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This is kind of out there, and more of a long term project for when/if the site gets out of beta and I'd be more than willing to help out with the programming.

What I'd like to see is the ability to make questions in the style of St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica.

The reasoning behind this would essentially be to control the conversation and not make all our contentious questions be asked by atheists.

The initial question would be some sort of theological hypothesis:

It would seem as though women should not have beards in Heaven

People could answer with their objections

Women should have beards in Heaven because they prefigure Christ

(objections would be downvoted, but the most downvoted answers would actually rise to the top by default)

People could answer with their supporting statements

Women should not have beards because their nature is still female.

Replies to objections would be comments in the objections. This would also give people opportunities to write objections to supporting evidence, unlike the Summa.

When an answer is chosen, the original poster gets an opportunity to write an 'I reply that...' statement and an 'in conclusion' statement, which would go in between the objections and supporting evidence and on the bottom of every page in the post respectively.

I think this would be a better way to ask questions like "Does same sex 'marriage' hurt society?", questions like this don't need to be asked by those who believe it, but we can't let those who have preconceived notions on the issue frame the debate all the time.

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    So, you're talking about a site-wide reformat? A complete change to the way that an SE site works? – Richard Sep 15 '11 at 14:20
  • @Richard, no, not a site-wide format, just a checkbox on questions like 'community wiki' used to be. – Peter Turner Sep 15 '11 at 15:00
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    @Peter It's a checkbox that would completely change how the question functions – Michael Mrozek Sep 15 '11 at 15:07
  • @Michael, pretty much, I think it would make this site a lot more interesting. For the most part we get questions where we need to know both the objections and the evidence to answer completely, if we can restate the question in a better way than a person hostile to the faith can ask it, then we've got the upper hand in the debate, and will be more convincing. – Peter Turner Sep 15 '11 at 15:11
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/41999/… – TRiG Sep 15 '11 at 15:43
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    @Peter You're missing my point -- you're saying "these questions don't work well on SE, so we should add a site-specific feature that completely changes how SE works to accommodate them". The right answer is "we shouldn't allow questions that don't fit the SE format" – Michael Mrozek Sep 15 '11 at 15:44
  • @Michael Mrozek You should put that as an answer. That really is the answer to this. – Richard Sep 15 '11 at 15:49
  • @Micael, no the questions work just fine, only on this site, they tend to only come from an argumentative standpoint and no one wants to go against the grain to make counterpoints. Otherwise, we need two sites, relativism.christianity.stackexchange.com and absolutism.christianity.stackexchange.com. Since that is such a false dichotomy, it would be nice if we could make canonical answers which verge on canon. – Peter Turner Sep 15 '11 at 15:51
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This sounds like something that would be better addressed by starting an entirely new website. I'm not saying this is a bad idea, but the Q&A format of StackExchange is a time-proven way of handling questions.

I just can't see anything like this ever being implemented here on a stackexchange site. (In other words, if the powers decided to implement something of this nature, it would probably go under christianity.XXXXX.com--stackdebate maybe?)

  • The only real reason I proposed the idea is because questions like that same-sex 'marriage' one a few days ago get framed in a way hostile to the faith. Someone should have asked that question a month ago, and that user said he's planning on inundating the site with all sorts of pointed questions once there are more users here. – Peter Turner Sep 15 '11 at 15:02
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    @Peter: If that user does anything like that, flag him and the moderators will take care of it. – Mason Wheeler Sep 15 '11 at 16:30
  • Oh well, I'll concede. But still, if SE inc wants to implement it, I'd be more than happy to help program it. – Peter Turner Sep 15 '11 at 16:32

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