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I am posting this question because I have observed a fundamental problem in the way questions and answers are handled on this site. StackExchange is modelled after StackOverflow which is a Q&A site for computer programming related questions. The beauty of Computer Programming is that no matter what code you write, a same compiler or interpreter will always interpret a single result or conclusion no matter where you run it. So, if a suggested answer/solution has a flaw, everyone can find out without any ambiguity or confusion.

As opposed to religious doctrines where we have so many variations, schools and sects. I have seen some great and well respected scholars always in disagreement somewhere down the path with each-other, and there seem no end to the feud. There is clear evidence of dispute among classical scholars such as Iman Shafi vs Iman Hanafi etc. Iman Jafar vs Iman Zaidi and even Iman Ghazali vs Ibn-Rushd. The same fued exists even today among prominent modern figures such as Al-Albani vs Al-Buti and even Dr. Zakir Naik vs Dr. Muhammad Salah or Dr. Tahirul-Qadri.

I do acknowledge that this is a community-run website and a community may not always agree with each-other. This phenomena in specific is a problem especially when you try to apply the model of StackOverflow. Since the person who answers a question regarding Islam, there is no way on which everyone would mutually agree to verify the validity just like you do with computer-programming. Because something labelled right by one school/sect is labelled wrong or is different in another school/sect. Unless the answer giver explicitly mentions the school/sect in the description there is going to be a problem relating to that answer. Even if the info related to school or sect is mentioned, there are even further divisions down below and all the opposing members come rushing down to down vote the answer. Still there is an option of Upvote, so members of the same group/sect could either down vote or upvote to keep the balance, which is good.

However, A major problem which is specific to this site: There are a handful of very active like-minded members who have somehow made it to the ranks of highly privileged moderators and are very active to endorse and enforce their view of Islam which frankly isn't a generalised view but rather specific. Their behaviour suggests they are inspired from Salafism, Wahabism and Petro-Islamic ideology and are vehemently trying to impose it their own secretive way.

These moderators together have a monopoly to control, influence or even intimidate what remains on the website and what's not. They would down-vote any answer that they would not agree with to a point where the answer gets deleted. I have often seen answers which are more inclined towards Sufism or answers which are a bit liberal getting down voted. This specific group of moderators have formed an alliance. They promote each other and demote every one else who happen to have a different view. As a result we see the following:

  1. Just like in a real world a traditional mullah or radical jihadist hijack the Islamic faith and manipulate it to obtain his preferred agenda, I am seeing somewhat similar behaviour here, however in a very cunning and evasive way, I-e not coming under the radar.

  2. New Members of Islam SE who post content, with which these moderators would not agree are discouraged as the alliance of these moderators come down on them to do everything in their power to intimidate and subdue them. Which leads the opposing side astray from gaining any interest towards contributing to this site and eventually they leave the website.

Even if I post this question here on Meta, some of these moderators, if not all will try to prove me wrong by applying the same tactics that they use on the main site. If I am wrong I will accept but right now I think I am right. I hope the neutral people would be able to tell.

I have some solutions to tackle this problem. But I'll post this question to see the response, and based on that I will proceed forward.

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    I'm actually very proud of my very handful of very active like-minded members who have somehow made it to the ranks of highly privileged moderators. It took me years to build. Thanks for noticing. :) – goldPseudo Mod Apr 2 '18 at 0:18
  • That's good to hear. Which is why I feel, Now is the time to correct you and rinse of any corruption that you might have accumulated while trying to build this privileged position. Because with power comes responsibility. – Qaisar Khan Apr 2 '18 at 1:17
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    If that's your goal you'd probably do a lot better by not making up corruption just so you can accuse people of it. Truth is clear from falsehood, and most of the claims you make in this post, especially those regarding the intentions of other people, are from you speaking without knowledge. – goldPseudo Mod Apr 2 '18 at 1:24
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I am not sure if your question can be satisfactorily answered, since you have cited no examples of the alleged behavior. If there is some specific case where you feel that someone has been intimidated or a high quality answer has been unfairly deleted, then please link to that.

The purpose of the site is to help in an academic study of Islam and not to stage a battle of ideologies to see who comes on top.

Up/down voting is supposed to be done based on quality and usefulness of an answer:

Voting is central to our model of providing quality questions and answers; it is how …

  • good content rises to the top

  • incorrect content falls to the bottom

  • users who consistently provide useful content accrue reputation and are granted more privileges on the site

...

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information. The more that people vote on a post, the more certain future visitors can be of the quality of information contained within that post – not to mention that upvotes are a great way to thank the author of a good post for the time and effort put into writing it!

https://islam.stackexchange.com/help/why-vote

Hence answers that rely on and cite secondary sources and the works of qualified scholars (who presumably know what they are talking about) will obviously gain up-votes. They demonstrate research effort and are reliable and useful for a wide audience.

Answers that simply demonstrate what new spin some random person on the internet has come up with will obviously be down-voted. Otherwise the site would become a useless tangle of countless personal musings, opinions and uninformed discussions.

If you wish to promote some unconventional view, do it by relying on some form of authority and don't go about commenting on other people's answers that your view is right and their view is wrong.

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  • I don't have the privileges to see deleted posts yet. If in future I get it, I will surely post links to answers which got deleted unfairly. But still one of the points of my question is not about what is fair and what isn't. Because sometimes its impossible to determine what is fair when it comes to discussion related to Islam. One school's/sect's definition of "fair" may not be accepted as "fair" by another, and that's why I feel there is a flaw when we try to fit Islam in the model of StackOverflow. – Qaisar Khan Apr 1 '18 at 20:33
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    Sorry, but your comment other than the first two sentences makes absolutely no sense to me. Regarding your first two sentences, I was expecting them to be your own answers, in which case you can see them even if they are deleted. Otherwise any directions at all would have helped. Hurling accusations on moderators and veteran users without first securing proof doesn't seem like a good thing to do, not to mention that the lack of illustration leaves your post extremely ambiguous and pointless. – UmH Apr 1 '18 at 21:02
  • Just because something doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it won't make sense at all. Even in some of my answers there seems an unfair down-vote without any resonable justification see here and here However, this question here is not entirely because of the experience I had in the above two posts. There are countless other double standards – Qaisar Khan Apr 1 '18 at 21:37
  • Just to give you another example. I had given an answer in comment to this question. My comment was deleted by @goldPseudo saying I should not "use comments to answer questions". Which is ok. But then there are countless other questions posted by the same moderator such as this where answers are provided in comments but the moderator has turned a blind eye on that. – Qaisar Khan Apr 1 '18 at 21:42
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    @QaisarKhan I don't see an answer in my comments on the question you are referring to. While I clearly see an answer in your comment. – Medi1Saif Mod Apr 3 '18 at 7:59
  • @Medi1Saif I do see what you mean. I may have linked that question by mistake.. Still we cannot deny countless questions where the "comments feature" has been misused. I do acknowledge the fact that its impossible to track and delete each and every case of mis-used comments. However, I also claim to have noticed a pattern where specific comments and answers that are not compatible or liked by a certain group/school/sect etc gets down-voted or flagged and deleted more often than others... This is a problem that is affecting the overall quality of the website. – Qaisar Khan Apr 3 '18 at 14:10
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To begin with:

  1. We may specify a specific denomination in questions: Ask specific question to a particular sect?

  2. From the on-topic page:

    ... answers may be posted by anybody regardless of training or expertise. It is important to judge the evidences provided by each answer to the best of your own abilities, and accept such answers at your own risk.

  3. Salafi answers are suitable for the site.

I also note that a similar issue was raised here: How is it effecting us as a community when 90% of the answers are refering to one source (islamqa.info)? and here: Is this a Salafi site? And the main post along these lines is Why Sectarianism is Ruining Your Site


There is somewhat an attitude that Salafi answers are overrepresented. (Although, I'm yet to see hard evidence of this.) Some points here:

  • We can't realistically expect a perfect balance: what answers we are capable of producing is largely determined by the users' pool of expertise and the availability of resources.

  • To counterbalance overrepresented Salafi answers, we need to nurture useful non-Salafi answers. Ways to do this include (a) upvoting, (b) inviting experts to participate in this site, (c) providing useful non-Salafi answers, and (d) asking denomination-specific questions.

Also, we're meant to be voting based on usefulness: Please vote based on quality. If people write useful Salafi answers, don't be surprised if they're upvoted.


On other points raised here:

  • Since we're critiquing how people vote: your profile lists your vote frequencies: currently 38 up, 35 down (48% downvotes; 73 votes total).

  • When you see the deleted posts, you'll see that they're 90%+ total rubbish, maybe 5% solely argumentative, a bunch were deleted for plagiarism, and many the authors deleted themselves (or users voted to delete, or they were autodeleted). It's almost entirely uncontroversial.

  • There's no conspiracy here. Write a useful answer with evidence, and get upvotes.

  • Needless comments can be flagged as "No longer needed: This comment is obsolete, chatty, or otherwise unnecessary." Comments in answers are indeed a problem; I took some steps in this post: List of 27 "unanswered" questions which are answered in the comments (Mar 2018) Maybe you can do similarly (it's more constructive).

  • Problems with this answer are that (a) the hadith quoted in the answer says "forgivable", which needs correcting (in the answer itself, not in the comments) as the meaning does not support the subsequent conclusion, (b) there's no evidence given that this is true: "There exist no verses or authentic hadiths which prohibits women from changing their eye colour" (see my post about proving a negative), and applying "what he has remained silent about is [permissible]" (instead of "changing the creation of Allah") to the specific case "women from changing their eye colour" requires a scholar. In my opinion, the downvotes are justified, and nothing to do with sects.

  • Regarding your answer to the voluntary slavery question... I also answered this question, but after some criticism, I realized my answer wasn't as great as I thought, so I deleted it. It's okay: I make mistakes.

    There seems to be feedback in the comments that remain unresolved: Didn't Zaid get freed and become an adopted son? It isn't really slavery.

    The supporting evidence is one hadith; there's a gap from that hadith to "voluntary slavery is permissible". Do scholars also make this same deduction?

    There's material not relevant to answering the question, e.g. "Except this distinction, each and every other right of a woman remains the same for both a wife and that of a female slave." Coincidentally, I'm preparing a question about this topic. (By the way, this claim is also incorrect [there's inheritance, property ownership, and the ability to be "sold" and "co-owned"].)

    "In Islam it is still allowed" is contradicted by online fatawa, e.g., "slavery is impermissible in the Shari'ah" (dar-alifta.org).

    In my opinion, the downvotes are a bit much, but still justified, and nothing to do with sects.


Side note: Critiquing the site and the behavior of users is great when done constructively. Here's an example of mine: Our upvoting patterns compare poorly to the other religion StackExchange sites; let's change this! I put a lot of effort into verifying that what I perceived to be a problem, is actually a problem. I also took steps to rectify the problem myself (upvoting spree!). Nowadays, I'm mostly satisfied with how it turned out.

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  • One reason Salafi answers may seem over-represented here is because the major Salafi sites (e.g. IslamQA) tend to document their evidences better than their non-Salafi counterparts (at least so far as English-language resources are concerned), which translates better to Islam.SE posts where we want clear documented evidence instead of vague assertions or opinions. – goldPseudo Mod Apr 2 '18 at 3:27
  • That’s basically what I was alluding to with “availability of resources”. – Rebecca J. Stones Apr 2 '18 at 3:32
  • Or is it that we are the ones creating such distinction? In the foreword of An-Nawawi's (Shafi'i Salafi) book on the manners of a fatwa, asking for a fatwa and for responding to a fatwa (Adāb al-Fatwa wa al-Mufti wa al-Mustafti), in just the first two pages, Al-Jābi referred to Ibn As-Salah (Shafi'i Ash'ari), Adh-Dhahabi (Shafi'i Salafi with Hanbali Salafi teachers), As-Saymari (Hanafi Salafi), Al-Baghdādi (Shafi'i Salafi), Al-Mawardi (Shafi'i Salafi), As-Sakhāwi (Shafi'i Salafi), Ibn al-Jawzi (Hanbali Salafi), and As-Subki (Shafi'i Sufi). We're all Muslims. – III-AK-III Apr 2 '18 at 10:45
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones I agree on certain things with you but also disagree on others. But I can't comment on each and every point that you have tried to make in your answer, because comments are not meant for a debate. – Qaisar Khan Apr 2 '18 at 21:08
  • However, I would only like to respond to "We can't realistically expect a perfect balance" Yes. we can't but we should atleast seek a balance that is good enough. Have you ever wondered why there are just a handful of active moderators here the same old faces over and over again whose reputation increases by leaps and bounds but the numbers don't? If we do a comparison with StackOverflow the moderators there are in thousands if not millions and their numbers increase day by day. This indicates a flaw and is concerning. Muslim community is over 2 billion. Programmers are merely in millions. – Qaisar Khan Apr 2 '18 at 21:10
  • @QaisarKhan, I think there is some misunderstanding. We have only three moderators who are appointed by SE (SO has 26). Their reputation is, like everyone else, through upvotes by the community. When our site graduates, our moderators will be elected rather than selected. If by moderators you mean active users, we have an above-average group of core users; 346 as of this post. – III-AK-III Apr 2 '18 at 22:00
  • No misunderstandings. My previous comment purely states this site has to have more value. It's shameful for a site like this to still be in this position. Especially when you have a community of over 2 billion muslims. In contrast the SE for Buddhism is doing much better despite the fact that there are a little over 550 million Buddhists out there. If we can somehow remove the problems mentioned in the question, that would help alleviate this site. But it seems no one is willing even to identify these problems, let alone solving them – Qaisar Khan Apr 2 '18 at 23:58
  • And yes by moderators I mean active users. As explained in Area51 "Every site needs a solid group of core users to assist in moderating the site." – Qaisar Khan Apr 3 '18 at 0:00

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