Time and time again I see questions that are phrased as Truth questions... The title asks "Is X true", the body asks "is X true", but the tags specify a denomination.. Catholicism, LDS, etc.

In my opinion, these should be closed but when I say so, someone invariably says "But it's tagged as..."

I typically don't argue back, but now it's frequent enough that I need to know how the community at large sees this.

Is simply adding a tag sufficient to add scope to a question to make it answerable?

4 Answers 4


My vote goes to "No way!".

If a question asks in the title:

"Does the wine and wafer truly become the blood and body of Christ"

and the body of the question asks,

Is it true that the wine and wafer in holy Communion actually become the body of Christ?

It's a Truth question.

Adding "Catholicism" to the tag is absolutely not sufficient to turn it into

According to Catholic teaching, is it true that the wine and wafer in holy Communion actually become the body of Christ?

The reason being that your average newcomer to the site is not going to pick up on that little nuance. Experience SE members, sure. We get tagging. your average new visitor? Probably not.

This type of "scoping by tags" is, in my opinion, sloppy and lazy. And it does absolutely nothing to help new visitors "get" what this site is about. We have enough hard times with new visitors not mistaking the purpose of the site. Experienced members should be doing everything we can to help new users, and not letting sloppy questions stand is part of that initiative.

Questions like this should be closed or edited (or closed until the OP edits appropriately.)

  • As always, opposing view welcome Feb 19, 2015 at 7:08
  • 9
    I would say that tagging might be enough to give an editor feeling generous enough to go on to re-write the question to be appropriate for the site, but VtC'ing until that actually happens is totally appropriate. These questions invariably end up being NAA magnets and comment moderation nightmares.
    – Caleb
    Feb 19, 2015 at 7:40
  • 2
    Considering that 90% of new users use the wrong tags they are not sufficiently clear at all.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Feb 19, 2015 at 12:18

I think tagging is sufficient. But barely. It's quite common on many sites for one person to respond to a question, taking tags into account, and another person responds with "Why do you assume they're using Emacs?" or "How do you know they're talking about France?" or "How do you know they're asking about Baptists?" Or whatever, with the response to be "it's in the tags."

This suggests to me that it is "enough" in a technical sense, but not enough in a pragmatic sense.

Whenever we see a question whose only scope is in the tags, we ought to edit the title and/or question to include the scope explicitly.


My vote is "Yes"

I'm a supporter of tagging a single denomination as being sufficient for scoping a question to a denomination.

Re: Tags, from the tour:

All questions are tagged with their subject areas. Each can have up to 5 tags, since a question might be related to several subjects.

I interpret this as meaning that attaching denomination tag to a question properly places it within it's subject area, and thus sufficiently scopes it.

As the OP mentioned, tagging being used to scope questions is an increasingly frequent behaviour, that is because tagging is something that the average new user coming form twitter or youtube already understands. In my opinion the rising community has already decided that tagging a question with a specific denomination is adequate.

Christianity - Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

Nothing in that site description suggests that it is our responsibility to hand-hold new users. They can can read through the tour and learn how to properly use the site just as easily as everyone else, no community consensus is going to change the behaviour of people who don't bother to learn the site rules anyways, you're always going to have new users asking off-topic questions that are going to have to learn through downvotes and close votes how to use the site.

I don't see why redundancy should be required in questions. As a user from a denomination of unorthodox Christianity I'm constantly asked to specify my denomination not only in the tags, but in the question title, and the body of the question. Meanwhile, there are multitudes of questions that are considered on-topic, even though they are not scoped to preclude or exclude the views of certain denominations whose answer to the question differs from the majority view. Those from the minority who then offer an answer from their differing view are often downvoted, and the popularity contest ensues.

It's not difficult to check the tags when reading a question. They are shown in the listings on the questions pages, you can easily identify your favorite tags from the list, and you can ignore questions tagged with subject areas your not interested in or not expert in offering answers too. I have several tags that I ignore because their conception is heretical and conflicts with everything I know about God, so I don't bother reading them or offering answers anymore. It's my experience that most of the time when I'm asked to "better scope" my questions, it's usually from users whose view I know conflicts with doctrine I'm asking about.


We don't need to VTC these questions in most cases. Doing so is a little bit childish of the "you're inconveniencing me so now I'm gonna inconvenience you" sort. The tags aren't sufficient to scope them for new users and wanderers-by, but they are sufficient to scope them for us. The correct thing to do is to edit the question title and body to make it clear it's a doctrinal question for that denomination, not a Truth question. We don't do that when there isn't a denominational tag because we can't.

Questions with multiple denomination tags and a truth-like question should be VTCed either as Truth questions or as Unclear What You're Asking, both are applicable.

Questions that clearly inject Truth-like or Pastoral Advice elements into the question such that they can't be simply and easily edited to clearly be a doctrinal question (generally by adding "What do X believe about..." and possibly "... and why?") should be closed as appropriate.

This kind of scoping via tagging is bad and should not be encouraged, but we should be helpful to new members when possible, even if their newbie-habits make us upset and or frustrated. Newbies are also the most likely to take question closure hard, and editing instead when they are this close to being on-topic is the right thing to do.

P.S. People can still comment on closed questions. Closing wont make the awful bigoted comment spam go away, editing will.

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