Note: To show no favoritism to any particular view, I'm going to refer to two theological ideas as Xism and Yism.

Is it "doctrinal debating" (thus presumably off-topic) to point out that in a post about Xism there are statements about Yism which are misleading, incorrect, unclear or at least appear to be so?

Obviously, Xism might include statements about why Yism is rejected, which could in fact be based on incorrect/incomplete understanding of Yism, but that is different than appearing to state things about Yism independently of what Xism's view is.

  • You can't answer a question of "what constitutes debating" with "debating". Trashing is a reasonable prohibition, but I don't think that's really "debating" anyways.
    – eques
    Nov 28, 2016 at 22:18
  • then I'm not sure how that clarifies my meaning at all
    – eques
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:42
  • I'll leave your comment about arguing alone... I'm less outright concerned about trashing Y (presumably that is off-topic anyways) but more about making statements about Y in the context of explaining X which could be interpreted in context as being accurate statements of X
    – eques
    Nov 29, 2016 at 17:21
  • OK, thanks, my other comments are deleted. Nov 29, 2016 at 17:23
  • To provide some historical context, this meta question was prompted by a discussion that originally started in comments on my self-answered question here, which was moved to and continued in chat here. Note that both the original question and my answer were subsequently edited in the course of various discussions about them. Nov 29, 2016 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


The first thing to remember is that comments exist almost exclusively to point out problems with the post. The author then hopefully edits accordingly, then the comments are deleted. The main point being that comments are meant to be deleted eventually.

However, on this site and many other SE sites there exists a convention to leave comments that are "related" to the topic, or "interesting and relevant". Prime examples on this site are opposite questions being linked in comments ("What is the basis for belief X?" contains a comment to the question "What is the basis for belief NOT X?").

With that in mind, we have ourselves a broad gray line between doctrinal debates and "related" and "interesting and relevant" comments. If there is a legitimate question on the site that is related to the topic, even in the way you describe, feel free to link it in a comment on that post. That seems perfectly reasonable. Something like "Adherents to Yism believe that Xism followers misrepresent their views. See ..." It seems a very benign comment and it's backed up with a link to another post. Readers can click through or move on with their lives.

But if you get a reply along the lines of "Actually, no, Yism is a cult and they're liars" or whatever, you're only reply should be "We shouldn't debate the pros and cons of Yism here. We can go to chat if you like. Also, if you think the answers on the post about Yism are lacking, you should offer up a new answer or comment on the existing answers. This post is about Xism."

  • My perspective is more about commenting about problems with the discussion of Yism in a post about Xism; e.g. the author states something which the reader/commenter may interpret as being meant as an actual statement of what Xism believes/consists of rather than Yism's interpretation of Xism
    – eques
    Nov 29, 2016 at 17:46

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