Even (almost) three years since the site opened, answers on the main page are still far more heavily "Truthy" than neutral/academic: Many posts are written with a bias that "Islam" has exactly one "correct" opinion (and that that opinion is the one that the poster holds). These posts almost inevitably devolve into bickering between users who, well, disagree with that claim.
Sometimes these are answers to questions that should probably have been closed as being primarily opinion-based in the first place (see also relevant meta discussion: Is there any way to make Truth questions constructive?) but I am constantly seeing answers which ostensibly start by answering the actual question asked before diverging into the irrelevant Truth claims.
And this is hardly limited to answers: I have seen comments, edits, questions and even tags posted for pretty much the sole purpose of pushing a particular Truth. And that's not to mention the voters who vote based entirely on agreement, rather than on how relevant or useful any particular post even is.
I don't want to provide any links because I don't want to point any fingers here (rest assured, this is a consistent problem across multiple users), but I do know that this has been rampant for almost the entirety of the site and we have lost a number of constructive users over the years because of this: Typically people who are interested in the academic study of Islam are not interested in the constant debate and apologetic that comes from people who are only interested in pushing dogma.
There are multiple meta posts not only from users and site moderators, but from the community team itself, all of which are coming from the same bent: We are a site for learning about Islam, not for preaching about Islam. Yet for some reason, three years in, the community at large still isn't grasping this basic notion.
Or, as Shog9 so eloquently put it:
Maybe you see this as nothing more than a soapbox upon which you can stand, and anyone who chides you an enemy to be attacked. If so, then this is not the site for you - leave now, and don't come back.
I am, quite frankly, sick of seeing this garbage. Over the years, I have personally…
- … downvoted posts that heavily push Truth claims,
- … left comments explaining why Truth claims are irrelevant and unwelcome,
- … edited out irrelevant Truth claims, leaving little more than a shell of the original answer,
- … closed questions that were phrased in such a way as to encourage Truth claims,
- … outright deleted posts which are written for the sole apparent purpose of pushing Truth claims,
- … written and/or linked to countless meta posts explaining why Truth claims are problematic,
- … prompted open discussions as to how we can handle Truthy situations constructively,
- … suspended problem users who consistently used the site to push Truth claims,
- … and, when applicable, encouraging other users to do the same.
And you know what? IT'S NOT WORKING. Users are still regularly using answers as a soapbox to post Truth claims, the community is still encouraging them (by voting based on agreement/disagreement rather than usefulness), the users are still arguing about them in comments, and the actual experts are still being driven away.
This is a problem with the community, and one which the community is more than equipped to handle. However, most days it still seems that it's only the diamond moderators who are actually bothering to do anything about it.
The site, however, has grown well beyond the point that it can be moderated without significant community involvement: Diamond moderators are supposed to be human exception handlers, not full-time janitors. Something needs to be done, and short of just suspending everybody who ever posts a Truth claim ever (which may be a little draconian, even for me), I am frankly at a loss as to what it should be.
So, in short, rampant Truth claims are still destroying the site: How can we stop them?