This is for discussion purposes only. When an answer needs to be improved, I'd like to be able to link to a FAQ that gives guidance on how to answer, much like What makes a good supported answer?
I'm just throwing this out for discussion.
What makes a good, dispassionate answer?
First off, it should be clear that votes represent a viewpoint that
What doesn't deserve a downvote?
What does deserve a downvote?
Well sourced questions and answers will make use of what is commonly referred to as the four sources of theology:
What is fact and reason?
Facts are demonstrably provable points. Bible verses, church documents, historical references, and other information that is either widely known or sourceable. Reason is an inference or implication made explicit from a demonstrable fact.
What is bias?
Bias is an unwritten attempt to either avoid an issue or reframe an issue outside of the bounds of mainstream thought. It should be noted that naming one's own bias is good. Leaving out widely known information because it does not fit your bias is bad, and should be downvoted. A good answer can be "biased" as long as it calls itself out. Note also, by the scoping of this site, a bias towards Christainity expressed in its many forms, is acceptable. (I.e. you don't have to preface everything with "Assuming there is a God," or "Assuming the Bible is a valid source of theology.")
What is opinion?
Anything that isn't either widely known, well-sourced, or a logical implication or inference of a documentable fact.
"This verse should be read [ literally | figuratively ]" is an opinion
"Fundamentalists read this verse literally | Liberals read this verse figuratively" is a fact. (Note: You could actually be right or wrong. The point is that facts are falsifiable. Opinions are not.)