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I'm struggling to see the point of asking a "gotcha" question for the purpose of:

  • Starting an altercation in the comments &
  • Mocking an outgroup &
  • Downvoting any honest attempt to answer the question

This question appears to be one in a sequence of a disappointing pattern doing just what is described above. The user who asked it has been called out for harassment previously.

This user has:

  • Asked 45 questions on this site
  • At least 41 of them are argumentative attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses or Latter-day Saints
  • 0 of these questions have accepted answers--despite many decent attempts--and most of them spawned attacks in the comments. As such, I hold significant doubt that these questions are being asked in good faith.

Is this behavior consistent with our Code of Conduct and our Expected Behavior?

What, if anything, are we willing to do about it?


Update 5 days later

The purpose of the question

The misrepresentation of this question is disappointing. Some of the discussion below is patronizing. This is not helpful.

Those interested in investigating will notice most questions posing challenges to my faith result in no pushback from its adherents, but rather, produce studious & courteous responses. My concern is not about "people poking holes in doctrine". My concern is a lengthy pattern of bullying by a specific user who seeks to intimidate, insult, and malign in order to make a point. I echo what two of our moderators have expressed elsewhere:

If your goal in writing an answer or a question is to "make a point," then sadly, you've missed the point of this site!

The expectation on this site is that if you get an answer, you don't argue with it.

Example by contrast

See this question for an example of a question challenging my faith's teachings that is presented in a manner that is quite unlike the questions highlighted above. It is neither condescending nor hostile, the questioner is not trying to serially downvote, ridicule people in the comments, or pick a fight. Asking challenging questions is fine--it's likely to produce thoughtful responses. Harassment is not okay, and it severely undermines the academic credibility of the site.

Request for moderator input

This question was asked at the advice of a moderator. The only moderator commentary on this question (to date) is dismissive.

Given that 5 days after being asked this post is now the most active CSE Meta question opened in the last 5 months, I express my hope the moderator team will acknowledge that this matter is of interest/concern to the community, and will offer further support/guidance.

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    As someone who vehemently disagrees with LDS theology and JW theology, I think your question is a very good one. That being said I’m concerned about the use of harassment. It seems too harsh for someone that just seems opinionated on these issues. I ask many pointed questions on Protestant doctrines, along with disagreeing with Protestant site members in the comments. Does that mean I’m harassing them? I don’t believe so. That being said, I don’t know Mr. Bond’s heart, so I will suspend judgment on his motivations and instead encourage everyone to be kind and thoughtful in their speech.
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 14 at 4:13
  • @LukeHill thanks. FWIW, I see a world of difference in the type of questions you ask (some of which I have answered) vs. what I'm asking about above. Re usage of the term harassment, see discussion by Ken in comment & answer to the post linked above. Mar 14 at 4:30
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    my biggest problem with this whole thing is that the definition of the word harassment seems vague. Harassment generally is at the individual level, but Bond seems to be opposed to the institutions of the JW and LDS churches. Now I must say that I find his behavior to be un-Christ like, and I agree. But this is still a secular site with secular rules. We ought not dismiss/punish someone based on a measurement of their “Christ likeness” so to speak. So if we can get a clear definition of harassment (one not intended to fit Bonds actions in it) then I think this can be resolved.
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 14 at 4:41
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    You've started two meta discussions on this same basic issue already... I'm not sure we need another. Any reason why you haven't just flagged the question?
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Mar 14 at 12:48
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    Also: question acceptance is entirely optional, and therefore truly irrelevant to this issue. Not accepting answers does not indicate that the question wasn't asked in good faith.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Mar 14 at 12:49
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    @curiousdannii I am following Ken Graham's advice from several months ago. He advised I should wait a few months, and raise this topic again on Meta if it persisted. Mar 14 at 13:32
  • @curiousdannii I offered a cumulative argument for why I doubt these questions are being asked in good faith. Re flagging, if faith is relying on something because of its past behaviour, my faith in the flagging system could use a boost Mar 14 at 22:01
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    @LukeHill another difference I think is important is the point of asking a question looking for an answer. I can look at your profile and see accepted answers (you accepted an answer-even if you disagree with it). The user in question as pointed out in the OP has 0 accepted answers-though most/all have multiple answers (IMO this points out they aren't actually looking for answers, just want to harass)
    – depperm
    Apr 4 at 0:32

3 Answers 3

1

No, it's not appropriate. In an answer to another question I would class those types of questions as Class 1.

After 3 years being active in this site, I think it's best to promote this site as a Christian specific religious studies site, so it's more clear to new visitors and existing participants that this site doesn't proselytize but provides a space for every denomination calling Jesus Lord to coexist peacefully as first-class citizens to explain themselves using their own preferred definitions. Maybe this site should be renamed "Christian studies" instead of Christianity.

As you may know, in the academic discipline of Religious Studies, especially in the 21st century, it is an IMPERATIVE that researchers do NOT use outgroup's terminologies to ask questions to the ingroup, but only as an aid for entry when the outgroup user is new to the ingroup (in this case the ingroup=LDS and outgroup=mainstream). So the attitude of the participant should be that of an anthropologist who really wants to learn how a culture defines themselves without contaminating the understanding with the anthropologist's own background culture.

The true nature of the teachings of the ingroup can ONLY be learned by using the ingroup's own native concepts, native categories, and native priorities when approaching the universal religious questions that we ask as common human nature (presumed to be the same across cultures and ages and races) from within our religious consciousness. Persisting to ONLY use the outgroup's way of defining and critiquing the ingroup's teachings are thus "mortal sin" in Religious Studies, and by extension this site.

While questioners can pose how an ingroup handles an outgroup's way of framing the question (example: Anne's question I think is acceptable and well intentioned), once the answer is provided (in this case by depperm, which I think is an excellent answer) the outgroup should accept the ingroup redefinition and reprioritization, accepting that LDS leaves certain questions unanswered (see depperm's final paragraph) although for mainstream Christianity there is an answer. The outgroup should NOT force the ingroup to provide further details.

If the outgroup user keeps pushing, I would see it as hostile and unproductive for this site. The outgroup (in this case mainstream Christianity) should remember that there are a LOT of unknowns that mainstream Christianity left undefined that LDS actually has answers for. To keep pushing for matters that LDS doesn't deem important would seem to me as hypocritical double standard.

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    As you flagged up my Q, this is just to say that I strive to ask honest Qs designed to throw light on to sometimes obscure points. Depperm did, indeed, give a detailed LDS answer, but what bothers me is when individuals then start debating with the answerer in comments. This is an abuse of the comments facility. This seems to be where all the trouble objected to by Hold to the Rod arises. I will wait in case fresh LDS answers come in but I take this opportunity to repeat, to those who start debating in comments, that this is NOT what the site is for. It is not a debate site.
    – Anne
    Mar 18 at 18:03
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    @Anne Agreed. We can point comment abusers to the official policy for comments: When should I comment? and When shouldn't I comment? Mar 18 at 18:09
  • This is a very thoughtful response, good food for thought, thank you Mar 20 at 3:26
  • @HoldToTheRod I provided some more site usage thoughts in an extended comment in the Upper Room chatroom. We can discuss more there. Mar 23 at 18:31
  • @GratefulDisciple good insights, thank you! Gives me some good material to think about Mar 24 at 4:36
2

The question seeks an answer to an apparent contradiction :

First Statement :

"I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know...that he was once a man like us..

Second Statement :

For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

The question is not rude, does not make any personal comment about authors, and does not deride the logic of the authors.

The question seeks the resolution of an apparent contradiction.

I do not think that this can possibly be called 'harassment'.

There is no evidence in the question that it seeks 'altercation'.

Whatever has happened in the past, whatever other questions may state, this question must be examined on its own merits and be voted up or down by the community as the community sees fit.

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    Thank you for taking the time to respond, but this does not answer my question. I did not refer to this question as harassment - the matter of harassment was detailed in the linked post. I am concerned by the pattern of ask + downvote nearly all attempts to respond + argue in the comments (often condescendingly)...over and over. This isn't asking a question, this is picking a fight. Mar 14 at 21:16
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    @HoldToTheRod You state 'this question is one of a sequence' I therefore have examined the question (on its own merits) and I find nothing wrong with it. If this is typical 'of the sequence' then I find nothing wrong with the sequence. This site does not protect users from valid and academic inquiry. Nor should it.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 14 at 21:27
  • This site does not protect users from valid and academic inquiry. Nor should it. I agree with you there. I take it you find nothing amiss or unacademic in the comments of the referenced posts? (And/or related posts) Mar 14 at 21:47
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    @HoldToTheRod You highlighted this question and I responded to that.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 14 at 21:54
  • While I semi-agree with this answer, I also think the intent of the OP matters. For example you may read the question, as I have, and see someone asking for clarification about an apparent contradiction but in the comments to an answer the OP points out My focus is on one question...stated here: "I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea," Refute: means: to prove wrong, deny or contradict. Your opinion is noted but the words of Smith do not need explaining because they are clearly contradictory....
    – depperm
    Mar 18 at 16:13
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    ...cont seems to indicate they aren't seeking an answer
    – depperm
    Mar 18 at 16:13
-3

Possibly so, but probably not; it would depend on why one intends to start the altercation and its specific, relevant, potential elements.

There is nothing intrinsically or inherently wrong with altercations, so the only direct answer I have to such a question is not yes or no, but in kind: it depends.

No?

"Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword."

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    Totally wrong biblically speaking. The Bible time and time again condemns the needless fighting of individuals. Citing a verse about Gods justice does not demonstrate that human altercation is not wrong. Instead the Bible is very clear: Proverbs 15:1, 2 Timothy 2:23-24, Romans 14:19, Titus 3:9, Galatians 5:22-23, Proverbs 29:22, Proverbs 13:10, honestly I could go on for hours. This answer is frankly low quality and anti-biblical, despite what it claims to be.
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 20 at 4:33

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