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I asked How should one reconcile a wrong against another person? 2.5 years ago and received only positive feedback. (Also a good answer and a gold badge.) The question asks about something that I would expect there to be a common Christian answer to.

Today I discovered that it was closed as opinion-based. I don't understand why that would be the case. This should be an area of core theology, and it's clearly asking for Christian teachings, not personal opinions. I wouldn't ask y'all what I should do anyway; I'm Jewish. I asked because I wondered how your doctrine differs from ours and I thought going to the source was better than just trying to work it out on my own (being very much not an expert in your religion).

I received no comments about objections prior to closure. I see no recent meta activity that would suggest a scope change (i.e. that it was ok but isn't now). And being put on hold doesn't generate a notification, so I didn't know about the change when it was in that state.

I don't understand what happened here. Why was my question closed?

  • I think it could go either way. I'm not smart enough to leave a real answer so I'm just going to comment and hope people don't hate me. But I believe there are theological right answers to this depending on your denomination, but I also believe it'd be better suited to go to your home church and ask a pastor or elder. – NealC Sep 7 '15 at 0:42
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Lee Woofenden's answer hit it on the head. This answer should be considered additive to his, addressing the confusion Monica (understandably) has as to why the question is closed as "Primarily opinion-based".

I agree that it could have been closed as "too broad" by current site standards, in that there are many possible answers. That's pretty much summed us in the Meta post: Is it valid to ask if “Christianity” teaches anything?. Within Christianity there are several possible views, which is why we typically ask questions to be scoped.

This can be applied to a range of questions that are commonly referred to as "Truth" questions or even Pastoral Advice:

One of the oldest struggles the site has faced has been how to respectfully represent views that are not always in sync, and sometimes highly contradictory without devolving into bickering over "who's view is correct".

See Christianity.SE vs. Survivor and Brothers, we are not Christians‼

So the site standard is to focus on what various (specifically named) groups teach on a given subject, not what is "True".

Finally this gets down to why "primarily opinion based" is applicable, (although it's definitely confusing to those who haven't had all this explained in detail): When you get down to it, there are probably several things, for example, that I think are True from an eternal standpoint, that Caleb would disagree with and vice-versa. And you could just as easily say that it's my opinion that doctrine X is correct, while Caleb things doctrine X is hogwash.

Likewise, I have an opinion on how to reconcile a wrong, based on Biblical teaching (as my answer points out) but for the purposes of the site, really, that's my opinion, and that of those who use the same scriptures to come to the same conclusion.

  • It's a good thing I didn't ask for opinions, then. As we both know, one can report a position without ascribing truth to it. Your answer did a good job of that. If the problem is that it's too broad, why not change the close reason to that? – Monica Cellio Sep 6 '15 at 23:06
  • @MonicaCellio - I went ahead and did that, but now it looks like I mod hammer/unilaterally closed it. :P – David Stratton Sep 6 '15 at 23:08
  • Thanks. You could leave a comment if you like, maybe linking to this meta post. Or not worry about it; I'm not going to accuse you of mod-hammering it, anyway. :-) – Monica Cellio Sep 6 '15 at 23:10
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I'm relatively new here, and I can't speak for those who closed the question.

However, even in the few months I've been here I've discovered that since its early, freewheeling days, Christianity.SE has gone through a major refocusing and tightening of its standards for the scope and focus of questions and answers on the site. At the time you asked that question, it was perfectly acceptable. But now, questions about Christian belief and practice must specify some sort of denominational scope, or at least ask for an overview of major positions on an issue.

Basically, the site has morphed from being about Christian belief to being about what groups and denominations of Christians believe. Questions asking for the Biblical basis of a belief are also acceptable. And questions about Christian history and the origins of various beliefs are on-topic as well.

The aim is to make the questions objectively answerable, so that they are about what groups of Christians believe, or about the Biblical basis of various beliefs.

Your question falls afoul of these more recently imposed standards and guidelines because it has no specific scope, and thus could be answered from a wide variety of individual perspectives.

In fact, though I didn't read all of the answers, I right away found myself disagreeing with major points made in the first (and accepted) answer precisely because it wasn't properly scoped. It presumed to speak for all of Christianity from what is really a specifically Protestant perspective that is not shared by the rest of Christianity--which is the majority of Christianity.

Though theoretically most old questions could be edited fairly easily to make them properly scoped and more objectively answerable by today's Christianity.SE standards, the problem comes when there are already a number of answers responding to the question as it was originally asked. Editing the question commonly breaks those answers because they no longer answer the question as edited.

This, I believe, is why the powers-that-be here on Christianity.SE decided that it was generally better just to close those old questions that now fall afoul of the new site standards and guidelines, but leave them on the site for historical purposes.

Once again, this is all from the perspective of a relatively new Christianity.SE user.

  • Thanks for the input. If the question had been closed as too broad I would have understood. (In fact, I seem to recall asking about that in chat before posting the question in the first place.) But I'm having trouble seeing opinion-based here. I hope one of the closers will respond. – Monica Cellio Sep 6 '15 at 22:27
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    @MonicaCellio There's a lot of overlap between "too broad" and "primarily opinion-based." Questions that are too broad tend to draw opinion-based answers precisely because they are so broad. So they could be closed as either one. – Lee Woofenden Sep 6 '15 at 22:29
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I voted to close this question, and the reason I did is that, as Lee put expressed it well, a question this broad would be extremely difficult to answer without the person answering selecting a view (typically their own) to defend. That means that even though answers might cite sources and provide examples, they would still be opinion-based.

It's also true that there's significant overlap between close reasons... perhaps "too broad" would have been a better choice. However, my personal practice is to use that reason when a question specifically asks too many questions or asks for too many viewpoints. If a general "Christian" perspective is requested, and it becomes clear that Christians have a myriad of positions on the topic, then I tend to prefer "primarily opinion-based."

Nonetheless, I welcome the opportunity to refine my close vote methodology, so thanks for expressing this concern. I'm happy to provide further clarification if needed.

  • Thanks for this answer. If it had been closed as too broad I would have shrugged and moved on. But opinion-based seems wrong to me, and also seems to make more of a (negative) judgement on the question. – Monica Cellio Sep 6 '15 at 22:52
  • @MonicaCellio I know the feeling, but that's not my intent with the vote. The question itself is a good one, but it's just not a great fit for this site. A more narrowly tailored version of it, asking for Catholic or Mormon or Methodist approaches, would likely be perfectly fine. – Nathaniel is protesting Sep 6 '15 at 22:57

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