This has been brought up countless times in the past, most recently with Lazy Questions Are Destroying Your Site

Yet instead of becoming a repository of useful Islamic knowledge to future visitors, we're increasingly plagued by lazy questions that have been asked hundreds of times before and are still only useful to one person at best.

Islam.SE is almost ten years old. It is now a graduated site. But can you honestly look at this site and be proud of it? Do you see a useful repository of Islamic knowledge, one which will stand the test of time and provide value for years to come? Does this site make the Internet a better place?

Or do you see a site bogged down in useless questions and uninformed opinions that is barely differentiable from any other Islamic forum out there?

This is a community site, which means that the community is responsible for keeping it clean, keeping it up-to-date, and keeping it useful. Moderators are volunteers who are expected to handle the situations that the community cannot. They are not, nor should they be, responsible for hand-holding the community and doing all the work of keeping this site clean because nobody else can be bothered to.

Every month we get hundreds of new users all of which come here looking for knowledge and expertise on the topic of Islam. In Ramadan alone we get literally millions of views, all of which come here looking for knowledge and expertise on the topic of Islam. We also get hundreds of new posts, and it is not reasonable to expect a small handful of moderators and dedicated users to do all the heavy lifting of keeping everything under control, to make visiting this site an experience worth repeating.

We have thousands of active users who have basic voting privileges to downvote bad questions, yet the worst questions on the front page have maybe one or two downvotes at best. We have thousands of users who can discuss and set policy on meta, yet it's always the same handful of names who even care enough to participate. We have thousands of users who can suggest edits, yet the front page is plagued by unfocused questions with the most basic of grammar errors.

I want to say this again, to make this perfectly clear because I think it has not yet sunk in for a lot of people: IT IS NOT THE MODERATOR'S JOB TO CURATE THIS SITE. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE COMMUNITY.

StackExchange provides valuable tools in the form of Islam Meta and Islam Chat for communicating with the community, to discuss policy, to discuss issues, or just to hang out and be a community. Both of those are practically a wasteland. In the last ten years, I can't recall the community bothering to develop a single new policy without a moderator needing to implement it first. This is not how StackExchange is supposed to work: We the moderators are supposed to enforce community norms, not set them.

We started this site because there's already countless Internet fora out there bogged down in low-quality questions, opinions, speculation and argument that only make it harder to find actual useful fact-based information. Forums which let themselves get derailed by patting each other on the back with peer support rather than spreading knowledge of the deen. Forums which push misinformation and contradictory opinions as if they're unassailable fact, which only confuses the people who need actual answers. We need to be better than that.

The only reason this site has survived as long as it has is because the moderator team and a very small handful of dedicated users has been actively working above and beyond our responsibilities simply to maintain the status quo, to ensure the most basic level of quality: This is time and energy that keeps us afloat but which can no longer be spent providing expert answers or actually improving the site.

If the community as a whole can't be bothered to control the quality of the site, to determine what is or is not considered on-topic, to determine what is or is not considered an obstacle against the site's goal to create a useful, valuable, repository of knowledge on the topic of Islam, then this site will be shut down. If you don't care about your site, why should anyone else?

You all have the tools to make this either the best resource of Islamic knowledge on the Internet, or the worst. USE THEM, USE THEM OFTEN, AND USE THEM WISELY.

Make this a site you can be proud of.

  • JazakAllah alkhairen for this post. I'm trying to be more active on this site, inshaAllah that will help even just a little bit. Jun 17 at 16:53


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