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I would like to raise this disturbing issue: I have recently been involved in a rather heated exchange with an existing user from a different sect, revolving around his accusations against an important Islamic figure; while he was able to level accusations with impunity I had no recourse as attacking his important Islamic figures would be equally reprehensible to me.

This website is supposed to be a front page of Islam to the world, yet such assaults persist. If we wish to attract users to the site, we need to present a civil experience for all users.

I suggest that any user who attacks an Islamic figure (regardless of sect) should be sent a warning. If the behaviour repeats, then he/she would be suspended.

Even this topic itself clearly is going to cause debate.

What do you guys think of this?

  • the original comment you had linked to was deleted; i have taken the liberty of removing the link and reworking the question to make it more general. – goldPseudo Feb 10 '13 at 1:22
  • @goldPseudo actually it looks better now. thanks – Sohaeb Feb 10 '13 at 2:00
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Now Allow me to suggest that the user who would attack an Islamic figure would be send a warning. If that happens again then he/she would be banned.

This is, more or less, already the policy across the Stack Exchange network. Moderators will look into any user who has a history of non-constructive (including but not limited to rude/offensive) behaviour. When necessary a user may also be suspended, but this is typically only used if a user has been warned repeatedly, and has still shown no signs of improvement. The user-suspension system is described in detail in Jeff's blog post, "A Day in the Penalty Box."

I feel that implementing a "two strikes, you're out" strategy (as your post implies) would be too harsh; whenever possible, we prefer to discourage problem behaviours rather than discourage problem users. It can be easy to cause offense without intending to, especially when you're dealing with a pluralistic (and public) site populated by users from wildly different countries and cultures. Civility is already required at all times, and rudeness is already not acceptable (regardless of if it's religiously-charged or personal).

Be nice. It's in the FAQ:

Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. We’re all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

What is important to note, however, is that moderators are not all-seeing. While we do attempt to keep an eye on the day-to-day activity of the site, Islam Stack Exchange currently has about 3,500 posts, 2,000 visits per day, and I don't even know how many comments (and that's just for the main site). And (God willing) these numbers are only going to increase every day. That's a lot for four people to keep track of on a regular basis.

The Stack Exchange model relies on a certain level of self-moderation; we the users (and especially we the moderators) can't see everything, but a thousand active users can still see a lot more than four active moderators. One of the first tools any user gets in their toolbox is the ability to flag posts for moderator attention.

Flagging not only lets moderators (and in many cases other high-rep users with access to moderator tools) know that there's potentially someone that we actually need to be concerned about, but it also lets us see exactly what they're doing that's so problematic. We the moderators can't really take action against a problem we don't know about; when there's a history of flagging to refer to, we can actually decide who does (or does not) need warning and/or suspending.

If and when you see something offensive, flag it.

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It seems that some people don't understand the scope of this site. This site is not a site to ask about or express opinions of other groups about Islam! This is the same policy applied on Judaism and Christianity. You cannot go on either site and say bad things about people they consider saints. Similar here.

See What are some mistakes non-Jewish people should avoid when asking questions on this site? and Is there not room for non-orthodox opinions? on Judaism meta and The role of the non-believer on the site, Christianity.SE 's experts are Christians, not scientists, Are questions from atheists welcome here? on Christianity meta.

The scope is also fine. It is similar to what is used on the our sister sites.

Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more.

Christianity - Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

Islam Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Muslims, experts in Islam, and those interested in learning more about Islam.

Any question asked on any of this site means that the person asking the question wants an answer from the perspective of Muslims, not any other group. Any answer that is not based on the views of Islamic sources is off-topic here. If you want to criticize Islam or learn about the views of critics of Islam you are on the wrong site. These are off-topic here.

If someone wants to ask a question on this site they should ask it in a respectful manner towards Muslims and their views. Any content that a typical Muslim would find offensive (like attacks on the Prophet) should be removed. Any users repeatedly violating this rule should be suspended for non-constructive behavior.

In summery,

Islam.SE is for people who want to learn about Islam based on Islamic perspectives, not any other perspective (e.g. questions about the views of secular critics of Islam and Muslims are off-topic on this site).

Answers on this site should be based on Islamic sources and views, other views are off-topic here.

Non-Muslims are welcome to ask questions about Islam in this context but they must act respectfully towards Muslim beliefs and their sensitivities. Any disrespectful behavior towards what is revered by Muslims is not constructive and will not be tolerated on this site.

If a Non-Muslim understand these and agree to follow them they are welcome to participate. If not, then they are not welcome. They are on the wrong site. They can try some other site like Skeptics.

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    To the down-voter: it doesn't matter if you like what I wrote or not. This site was never intended to be a Q&A site for views of critics of Islam or other groups and that is not going to change. – Kaveh Jul 18 '13 at 18:26

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