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The site is only one day old, and already there is quite a bit of contention between the different understandings of Advaita, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, etc.

This is to be expected with such a large banner as "Hinduism."

I see a lot of personal opinions on here that are not directly referenced by scripture. Obviously, there will be strong feelings here, but we must avoid backing up our views with such explanations as "according to Shankaracarya," "in the Vedas," "generally in India," etc, etc. Nobody will take this site seriously unless we require people to provide specific quotes from scripture.

Any ideas on this?

  • Of course, we should cite scripture whenever possible. However, some questions will be difficult to answer on a scriptural basis, e.g. questions about modern practice in some particular region or community. These questions would ideally be answered by referring to other scholarly sources, but in some cases, we'll have no choice but to fall back on personal experience to answer question. – senshin Jun 18 '14 at 22:49
  • @senshin See the answer below, but the rule should at least be, if you're discussing philosophy, you MUST quote scripture. You should also specify the philosophy the answer adheres to as we will certainly have a monistic vs dualistic debate on every single question, which is not at all professional or academic. – cheenbabes Jun 19 '14 at 0:05
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    @cheenbabes I don't think there's a need to quote scripture specifically. I think it would be fine to quote say, Adi Shankara's writings on a particular topic, and then specify that this is an advaita perspective. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 19 '14 at 4:57
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    @cheenbabes Are you using scripture in a broader sense than just Vedas, Puranas, and Itihasas? If you just mean that there should be citations of some kind of religious work, whether it's an official work of scripture or not (I wouldn't call Adi Shankaracharya's writing scripture), then I'm in complete agreement with you. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 19 '14 at 5:03
  • +1 on scripture. Although It would have me go search the holy books to find the numbers of the verse :) As well as find English version of it as when stating from scripture. There is no room for error writing it. – Sisir Jun 19 '14 at 9:28
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Not necessarily in a broader sense but rather to prevent people who may not have scholarly perspective from making blanket statements. Sankaracarya also wrote "Bhaja Govindam" and made statements about the divinity of Narayana, so using him as an authority for all things Advaita should be checked. I propose that anyone who says "Sankaracarya said" follow that up with a specific reference that everyone else can cross-reference. – cheenbabes Jun 19 '14 at 15:03
  • @cheenbabes OK, I'd certainly support that kind of rule, but that's a broader rule than just requiring scriptural citations. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 19 '14 at 15:10
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A Back It Up! principle is a good idea for any subjective topic (which is to say, any topic where the asker or other readers cannot personally verify answers on their own):

Back It Up! means that your answers must be based on either:

  • Something that happened to you personally
  • Something you can back up with a reference

What references "count" is a matter for y'all to discuss here, but I would strongly recommend that you demand some reference for any answer that purports to speak authoritatively, and down-vote those that do not; if this site is to be useful to others, it must gather accurate information rather than unsubstantiated opinions and hearsay.

See also:

  • I think personal experience may not be suitable for this site. – Paṇḍyā Feb 25 '17 at 11:37
  • As I said in this answer, which references you consider sufficient is a matter y'all have to decide among yourselves, @pandya - that's not something I should decide for you. – Shog9 Mar 15 '17 at 17:41
  • Ok. Yes we have Is Personal Experience a Source? post for that. – Paṇḍyā Mar 15 '17 at 17:59
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What we can do:

  • Provide references in your own statements
  • Downvote all answers lacking evidence

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