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Are we allowed to quote a random article or person who has an opinion about our scriptures or mentions that something exists in our scriptures, and ask for reference/justification without doing any basic research about the topic or the bias of that person ?

For example, my question was closed as 'primarily opinion based', whereas this, and this, and this question, asked by user @sv , were not. All 4 of our questions are referring to the same person/website (devdutt patnaik), and are quoting him when he is referring to scriptures, and asking for identification.

In fact, some mod(s) reopened a question even after they were put on hold by many others. Is it possible for mods to reverse downvotes given by others ? What is the criteria for deciding?

Can I write an article in a newspaper tomorrow, saying 'Valmiki himself said Lakshmana is Rama's elder brother', and then cite it and ask a question on this site asking users to find the verse from Ramayana ?

Before people jump on my use of the word 'random', here is a statement from @sv himself in one of his questions :

P.S I'm looking for well-researched answers, not copy-paste answers from random blogs.

It's possible there are questions by other users which fall under 'random' article category, but we have to use our discretion to differentiate between innocent curiosity, and blatant agenda. For instance, this is @sv's view on blasphemy :

Do you consider atheism and rejection of Veda as blasphemy? – Triyugi Narayan Mani Dec 23 '17 at 8:39

No, I don't. @TriyugiNarayanMani – sv. Dec 23 '17 at 17:31

Some of his questions are outright inciteful, knowing fully well shastras say one thing, he is asking for 'logical proof' to the opposite thing :

Fair enough. But my main question has to do with chronology of events. Simple statements like 'Śatānanda was the son of Gautama and Ahalyā' even when backed with the right sources is not good enough (in this particular instance). @KeshavSrinivasan

How long will it take for new users coming to this site, reading such questions, and start stooping to his level?

For the record, sv has asked many interesting/unbiased questions, and I have not downvoted any of those. But the ones that are anti-traditional while 'appearing' objective are the ones I have a stand against, especially since he claims to be scientific.

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    How can one single question closed as primarily opinion based and others can't be closed? If one question is wrong, all should be wrong. Otherwise, everything should be right. – Sarvabhouma Nov 16 '18 at 5:10
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    I think you have correctly sensed the non sense going on in the name of objectivity. – user16618 Nov 16 '18 at 5:16
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    @Sarvabhouma, i know you & I are mostly on the same page, and in this particular case, i'm more interested in showing that all questions should be wrong :), not that all should be right. consistency is not a virtue in all cases – ram Nov 16 '18 at 5:21
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    @RaRa, it is the same nonsense going on in the name of 'sickular' in India. Chinna Jeeyar (JET)'s motto best represents the right ideal - 'respect all. WORSHIP YOUR OWN'. – ram Nov 16 '18 at 5:22
  • @ram on what basis I put that question on hold is answered by Sarvabhouma. If SV question was opinion based (I voted to close it) but was reopened, all should be closed of similar type. I know on what basis you putforth that question – Akshay S Nov 16 '18 at 5:40
  • @AkshayKumarS, thanks. I also voted to close the other questions. and my point is not to reopen my question, but close all similar ones because they're biased and affect site quality. – ram Nov 16 '18 at 5:41
  • @ram Mods should do it....After seeing the answer of this question alone, I understood the intention behind those questions.hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/29924/… – Akshay S Nov 16 '18 at 5:44
  • @ram No mod reopened that question. See timeline hinduism.stackexchange.com/posts/29924/timeline . Moreover, this meta question is very good. It needs discussion. IMO for these questions, instead of closing, we can outrightly say in answers scriptures have no such statements and they are his opinions and even in future it might be helpful as same questions can be asked other users. It would be also not proper to close as speaker in question is atheist or doesn't believe in core ideas of Hinduism. – The Destroyer Nov 16 '18 at 6:02
  • @TheDestroyer, I'm ok with not closing atheist questions if the question was asked with innocent curiosity, not with hidden agenda, and if all readers of that question (not just regular users) know the history/character behind both OP (sv is close to atheist) and the person being quoted (devdutt patnaik is gay) – ram Nov 16 '18 at 6:03
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    @ram I know about Devdutt and his Guru Wendy Doniger. My point is we can use answers to inform users about devdutt or his interpretations. Even in future someone might ask the same question about devdutt. But if a user is here with some agenda, then it should be seen in different lens. – The Destroyer Nov 16 '18 at 6:09
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    @TheDestroyer, He asked lot of unbiased questions. He thinks that I downvote ALL his questions/answers, which is not true. I don't know if sv has an agenda or not, but there was another annoying user 'S K', who has been rightfully suspended. – ram Nov 16 '18 at 6:11
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    We can not blame any users like that openly saying he is an atheist so his Qs shd be viewed from a definite angle. That is like abandoning one user and that is very bad. I personally do not think that sv is having a hidden agenda at all. Moreover, by asking these Qs he is giving u the opportunity to expose that author, bcoz according to u and many others here, he is good at misinterpreting scriptures and misleading others. So, isn't it good that u r given a chance to expose him? Also Qs can not be closed "becoz it is coming from a particular user". We hv to treat the individual Qs & decide.@ra – Rickross Nov 16 '18 at 6:50
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    I agree with @Rickross Don't make personal attacks. What he is, is non of our concerns. – TheLittleNaruto Nov 16 '18 at 6:54
  • @Rickross, Like i mentioned in my edit, many his questions don't have any obvious bias, it's only the 10% that i'm talking about. the first question that he asked about ManuSmriti vaishyas and shudras, I didn't downvote or flag, I answered it saying that the person he is quoting cannot be trusted. now, if this user was scientific, he will not post another question quoting the same person with a different quotation which is also anti-orthodox. For e.g. if you don't know how many verses refer to 'taxes' in manu smriti, will you ask 'how many verses are there', or 'Are there 10 verses' ? – ram Nov 16 '18 at 6:54
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    @TheLittleNaruto, first, why do you call it a personal attack ? i'm simply quoting him. he himself has claimed to be atheistic. second, why should we not make personal attacks when he resorts to the same about rishis and scriptures ? what is this big invisible 'border-line' that we're not supposed to cross ? hinduism is all about personal lives. If this was his first time posting such question, or if he asks with innocent curiosity, or at least if he is truly scientific and neutral, I don't care. – ram Nov 16 '18 at 7:00
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Regardless of the authenticity of particular claims of personality being discussed, this is the general answer:

I don't find much problem with asking question that is looking for references from scriptures. It would be fine to research for reference for whatever we find in article or from sayings of personality. We can predict that several articles and personality are speaking on the name of popular scriptures without citing proper reference or without having enough knowledge on the topic. In that case we can investigate and answer the claim raised in the question.

Our goal is to provide true information about Hinduism. So, it would be fine to resolve such rumor or wrong claims prevailing in the world.

Though it is recommended to search before asking or posting the question on the site as explained in the first point at asking tips. Otherwise questions that shows no research effort or not useful should be downvoted.

For the issue of having bad agenda of particular user, refer Should we allow users with political agendas on this site? or How to deal with the users who have an ulterior agenda?

  • Suppose you ask a question - 'Doctor Quack says that Ayurveda states "snake oil cures diabetes". How much quantity of snake oil should I drink', and you get proper answer 'snake oil is crap. it doesn't cure anything. here is proof that whole ayurveda doesn't have the word snake oil'. Now, if you are a scientific OP, will you again ask 'Doctor Quack says Ayurveda states "snake oil cures cancer". How much quantity of snake oil should I drink?'.. It's not about one-time question.. Within 1 day, there were 3 or 4 such similar questions quoting the same person/blog. – ram Nov 16 '18 at 7:08
  • @ram the instant action is to discourage such silly questions by downvoting. – Pandya Nov 16 '18 at 7:10
  • The example question you quoted is off-topic for our site @ram. It goes for skeptics or medical sciences because health suggestions are off-topic for our site. We are not experts in that subject i.e health. There is an faq regarding that question but as you can see, many don't know that. I posted a question to update what's off-topic and on-topic. That question is ignored. – Sarvabhouma Nov 16 '18 at 7:11
  • @Pandya, I did, and I also voted to close, as did many others. But it got reopened. I don't mind if he atleast asked with innocent curiosity. Don't you think there is a difference between 'How many verses talk about vaisyas', and 'what are the 10 verses which talk about vaisyas'. Again, the whole point of this debate is to bring to attention one particular user's repeated tendency to unscientifically pick and choose anti-traditional, inciteful topics. If someone quotes scripture as answer, he retorts 'I need more than scripture, I need logical arguments'. – ram Nov 16 '18 at 7:20
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First off, it's good you finally raised this topic on meta. Instead of trying to "bring attention" to my "biased" posts on the main site, wish you had come to meta sooner so that regular users here could properly address or respond to your concerns.

Are we allowed to quote a random article or person who has an opinion about our scriptures or mentions that something exists in our scriptures?

Absolutely. For example, see this excellent question: K.S. Bhagavan's critique of Adi Shankara

No one asked Who the heck is K. S. Bhagavan? nor questioned the religious inclination of OP. Instead the focus was on what is being asked and users decided to respond to it in an answer. This is what civilized discussion looks like.

Before people jump on my use of the word 'random', here is a statement from @sv himself in one of his questions:

P.S I'm looking for well-researched answers, not copy-paste answers from random blogs.

There is a huge difference between quoting a random blog in a question versus an answer. A claim can originate from anywhere including a random blog but using the same blog in support of an answer is not encouraged as we want to avoid the copy-paste issue. My note at the end of that question was about random blogs in answers.

Are we allowed to ask for reference/justification without doing any basic research about the topic or the bias of that person?

It's recommended but not required. If one has time for research they can do it. And in the process, some people discover the answer themselves and may still ask the question in "an honest innocent" manner and then go ahead and write an answer themselves for the benefit of others. If the person OP is quoting is biased, the answer gives you an opportunity to expose the bias.

For example, my question was closed as 'primarily opinion based'...

I voted to close it as 'too broad' and not opinion-based. I found this part of the question too broad:

Which books & verses in those books is he referring to here?

Also, both the above and this line below:

Are there any scriptures which he might unknowingly be referring to?

...sound like mocking the author and my other questions involving him than real questions. Now if your question really was:

Do our scriptures simply acknowledge the existence of 3rd gender, or do they also wholeheartedly accept them acting upon their desires?

Then that should have been the title and it can be objectively answered. But then you revealed your real intent behind these questions:

I don't really have these doubts, this is only to bring attention to discuss what is opinion-based question or not.... – ram 2 days ago

I'm sure these questions will be deleted in a couple of days, but I want to draw attention to other users too, not just mods. If sv can bombard the site by referring to random articles and YouTube videos (just go through his list of questions), and claim that he is simply being 'factual', so can others, and it trashes the site quality. – ram 2 days ago

So what is your actual complaint about one question getting closed? Shouldn't you be happy the other two questions of similar nature still remain open? If you had a problem with my questions you should've come to meta to discuss/complain instead of asking more questions to mock my questions or the site rules.

In the past, I had a problem with Where is xyz's śastra/weapon now? type of questions, but I didn't ask more such questions to "bring attention." Instead I came to meta and asked How to answer questions about the status of divine weapons? and left it at that. Just because you dislike someone's questions or their style of asking, doesn't mean you make a tamasha of it on the main site and incite other users into downvoting and closing valid objective questions. Multiple users including a mod have already explained to you in comments in layman terms how my recent questions were valid and not opinion-based. But you just don't give up.

This has led me to report the constant harassment on my recent posts to the site owners:

Lately, most of my posts, old and new are being serial-downvoted. One particular user is also constantly harassing me in comments. I have flagged some of those comments and were promptly deleted by the mods. But this behavior needs to stop. Mods need to ensure the discussion in comments remains civil. Action should be taken against repeat offenders.

This is the response I received from them:

...

We have several automated systems in place to prevent malicious or targeted voting. These will generally revoke inappropriate votes within 24 hours. "Inappropriate" means someone going through your profile and down-voting (or up-voting) the posts they find without regard to their actual content. For more details, see: What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

At your request, an employee has been assigned to review the history of votes directed at your account. If they find any evidence of malicious or targeted voting, they will take appropriate action to correct the problem. However, we are not able to provide details of that review and you will not receive further responses about this issue. If this pattern continues for several days, contact us again and we'll review the situation again at that time.

...



Some of his questions are outright inciteful, knowing fully well shastras say one thing, he is asking for 'logical proof' to the opposite thing.

What's the problem with asking for logical proof? Someone already answered it logically and I even accepted the answer. As for my post being "inciteful", no one had downvoted my question until the recent downvote. Anyway, if you must, I suggest you express any "displeasure" arising out of your mind reading abilities via downvote. If you were paying any attention, @Rickross gave the same advice to you:

I can see that you have problems with Devdutt Pattanaik and this question but for that you can downvote the question (which I think you have already done) and move on. As I have said this is quite clearly not close-able (at least not as opinion-based). @ram – Rickross 2 days ago

We can not really check hidden agendas as we are not mind readers. So, we have to see each question and decide. We can not also put a complete ban on a type of questions here which can be answered from scriptures and the discussion adds to the readers knowledge. BTW I don't have much knowledge about the author and his works but if you really think that he misinterprets scriptures and misleads his readers then questions like these give opportunity for others to expose him. But that is possible only if we answer them. So your intent should be answering them as opposed to closing them. I don't think they are opinion based. – Rickross 20 hours ago


Lastly, I would also advice you against mocking or alienating Devdutt Pattanaik for his sexual orientation or Zakir Naik for being a Muslim as you have attempted to do so in some of your recent posts and comments. The new SE Code of Conduct has a zero-tolerance policy towards bigotry:

No bigotry.

We don’t tolerate any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion — and those are just a few examples. When in doubt, just don’t.

...

Enforcement

We take your reports seriously. Those who don't follow the Code of Conduct in good faith may face repercussions deemed appropriate by our moderation team.

  • I did not raise an issue about your first question quoting Devdutt Patnaik. When you got the answer that DP did not research Manu Smriti properly, any scientific person with a purely academic agenda will have doubt about quoting DP again. Yet you did so repeatedly. My gripe is not so much with atheistic line of questioning, but with the intellectual dishonesty associated with it. – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:20
  • Stating some is gay is not an insult unless YOU consider it something to be ashamed of. DP is publicly gay. Zakir Naik is publicly muslim. If calling attention to a true fact hurts your sentiments I suggest you eat your own medicine - "Anyway, if you must, I suggest you express any "displeasure" arising out of your mind reading abilities via downvote" – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:21
  • '"Inappropriate" means someone going through your profile and down-voting (or up-voting) the posts they find without regard to their actual content' - You may want to read the site owners wording again. I've already mentioned that I don't serial downvote all your posts. I do serial downvote any atheistically inclined questions or answers, whether they came from you or others. – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:23
  • "Just because you dislike someone's questions or their style of asking, doesn't mean you make a tamasha of it on the main site" - You can make a tamasha of rishis and scriptures, but I can't make a tamasha of your style of asking ? grow up. – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:24
  • "No bigotry" - this is a site about hinduism. If a user goes to a site about archaeology and repeatedly asks questions about creationism, and someone else digs around and finds that that the user is actually an evalengical with an intent on attacking archaeology, and then 'outs' the fact that he is an evangelical, would that be considered bigotry ? Don't try to hide behind political correctness rules. You wear it on your sleeve that you're an atheist. I wear on mine that I'm a theist. As long as you are intellectually honest and innocently curious, you won't have any problem with me. – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:30
  • "This is what civilized discussion looks like." - Yes, and my answer to your first question about DP follows your idea of civilized. Again, if you were intellectually honest, you would not continue to quote an author who has been proven to be intellectually ignorant or dishonest himself. But you did so 2 more times. Or at least you would reword your questions to the form 'Does scripture say this', instead of 'where in scriptures does this exist'. – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:35
  • "If you had a problem with my questions you should've come to meta to discuss/complain instead of asking more questions to mock my questions or the site rules." - if you have a problem with theism or scriptures, you should've gone to a local guru or acharya and cleared your doubts before asking questions mocking scriptures on a wide internet forum. – ram Nov 17 '18 at 3:36

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