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As a new member of Christianity:Stack Exchange and reading through the RULES, REGULATIONS, META'S, questions, on holds, deleted's, and answers, I find the site to be very imposing and confusing to say the least. My initial thought was that this site had some very worthwhile and sincere folks as well as some Pharisaical types that were steeped in the law of Stack exchange and were pragmatic enough to put law as priority.

My initial reaction was to move on rather than find the value in the site, however I determined to give it a chance so I asked a question that has beleaguered me for a few years to see the reaction. The first responder wanted me to limit my rambling to 2 basic questions (I realize I ramble when I try to lay out a background before asking a question). Therefore, with the foundation for the question already laid, I reduced the questions to their simplest state and was immediately sent to Biblical Hermaneutics. Wondering why, I endeavored to give more background in an answer to my own question because that was the only place I found allowing space enough to elaborate. However, a very terse comment was made not to do that again, short and mildly bitter.

However, there were 2 excellent answers to my question that understood the query and took the time to present a very meaningful response(s). I further thought that I could expound on where the error in my thinking had originated and stated another comment including 2 websites that led to my error. Immediately, my comment was reduced merely to a “thank you”.

However, it is not within my nature to simply “go away” and yet that was the impression that I was given by the “legal” response. So, undaunted, I answered someone's question and also tried to edit a somewhat terse question so that it could be answered with a “loving, Christian” response (I am familiar with answering that type of question quite often) and was soundly rejected for my edit on that question (it was “on hold”).

With this as a background over the course of one week as a member, how do you believe a more timid individual with questions would respond? Unfortunately, our society does not respond well to rejection of any sort and more than likely would “blow off this site”. Is that what this site is seeking? Folks with sincere questions, perhaps wrongly worded or tersely phrased, turned away by a “Christianity” site; in your “meta” someone had asked why there was so little participation by new users. Is that what we are called to do? Turn away others because they do not conform to “our” laws?

I completely understand why there are rules and questions on how to apply them, but as your own site declares, “We are wading into a niche category on a secular QnA network where any viewpoint is fair game. Personally I am up for that. I hope some of you are too.” (see origin of statement) Christianity meta

I ran a Christian blog for about 3 years through xanga.com until they went to a different format but my door was always open to all, even allowing trolls until they overstepped the line of respect for others. What if a Samaritan woman came to you in Sychar and you believed the prevailing attitude of the Jews at that time, “Jews do not associate with Samaritans”, then John 4 would not have been written, those in Sychar would not have known, and some “lost sheep” would have remained lost. John 4

This is not meant as a sermon, merely an observation of a newcomer to consider, given with great respect for all of those that answer and question at Christianity Stack Exchange.

Thank you for your very polite response back and my question might be, if I had a question, is there a spot in your Exchange for new comer DISCUSSION? From all I have read, it appears to be solely Q & A, Is that correct? THAT IS MY QUESTION!! Please don't misunderstand, I came to this site hoping there was a "discussion room" where thoughts of similar minded folks could discuss successes and/or failures in a comparative analysis. Currently, I work with a Muslim, a Charismatic, and an in-between Apostolic Faith in prison and I emphasize discernment over judgement. We compare various cults as well as "the Big Three" with discernment in mind, not like a smorgasbord where we pick and choose the best of each faith but rather "Does Christianity fit in my life and why or why not"? The Muslim is currently ex-Muslim (having converted to Jesus Christ over Mohammed). I'm currently studying the Koran and the Hadith to understand Islamic thinking but always in the spirit of discerning individually what fulfills THEIR inmost needs. That may not be appropriate for your site.

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    Some great points here. If know about some questions/answers that were unfairly closed, let me know, and I'll bring these up with Stack Exchange management the next time I speak to them. Thanks Dan. Merry Christmas! – Jim G. Dec 26 '14 at 18:56
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    Perhaps see: Newcomers: Be patient. You will get there if you follow our direction. Keep trying I always link to that when I see a new user exhibiting frustration. – 3961 Dec 26 '14 at 20:48
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    @Jim G; Thanks you guys for your forbearance and I checked out the advice suggested by all. Thank you, it is helpful. – DanPs73 Dec 26 '14 at 23:47
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    I think it's important to understand that this site is a very small part of a much much larger network of sites. That it isn't a "Christian" site so much as a site about Christianity. Granted most of our users claim to be Christians, but we don't check soul status at the door (and in fact numerous of our contributors are openly atheist or agnostic). We have some control of our mission and rules as a community, some some things are not in our control. – wax eagle Dec 27 '14 at 3:23
  • Chat is great for discussion. Check it out: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/1167/the-upper-room – MR. TOODLE-OO'D Dec 27 '14 at 7:03
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    @Mr.Bultitude You need 20 rep to chat, but that is across the whole network, so I assume that if you had an account on 20 different SE sites with only 1 rep each then you could chat. – 3961 Dec 30 '14 at 7:06
  • @fredsbend. It's actually 20 rep across the whole network except SO and Meta SE, both of which have their own separate chat sites, for complicated historical reasons. – TRiG Apr 15 '15 at 12:17
  • @TRiG Although it is possible to create a Stack Overflow-associated chatroom on SE Chat... – wizzwizz4 Apr 14 '18 at 17:37
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First of all, technically there's not a question here; but using the approach you're proposing—since the rules are a bit looser on Meta than on the main site—I'm going to assume that you've asked a question along the lines of "Are we treating new users in an appropriate way?" (If I'm wrong, please correct me, and go ahead and put an appropriate actual question in your post :-) )

Certainly we should try to be friendly toward all posters; on the other hand, we're not trying to "save the lost sheep"—an impossible task, considering that we have many different opinions about who, if anyone, is "lost" (or whether that even means anything), and how they might be "saved"—but simply to explain rules (theology) used by various groups calling themselves Christian. With that in mind, we do try to be very restrictive about the kinds of questions we answer; and it's sometimes difficult for new users to understand why we're so restrictive. Similarly, since the new users are often new to Stack Exchange generally as well as to this site, we can also find them not understanding the basic Stack Exchange rules: posting "questions" that are not questions, or that are intended to provoke discussion rather than to be definitively answered; posting a comment on a question or answer which is not specifically intended to request an improvement or clarification; and so on.

Historically, allowing any such behavior on the site has quickly led to a degeneration in the quality of questions and answers—in the site as a whole, in fact. People have learned to try and shut down this kind of activity pretty quickly in an effort to keep the site focused on its original purpose; and this has (perhaps unavoidably, perhaps not) led to an increase in the terseness and absoluteness of responses to posts perceived as being that kind of question or answer.

Are we rude? I think that sometimes we are. Ruder than we need to be (which appears to be what you're gently suggesting)? Of course, that's always debatable; but I wouldn't disagree with you out of hand. Ruder than we could be? Most people (including me) are ruder than they could be at least some of the time.

Perhaps part of the problem is that this site might have been better named ChristianTheology.StackExchange.com. If it had been (and at this point it can't be renamed), some of the issues you bring up might be alleviated, or might never have arisen. Unfortunately we have to go with what we have; and it is important to preserve the site as it's intended to function, just as much as it is important to act cordially towards those who don't understand how it's intended to function.

Thanks for your comments! I do hope you stay around! (And if you wouldn't mind, please do edit a question into your post here.)

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  • Matt, I really do appreciate your candor. Thank you!I have a great concern for those around me after having been dead once already and having been brought back 33 years ago from a tractor accident. That is a story all by itself, the impetus that keeps moving me forward because I find I am in good company. biblegateway.com/passage/… biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+20%3A7-12&version=NIV – DanPs73 Dec 26 '14 at 23:40
  • @Jim G : you asked about a question that I MAY perceive as wrongly deleted but I would like to add one on hold. Though the question was perhaps snide, I think it offered a great opportunity to discuss the PURPOSE of Adam (and Eve). Gardeners yes, but so much more!! Have a great New Year! !christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/35741/… – DanPs73 Dec 28 '14 at 21:04
  • The question that you posed on my behalf was accurate but to elaborate; if the purpose of the site is to NOT represent the "Christ ones" (the derogatory name given to "the Way" in Antioch) and shut down any questions with regard to "What must I do to be saved? with theology, then perhaps a better name for the site might be "ComparativeReligion:Stack Exchange". That way answers are able to come from MANY directions since we are "not even sure that there are ANY lost sheep"(Ps 119:176, Jere 50:6, Matt 10:6, Matt 15:24, Luke 15:4-6) Doesn't the point of this site become Religion? – DanPs73 Dec 28 '14 at 21:39
  • @DanPs73 I don't think it's comparative religion, since we don't consider Buddhist, Shinto, etc. perspectives. We're interested in Christianity, but from an academic and theological point of view. – Matt Gutting Dec 28 '14 at 22:31
  • Thank you for clearing that up. As you say, "I guess it will take some time to catch on". I THINK what you are saying is that Christianity:Stack Exchange is the "mother hen" gathering chicks under academic/theological wings. – DanPs73 Dec 29 '14 at 4:48
  • @DanPs73 That's more like it, yes. – Matt Gutting Dec 29 '14 at 15:00
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First, bravo for reading the help pages and the other guidelines to how this site works and to what is and is not on topic.

This site is very unlike any other religion site I’ve come across (and this is why I’m here, rather than there). It’s even very different to the other religious sites on the Stack Exchange network (Mi Yodeya (Judaism), Islam (beta), and the new sites on Hinduism and Buddhism1, and the quasi-areligious Biblical Hermeneutics2). This site is very much true to its proclaimed mission of being a Q&A site about Christianity, rather than a Christian site. As such, any question which couldn’t be definitively answered by an atheist with access to a theology text3 is off-topic. Questions about which doctrine is correct are shot down quickly, and questions which are more invitations for discussion than requests for definitive answers are also discouraged.


1. I’ve hung around a fair bit on Mi Yodeya, and am reasonably familiar with Islam SE. I can’t really say as much about the newer sites, so my assertion that this one is run differently should be taken with perhaps slightly more than a pinch of salt.

2. The BH site claims to be religiously neutral, but the vast majority of the regulars there (and, I think, all of the mods) are so strongly steeped in Christianity that they can’t really see how Christian the place is. Fish, water, y’know.

3. Disclaimer: This is not the official definition of what is and is not on topic. It’s my slightly tongue-in-cheek summary. I’d say it works pretty well as a rule of thumb. A question of the form What does Group X teach about ABC? can be answered by anyone with access to Group X’s doctrinal statements.

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