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What we're ignoring

The tone of language does matter to the health of our site.


Recently many rude/offensive comments and hatred posts have been observed.

Most of us might be aware about the issue of brigading and sectarian targeting that we had once. One thing I wanted to point out when We are neither Hindus nor Indians! posted is:

I think prime cause of problem is some users are emotionally attached with the site. This is not a Hindu site but this is the site about Hinduism. Our objective is to provide reliable information about Hinduism. Consider this community as a Q/A community only, not a site which promotes Hinduism or promotes any sects or philosophy of Hinduism. Just like your TV screen doesn’t become divine if you see religious show and it doesn’t become evil if you see any crime show; consider this site. I mean be unaffected with the content.

The majority of problems has been observed are more or less about denigrating cast, gender and sects with bad motives.

The real problem

Instead of avoid getting involved in these issues, some users start responding with criticizing non-constructively in comments which soon becomes rude and finally users start targeting others and the situation become worse.

Simple solution

So, if you find any such rudeness and if you can explain in friendly way then do it otherwise downvote, flag and move on but don’t respond in criticizing way which can have adverse effect. Regarding sectarian issue, report/flag in case of offensive/rudeness; for interpretations, just avoid if your feelings get hurts (as I said don’t get emotionally attached with site).

We know that there is difference in beliefs among sects like Sri Vaishnava, Gaudiya Vaishnava, Shaiva, Kashmiri Shaiva, Shakta etc. So, while asking question, make it clear that which belief or tradition you're interested in to get answer according to. And It's recommended to answer in the same alignment to the question asked as pointed out by Robert Cartaino:

If this site is going to succeed, it is absolutely essential that questions be answered specifically within the context of the belief system they are asked.


To conclude,

While framing questions, try to keep feelings of fellow users in mind

I hope this post is not considered in theory only and the error is sensed practically.

  • 5
    The need of the hour. Not only questions, comments and answers also. Add featured tag also. – Sarvabhouma Feb 17 at 16:35
  • 3
    What you say about chat flags, here few user object chat flagging and suggest to ping moderators separately which is unique to this site. And also nice post and should be featured – Ankit Sharma Feb 18 at 14:07
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Thanks for the heads up!

I hope the problem here is already identified and put in the question. But in practice, some are still having some problems in understanding the site's functioning.

Many (unnecessary) comments are being posted both under question and answer. As noted in the question already, many are unfriendly and rude. This is because we are just forgetting what we are and getting affected by some emotion.

We are just a Q&A site about Hinduism.

We are forgetting the basic motto why our site was established. We are here for learning more about the wide range of topics present in Hinduism but some of us are trying to prove something as better than something else. I feel this is the root of the problem.

Comments are getting out of hand.

We are well aware of the fact that the site has place for everyone irrespective of religion, nation etc.,. Because the topics are vast, it is normal that we receive some kind of questions which are in a criticizing manner. (Remember I didn't mean insulting.) E.g one may ask about authenticity of Ramayana, Vedas or any other holy book. It is absolutely fine till it is under Code of Conduct and help center. But some of us tend to take it more than that and posting some uneasy and unnecessary comments.

why don't you provide the main verses of original ? and what is purpose of these question? do you pledge to accept vedic dharma if your queries are answered

The name of the user who commented and the question is not necessary now. The intent of above comment can be posted in a nicer tone.

I am curious what is the purpose of this question. Can you explain what made you asked this?

or something short like that. There is not really the need of posting please, hello etc., to sound friendly. Presence of such words can also make the comment sound rude and unfriendly. This is not the only comment I came across. I also saw such comments and I believe I flagged a few too. Now, what is the problem with comments like above?

  1. This is posted in an unfriendly manner. There was a change in comments a few months ago to emphasize on user friendly experience.

  2. The context comments are posted. There were several comments which are more or less in same tone. When we notice a question about sensitive topic is posted, it is expected that comments will be problematic. It is better to stay away engaging in comments. Best way to restore the situation to normal is answer questions. This will not only keep the situation normal but also the misconceptions raised in the question will be cleared.

  3. More important one - There is no need to ask pledge Vedic Dharma as superior over other religions. This is not within the scope of our site. We are not here to preach or prove anything greater than other. People here are free to follow and believe what they want. We are no one to force our beliefs on others.

  4. Assuming the faith and intentions of the user. I have seen comments asking the OP about their faith and the philosophy they follow. I wouldn't care it is accidental but I saw comments again and again under a couple of users. Moreover, they posted questions which are generally not received well and in a critical manner.

    These are some types of comments I observed. Half of them are posted after this discussion post is written and is slapped to it.

Solution.

I know this problem is complex. But I do not propose a difficult solution for this situation. We just need to stick to the basics.

By basics, I mean following guidelines provided by Stack Exchange. I believe the site has good features to prevent hot and problematic situations.

  • While writing answer, we just need to write within the context of the question and not write our own opinions into the answer. E.g : If a question is posted about Non Dual philosophy of Madhvacharya, we should just focus on philosophical and doctrinal points raised in the question. Unfortunately, we are going into background. "Dvaita fails answer for many points in Upanishads. Morever,The propounders have criticized other philosophies which is pathetic for Sanatana Dharma. Only XYZ have done a good job in reconciling everything." ". This type of passages and commentary is not needed while answering about different topic altogether.

  • Voting on questions and answers based on their usefulness and not as a proof of something which is said in the post. Votes do not indicate proof on Stack Exchange sites. Downvotes on the post do not mean they are necessarily or voting because we disagree on the content. There can be many reasons why a downvote is cast. Assuming that someone is hating your content and downvoting is not correct. However, there are ways to stop serial voting. So, focusing on content is enough rather than going forward assuming intentions of downvoter and the downvoter name.

  • Removing portions from Q&A and deleting comments which are unnecessary and ." You may downvote this question/answer. I am not afraid of this. But Truth shall come out and it shines". There is trend adding such chatty comments and unnecessary comments lately. Downvotes and close votes do not mean someone are afraid of something. Each sect and philosophy has a different set of beliefs. One considers one god supreme and other doesn't. There is no complete agreement among peope on who/what is supreme. Because of that reason, we should not hate them and make comments like one is a bad sect because it calls other sects acharyas and devatas with some terms. We should remember that and we should not let our personal opinions and carried away while voting on those topics. Close votes and downvotes have a different purpose. I do not see any problem in flagging such comments as "It's No Longer Needed" and editing out such passages because they add nothing to question or answer. Comments and answers are not for chit chat. We need to be sensible while handling such questions.

  • Using comments for what are they intended for and using them rightly. I believe major problem about sensitive/critical questions is neither the question or answers posted but the comments posted under them. One user posts something (which is their opinion of the topic of the question). Then other users join them or continue the discussion refuting the claim made. This goes on and used for chatting. In this process, heat is generated. Sometimes. This is getting personal. As a result, the bond between users is also getting affected. So, we should monitor such questions more closely and avoid unnecessary comments under questions. Limiting comments for clarifications and suggestions would help keep the things normal. I know this is not possible overnight but we can start from these questions and gradually we may succeed.

  • Honorable mention is chat. Moderators move away comments to chat rooms when the comment section is overcrowded. This is due to flag raised by Community user. Even when the comments are moved to chat, the same environment is being carried along with comments. There is exchange of harsh words and much more. This not only damages the rapport between users but this also attracts the attention of other Stack Exchange communities (chat rooms are moderated by users with 10k reputation allover the network). So, if they see inflammatory and unfriendly content, that matters for the health and opinion of the site. We are still in beta stage and waiting for graduation. We need to be strict there too.

Some might say I am just repeating the same content posted in previous meta discussions and combining different topics. For example "Thou Shall Promote No God" from Guidelines for new users answering questions or answers to The Inmates are Running the Asylum? or Staying away from sectarian debates as in Please stay away from Shiva vs. Vishnu debate or "Focus on the post, not the user" from Code of conduct or Concerns about brigading. We have already gone through such stage in the past. Our ancient seers (users) have predicted such situation and wrote remedies (guidelines) how to deal with situations when they arise. So, remembering what we discussed in the past and implementing them is the best way in my opinion.

TL;DR: We just need to stick to basic Stack Exchange way in comments, questions, answers and votes. Remember what we wrote in the past, stay away from sectarianism. This will gradually help in making things straight. We did our part in theory. Only practicing what we wrote is left. That is where we are lacking.

  • 3
    Nice answer, downvotes are confusing here but nicely elaborated post. – Ankit Sharma Mar 13 at 13:41
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    Nice to see positive & optimistic answer! – Pandya Mar 13 at 17:21
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    @AnkitSharma Perhaps they are not ready to lower their tone in language and follow Code of Conduct. – Sarvabhouma Mar 13 at 17:23
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Thanks, but we should count the tone of all.

If some question asks about the source of some 'guru's sayings which reads that one particular form of God bears the shoes of another form, or brands other forms are 'demi-gods' or one particular Acharya as an incarnation of an Asura or was born to delude people or is a 'fool' etc etc, the answer can very well point to the unwanted one-sidedness. All sensible people (I know very few of them follow religion) must show the courage to protest against such medieval sayings. We need to accept what is strengthening and uniting and discard the reverse.

Also, each of our activity on the site including editing or marking questions as duplicate are also languages (like body-language) and everyone must be cautious about these also.

Downvoting has become a common norm for all things liberal and that proves my point. In these two months I have learned to understand the meanings of both upvotes and downvotes.

  • 4
    You missed the point here. We are not here to protest or anything. We are just a Q&A site about Hinduism. The answers and comments should be within the context of the question. There are flags and other type of moderation privileges when you see any time of comments which cross Code of Conduct. This discussion is purely on the basis of Code of Conduct. Meta site is not for religious discussion on demigods, asuras and etc., respect everyone otherwise ignore and not doing the mudslinging other sects because someone else does. That is the motto of the discussion. – Sarvabhouma Mar 13 at 8:57
  • @Sarvabhouma pointing out the wrong or unjustified sayings of scriptures and gurus are not mud slinging as per my understanding.Quoting them without pointing out these is i feel mulslinging to hinduism, and hinduism stack exists beacuse of hinduism. – commonman Mar 13 at 9:05
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    I didn't give my opinion. I am just saying the answer you posted is not relevant to the question and the topic discussed. Meta is not for discussing beliefs of some sect being other inferior or superior. Meta is different from Main site. What is "meta"? How does it work? – Sarvabhouma Mar 13 at 9:06
  • @Sarvabhouma it was not a question at all. If the main body is relevant for Meta, i feel mine lines are also relevant in the same way. Thanks. – commonman Mar 13 at 9:16
  • you are right sir. many people unable to digest truth down voted my meta answer too. – user17821 Mar 13 at 12:10
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    Hello. I am sure you haven't understood the meaning of upvote and downvote on meta. When a discussion is started on meta and we are proposing a solution, an upvote means the proposed solution is useful and clear and a downvote means the solution doesn't work well. So, I think downvotes here mean that solution is not much useful or unclear. This discussion is about Code of Conduct and moderation and any sect or philosophy doesn't matter. cc @PopeNope – Sarvabhouma Mar 13 at 17:44

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