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The tour says that we should not ask about "a survey of all Christian views on a particular subject". What exactly is meant by this line?

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    Been a while since I've seen the tour, but we allow overview questions. I fail to see the difference. – 3961 Jun 9 '17 at 23:02
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Survey questions expect each answer(er) to propose their version on an answer.

A survey question:

Hey what do you all believe about baptizing babies?

This kind of question is not a good fit for this site. They can take several similar shapes: sometimes they focus on polling site users, other times they are more academic sounding. Either way they boil down to expecting each answer to represent a different view.

A related genre that we actually allow inside careful bounds is overview questions.

An overview question:

What viewpoints on eschatology are held among Anabaptist movements?

There are still going to be a number of viewpoints that need to be represented here, but the question scope requires that each answer note all of them. A good answer would not just list them but talk about their prevalence and any notable variations. Overview questions require all viewpoints in the scope of the question to be described at once (and often compared related to each other).

In between these two categories is a bit of a gray area. Handling these is troublesome for this site because they are very popular, but they are popular with those who don't understand how we would require they be handled.

Example of a half baked question:

What do Christians think about drinking alcohol?

The scope of this question is not particularly broad. There are only a handful of major positions and they could reasonable be handled inside the scope of an answer – describe each position and note the major branches of Christianity that tend to hold each one.

Sadly these questions usually die fiery deaths because every wants to jump in with answers that primarily defend their view on the issue. Even if other views are mentioned, one view is usually espoused as being the "primary Christian view". Admittedly this is really hard to avoid (here is an example where I struggled with this). As a result we typically require these questions to be reformed to be more explicitly overviews. This makes it easier to determine whether answers are actually answering the question or just saying things that some people like hearing.

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    If that's what's meant by "survey" then can it be made more explicit? "Survey" is ambiguous, and the sense of "an overview of a topic" is very common. – curiousdannii Jun 10 '17 at 6:48
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    I get it now. It should be changed to "straw poll" questions. – 3961 Jun 13 '17 at 14:22
  • @Caleb 'What do Christians think about drinking alcohol?' I am confused, are you saying that this 'half baked' question is in the grey? or is this the quintessential survey question? I have another example... – Abstraction is everything. Jun 15 '17 at 10:01
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I think when I've read this before I took it to mean that survey/overview questions have to be appropriately sized. We allow overview questions, but not ones that would take a book to answer. An overview of baptism: too broad. An overview of baptismal regeneration: probably okay.

Seeings as we do allow some of these questions, and as close voting on these questions will be rather subjective and will be closed as too broad rather than off-topic, I think it would be appropriate to remove it from the tour.

The links to the Meta discussions should also be updated.

  • 'Seeings as we do allow some of these questions, and as close voting on these questions will be rather subjective and will be closed as too broad rather than off-topic, I think it would be appropriate to remove it from the tour.' Of course, we could just eventually narrow it down to a single perspective...that is convenient. – Abstraction is everything. Jun 15 '17 at 10:04

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