We know that our community is suffering from the sectarian issue. The main problems are:

  • Questions that target the beliefs of particular sect
  • Comments that engage in sectarian debating
  • Answers that contains the text offensive to beliefs or demeaning the beliefs

You may be the witness of the scenario that some questions are posted with the intention of denigrating particular beliefs. Which opens the platform for the sectarian debate, users start to engage in the debate by commenting which then turns into the excessive conversation leading to the creating of chat room and the debates reaches upto the offensive level! This affects the behaviour of users and for the intention of taking revenge, counter question is posted, then users engaged in the environment start targeted commenting on the relevant posts. We may also find the effect of this issue in answerers i.e demeaning the beliefs. Another adverse effect is sectarian voting even on meta!

This doesn’t only decrease the quality and reliability of the site and deviating the goal of the community but also affect the policy of site due to bias voting on meta. Because meta is the place to discuss the workings and policies of the site and about community decisions. Now, if meta will get affected with sectarian voting then obviously it will be difficult to handle and control any situation. You may also be aware of some meta Q/A posted with intention to focus on users instead of posts.

I don't know whether it's answer or question created the environment, We're thinking to enforce some rules to control this situation, for healthy environment of community, for maintaining the quality and reliability of posts and ultimately to achieve the goal of the site.

We've already discussed similar things at Concerns about brigading and Please stay away from Shiva vs. Vishnu debate. Though those posts have got enough support (in terms of upvoting), however not considered seriously. So, I'm requesting the following code of conduct:

  • Don't post such question like targeting or denigrating particular beliefs or with intention of taking revenge.
  • Don't start or engage in sectarian debating in comments.
  • Don't write texts that are offensive to beliefs and avoid demeaning the beliefs.

Targeting beliefs or offensive behaviour is against the Be Nice policy. Posts targeting beliefs will be deleted and disciplinary action will be taken on users found to be creating problematic posts/comments or behaving against the policy. If you find any problematic offensive post/comment having ulterior motive, against the policy, flag it.

Hoping for co-operation.

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    Thank you very much for taking the trouble of doing this. It reinforces our trust that the moderators are doing something for the betterment of our site. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 21:31
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    Before deleting, can you post such sectarian posts as an examples? I get a sense that we are referring the posts from this user, which are blatant. Do you have examples of posts from other users?
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 7:27

3 Answers 3


The posts which push or refute certain sectarian beliefs can be closed as "off-topic" or locked, instead of deletion.
Though you are suggesting for deletion, it will be really difficult when brought it in practice.

If the Qn is closed as off-topic then following are the benefits:

  • If the closed post is downvoted, then after few days, it will be auto deleted by the Community♦ user; Note that there is no reputation change for a user who downvotes a Qn
  • If the closed post is upvoted or already answered, then it will serve as an example for the users, that such Qn-s are not welcome
  • If the closed post was a borderline case, then the active users will have chances to edit and reopen
  • There are certain posts, which are blatant and certain are subtle, which posts to be deleted, is quite subjective due to nature of our site.

In special cases, the Mods may lock the post until it's decided what to do with the post.

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    This advice makes a lot of sense. The other disadvantage with deletion is that non moderators cannot undelete a post, in case the user has edited their post. However, the question also mentions about "offensive" answers. In those cases, I feel that a deletion would be better. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 13:54
  • Thx @BhargavRao, it will be good to delete the offensive answer and close the offensive Qn with downvotes.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 16:09
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    This will very likely have the opposite effect: Closing or locking posts which target others basically just keeps them visible (which feeds directly into the original poster's intent), but doesn't let anybody else engage with them (which means nobody can counter it). It will serve less as an example of such posts not being welcome so much as an example that we can use the site as a soapbox rather than a Q&A platform. If anything, it will just encourage more such posts in the future and basically make the whole site hostile to those being targetted (which, eventually, will be everybody).
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 18:45
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    @iammilind, I'm not sure what you mean by "close the offensive Qn with downvotes". An offensive answer doesn't essentially imply that the question is offensive as well. Let us not judge a question, based on an answer. Also, for offensive questions, we need to downvote, comment, close and delete. That is a better option, IMO. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 21:30
  • @BargavRao, If the Qn is too blatant to maintain the decorum of the site, then they have to be deleted. Similarly an answer can be blatantly offensive and hence can be deleted more easily. But judging an "ulterior motive" Qn as offensive seems difficult when brought to practice. It's possible that such offensive Qn may have good answers sometimes (seen in past). Deleting a Qn will wipe out them. Rathrer closing is a better option. Active users may additionally downvote such posts.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 2:05
  • @goldPseudo, if such Qn-s have more downvotes then they will be auto deleted. I am discussing about motivated Qn and not blatant spam. For example this meta post is more about sectarian beliefs. How about other religions or practices? How would a Mod will deal with this Qn (I am not against/for that post). It can't be deleted easily. In such scenario close/lock is a better option. Deletion looks good in theory, but from my experience it's less practical in such subjective sites.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 2:17
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    Upvoting is easier than downvoting because of the reputation requirements. If sectarian voting is already an issue here, relying on a post receiving enough downvotes to be autodeleted is just a bad idea; in practice, that's just going to have posts that are targetting popular ideologies get eliminated (because more people will downvote those) while those targetting others will stay (because there's fewer people there to downvote), which makes the whole site look like it promotes one ideology over the other. Closing such posts should be a step towards deletion, not an alternative to it.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 2:37

There are a plenty of posts which are also serving the same purpose- targeting other sects, trying to demean another sect etc-- but those attempts are so subtly done no one will notice that hidden motive..

I can cite plenty of such posts but it's not good to do so... Your post is simply targeting posts which are stupidly blatant in their approach..

And to deal with such posts (which are openly offensive to some sects) is very easy..we don't need this long a post to frame a discussion-driven policy..

Moreover, the number of posts that are open in their approach are far less compared to the number of posts that are having a covert approach.. So, you are highlighting a problem that's not a big problem at all.. You can instead try doing something for the other kinds of posts i alluded to..

Also, i don't think you can simply delete the post that is targeting a belief system.. It can not be deleted if it's not offensive.. and/or in violation of one of the policies..


  1. We know that our community is suffering from the sectarian issue --- Yes, we have been suffering from sectarian voting and stuffs. But that did not start only recently. It has been there since ages. And as long the sectarian users are there no one can do anything to stop that practice.

  2. Questions that target the beliefs of particular sect---- What is targeting? Do you have any precise definition of that word? Any examples of such questions?

3.Comments that engage in sectarian debating --- So, what can be done with the comments? Comments are un-important anyways, so it does not really matter if they stay or go. Comments should be deleted only if they are off-topic in the context and or rude etc. Otherwise one can not really delete them.

4.Answers that contains the text offensive to beliefs or demeaning the beliefs ---- If it contains offensive content then that should be edited out or, if the whole post is made of offensive stuffs, then that post itself will be deleted. So, nothing new here.

As regards demeaning- what do you exactly mean by demeaning? Any example of such posts?

What do you think of the posts cited by Tezz in his post here? As Tezz says:

Now, I must confess: I find these notes insulting; to my reading, saying that Linga Purana is completely interpolated is an insult to Sãdhakas who are doing various Sadhanas and to devotees who are worshipping Parameswara with hymns of Linga Purana.

So, is not this topic dealt with before too? What's your response to that? You did not even write an answer there. Did you remove those "demeaning" portions from the said posts? Or someone else did? No right?

So, why now this initiative? What are you going to achieve by cutting few branches of few trees when the root of the real problem lies deep down somewhere.

Someone commented under my answer that "ignoring the problem does not make it disappear".. So, this is exactly what i want to say to you...You are ignoring the root problem and highlighting a problem that to me is not a problem at all.. These "problems" will go with time but the real problem of sectarian voting and related stuffs is going to stay..forever..no one can change anything in that regard..

Although, it may seem to some, that you're being agile and responsible, as a Mod, but in the end it will not fetch anything good..Nothing will be changed... Because your post is not going change people and the real problem lies there.

Talking about sectarian voting... then ask me or Tezz who write more answers.. and you'll know what it is.. You never faced the issue so you don't know... and your this post is not going to change anything even by a bit... we get those votes on a daily basis..

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    So what solution you suggest ? Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 9:11
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    Where is the problem that i should suggest a solution? @AnkitSharma
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 10:41
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    Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it disappear. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 19:01
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    "...but those attempts are so subtly done no one will notice that hidden motive" This makes absolutely no sense: You are obviously noticing that hidden motive otherwise you'd not be mentioning it, and presumably others are just as capable of doing so. Noticing these sorts of subtle problems is exactly why expert communities are needed to bring issues to community and/or moderator attention so they can be dealt with the same as the "stupidly blatant" ones.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 21:59
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    "And as long the sectarian users are there no one can do anything to stop that practice." You are on site about Hinduism and finding a person and many are there who adhere to a sect . Even you belong to a sect. The post you cited got answers already. So, there is nothing to discuss about it new. The portion you quoted was irrelevant there and edited out by CM. Saying a text has interpolations is not offensive or demeaning. Now, there is a new trend that questions about Vamachara and Shakta are targetted and downvoted. So, who are taking offense by simple questions and downvoting? Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 3:16
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    "Talking about sectarian voting... then ask me or Tezz who write more answers" this should not be seen as a post from Pandya alone but it is from mod team. So, mods know what is sectarian voting because one of them wrote more questions and answers than any other user on the site.No need to ask anyone. But we don't know who is voting. His posts are also receiving targetted downvotes. So, the mod team knows. And there are also comments that a post is offensive if it asks a normal question about a sect. Such questions were received well in the past. So, it is not a problem since ages. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 3:24
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    @AnkitSharma I already replied to ur comment but those are all gone..anyways.. here's response once again.. That's exactly my point too... We need to get to the root where it all starts from.. So, IMO, the real problem is not highlighted here and this post is completely redundant..The Mod's response to similar problems which are already highlighted elsewhere is pending.. Also the post does not have any examples, so quite vague.. we don't really know what's being talked about here..
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 5:53

In my opinion deletion of questions is better. The reason is the following: closed questions live on HSE forever(EDIT: mean to say: for a long time) These posts essentially refer to other posts and make up a denigrating story about some sect.

Suppose someone googles details about a sect. S/he would get to read the numerous denigrating unanswered closed questions. How is that person supposed to form an opinion after reading these questions? There is not much patience or maturity in today's world to read all of the points discussing if the question is correct, and then forming an opinion. This will lead to completely biased understanding based on wrong questions.

It is easy for anybody to ask random questions. It will be closed after about 3-4 down-votes, and the user gets only about -4 points while spreading an agenda. Or a new user could be created who would not lose any points. All of these don't matter much to the user points-wise or in any other way.

Is there any statistical evidence showing that people really care about the down-voted posts before asking questions? I have rarely seen that to be a deterrent and we keep getting posts of this kind. The questions don't serve any value to current practitioners, and people who want to learn more are misled.

Hence I think deleting questions deemed to be useless is the better choice.

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