I’m seeing a recurring issue that I get downvoted for that never seems to get directly addressed, and I feel is kind of biased. If someone asks for what the Catholic Church says about a subject, obviously it needs to be an answer from the catechism or other relevant sources. However, I see a lot of questions that ask simple historical or Biblical questions and throw the words “according to Catholicism” or adding the tag “Catholicism” to the end, and I get downvoted if I answer them because I don’t cite Catholic sources. Catholicism isn’t supposed to be in contradiction with the scriptures. If someone asks, for a very simple example, “how many people does the Catholic Church say Jesus fed in Matthew chapter 14?” The best answer is “5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21)”. There’s nothing specifically or inherently “Catholic” about the question. If the question can be directly and thoroughly answered outside of specifically Catholic resources, and the person adds “Catholic”, it’s hard to feel that this is anything more than saying, “I have a question, but I don’t recognize the authority of any Christian or Christian group that is not Catholic.” (Or Methodist, or Episcopal, etc. - not trying to single out only one group) It is, after all, a stack exchange called “Christianity”.


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Many Protestants agree with you and in a perfect world you'd be right. The problem is twofold though:

  1. A person of a given denomination asking a question can't always know ahead of time whether their question is generic enough to be answered by anyone

  2. Some denominations teach that they are the only sure interpreter of the Bible, therefore if you ask a question, answers have to not only sound correct, they have to be sourced correctly.

The fact that the website is named Christianity is confusing to lots of newer users. It's about Christianity, not Christianity itself. The site was borne out of a QA site for programmers. As a corollary, if you asked a question about how to do a thing in Java and someone said, here's how I'd do it in Fortran - that would be not terribly helpful.

You are right that some questions seem to tack on the Catholicism tag, I think those ought to be evaluated by some of the higher-rep Catholicism users on the site and we should close questions where Catholic Doctrine has no particular special understanding of some piece of scripture.

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    Thank you! That is exactly my issue - if it needs a particular style of interpretation or if the person wants to know about how a particular church responded, that’s fine. But the irritation comes from questions phrased more like “what does “command” mean in programming / by “programming” I mean C++ and nothing else”. It’s limiting a generic question that could be answered equally well by everyone, to only being answered by those with a particular background, even though their answer will probably be identical to everyone else’s. Sep 11, 2019 at 18:38
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    I should note that, a truly basic question might not even merit being asked here. I'm not sure where we lie any more on the expert side of things and I've always been more lenient toward new users asking basic questions, but the site is improved by hard questions answered by scholars and the site is watered down by easy questions everyone can post an answer to.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Sep 12, 2019 at 12:16
  • True. That’s a difficult decision... It’s good to keep it expert so it’s a useful tool, but at the same time, if someone who’s not skilled at research really wants to know something and follows all the guidelines for posting, it seems wrong to deny them. I’ve been through the experience before of being new at a topic and having no idea which resources are legit, where to find info, etc. and online communities can be a nightmare for an eager new learner. Please tell me when you know where the “expertise” side falls. Sep 12, 2019 at 13:56
  • I’d like to note that if there is any official rule on expertise, be careful that you’re not excluding a number of thoughtful people that come from denominations that don’t tend toward degrees in divinity. This isn’t just lip service: I grew up Episcopal, attended a Catholic school, and was taught in college by an Assemblies of God youth pastor. The last had an implicit belief that all Christians should constantly read the Bible. He was the least educated, but could explain scripture far better than both the priests I’d learned from. It would be a shame to lose such a person. Sep 12, 2019 at 14:05
  • @morgan I hear you, I just don't know a clear way forward other than starting another website or anarchy. I would venture to say that having your URL in your Username might be a turn-off to some users (whenever I see that, I think SPAM). I know you haven't been specifically plugging your site, but the appropriate place to put that would be in your profile page.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Sep 12, 2019 at 14:29
  • that’s reasonable... I’ll try to do that but I’m not sure where to change it or if the change will effect posts already made. Sep 12, 2019 at 14:59
  • I know SE’s avoid such comments but please let me thank you for taking the time to respond to everything and for helping keep the SE running smoothly. I may argue with some but I am extremely grateful there are guidelines. I just watched a pastor on FB ask a question about alcohol just to be bombarded with 100 irrelevant opinions for 2 weeks about the “evils” of alcohol (including a bunch of people who claimed, without explanation, that Christ was a teetotaler.) I went to a liberal arts college where the rule was “win by talking louder” and, really, I cherish real explanations. Sep 12, 2019 at 15:04
  • tried to change username but don’t see a way to. I could delete and start over, but then I’d have to rebuild reputation points. Know any work arounds? Sep 12, 2019 at 15:08
  • Does this work for you? I don't know if you're using the mobile interface or the full site. it may not if your account is less than 30 days old.
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Sep 12, 2019 at 15:12
  • Doesn’t work so far but I will try on a PC. Sep 12, 2019 at 15:38

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