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I'm a Muslim and to be specific, I try to follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah as the noble companions did.

Now, I would like to draw attention to a few things I've observed on Islam.stackexchange.

  • I see that there is a mixed audience of Sunni, Shia (and many other sects) and even non-Muslims.
  • As a human, I cannot read the heart of anyone. But from what is apparent, I noticed a variety of questions from different types of people:

    1. Those honest Muslims and non-Muslims who want to learn something
    2. Those Muslims and non-Muslims who just want to pick on the other person's sect (or on Islam in general) and find fault.
    3. Those who are 'shopping' for a verdict (fatwa) and go out their way until they hear what they like.
  • Sometimes if a person sees or receives an answer that he doesn't like, he'll simply down-vote it. This is nonsense. It's like a person asking a scholar for permission to have a temporary marriage for a week and if he says no, the scholar is abased. Islam doesn't work like that.

  • As a result of these incidents I think there is a greater chance for the hypocrites to manipulate our community (the Muslims, regardless of our sects). There is more chance of meaningless down votes and as a result even a prominent scholar or student of knowledge will be mocked at. There is more chance for people to bring down the image of stackexchange.

  • I fear that as a result of the hatred and confusion building up the whole purpose of Islam.stack... maybe lost. More fearful is the possibility that people may lose sight of the reality that they will be questioned on a day when they shall stand all alone in front of their Creator. It's turning out to be no different to a parliament of an evil government.

  • And although many benefits can be gained from a stack site like this, the damage could be greater - aoozubillaah.

  • I honestly respect all those people for what they believe in, even the disbelievers. I honestly don't think there's anyone who likes to go to hell. But I don't necessarily accept someone else's deen as correct. And similarly I can't stand it when someone (anyone) mocks at my belief.

As such, I think we need a few structural changes on this area of the stack.

  1. Either break the two key groups - Shia and Sunni - onto different stack sites rather than one single Islam site. This way no question/comment or answer will be tolerated if it attempts to slander or mock at either site or their belief. If there's a real need to do so, they can take it outside to a different platform - not the stack; the stack is not the only place for a forum or anything similar. There are plenty of slander sites out there.

  2. Bring a feature to categorise the question/answer according to belief.

  3. Introduce a rule that no downvotes are allowed without a comment.

My key concern is that we safeguard Islam and do what's best for us in this world and in the hereafter.

So does anyone have a better suggestion or should we break the site into two parts to accommodate a single belief system?

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Christianity has one SE site and it covers all branches of Christianity. I don't see why we would prefer separate sites for different branches and schools in Islam.

There has been an issue of sectarianism, my feeling is that things has improve considerably since Aarthi wrote Why Sectarianism is Ruining Your Site (see also No Tolerance for Intolerance). There is no place for rudeness on SE sites. Everyone is free to post their answer as long as it is based on Islamic sources and follows the general rules of SE sites. Of course there will be users from time to time that don't understand this and mistake this site for a place to preach/argue and they have to deal with. But a small number of users will not define the site, the general community has shown its disagreement with such behavior. If you notice any user is behaving in an insulting or nonconstructive way inform the moderators and they will deal with such users.

Muslims believe in one God, one Quran, and they have the same Prophet. There will be too much duplication if we have separate sites. It is good to learn to tolerate other views about issues. It might not suit people who are not ready to hear other opinions but then I think they are in the wrong place.

I also feel as a Muslim that dividing into separate sites is against God's will and verses of Qur'an which calls for unity and brotherhood among believers.

You have good suggestions, and several of them have been already discussed:

We already have Shia and Sunni tags. If OP wants the answers from a particular viewpoint then they can mention that in the question and the question can be tagged suitably. If no particular preference is given then it is fine that the question gets answers from different perspectives. If need be the answers can be edited to state which branch or school of thought they are representing. See also this

We cannot force people to comment when they down vote, the software does not support it, and it is unlikely that such a feature will be implemented (and there is a good reason for votes being anonymous: an anonymous vote can be more honest). On the other hand we have some community norms, e.g. disagreement should not be a basis for down-voting. As long as those who don't follow the norm are a small minority they are not a big deal overall. If the problem becomes more serious we can ask SE moderators who have full access to complete voting history to have a look at it.

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    are all mods of Christianity from one sect? – Battle of Karbala Mar 26 '14 at 19:18
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    @BattleofKarbala, Christianity has graduated, they have elected moderators not appointed ones. Here are their moderators and election page. And before you ask, yes, they had similar issues originally, have a look at their top voted meta questions. – Kaveh Mar 26 '14 at 19:52
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    I agree but still believe that current down votes system is not helpful at all. – user4710 Mar 28 '14 at 6:47
  • @Kaveh I agree with you and I think we shouldn't have different sites for shia and sunni it would just give some people a reason to divide muslims into groups and might just encourage sectarianism instead of helping us respect each others different understandings of the religion. – Kilise Dec 29 '15 at 23:06
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Honestly I would advocate for multiple, various and different answers on each Question. Islam is a religion with various sects and tendency's. As a scholar said: "The truth is one, but there could be many right paths to it".

So in my opinion the most important is that an answer should be well elaborated and clearly answering a question and if necessary flagged or marked as a sectarian answer for example: this is Sunni/Shia/Hanafi/Jaafari/Ahamadi/Sufi/Salafi ... View.

And I don't care about answers or questions that come from non-Muslims, as long as they go ahead with the SE policies of politeness etc. as defined in our help-center. If not then our moderators and the community should act.

We are not here to judge anybody and as we know that there are differences between sects we should take them as is and have respect for each-other and for non-Muslims, because we don't know their intentions, when they come and ask. Maybe we can by this do some kind of dawa or as some interpret it jihad = as we explain the Islamic PoV to non-Muslim and "fight" to show the "true face" of Islam.

Islam has various and multiple fiqh schools which all had some kind of influence in non-Muslim countries and culture (for example in Sharh a Zourqani of Mukhtassar Khalil an editor pretends that many points of the Maliki school of fiqh have influenced some European constitutions -namely French).

Therefore I would ask: Is it really that hard for a sunni to accept a well elaborated answer of shi-i and vice-versa? How about sufis and salafis ... I mean back in history even if fiqh schools had some differences there was a respect towards each other!
And a good answer is a good answer no matter whom gave it!

Also I'd like to add that many non-Muslims (or new Muslims) found a matter or point or subject in Islam as helpful for them to accept this Religion or at least to respect it. For example the German poet, writer, statesman and hobby scientist Goethe have been introduced to Islam via the poems of the Persian poet Hafez and some early translation of the Quran. Some have been influenced by Sufis, some by Shi’a, some even by salafis ... so why should we close an open door?

My point of view on Sunni-Shi'a disputes is: 2:134 and 2:141

And finally...

From a technical point of View:

We all know how SE works I mean I'm not even a year active in here and I see how this site more and more lacks activity. I mean if we are honest maybe only a minimum of the new accepted Questions have really not been dealt with to some extent on this site.

So if Islam SE may never or hardly reach graduation, how realistic are the chances for separate Sunni or Shia sites? Besides such sites could be used to abuse the opposite sects which doesn't go ahead with the expected behavior on SE.

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Specific sites will be better. because the user can compare the answers to his question from different specific sects while being ensure that the moderator groups of each specific site are from that specific sect and the sect beliefs for moderators has no effect on the quality of answers.

If there is a mixed site then the mods should not be all from one sect only. A site with mods all from one sect cannot have perfect answers from a sect other than the sect of mods. Because for example the mods from one sect consider some contents that are important to another sect as non-constructive content and edit them or warn their writers. This is only one example. or in problematic cases decision making the sect of mods can affect the decision making and can even lead to suspension of a user. There are many laws and laws can be used and interpreted differently. It is like the job of attorneys. For example when the goal of an attorney or a group of attorneys is suspending a person for getting rid of him so they look for any law to reach their goal and their action is completely legal with no official problem. This is why the mafia groups try to hijack the official positions of a country to can do their jobs legally. So i my view a mixed site should have a mixed view in moderators.

Another example is that when paying attention and academic research about a topic from Islam will have harm or benefit for value of a sect and so will cause converting users from one sect to another sect. so when all mods are from one sect can declare harmful topic for their own sect as off-topic and useful topic as on topic in this site and so censor and promote some topics in this site. for example assume if political topics of Islam are completely on-topic in Islam in view of one sect and off-topic in view of another sect, if all mods are from one sect can declare political questions about Islam as off-topic and so close and censor political questions.

Another example is deleting comments. Mods have right to delete any comment. So they can use this right to promote a sect they like by leaving some comments (that they think they are constructive based on their personal sect beliefs) and other vise by deleting some comments they think they are non-constructive by some legal justifications.

There are many other examples for harms of all mods being from one sect. this can lead to policy making process of site to lead to benefits of their own sect.

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    Yes, I agree with all you've said. And I'll add this as well: Just as much as moderators deciding to up/down vote answers or class them as off-topic, it can also be the user. If a user doesn't like what he has received as an answer, he'd downvote it and just move on, without even a statement to justify his actions. – itsols Mar 27 '14 at 0:49
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    I disagree with every word of this. There is no objectivity in this answer. A completely wrong premise is chosen to support a thought. Why even make assumptions about the sect of a mod? Why is the sect of a mod even important? Mods are here as exception handler and janitors. Otherwise they are just normal users and part of the community. Nothing more nothing less. And that should never be the reason to launch a sect specific site! – Bleeding Fingers Mar 27 '14 at 18:04
  • @BleedingFingers firstly this answer is not about any specific mod. but is to have a higher quality policy and moderation to ensure having valid and high quality questions in view of each sect. secondly mods are not only mods they answer questions also and their sect is clear from their answers and the references they use for answer. when a user never uses a shia source for answering and all his answers are based on sunni references and books so their sects is clear. I disagree your assumption that mods are normal users and their sects have no effect on their decision makings.see examples – Battle of Karbala Mar 28 '14 at 19:00
  • If that's what you intended to write then surely you have to revise your answer to make it sound like that. Plus I don't see how it's relevant to the answer. Why assume the sect of a user/mod? Why even assume the religion and beliefs of a user? Why not just read the question and it's answer without even making that assumption and judge by it's merits? I never said they are normal users I said that they have the all the rights that a normal user has plus they are exception handlers and efficient janitors. How can that be reason to launch a new site? – Bleeding Fingers Mar 31 '14 at 17:12
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    @BleedingFingers because at a site about a religion with two main sect the sect of moderators has effect on quality and policy of site management. and to ensure minimizing this effect it is better to consider the sect of moderators. you assume that the personal beliefs and sect does not have any effect on moderation and policy of site. but I disagree. at least its possibility should be considered and prevented. specially when in real world we are seeing that members of a sect are being killed by another sect based on sect beliefs. beliefs affect behaviors. moderation is a kind of behavior. – Battle of Karbala Apr 1 '14 at 8:20
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    If their "sect" affects their actions as a moderator then they are not fit to be a moderator. Again it's no reason to open a new sect specific site. – Bleeding Fingers Apr 1 '14 at 8:25
  • Comments are third class citizens. Don't take them for granted. They are not guaranteed to stick around. Comments also get deleted when they are appropriately flagged. If it's non-constructive i.e. not a constructive critique or request for clarification and was deleted. Good for all the site's much cleaner. With time comment do get obsolete and need to be cleaned. – Bleeding Fingers Apr 1 '14 at 11:24
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    being fit to be a mod still there are many actions that depend on mod decision and site has no clear rule for them. its your opinion and this is my opinion. yes I know comments are third class citizens. but still they can be treated different for example left in site for ever or a longer time depending on beliefs of mod. anyway I said my reasons for my view. – Battle of Karbala Apr 1 '14 at 16:07
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    @ Bleeding Fingers undeniably, one's belief affects his behaviors. Sects have different viewpoints on some of the issues which leads to unfair setup of laws (to explain more, some of the laws seem non-sense to one sect while clearly logical to others ) – Mohammad Hossein Apr 3 '14 at 14:19
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    @ Battle-of-Karbala, I assume u r right that mentioned "Specific sites will be better." and likewise "a site with mods all from one sect can not have perfect answers from a sect other than the sect of mods. because". So it could be constructive and beneficial if we have separated sites of different sects beside a main site such Islam.stackexchange which consist of all sects ... – اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد Apr 13 '15 at 9:14
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Muslims should be united/unite, as I know from Qur’an, so please do not additionally and artificially divide us. (This sentence is copied from My answer to the Question Number 24176 is deleted. what's your opinion?)

No need to separate these, because any answer is based on hadiths, and any hadith has its proofs of authenticity, and also all other reasons have their proofs. So there is universal way do vote for all answers.

And, that course/trend/direction/vector would lead to further dividing them into mazhab sites.

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