Should we direct people who post off topic questions to sites that would be glad to answer them? People who ask questions that are related to Christianity, but fall outside of our scope could be directed to another site like Bible Wiki's Bible Questions Board. Is this a good idea and could we possibly make it easier to notify users about it asking there?
For some types of questions, we do this already – the Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange site is frequently referenced in response to questions that ask about the meaning of specific biblical texts. And Wikipedia and other reference sites are regularly mentioned when the answer is readily available and/or the question is too broad for this site.
For other types of off-topic questions, however, I don't think it's a good idea to have a standard practice of recommending alternative sites, particularly other Q&A sites or forums. Here are a few reasons:
- We don't know what kind of answer will be provided on other sites. If we agree that it's a bad idea for people to accept advice from random internet strangers, we wouldn't want to send people to a different group of internet strangers, would we?
- We do know what kind of answer will be provided elsewhere, and we don't all like it. The "Bible Wiki" site you mention isn't an unbiased source of information about the Bible – according to its beliefs page, it's Trinitarian, Protestant, Conservative (evangelical/fundamentalist), and at least somewhat Reformed. Thus recommending such a site isn't a "neutral" recommendation; it's akin to answering a truth question with the Evangelical view.
- Teaching users to frame their questions actually helps them get a helpful answer. Ultimately, it comes down to this – in order to receive helpful answers, people need to recognize that their Christian tradition is not the only one. They need to learn that not all "Christians" agree, and specify a particular tradition's viewpoint (such as their own), in order to receive an answer helpful to them.
- Put another way, a "generic" Protestant answer to a Catholic question is not helpful – it's wrong and/or confusing, from the questioner's perspective. Encouraging users to go elsewhere to get such mismatched answers isn't helpful to them either.
We do expect that people to learn about their faith and that of others in order to ask many types of questions here. But doing so isn't just for our own benefit; it's also for theirs, as it helps ensure that the answers they receive will actually be helpful to them.
I don't think that's such a hot idea,
The website is blocked by my company's firewall.
Sounds like Protestant mischief. For Catholic mischief, I might as well tell you to ask it on catholicanswers.com since it would be equally topical.
The consensus opinion of the site has been for some time that the Internet is a bad place to answer those kinds of questions.
It's still Q and A so just go make a site in Area 51 already, I think you've got about 20-30 users on this site that would form a good core on a true BibleAnswers.StackExchange.Com site.