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I read a lot of people saying there should me more limits, more methods of discouraging answers or questions, or that this site should be secular (which is a sect in a way...).

This is understandable considering some of the heated and extreme things being posted.

Is it going to meet the objective though? Will the community hire a group of full time employees to enforce this? Just because an answer is from a specific sect does that mean they are debating?

I say there should be less limits and more participation. Im interesting in hearing from each sect. In fact one of my first questions was about a sect stated in a heated manner but touching on a sensitive issue that I didnt know was so sensitive. That question got no answers but its not simple to answer.

On the other hand I got one very simple question that should have gotten an answer but did not. Why?

Then I got downvoted for posting this one. Just for mentioning Christianity? Why just one answer?

Then this one is a fundamental question asking about whether or not Islam is meant to be enforced "en mass" as a legal system. Fundamental question but it is downvoted as being a question that is not what? Off topic? Irrelevant? I disagreed with the only answer but did not downvote it because it is an important answer reflecting an important popular opinion.

The only way I got anything good from this site was by offering bounties. The answers are scarce. Maybe this experience is limited to myself but to solve this I think more freedom is necessary.

More freedom. That is what we all need here :)

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Freedom is a double-edged sword.

You, for example, are free to post whatever you want. Others are also free to answer it, or leave a comment on it, or downvote it, or close it, or delete it, or ignore it completely.

And experts are free to participate here, or to go somewhere else entirely.

Most if not all other SE sites have determined at some point that, in order to attract the actual experts who can answer questions, some standards for quality need to be met (see: "Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand"). Pretty much everybody on any SE site is a volunteer, and if somebody is going to be volunteering their time and effort to answer questions for other people, they are more likely to do so in an environment where they feel welcome and where they feel their efforts will be appreciated. And in most cases, environments where nobody cares about quality control are not that.

Even three plus years into the site, most users here still don't seem to grasp the idea of how much freedom they actually have; compared to pretty much any other site on the Stack Exchange network, actual rules are in surprisingly short supply here.

And pretty much all we do have rule-wise is just an extension of basic Stack Exchange norms: Above all else we are site geared toward high-quality Q&A and we expect a certain standard of professional behaviour from everybody. Any users who actually try to build a site they can be proud of are pretty much left to their own subjective opinions on how to do that with the tools they have available.

Meta is full of suggestions and discussions on how we as a site can improve, but any "rule" here is only as powerful as the willingness of individuals in the community to act on and enforce it via the privileges they have earned. And almost every attempt to establish site-specific rules and guidelines for the community to actually follow has been met with, quite frankly, apathy.

You're not the only one who doesn't want more limits: That's pretty much been the standard for this site since day one. Everyone wants more freedom, nobody wants more limits.

We are anarchy writ large.

Which seems to me to be a great way to breed conflict and confusion, and a terrible way of making people feel welcome and appreciated, but hey, I'm just one guy: The community reaps what the community sows, and the community apparently doesn't care to sow quality at the expense of freedom.

  • And experts are free to participate here, or to go somewhere else entirely. such statements are rude and should never be posted. Someone who doesn't know how SE works and a moderator posts that to them, I would think he doesn't want me here I'll never come back. My opinion. – user12537 Sep 11 '15 at 20:11
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    @AmericanMuslim How is it rude? It's a simple statement of fact: If experts don't want to participate here, we can't force them to. They are free to participate and/or leave at their discretion. – goldPseudo Sep 11 '15 at 20:17
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    Most people who visit websites and feel not welcomed, will not come back. It never hurts to be nice in your conversation. Asking someone to go somewhere else is rude imo. – user12537 Sep 16 '15 at 4:30
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I read a lot of people saying there should be more limits, more methods of discouraging questions and answers.

Seeing that SE is about asking questions and answers this seems on the face of it quite strange...

Whats important of course is the quality of the questions and of the answers; and given the egalitarian ethos of SE in allowing anyone to participate then this means discouraging bad questions and bad answers; and encouraging good questions and answers.

Or that this site should be secular, which is a sect anyway

There are various notions of secularity; one of which is in the 'ecumenical' sense; another in the sense of 'sect'; I would suppose it's the first sense that aligns itself with the egalitarian ethos of participation on the stack; in this sense it's already secular.

Given though, the site is about Islam; and the aim of SE should be to attract those who have a positive interest in Islam, and this is more likely if they have some sympathy with it; or with religous thinking or forms of faith; or for those who have a critical interest in religion or Islam ie how it engages or disengages with modernity

For those who are critical in the sense of being sceptical - well there is Phil.SE and skeptics.SE.

This is understandable given some of the heated and extreme things being posted.

I found this quite startling; given the egalitarian ethic of participation and the anonymity of the net - this is going to happen. The question is how to minimise it.

To solve this I think more freedom is neccessary

I'd suggest the site by allowing participation with anyone who can access the internet, and has the literacy skills to write - and write in English has quite a large amount of freedom already built-in.

What it doesn't have is the participation of experts; it's this, really, that needs encouraging.

  • I think votes should determine quality of Q&A. Maybe secular should mean that no sects will be encouraged or discourage, but they are being policed. The policing itself becomes a sect since it determines what is and isnt acceptable. Otherwise I sold all my rep for a few good answers, so Im kinda off this site now. Unfortunately Im too opinionated to stay away...BTW skeptical questions are the key to making the site good :) – user13203 Sep 22 '15 at 20:28
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I agree with you, more freedom will definitely invite more answers. I wouldn't even go as far as more freedom, but less policing as I mentioned in a previous post. One thing you need to do is give freedom, but not too much that the answers are not reflective of what the OP asked or if they still don't comply with major SE rules and regulations.

Another important point I noticed is that many people get discouraged by some moderators (personally I was about to be one of them if I wasn't a forgiven person) where the moderation seems too strict -Even the messages are sometimes not polite (understandably since they are copy/paste). Unfortunately not every reads the rules and regulations of any website before participating. Easing them into it will definitely invite them to stay and participate more, just my opinion. I understand that moderators have a lot of work to do, but doing it less positively I think is better than more negatively.

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    Easing new users into the site is something pretty much anybody with commenting/reviewing/editing privileges can do. When diamond moderators are stuck being the primary hand-holders on the site (in addition to the actual responsibilities they signed up for) that typically means everybody else is failing to hold up their own end in site moderation. – goldPseudo Sep 9 '15 at 0:22
  • That could be the case, but that still doesn't mean that moderators have be rude in their responses! – user12537 Sep 11 '15 at 20:09
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    Anybody who knows me knows that I am blunt in my commentary; if you find bluntness to be rude, that's on you. The alternative is just for me to not leave comments at all, and for whatever reason the community as a whole prefers blunt comments to no comments. – goldPseudo Sep 11 '15 at 20:21
  • Your bluntness drives people away and then you wonder why the website doesn't have much participation. There is never a reason why someone can't be a moderator and nice at the same time. – user12537 Sep 16 '15 at 4:28
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    I don't wonder why the website doesn't have much participation. I wonder why it has exactly the wrong type of participation, despite three years of people explaining exactly what this site is for and, more importantly, what it is not for. Most of community failure is inertia from the earliest days, before I ever even started moderating, and well before I stopped wasting my time carefully crafting comments couched in niceties that were just being ignored anyway. – goldPseudo Sep 16 '15 at 18:46
  • @goldPseudo Well your not doing that bad. I disagree with your secularism because its something that cant become secular. Otherwise I like your bluntness and think more people should do that. It encourages more details and brings some clarity. – user13203 Sep 22 '15 at 20:19
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    @Jason I am by no means secular: The Stack Exchange network, however, is. And we as users of the site need to play by their rules regardless of our own personal beliefs. You may benefit from reading the following post from Christianity.SE, which dealt with much the same issues: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/q/193/2111 – goldPseudo Sep 22 '15 at 20:44
  • @goldPseudo I meant secularism with respect to the site. I dont see how a religous Q&A site can be secular as far as having no mention of sects in the Q&A posts. Also, I interpret the SE secular to mean that the site should not encourage or discourage any one sect while you have discouraged hints of sects on one or two posts. After all isnt Islam a sect of Monotheism? – user13203 Sep 22 '15 at 21:37
  • @goldPseudo I read that the question in that link and his idea of secular is similar to what I was suggesting. Although I should read the Answers too. – user13203 Sep 22 '15 at 21:46

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