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We follow a ritual about requiring quoting scriptures when answering, with answers getting deleted due to lack of citation. This is to prevent personal opinions which don't have scriptural backing. That's fine.

What about questions which refer to scripture?

For instance, none of us have personally met Rama or Krishna. All we know about them are through scriptures. If a book, say Ramayana, has two sentences - 'Rama was born. Rama followed dharma.', now there are 3 possibilities of belief:

  1. I don't believe this book at all (rational / scientific / atheist / anti-traditional / secular / pro-non-hindu)

  2. I believe this book completely (faith / religious / theist / traditional / pro-hindu)

  3. The whole book ? Maybe not. Some parts of it ? Yeah. (faith plus rational / neutral)

Suppose a question is of the format :

Even according to Ramayana, Rama didn't follow Dharma. Right ?

This question attributes a certain characteristic to Ramayana which is actually the OP's opinion, and in addition, doesn't back it up with quotation. The standard which we follow for answers is 'cite scriptures to avoid personal opinion', or at least separate scriptural verses from our commentary/opinion by block-quotes. If we follow the same standard for questions, the question would look like :

In Ramayana, it says:
"Rama was born. Rama followed Dharma"'
I don't believe the second sentence. Rama didn't follow Dharma, right?

to which great acharyas have already replied:

'How do you know Rama was born ? Did you see him? If not, where did you read that he was born? In Ramayana ? So you're willing to believe some book even though you haven't seen him directly ? If so, why are you not willing to believe another sentence in the same book ? Does the other sentence not 'sit-well' with you? You can read some more sentences in the same book to get clarity.

A LOT of questions and answers, on any religious site, especially one as diverse as hinduism, is bound to have opinions. Even scriptures have differing opinions ! So it is absolute necessary to clearly delineate what is scripture and what is opinion, whether it is in the question or the answer.

Now, the question is, who should do this delineation ? Obviously we can't expect all users to do so, since they're new, they're learning etc. But are other power-users / mods allowed to edit such questions as they see fit ?

For example, in this question, the OP claims

As mentioned in another post, Vishnu's human avataras don't seem to age beyond young adulthood.

Neither is the source posted, nor is the statement true.

In another, same OP claims:

A lady in a YouTube video says..

Again, these may be fine for new / innocent users, but not for those with 4k+ reputation with a hint of an agenda / history of creating animus.

If such questions are allowed without bar, then in future, I'm going to start posting questions like :

'There is a claim that Krishna killed Kamsa to take revenge for killing his 6 brothers. Shouldn't Krishna learn to forgive and forget ?'

'They say we should give great importance when naming a child in Hinduism. I also read somewhere that Rama killed Vali because he didn't like monkeys named Vali. Does name really matter in Hinduism ?'

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    Questions don't need citations. "Even according to Ramayana, Rama didn't follow Dharma. Right ?" This looks like opinion based as some rational and modern thinkers say Rama didn't follow dharma while Sampradaya followers say he followed Dharma. So, opinion based. – The Destroyer Feb 6 '19 at 4:40
  • @TheDestroyer, refer to this. so if someone says Rama did right, and another says Rama did wrong, does it mean there are 2 opinions, and hence the question will be closed as opinion based ? – ram Feb 6 '19 at 4:43
  • Actually, whether a question is opinion based question or not is decided on opinions of users. So, bit of complex. If someone says "Even according to Ramayana", then it means it has some strong assumption. Generally such question were closed as opinion based questions. What Mr.Sigma provided is simple example, some questions are bit difficult to tackle. – The Destroyer Feb 6 '19 at 4:48
  • @TheDestroyer, I'm saying that the alternative to 'close' or 'open' is 'edit', like I showed in my 2nd blockquote above. Even if the user has an opinion and even if the user refers to scripture, we can clearly, without offending the user, or the community, scientifically, neutrally, separate the opinion from the scripture. That is the difference between 'academic/cool' discussion and 'opinionated/heated' discussion, and will help the site in long run. – ram Feb 6 '19 at 4:49
  • @TheDestroyer, I'm not saying they must cite scriptures. If they just say Ramayana, that is citation enough. But they must cite sources for any opinion they formed outside of scripture. whether that opinion is of their own mind, or some blog etc. and this must be separated from said scripture through blockquote or something similar. And again, I'm not saying the OP must do it, but the other users can. – ram Feb 6 '19 at 5:32
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    That OP... I am the top editor the month because I retag almost every post and question body in into the title. There were many comments explaining this but no change. It's surprising that a 4k+ user posts vague questions as such. – Sarvabhouma Feb 6 '19 at 10:57
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    Citations are NOT needed in Qs as something mandatory .. what are u talking about? @ram – Rickross Feb 7 '19 at 7:29
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The ritual of backing sources even in the question will restrict novice to ask who hasn't read any scripture. In fact, it converges to asking while knowing some prerequisites related to the question. It will trigger elitism.

A source in the question could be massaged with upvotes but can't be made mandatory, so absence of source in the question could be reproached with downvotes if it's not backed up with references while asking something counterintuitive.

But are other power-users / mods allowed to edit such questions as they see fit ?

Ideally, it should be allowed but it could result into heated rollbacks/debates if the edit is not acceptable to the OP. For example, there are statements in the question to the effect - "Vedanta is the most followed branch of Hinduism today" and another- "What is the largest followed Hindu sect today? " . What it shows is the later question is unknown despite being claimed in the former question. Now, someone who doesn't belong to Vedanta if starts objecting & editing the posts of OP, it could result into series of rollbacks & edits. And it is doomed to happen as not all are of similar opinions here or in the world, each having their own conditionings, likes or dislikes...

So, OP should have maximum freedom to forge the question according to his own will conforming to the patterns of SE sites. Of course one is encouraged to upvote or downvote according to the researche efforts put in the questions.

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    did you read my full question ? i mentioned that we can't expect new users to do so, so i suggested an alternative of editing and breaking up the question into opinion & source, such that even controversial opinions may be put to the board, as long as they are clearly demarcated so, by power-users & mods, if not users themselves. – ram Feb 6 '19 at 5:14
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    Reread @ram ...it's there – Mr. Sigma. Feb 6 '19 at 7:48
  • 'maximum freedom, according to his own will' ? 'encouraged to downvote' ? i'm talking about an alternative in-between scenario to absolute freedom and absolute downvoting. if the edit is not acceptable, then the OP has a strong opinion, then we can downvote away if it's unwarranted. but if the OP has innocent curiosity, and accepts the edit, what's the harm (assuming other users don't object to it either) ? – ram Feb 6 '19 at 13:56
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Unlike Skeptics.SE, this site doesn't have the notable claim requirement on users wanting their claims to be validated.

You can always ask for the source in comments but should not close a question simply because OP doesn't want to disclose the source. Some users may feel uncomfortable sharing the source especially if the claim originates from biased sites like narayanastra.blogspot.com, mahapashupatastra.com or truthabouthinduism.wordpress.com. Or a controversial YouTube video. This is because, instead of focusing on what is being asked, the discussion in comments usually turns into questioning the credibility of the source.

One good reason for asking the source is, OP may not be quoting the claim in its entirety or the context is missing. It is up to OP to provide further information or not. If you think without the source the question has no basis or not useful, downvote and/or vote to close as unclear and move on. If the question is clear even without an explicit source, there is no point in hunting for the source.

So it is absolute necessary to clearly delineate what is scripture and what is opinion, whether it is in the question or the answer.

For questions, this is not a good idea. As stated earlier, we need to focus on what OP is looking for and not if the claim is an opinion of a lay person/blog owner/acharya or directly taken from scripture.

The site has even allowed a question like Is Jesus an avatar of Lord Vishnu? and nobody challenged OP on the claim.

If such questions are allowed without bar, then in future, I'm going to start posting questions like:

  • There is a claim that Krishna killed Kamsa to take revenge for killing his 6 brothers. Shouldn't Krishna learn to forgive and forget?

  • They say we should give great importance when naming a child in Hinduism. I also read somewhere that Rama killed Vali because he didn't like monkeys named Vali. Does name really matter in Hinduism?

Knock yourself out. The community will decide by voting if they can be answered objectively or close them as opinion-based or unclear if they are not worded correctly.

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