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From today's chat it's apparent that there are a few things going on which need to be fixed up.

Mark Trapp pointed out these three questions

one of which has already been closed, as examples of desegregation to discussiony, insidery analysis. Questions sparked from comment debates, this is not good. There's really no reason that questions like that can't just be asked here on meta instead, especially if they're asked for clarification of the way the site should be run.

Alternately you can invite the person to chat, or just keep on commenting and have the thread deleted by annoyed mods. But, if anyone can give a good reason why meta questions shouldn't be asked on meta, lets have it out.


If you've got enough rep to close, you can vote to close as offtopic / belongs on meta.

  • +1 mostly for "just keep on commenting and have the thread deleted by annoyed mods". :P – El'endia Starman Feb 20 '12 at 19:47
  • I've voted to close my Matthew 18:15 question... I could have sworn it had a good answer, but I guess it was deleted. It doesn't really fit the pattern of stemming from the comments on another question, but I think was poorly aimed even so. – Jon Ericson Feb 20 '12 at 20:52
  • @JonEricson: You're right: there was a good answer that was deleted. A mod may or may not undelete it later. – El'endia Starman Feb 20 '12 at 20:57
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  • Questions about Christianity and it's doctrines and constituency should be asked on main.

  • Questions about this site, how we are to run it, how we should interact with each other, etc. should be asked on meta.

  • Everything else goes in chat.

I don't think the issue with some of those questions is that they are outside the scope of the main site so much as they were presented in the form of part of an on-going discussion and called for answers that could not be given objectively by a large enough audience of experts.

  • thus more likely chat topics than site or even meta questions. – wax eagle Feb 21 '12 at 13:08
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I want to be very careful here, because

a. I was an offender on this and

b. I want to make it abundantly clearly that I'm going to follow community's and moderator's lead on this.

That said, I am afraid the "all questions sparked from comments belong on meta" solution may end up doing more damage than the problem it is trying to solve.

I, personally, like the comment traffic (although I agree, it should be moved to chat, and I intend to start doing that). I like being challenged on the assertions I've made, and many times those assertions lead me back to real questions about Christianity as a result.

In my offending question on humanism, I actively wanted to understand what differentiates a Christian from a humanist, if that was the definition. Marc Gravell made some really good points, Jon Ericson made some really good points, and the discussion really tied back to what Christianity is. That was actually sparked from a chat conversation, but I thought it uncovered a really question - Is Christianity just being nice to people? If so, what differentiates it from humanism? In hashing out these answers, both Jon and Marc brought really good sources to bear on the question.

In the end, I think that "bad question" (which earned a "Nice Question" badge) fostered information exchange in a good way. If our goal is to foster information exchange, it succeeded!

I realize we are not a discussion board - but I think there is also a qualitative difference between Stack Overflow and Christianity.SE.

Stack Overflow is meant to be an information clearing house. Get in, get out, get your solution. Christianity has very few "quick fix" type questions. People are bringing questions that have haunted them for years - and this site helps. People also are having their lifelong assumptions challenged - and this site helps do that. But in both cases, a 50 cent answer to a million dollar question should always raise more questions.

Those questions will in turn generate more questions, and should.

Christianity.SE is all about uncovering the unchallenged assumptions we all make. And, these all relate.

I'm afraid that a blanket rule of "move to meta from any comment" will just fragment the site into the juicy bits being on meta, and frankly a shriveling away of the main site.

When we are arguing what is and what isn't appropriate for this site, then clearly it should be on meta. But, if there is a serious attempt to understand implications of Christian doctrine and to challenge assumptions in questions, I do believe it belongs on main.

Indeed, I think its really good when a broad question is asked, an assumption is uncovered, and the assumption goes on to be asked.

That's good theology.

Again - I'm not trying to be a rebel, I just don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

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    Here's how I would word a rule: Every question on main should be a standalone question. – Affable Geek Feb 21 '12 at 11:47
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    I personally was uncomfortable with some of your questions in this vein because they seemed as if you were more interested in driving home a theological point than in getting diverse answers. Your rule ("Every question on main should be a standalone question.") is excellent, but I would also say that we should be careful about turning questions into "debate tools", if that makes sense. If you'd like to know more about what I'm thinking, I'd be happy to chat about it. – Jon Ericson Feb 21 '12 at 17:44
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    The only reason I'm not going to follow that chat is because I actively want to make the following apology public: You are right, I was taking a few cheap shots. I was wrong, and I intend to not do it again. I would like to ask the community to call me on it, if you think I'm just taking potshots. – Affable Geek Feb 21 '12 at 18:29
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I'll just answer myself instead of commenting on Caleb's so we can get some +/- opinion vote action going.


I think he's right in general. Those questions attempted to be palatable to the main site, but their ends were to clarify things within the christianity.se community. There couldn't be a hard and fast rule on this since it is up to the questioner to come up with the basis for their questions.

I'd scope "how we should interact with each other" with, what do I need to know to interact with you. Because sometimes we just plain old cannot talk to each other because we just don't understand one another. Even the pagans on SO wouldn't write code examples in Python if someone asked for one in Object Pascal (my bread and butter).

  • I mean PHP, my favorite Phishing language... – Peter Turner Feb 20 '12 at 21:20

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