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In Replacing the off-topic close reasons? (draft), I proposed this as a draft off-topic close reason:

This question is unrelated to the teachings of Islam. This includes questions about politics, personal advice (including counselling and peer support), the Arabic language, and requests for dream interpretation. When it's not obvious, questions should include what the author aims to learn about Islam. See: What are the established off-topic reasons?

It got some feedback (see below), which means it needs either ditching or reworking:

Question: Can we make a general "not Islam-related" off-topic close reason work?


Feedback

The feedback I got from goldPseudo ♦ was this:

For example, the This question is unrelated to the teachings of Islam proposal covers four topics:

  • Politics: Rarely constructive and deemed off-topic mostly as a matter of precaution: Allowing them is just going to make a mess.
  • Personal Advice: Generally welcome as long as it's generalized rather than specific.
  • Arabic Language: Definitely on-topic in a lot of Islamically-relevant contexts. Definitely off-topic otherwise.
  • Dream Interpretation: Pretty much always off-topic; ask a professional, not random strangers on the Internet.

Each of these are off-topic for different reasons, and not universally so. By lumping them together, you lose the ability to explain any of these distinctions in the close reason itself, which doesn't really help the questioner improve their own questions. Arguably more problematically, it also implies that if one of the topics can be made on-topic relatively easily (e.g. Arabic Language or Personal Advice) then all of them can.

In addition, it's pretty much going to end up being used as a catch-all in much the same way that the current "culture and behaviour" one is when voters just want a question closed but can't bother to give it a specific reason.

This seems astute. I was initially surprised by this reply, as it seems "not about Islam" should be the most obvious off-topic reason. So let's think more carefully about this.

My original motivation for phrasing it as above:

  • It seemed worthwhile enumerating these individual close reasons, so people knew to use it for certain topics in particular.

  • I created the linked meta post (What are the established off-topic reasons?) to overcome the character limit problem, but it doesn't seem to have worked that way.


What do other sites do?

When flagging, one can use this off-topic close reason:

Blatantly off-topic (this question has nothing to do with [foo])

This is a generic off-topic close reason:

off-topic: This question does not appear to be about [foo], within the scope defined in the [help].

Christianity.SE:

General philosophical or sociological questions are off-topic unless clearly asking for a doctrinal answer. See: On-topic and constructive examples.

Judaism.SE:

Questions about the Hebrew language or about history or news of the Jewish people, Jewish individuals, or the State of Israel, except as related to Judaism, are off-topic. If this question does relate to Judaism, please edit it to indicate how.


Possible solutions

1. Don't include it and use:

Other (add a comment explaining what is wrong)

when we encounter "not Islam-related" questions.

2. Don't enumerate, e.g.:

This question is unrelated to the teachings of Islam. When it's not obvious, questions should include what the author aims to learn about Islam. See: What are the established off-topic reasons?

3. Enumerate, but link to individual meta posts, e.g.:

This question is unrelated to the teachings of Islam possibly because it's about politics, personal advice, the Arabic language, or dream interpretation. When it's not obvious, questions should include what the author aims to learn about Islam.

[431 characters]

4. Request additional close reasons from StackExchange

Maybe individual ones for (a) personal advice, and (b) dream interpretation. These come up a lot.

(Probably not the best option.)

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I've been spending some time thinking about this, and on consideration the biggest problem I have with this proposal, above and beyond the points I mentioned in the quoted post, is the fact that it really doesn't get to the core of the problem.

Off-topic reasons are generally supposed to be used for common misconceptions; I honestly don't think most of these questions are coming in under the misconception that questions "unrelated to the teachings of Islam" are somehow welcome on Islam.SE.

Rather, I think they're coming in for exactly the opposite reason: They believe their questions are related to the teachings of Islam, and that that alone makes them on-topic here.

This is, for example, the main argument I hear from users who insist on promoting political ideas: Politics is very relevant to the teachings of Islam. It is off-topic here because it's rarely constructive, not because it's irrelevant. You could say the same thing about personal advice questions: Enjoining the good and forbidding the bad is a fundamental Islamic concept, as is helping your Muslim brothers and sisters. And Islamic dream interpretation is totally a field of study with "Islamic" right there in the name.

On the flip side, given how vague the term "Islam" is here, you're also likely going to get people using this to attack posts that don't promote "real" Islam: I have seen many cases of posts getting flagged or VtC'd for no reason other than because they don't represent or ask about whatever flavor of Islam the flagger wants to promote, and that was without it being entrenched in the off-topic close reasons. Even this behaviour can be argued to have an Islamic basis, but again, is unwelcome because it's non-constructive rather than because it's irrelevant

These both to me suggest that the proposed off-topic reason has completely missed its intended purpose: It's still too vague and prone to abuse, and on use will likely just result in extended arguments about how "of course it's relevant to Islam", rather than actually making anything cleaner or easier to apply.

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almost every thing in our life is related to verses of Quran that say "do not make israf" .

if somebody asks about how to make something in electronics or programming, we still can answer that he should make it more optimal. but technical details about optimizing such things is parts of their own sciences. Islam can say only so little there : "make optimal" , and also we can add that it should not create haram images etc.

so i disagree with almost all reasons in your off topic reasons list, but i am lazy to answer that question for now, it requires some investigation of all that reasons.

You should speak only truth: https://quran.com/33/70 :

O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.

So do not name "unrelated to the teachings of Islam" what is not unrelated to the teachings of Islam. name/call it other way. if you say "off-topic" it is more appropriate than "unrelated to the teachings of Islam".

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