indicating that any question that could have different correct answers should be fixed rather than urging those providing answers to state the perspective? (This would seem to be standard for SE, but I have some hesitancy to embrace that strictly.)
    – user3331
    Commented Sep 8, 2013 at 22:53
  • Well, basically, I assumed ignorance, as in "I don't know which position is the true statement, so I am going to accept all answers as true statements and require everybody to provide their points-of-view."
    – Double U
    Commented Sep 8, 2013 at 23:48
  • Ignorance is probably the most common reason for such "too broad" questions, but I suspect that sometimes the asker wants to avoid having to ask five or more questions (with significant overlap) to get a reasonably thorough answer. In some cases changing the question will invalidate some answers (rather than just making them incomplete), which is undesirable but not a disaster. There is also the problem that the asker may not bother editing the question, so anyone who wants to save the question must guess (or independently ask a good form of the question).
    – user3331
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 14:48

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