I didn't realize that I had signed up for your site until I recently got an email. I had apparently answered a question that 'no longer fit your site parameters'. When I checked into your site, all I saw were rather boring questions on church structure and denomination structure. May I say that those are the dullest and inconsequential questions any Christian can ask? Who cares other than pastors wanting to set up a new church or a phd student trying to eak out his/her dissertation. The REAL Christian is interested in the deeper mysteries and truths of the Bible. All of which you say are not 'relevant' to this site! Worse, to even leave comments or questions, you want 'reputation' points? Wow. No thanks. I don't need to be treated like an elementary school child. I highly suggest you rethink this site. The content is irrelevant and you took all the relevant discussions out. You will never attract a person like me, who studies the Bible seriously and has a deep, passionate love of God and his Word. You moderate every question and answer anyway. Do all your striking out of 'irrelevant' questions/comments then- but let people speak. Susan

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    Nobody said anything about the deeper truths of the Bible being off topic, you just have to ask them in the context of the theological tradition you care about. Like any tool, it will serve your purpose to the extent you learn how and when to use it. If you don't want to bother... – Caleb Mar 17 '17 at 13:07
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    @Caleb, Not "off topic" perhaps...but you essentially have to word it so that there can be only one right answer...most people asking questions about the Bible do not know how to narrow down their question that much...and many people--like me--only care about Biblical Basis, which means that you can get a very broad range of answers. I would spend a lot more time here if the first time I came I didn't see all of the Biblical Basis questions that I thought were interesting getting flagged as too broad, etc. – Kevin Nelson Mar 17 '17 at 22:27
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    Case in point. The person wants to understand more about the flood. So what if there's a million answers? Let everyone under the earth write their own opinion. Unless you have an actual problem of 500 answers per question...you shouldn't shoot down every question. christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/55857/… – Kevin Nelson Mar 17 '17 at 22:31
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    The arrogance is strong with this one. – fгedsbend Mar 17 '17 at 22:36
  • @fredsbend, is your ad hominem aimed at me??? What part of that was talking about how great I was??? – Kevin Nelson Mar 20 '17 at 16:48
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    @KevinNelson I'm pretty sure he was referring to the OP not you – bruised reed Mar 20 '17 at 18:07
  • @KevinNelson No, not you. The OP stated "I don't need to be treated like an elementary school child. I highly suggest you rethink this site. The content is irrelevant and you took all the relevant discussions out. You will never attract a person like me, who studies the Bible seriously", which stood out as particularly arrogant to me. – fгedsbend Mar 20 '17 at 19:16
  • @fredsbend, ah...I see...I should have re-read and probably would have noticed. In my initial take I chalked this up to venting-frustration and pretty much ignored that aspect. – Kevin Nelson Mar 20 '17 at 20:00

This answer is relevant to the original poster but is more of a counter-point to Kevin Nelson's answer.

Please note that all example questions in this are purely examples pulled out of my head and all instances of "you" are generalized to the general problem raised here. I don't know Kevin in particular that well but I've seen this general sentiment enough times to make some generalizations about you (plural) folks that chime in on these posts.

I find this site frustrating too...it's why I have 5k reputation on stackoverflow but only 150 here.

I would like to suggest that this is a misdiagnosis. There might be good reasons why you are more active on one site than the other and I fully recognize this site isn't for everyone. It certainly isn't a one-stop-shop for anybody's questions about eternal truths.

That being said I would suggest the reason you've found this site frustrating isn't because it is different from the way Stack Overflow works but because you haven't recognized that its actually the same. What's different is not the site's approach to the subject matter so much as your approach to the subject matter.

If you are like me, and don't give one iota to church traditions, etc., or who thought of what first.

I for one am not like you. I do care a lot about church traditions and who thought of what first. And I suspect you do too. It probably matters a lot to you whether some idea was invented by some free thinker that wanted to make a name for themselves or if the belief dates back to the 12 apostles and is inherited from their understanding of the Scriptures. It also probably matters a lot to you whether your theological tradition has embraced or rejected a given practice.

This isn't so different that SO. Questions about programming on SO are scoped to specific languages in much the same way we scope questions about theology. You would never ask "How do I make a new object inherit properties from a parent class?" without also specifying whether you were working in Javascript or Lua or C++. And yet you're frustrated by the fact that questions such as "Do I need to be Baptized to be saved?" on this site cannot be a free-for-all race without needing to be scoped to Catholic, Protestant or Jehovah's Witness, or some other theological tradition.

In other words you are not surprised when "Should I use a function or class for operation X?" is closed as too broad when it doesn't have any information about the language or operating environment, but you are surprised when "Should the Lord's Supper be administered by a non-ordained layman?" is closed when it doesn't specific whether you're asking about Later Day Saints or Eastern Orthodoxy. You wouldn't expect to be able to ask "Is Haskell better than Go for data processing?" on Stack Overflow but you expect to be able to ask "Are Baptists or Presbyterians right about authority structures in the church?"

This site isn't so different from Stack Overflow. It uses the Q&A format and tools developed for that site and applies to best advantage on a different subject matter.

..this site does create problems...or rather just a lot to weed through to get to what you are really interested in.

It doesn't create problem so much as it doesn't solve some problems you expect it to solve. It isn't here to resolve the truth of any particular matter. Now obviously the absolute truth of any given issue is a lot more important to people in the area of religion than it is in programming. But this site is just a tool and it is good for learning about the nuts and bolts of various beliefs but it isn't meant to define which bits are absolutely true or false.

E.g. if someone asks a question "according to XYZ church, what is the ABC of soteriology" ... and unless you want to go research that church history, you simply can't answer even if the question--otherwise--is something you do have a great answer for.

No, actually the issue here is not that you have a great answer that you can't post so much as you don't have an answer at all. Let's recast this as if it was another site on the network though. This example question is like asking "Where should I save by default preferences for NeoVim?". Given the scope of the question there is one right answer, and that is to explain the order in which NeoVim reads RC files on startup, starting with $XDG_CONFIG/nvim/init.rc and moving to on to comparability layers where it looks for vim files.

You may think you have "a great answer" for this, but if you use Atom and want to talk about stuff in the .atom/config.cson file, it really isn't an answer at all — not to the question that was asked. Now if somebody asked about Atom, then you would have a great answer. Or if you want to do the research and learn about the editor asked about, then you would have a great answer.

Don't expect this site to solve your spiritual problems or decide for you which way is right. But just like Stack Overflow if you want to learn about something you don't know about it's a great place to get answers — you just have to know what you are asking. And when answering you have to be self aware enough about your own knowledge to know where it fits in the bigger puzzle and which question you actually have answers for vs. which ones you just have similar knowledge but that applies to a question different scope.


Based on your mention of "Bible Enthusiast" I assume you have the same frustration with the site that I have. E.g.

Take Caleb's answer, for example, where someone has the question: "Do I need to be Baptized to be saved?" If the person asks the question and specifies a denomination...all good. However, if the person is non-denominational like me and doesn't care one iota about church traditions, etc., and only wants a "biblical basis," The question often gets flagged as "too opinion based," "too broad," or some other such flag. This creates a real problem for people who want Biblical answers that have nothing to do with church traditions...and when these questions are rejected as too broad, it is frustrating for, apparently, many users (since Caleb said he's heard this a lot)...I would assume, especially users who wouldn't be able to define a church tradition by which to ask their question.

In his post, Caleb said:

It probably matters a lot to you whether some idea was invented by some free thinker that wanted to make a name for themselves or if the belief dates back to the 12 apostles and is inherited from their understanding of the Scriptures.

And my answer is...yes, but not exactly. I don't care what anyone says (freethinker or otherwise) unless it's supported by scripture. I don't care what Luther, Calvin, or anyone else believes about scripture or what they said about it...except where that coheres with scripture. The only tests of truth I have are:

  1. Does scripture support the argument (preferably in more than one place)
  2. Do any scriptures refute (falsify) the interpretation of the scriptures used in #1

All I care about in regard to this is whether rules #1 and #2 are fulfilled with a yes-no (respectively). Beyond that, I don't care who said it other than to give credit for the quote to the correct person. What denomination they were in, or what they believe about anything else is inconsequential.

I like CS Lewis, and I agree with almost everything I've read of his. However, I'm not a "follower of" CS Lewis, I'm a follower of Jesus...so, I still apply the same two rules above. ALL I care about is "Biblical Basis." Thus, the fact that many Biblical Basis questions get flagged as too broad frustrates me, and my guess is--based on Caleb's answer--many others.

Why the System Works this Way

I understand how and why the system works the way it does. I spend a lot of time on StackOverflow (SO), which is the same application run with mostly the same rules. On SO, many things are flagged as too opinion based. However, even so, there's a question I answered, "Private Message Database Design" which probably has 100 possible answers on how to do the same thing. However, it was not rejected as too broad, and the answer was accepted. A similarly broad question on this site would have gotten rejected outright and the questioner is left with their question unable to be answered unless they figure out some church tradition they want to apply to their question, which is asinine for non-denominational people.

What matters is whether or not the question is defined enough that it can be answered "with scripture" and that the questioner will be able to accept an answer. I don't care if the popular and accepted answers might be wrong...what I care about is the freedom to ask questions on "Biblical Basis" without it getting rejected as too broad.

On StackOverflow, there are often dozens of answers to the same problem. Often there are a dozen that are correct that all get voted up even though they are different. In the same way, this site SHOULD ALLOW biblical basis questions to get answered even if there is more than one answer...as long as there is scripture to back up the answer.

So, what to do?

To try to answer the OP's question as someone who understands their frustration...because I don't think Caleb's answer actually understands the frustration...is to stick to "Biblical Basis" questions and just hope that they don't get flagged as too broad. Beyond that, there's not much we can do. The way the site works has already been determined by its practice.

  • You might prefer the Biblical Hermeneutics site then, which isn't organised by denominations. – curiousdannii Mar 18 '17 at 0:23
  • Kevin my answer is as much addressed at your post as it is at the original poster here. Please give it a gander. – Caleb Mar 18 '17 at 12:18
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    @Caleb, I guess you didn't understand what I said because you're saying that I don't understand that this works the same as SO. However, the fact that it works the same as SO is exactly why I recommended to the questioner that they stick to "biblical basis" questions and answers. – Kevin Nelson Mar 20 '17 at 15:28
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    To whoever...It helps me to stick to "bible" questions, so I thought it might help other "bible enthusiasts" who don't care about traditions to do the same...the downvote is appreciated (sarcasm). – Kevin Nelson Mar 20 '17 at 15:32
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    @curiousdannii, Biblical Hermeneutics is too scary sounding for a person who doesn't know what hermeneutics says...and the name implies that the questions need to be about "how you intperet" rather than "what is the interpretation?" Like it or not, people who have questions about "Biblical Basis" come here...and they ask "Biblical Basis" questions...and those questions get flagged as too broad. -- I've updated my answer to explain better since it seemed that Caleb didn't really understand what I was saying. – Kevin Nelson Mar 20 '17 at 16:46
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    If you want the Biblical basis of "Do I need to be Baptized to be saved?" then you need to ask two questions: 1: "What is the biblical basis that I need to be baptized to be saved?" and 2: "What is the biblical basis that I do not need to be baptized to be saved?" Both questions would not be closed unless there were other issues evident in the body. And with good answers on both questions, you can then form your own opinion on the "Truth" of the matter. – fгedsbend Mar 21 '17 at 17:31
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    This approach keeps questions factually answerable and limits debates on what is "Truth". By framing questions to beliefs, instead of what is true, this site has remained useful for all learners, instead of just the bigger group that would have eventually drummed out the lesser groups. – fгedsbend Mar 21 '17 at 17:35
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    You see, all topics can be approached on this site, you just have to consider "Is this question framed in a way that it can be answered "They believe this ..." instead of "You should believe this ..." – fгedsbend Mar 21 '17 at 17:37
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    @fredsbend, for someone to know that, and know how to do that with their question so that it pinpoints only one half of the argument is a lot to ask for someone coming to this site off the street that just has a question. If the moderators were better at commenting and saying, "You could phrase your question like this: ... or like this ... to remove this flag." it would likely help alleviate a lot of people's frustration. Generally, on SO, I--and many others--try to give questioners with low reputation a little help in figuring out why they are getting their question voted down, etc. – Kevin Nelson Mar 21 '17 at 20:36
  • @KevinNelson I find that this community does help in that way. I can't say I see it always happen, but it seems to happen frequently enough. – fгedsbend Mar 21 '17 at 21:43
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    @fredsbend, I'm normally someone who is particular with semantics...but this site makes my head spin. In a recent one, the questioner asked "Is there Biblical support for praying for the dead" and it was shot down because it didn't have the word "What" at the beginning of the question. Really? I mean, seriously, I'm a fairly smart guy, and I know the Bible pretty well, but this site makes my head hurt. – Kevin Nelson Mar 21 '17 at 21:56
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    @KevinNelson I understand. I'm in favor of just editing those ones, but that's backfired in the past in the form of the OP getting upset that we edit the question without asking them. You can make those edit suggestions if you think that will quickly clear things up. Can't promise they'll be approved. – fгedsbend Mar 22 '17 at 0:28
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    People take one of two approaches with editing content on SE sites: 1) it belongs to the OP, so ask them to make the edits themselves, 2) it belongs to the community so make edits when appropriate without regard to the OP's wishes. I tend toward number 2, but as I said, some people, especially newcomers, have gotten really upset about. – fгedsbend Mar 22 '17 at 0:28
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    That question on SO, probably should have been on Programmers.SE (or software engineering). I'm finding a lot of crap on Stackoverflow nowadays that would have been closed in days of yore. – Peter Turner Mar 24 '17 at 21:24
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    @KevinNelson You described my exact frustration with this site. And the name should be changed! Christianity should be flagged as too broad... especially the way it has been moderated. – jlaverde Apr 6 '17 at 15:05

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