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Not to rehash these questions:

Should history questions be on topic?

What are the limits on history/historical questions?

Are questions on what Christians have done in history on-topic?

But in refocusing to be Christian-Doctrine-and-Biblical-Basis.SE have we ignored the limits we previously set on Historical questions?

Furthermore, why shouldn't questions related to Christian prayer be on topic. I'm hoping no one would suddenly decide that these:

Praying the Liturgy of the Hours in private; out loud

What is the Little Office of Our Lady in connection to the Scapular Devotion?

Should the words to prayers said in private be changed to fit the company?

would be off topic.

Can we add,

Prayer (as it pertains to common worship, not pastoral advice),

History (as it pertains to the development of the Church)

and even maybe Art (as it pertains to analysis and context, not just opinion) to the list of on topic things?

  • For what it's worth, I see each of these as doctrinal questions. Since there are different traditions that approach these topics differently, they seem to fall nicely into doctrine. (Doctrinal questions being both the doctrine and the application of doctrine.) – Richard Oct 12 '11 at 14:23
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    @Richard, OK well to a Catholic, doctrine is a little different. Doctrine is the unchanging and infallible teaching that Catholics are obliged to believe, art, history and prayer (with the exception of the Mass) are up to the individual to figure out. Explanation of Catholic meaning of the word Doctrine But I understand your meaning. – Peter Turner Oct 12 '11 at 14:36
  • This is an excellent point and illustrates that we need to define our terms as we move forward with these suggestions. Thank you for showing this to me! – Richard Oct 12 '11 at 14:42
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The suggested changes are to the focus and scope of individual questions, not the scope of the overall site. There is nothing in the guidelines we are working on that makes these kinds of questions inherently off-topic. The changes are to how the questions need to be individually worded in order to provide constructive guidelines by which to judge the "rightness" of answers.

While they could probably use a little tweaking, the specific examples you mention already do call for factual answers according to specific traditions. History is particularly easy to reference. Prayer questions are only answerable insofar as there is doctrine in order to answer them with in a given tradition (there is a large body of this, so not much cause for concern) and you said yourself that the only aspect of art that would be on topic is not opinion which is exactly what we are trying to guard against here.

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    To add to this, it's been important to me (personally) to make sure that these factual types of questions remain on-topic. My pet question for this is "What is the difference between the NASB and ESV?" along with historical questions. They're more fact-based than doctrine based. IN essence, we definitely want to keep this site open to all sorts of questions about Christianity. And we agree that these fit that bill. – Richard Oct 12 '11 at 14:19

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