The set of guidelines proposed in the refocussing exercise are great in their clarity, and in excluding some of the kinds of questions and answers we don't want to see. But there are some questions that I think should still be welcome here, that are/would be excluded by our new criteria. Something like this:

I'm leading worship at a meeting in a couple of weeks' time and would like to select some songs that are appropriate for the topic of the meeting. The topic is X and I'd like to pick some songs that are in Y style. (My church is a Z denomination/type of church) Where should I look? Do you have any suggestions?

Admittedly not worded very well but you get the idea. It's all about solving a problem, which is what Stack Exchange is (or was originally) all about. There are of course some undesirable things about this kind of question, perhaps the most obvious one being that it's listy - the answers could end up being lists of possibilities (there could be several "right" answers). But exactly that kind of question is allowed on several, perhaps most, of the other SE sites, so I don't see this as being a showstopper.

I'd like to see C.SE being more than a place to ask about Christianity as a dry, abstract theory, and to allow some "real life" problem solving questions to be admitted. Sure, personal, pastoral advice questions are out, no argument there, but shouldn't wider "What's a good X to use in Y situation?" type questions be allowed? As I understand it questions like this wouldn't fit into our current trinity of biblical/doctrinal/factual.

  • Could you give an example of a question that has been closed that was an non-pastoral advice question? I don't remember having seen one yet.
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 13:56
  • @Richard I haven't seen one either that I can recall. I'm not asking about a particular question, but about whether these type of questions should be welcome here.
    – Waggers
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


From the FAQ:

In the same way that SE sites cannot provide legal or medical advice, this is not a good source for personal spiritual advice.

Provided that advice questions aren't asking for spiritual advice, I don't see this being a problem.

However, I also don't see these as being ideal questions for a QnA format, but I think that as long as they fall within the realm of Good subjective, Bad subjective, they'll be on topic and safe.

The general guidelines for subjective questions:

  1. Great subjective questions inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  2. Great subjective questions tend to have long, not short, answers.
  3. Great subjective questions have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  4. Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  5. Great subjective questions insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  6. Great subjective questions are more than just mindless social fun.

That list is from the referenced article. (Please read that for an explanation.)

Ultimately, as long as they are constructive and on-topic, I don't see these being a problem.


The powers that be deleted the old 'worship leading' stack exchange proposal presumably with the intention of folding it into this site.

If you can't ask those questions than take it up with StackExchange, I'm not sure how you can lead a worship service without a sermon and I'm not sure how you can have a sermon without having some good ideas about right living.

The main reason I'm not sure about these things is because I'm Catholic and don't know about them on principle, but logically, I think by closing the proposal they folded into Christianity.SE, they made it on topic for Christianity.SE - that seemed to be the consensus for Catholicism questions at least.

Also, I've asked quite a few questions about leading a Faith Formation class for teenagers. So there's a precedent.

  • Thanks Peter. I guess I should explain that in my church there are three "leaders" for every meeting - the "leader" who knits the whole thing together, keeps an eye on timing etc; the "worship leader" who leads the band; and the "speaker" who does the talk. Sometimes one person might take on more than one of those roles and often the roles are shared by more than one person - but in my example I was referring to a "worship leader" not a "speaker". Not that it really matters, it was just an example question!
    – Waggers
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 9:57

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