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I will try to somehow portay the issue but I will first base it on a historical context. So please bare the next few lines.

From the "The Theology of Unity"

A brief throw-back on the first Islam:

Islam reproves the slavish imitation of the ancestors that characterizes the leaders of the religions. with their instinct to hold timidly to tradition-sanctioned ways, saying, as they do: 'Nay! We will follow what we found our fathers doing.' (Surah 31.21) and 'We found our fathers so as a people and we will stay the same as they'. (Surah 43·22.) So the authority of reason was liberated from all that held it bound and from every kind of taqlid enslaving it, and thus restored to its proper dignity, to do its proper work in judge­ment and wisdom, always in humble submission to God alone and in conformity to His sacred law. Within its bounds there are no limits to its activity and no end to the researches it may pursue.

.....

The friends of truth are those 'who listen to what is said and follow Its better way.' (Surah 39.18.) as the Qur'an has it. It characterizes them as those who weigh all that is said, irrespec­tive of who the speakers are, in order to follow what they know to be good and reject what gives evidence of having neither validity nor use. Islam threw its weight against the religious authoritIes, bringing them down from the dominance whence they uttered their commands and prohibitions.

.....

The Prophet's day passed-he who was men's recourse in perplexity and their lamp in the darkness of doubt. His two immediate successors in the Caliphate devoted their span of life to repelling his foes and ensuring the unity of the Muslims. Men had little leisure at that time for critical discussion of the basis of their beliefs. What few differences there were they took to the two Caliphs and the Caliph gave his decision, after consul­ tation, if necessary, with the available men of insight. These issues, for the most part, had to do with branches of law, not with the principles of dogma. Under those two Caliphs, men understood the Book in its meaning and allusions.

Troubles & Forgeries: Sectarianism and Traditionalism.

So the case remained until the events which resulted in the death of the third Caliph-a tragedy which did irreparable damage to the structure of the Caliphate and brutally diverted Islam and the Muslim people from their right and proper course. Only the Qur'an remained unimpaired in its continuity. As God said: 'It is We who have sent down the Reminder and We truly preserve it' (Surah 15.9). And thus the way was open for man to transgress the proper bounds of religion.

....

Events took their subsequent course. Some of those who had pledged allegiance to the fourth Caliph broke their fealty. Civil war ensued, issuing in the hegemony of the Umayyads. But the community had been sundered and its bonds of unity broken. Rival schools of thought about the Caliphate developed and were propagated in partisanship, each striving by word and act to gain the better over its adversary. This in turn gave rise. to forgeries of traditions and interpretatIon, and the sectarian excess brought sharp divisions into Khawarij, Shi'ah and moderates.

....

Throughout the period of the rule of Marwan's sons no effort was made to regulate the issue or to get people back to first principles and bring them to a common position. Individual idiosyncrasy had free play, though 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz gave directions to AI-Zahra to record the traditions he had come by and he was the first tradition-collector.[The Context of the creation of Hadiths]

Consequences remained until this day

They persisted on this tack until their sects multiplied apace. The 'Abbasid rule, then in the prime of power, helped them and their views prevailed. Their learned scholars began to write books. Whereupon the adherents of the schools of the early masters took up their challenge, sustained by the power of con­ viction though lacking the support of the rulers. The early 'Abbasids knew the extent of their debt to the Persians for the successful establishment of their power and the overthrow of the Umayyad state. They relied strongly on Per­ sian collaboration and brought them into high positions among their ministers and retainers. Many of them thus came into authority without any part or lot in Islam religiously, including Manichee sectaries and Yazidis, and other Persian persuasions, as well as utterly irreligious people. They began to disseminate their opinions and by attitude and utterance induced those to whom their views were congenial to accept their direction.

SE Islam: misuse of up/downvotes, contradictory answers and unreasonable speculations

Now looking at these two questions.

Not to mention the plenty of contradictory answers within SE Islam. Such as:

  • Is Music Haram or Halal ? Where the most upvoted answer itself doesn't provide a definitive answer, because it is based on unreasonable speculations by many "scholars" that base themselves on "Traditionalism".
  • In the contrary, I would answer that very same question with the following answer in Is it halal to work in a Motel ? using simply the Quranic backed Reason such as highlighted in the "first Islam" part.

Now the reason why SE Islam is doomed to fail is because it doesn't hold any position. It is in the middle of a sandstorm where barely anyone can see. People with reason would find many answers here outrageous, while others, who are used to "Listening" and "Following" will feel indifferent about it.

This also leads to the random usage of the "upvote/downvote" system. Perhaps, in Stackoverflow, it makes sense, but in SE Islam, it doesn't. Not the way things are at the moment.

Concequences ? More questions that aren't even remotely religion based. Contradictory answers. Speculations here and there. Failure.

I recommend reading this a couple of times before attemtping to answer or comment.

Bonus (Do not answer)

What are all these accretions to their religion, when all the time Muslims have the very Book of God as a balance in which to weigh and discriminate all their conjectures and yet its very injunctions they abandon and forsake?

If Islam really is so solicitous for the minds and hearts of men, why today in the opinion of so many is it somehow beyond the reach of those who would grasp it? If Islam welcomes and invites enquiry into its contents, why is the Quran not read except by chanting and even the majority of the educated men of religion only know it very approxi­mately?

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    "Now the reason why SE Islam is doomed to fail is because it doesn't hold any position." Christianity.SE somehow made it work: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/q/193/2111 – goldPseudo Sep 24 '16 at 20:03
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    But you have to take other factors in consideration. Christianity or The christian world isn'nt facing the same challenges as the Muslim worlds. I bet you won't find there half the irrational/superstitious/traditional based questions than you can find in SE Islam on a daily basis. For that, SE Islam will have to push a modern view of Islam. The same view that modern Islamic reformist are preaching. – user19208 Sep 24 '16 at 20:48
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    What's going on in "the Christian world" is irrelevant; what matters is that they took the effort to focus their scope and work together to encourage questions that are actually answerable. Whether the questions are "irrational/supersitious/traditional" doesn't matter at all so long as they're answerable and on-topic. – goldPseudo Sep 24 '16 at 20:53
  • See also meta.islam.stackexchange.com/q/656/22 – goldPseudo Sep 24 '16 at 20:56
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    It is relevant, as SE Islam merely reflects what's out there the muslim world. How would you consider the irrational/superstitious/traditional based question" on-topic or answerable ? "on-topic" according to what ? – user19208 Sep 24 '16 at 21:55
  • Well, if you want to attract a community that "reflects what's out there in the Muslim world", that's what you're going to get. I, for one, would much rather attract a community of experts. The community reaps what it sows. – goldPseudo Sep 25 '16 at 2:29
  • You are reversing this, I'm telling you that the "community" here is merely reflecting what's out there, and what is out there ? irrational/superstitious/traditional based opinions on the religion. – user19208 Sep 25 '16 at 12:54
  • Somewhat related meta.islam.stackexchange.com/questions/1749/… as you seem to confound things! – Medi1Saif Sep 26 '16 at 10:11
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    Imho, If you want to make a place good and useful, you can do effort to make one. Of course you will face "opposite view" downvotes, but if you continue to give quality answers, you will help to creating perspective for this site. People will see your answers and will get used to it. Being patient is key approach to express yourself. You can ask for down voters reason, and people will see it. After a time they will respond. However if you give up after some down votes, nothing will change in this site. – nim Sep 27 '16 at 13:53
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    Judging is easy way, working and trying to give your best answer is hard way. I know I am not doing so much for answer question or ask question in this site but I always use my votes for "quality answers and questions" to encourage people who is making effort to contribute to this site. (My votes are not for "this is wrong or this is right") – nim Sep 27 '16 at 13:57
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    You mean "bear", not "bare" (or perhaps "bear with"). – Peter Mortensen Sep 27 '16 at 20:19
  • most likely, excuse my 3rd/4th language – user19208 Sep 28 '16 at 9:59
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نعيب زماننا والعيب فينا * وما لزماننا عيبٌ سوانا
ونهجو ذا الزمانَ بغير ذنبٍ * ولو نطق الزمان لنا هجانا
وليسَ الذئبُ يأكلُ لحمَ * ذئبٍ ويأكلُ بعضنا بعضاً عيانا

At least 60-70% if not 90% of your post is irrelevant and has nothing to do with your "actual question" (which is more or less a statement not a question), but is a long propaganda for your personal view of Islam and an irrelevant history retrospect which in first place has nothing to do with Islam SE.

IMO you either still didn't get how stack exchange works therefore I've posted a comment with a link to a meta post with a similar situation. Or you insist in changing this site to a site that should spread the "truth" regardless the philosophy or policy of the stack exchange model.

Comments on: SE Islam: misuse of up/down-votes, contradictory answers and unreasonable speculations

  • Now the down and up-votes are part of the SE model. You can accept that or leave it. I mean the idea of the site is not spreading the truth but giving answers to given questions. That means we can not make a censorship for questions, but we must try to check whether a question has been asked or answered before. On history SE I've seen a Question closed because an answer of irrelevant question included a "hint" of an answer of the actual question. However in this community many people object my close votes for questions that have been asked with 0.01% of difference.
  • The fact that good questions or good answers don't get sufficient support. And that bad questions or answers or those who include some kind of criticism of the mainline are "heavily" down-voted just reflect what is out there.

    If you ever tried to be a part or to lead a Muslim community out there you will have faced this. Everybody is waiting for you (the supposed leader or responsible) to do something instead of standing up and make the change themselves or at least be part of it. If everything is fine they are with you if nothing works then you are responsible. Of course this attitude has nothing to do with what Islam teaches us, but this is my experience of many years.

    Now as long as I'm here on Islam SE I see a vanishing active community. I don't want to say that in earlier stages things were better (high quality posts), but there was at least more activity.

  • I do agree there are many contradictory answers and it doesn't matter whether the accepted answer or the in my or your opinion most correct answer is the one with the most up-votes. What matters is if you think you have a good quality answer than give it, but give evidences explain your view...
    For example a Scholar who smokes himself would never give a fatwa declaring smoking cigarettes (etc.) as haram as this would be self-contradictory, but people got used to ask many scholars until they find one who gives a fatwa that eases things for them. This unfortunately is also a reflection from reality. Muslims (not all) seek a way to find excuses and give up their responsibility by asking scholars. So -coming back to my example- as a smoker you would check the answer which allows you to smoke and down-vote any other answer no matter how reasonable it is.

    Honestly at times when I read some strange and superstitious question I do leave comments like use your mind or just some kind of sarcastic comments. Mostly these kind of questions come from new users who post here and there the same question and never come back!

  • And sectarianism is part of any religion and also the activities on the site just reflect what is out there.

The problems you are pointing at are not inside Islam SE but they have deeper sources they come within the Muslim societies. Many traditional Muslims carry a big (historical) ballast with them which is a mix of superstition, (false) traditions, Islam, respect for some kind of people like scholars and literate people. To change this we need to change the whole Umma and get it back to the first words of the Quranic revelation "iqra'a" (read!, recite!) however many people who are literate still become "irrational" when it comes to religion. All this needs to be cleared it is a big task and Islam SE can't do that alone, and I'm afraid it was never meant to! We need more rational people and rational scholars, who question a lot of rulings we got used to, but don't have a real backup in our religion!

What can we do here on SE?

  • I don't think we can apply a kind of censorship to irrelevant, unreasonable etc. questions and answers. But we can "vote" for them and write better answers.
  • We should review a couple of posts and post better answers.
  • We cannot forbid people to ask about explanation of strange ahadith or narration that are hair-raising. But we can answer them and commenting them in a correct manner, pointing at what is reasonable and what is not.
  • ...

To resume: WE NEED MORE ACTIVITY, without it this site is really doomed to fail or to stay in beta forever. To be more exact we need a kind of positiv activity where at least the (most) active memembers work more or less hand in hand.

What is your Question?

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    This one seems like a reasonable answer, you are admitting that people being biased in ISE is merely a reflection of what's out there and the existence of contradictory answers.. You are right, ISE can't apply a censorship, however I don't think "getting more activity" would solve the problem because ISE is likely to lose activity because of the abundant low-quality questions/answers. No one would want to be commited to deal with crappy questions that are essentially tradition related. – user19208 Oct 7 '16 at 1:17
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The users of Islam.SE can downvote me if they wish (and they do). I'm chalking up my contributions here as good deeds:

...And whatever you do of good - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. -- Qur'an 2:215

These are the upvotes I truly seek.

I'm making a good faith attempt at asking meaningful and appropriate questions, answer questions to the best of my ability where possible, learn about Islam, and so on.

From my perspective, even if Islam.SE ultimately fails, it still succeeds.


Some comments regarding the problems raised:

  • Sects: Just like Islam.SE, there is wide diversity of opinion in the Muslim world. Communicating to an audience with such diversity is challenging; there will be different opinions as to what standard of evidence is appropriate to support varying claims. It takes time and practice to become an effective communicator in such an environment.

    Some humility here helps; i.e., not assuming one's personal view of Islam is automatically correct. It also helps to survey diffuse sources of evidence to see if they're consistent. (Acknowledging the existence of a contrary opinion does not concede its correctness.)

  • Irregular downvoting: Indeed, I've been surprised by the amount of downvoting at this site compared to other sites I've participated in. It almost seems like the more research you put into your post, the more likely you are to receive a downvote.

    My experience at other StackExchange sites with this level of popularity is that in order to improve voting patterns, all it takes is five or so dedicated users to regularly upvote reasonable questions and well-researched answers---positive feedback encourages better contributions.

    I've been trying to help in this way; here's my current vote counts:

    my current tally: 458 upvotes, and 17 downvotes

    (And I've only been a member for 3 months.)

    It's not going to stop the "my imam says [blah]" answers with the accompanying "I agree with this" upvotes. Instead the aim is for well-written, knowledgeable contributions to be consistently upvoted over cheapo posts, making higher quality posts dominate the site.

  • You are my hero, you are a great mathematician ( with erodos no :2) and also take time on ISE. You are awesome! Keep it up!! I would be more happy if I can get any reply from you. – Fawad Oct 9 '16 at 13:15
  • Haha! blush I'm not sure what to say to that. (: – Rebecca J. Stones Oct 9 '16 at 14:29
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You claim that "SE Islam is doomed to fail is because it doesn't hold any position." However, that's blatantly untrue: Islam.SE does hold a position, and that position is clearly expressed in our help centre:

For the purposes of this site, "Islam" includes all groups that identify themselves as Muslim

The two "vague" answers you're complaining about are completely in line with this: They won't — they can't — give a solid concrete answer to these questions because there isn't one, at least not one that meets the criteria of "all groups that identify themselves as Muslim". These are topics in which there is significant dispute across the Islamic spectrum. Short of closing the questions entirely (which is what I would recommend in many cases), about the only real answer they could get would be a detailed explanation of this fact.

ISE's community is, by design, pluralistic. Sectarianism of any form is forbidden here, which includes any behaviour that promotes that one particular interpretation of Islam as "more correct" than any other: This is the only way that a pluralistic site such as ours can thrive.

People are of course free to ask and answer questions about their own personal interpretation of Islam. However, when posting here it's essential to note that that interpretation is not necessarily held (or even understood) by everyone else on the site: There is a wide spectrum of beliefs under the umbrella of Islam, and we cater to all of them. Sometimes posters may need to put extra effort into their posts just to clarify exactly which point on the Islamic spectrum they're even talking about. However, pushing one interpretation of Islam as if it's the only (valid) interpretation of Islam, whether intentionally or by accident, is obviously going to be stepping on the toes of everyone who disagrees with it.

Downvotes are the community's way of saying that a particular post is "not useful": This is inherently a subjective decision, open to the whims of whoever is casting the vote. The same can be said for close votes and delete votes: The community votes as the community wishes.

Nobody can please everybody, and just because you think something is useful doesn't mean the other ten-thousand-odd visitors to the site do; similarly just because you think a post is "outrageous" or "irrational" doesn't mean the other ten-thousand-odd visitors do. If the community, or even individual users within the community, upvote or downvote a post for whatever reason, so be it. But if your automatic assumption to voting is that it's "random" and "misused" instead of actual feedback, then nothing's going to improve.

  • You based your answer on a fallacy, I did say that "ISE Is doomed for not taking a position" i.e against traditionalism & sectarianism and I added: "It is standing in the middle of a sandstorm", there you go that's the rule you are defending calling ISE "pluralistic". Obviously, pluralistic to the point that 90% of the questions are irrational/superstitious/tradional based & 90% of the answers are "can't be specifically answered"-style and can easily contradict each other because of that "pluralistic" thing. It also affects the votes. "The community votes as the community wishes" Exactly. – user19208 Sep 28 '16 at 20:54
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SE Islam being Pluralistic is a LIE

I'm a muslim, specifically what they call "Quranist", those who follow the book of God alone and give no importance to Hadiths or any religious authority beside God and the given ability to tell what is right fron what is not. This being said, I used my knowledge to the best of my ability to answer many questions, with the Quran and the Reason as a back-up. And everytime I'd get "booed" by the majority that is mainly Sunni people.

We (Those who Follow God Alone) are already called out as "disbelievers" i.e We're going to hell in this question and its answers: The sins of hadith rejections Of course, such questions and answers coming from these people do not surprise me...In fact, everyone that doesn't follow what their scholars are preaching is going to Hell. Whether you believe in Allah only, or not believe at all.

No problem, I might just do the same and question some of their belief on Hadiths in a much more reasonable way:

Another example which led to my suspension: I was called as "non-muslim" for my view.

Judgement day, the waiting period In this example, I did my best to answer the question using the Quran and the God-given logical reasoning (that's what "Quranist" do anyways), and then as usually I get someone downvoting me and telling me that "the hadiths say otherwise" and then later on adds that " MUSLIMS believe that hadiths are authoritative texts"* implying that my views are of a non-muslim therefore incorrect and deserve a downvote.

  • So basically, If your question/answer uses LOGIC AND QURAN while there are Other ruling by their scholars then it is very likely to be downvoted or just not upvoted at all, or even flagged & closed, or just called out as being wrong .

And I've been getting a ton of grudge. A small example from couple days ago:

something very stupid

  • Bottom line is if your view don't really match or follow the Sunni view you are likely to get a bad experience in this place, simply because they are the majority and everything that comes after that is just a consequence. The biased downvotes, the funny riduculous questions, the contradictory answers, the lack of activity because of the lack of interest. This conclusion answers the issue highlighted in the question.

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