Originally posted as an answer to Types of questions, or template questions, that the community generally finds acceptable, I'm following the suggestion to make this a separate post.
I believe that the sort of proposal I'm going to make has been argued for before, but I would like to weigh in on that discussion and request a re-evalution of the community's judgment for:
- Elementary enquiries regarding Christianity (as a whole) posted by those who lack the conceptual framework to be able to successfully research their own answer to what may be regarded as basic questions by those who do possess such a framework.
The background for this request is thinking about the way the following two questions and in particular their answers were received by the community: A Christian view of Mohammad & How should Christianity respond to the person who defames it?. Both questions were eventually closed, but in the case of the first question in particular, much of the community seemed inclined to leave the question open despite it fairly clearly transgressing the current site standards (the upvotes to Fredsbend's request in comments for it to stay open are a good indication of this). There is a valid argument that the second question is not as well formed as the first and there may be a desire to disassociate the two in regard to this discussion, but I wish to highlight that in both cases the highest voted answers attracted votes far beyond the normal rate for the average run of the mill question posted on the site lately. I believe that this is because the community recognises intuitively that despite the questions not exactly aligning with the site guidelines, they were a) genuine questions b) covering important issues and c) the answers constituted content that is valued by the community. For this reason, I would like to propose that this type of question be allowed, and that we have a mechanism to clearly differentiate them from the normal run-of-the-mill questions with an appropriate tag such as:
- elementary enquiry (description: an elementary enquiry is the type of question made by someone with a basic, limited or incorrect understanding of 'Christianity' as a whole, who will in the absence of an appropriate conceptual framework find it difficult to conduct their own research on the topic they are interested in)
The reason to differentiate them clearly, is that much greater latitude would then be applied in judging whether the question was on or off topic according to other criteria. As askers will most likely not add this tag themselves with their first question on the site, the community should be encouraged to make a judgment as to whether tagging the question as an elementary enquiry is the way to go and act accordingly.
This site is designed to be for 'experts' on Christianity. This doesn't mean we only admit 'expert' questions, nor does it mean we have an obligation to answer any old question that someone sees fit to ask with out them doing basic research, but we should have the flexibility to share our 'expert' knowledge (such as Fredsbend has done so admirably in the first instance cited) in answer to novel elementary enquiries that may not otherwise strictly adhere to the site standards.
This is alread a long post, but one final argument I would like to make for this case is to ask you to review a google search using the (original) title of the second question as a search term to get a sense of how difficult it might be for a genuine enquirer to gain a legitimately 'Christian' answer to his question: https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&q=How+should+christianity+respond+to+the+person+who+defames+christianity
Community members are invited to post answers to argue either for or against this proposal including suggested changes/improvements in implementation and to vote for their preferred option as well as downvoting proposals regarded as unacceptable.