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It might be just me but I am feeling that the main site is going nowhere. I feel most of the people are being active here to see how and when to start a debate with others but not how to improve this site. I am trying to ask the same as user Jabahar asked once, Are the inmates running the asylum?

I am asking every user here to share their thoughts about what you feel about this site. Share all your problems and suggestions to improve this site. Don't be silent as the one who is silent is the actual problem in the society, which applies here too.

Hoping to see suggestions from everyone. My personal intention for this post is:

  • To improve the main site together
  • And also avoid users deleting their accounts, thinking they are not welcome here.

Please avoid finding flaws in other posts before adding your own answer. You can extend or copy-modify others' answer(s) in your own post

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  • Can you expand on what you mean by "improve the site"? – iruvar Jan 12 at 15:39
  • @iruvar To improve these stats per se.. area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/53689/hinduism – Mr_Green Jan 12 at 15:52
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    A site like this is as good as its users. If we have lot of knowledgeable users willing to share their knowledge by asking questions and by answering questions then the site will do good and prosper otherwise it won't. @Mr_Green – Rickross Jan 12 at 18:03
  • @rickross, for that to happen long period users of different beliefs should share thoughts, have healthy debates - which emerges some great questions. I don't think we are going any near to such. – Mr_Green Jan 12 at 18:11
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    The problem is with "reputation score" being tied to up/downvotes. People can downvote purely because they disagree even though the answer properly references scriptures. Some people are focused on Vedas, others on Smritis and Puranas. Many times, there are different points of view on the same topic in Vedas vs Smritis. And there are some users on this site who have very dogmatic but ignorant views based on third-person hearsay instead of deep understanding of the complex Vedic texts. Such users can go wild downvoting answers that they don't like regardless whether answer is genuine. – RamAbloh Jan 13 at 0:14
  • @RamAbloh, Thanks for sharing. I suggest you post an answer instead of comment. – Mr_Green Jan 13 at 1:33
  • @person Those are ugly results of debates. We should stop the debates at first. – Mr_Green Jan 13 at 11:42
  • I think stack exchange must provide every new moderator with a one day online training to be able to handle all sorts of issues.If rules are unclear, people will still debate even when they have the best intentions. – user22374 Jan 13 at 12:20
  • @person haha. I believe it's all drill down to us. Are we ignoring, flagging, or getting ready for the debate? Usually, people choosing the last option. A single mod can't check the whole site for such things, they too have life and office work :). I am saying this because I know Pandya. – Mr_Green Jan 13 at 12:24
  • @person but anyway, please share your suggestions in an answer. No one will check comments much. – Mr_Green Jan 13 at 12:25
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Before describing problems and issues, I would like to say that through this platform, our site is doing great at providing quality answers in today's world of information technology. One would realize it while seeking information through search engine or by comparing our quality with that of other forums or blog/articles.

Following is the description of major issues according to my understanding (there can be couple of more points I have missed):

Unsuitable questions:

  • Despite implementing a notice about not offering the personal advice, we still get this type of questions frequently.
  • Sometimes we are getting questions having ulterior motive e.g. provoking/attacking any sect, cast or gender or justifying crime by law of karma etc. e.g as reported here which found bit difficult to moderate.

Solution: Guiding newcomers by posting comments explaining how to improve the post referring to appropriate help center articles and our community created FAQ and taking necessary actions to close/revise/delete posts when needed.


Unsourced Answers:

Despite implementing a popup linking guidelines for answering questions, we get unsourced answers frequently from new users. Many answers are being flagged and post notice is being added on those answers.

Though we have a policy of deleting unsourced answers after 15 days if sources are not added, we hardly delete the answers. Many unsourced answers are living on the site with post notice.

Solution: I would like to propose following solution for adding/removing post-notice

  • A standard flag option/reason which users can click to raise flag to report unsourced answer (and possibly to report sourced answer also if post notice is already added)
  • A review queue dedicated to handle unsourced answers, where answers flagged with the said reason will be added for review and post notice to be added (or removed) automatically by system upon enough voting recommendation by reviewers from review queue.

Note: I am not sure whether this would be implemented by SE, they suggest to use NAA flag for unsourced answers also. In brief, I just thought of making the process of adding/removing "citation needed" post notice by community.

By the way, I notice that there is a case where citation is not required for particular type of questions which may need a separate meta discussion to determine.


Scope of few types of questions:

Though we have well-defined scope in the help center yet, sometimes community is found divided on deciding the scope of questions and meta discussion doesn't conclude or solve the problem every times. Few examples of this type of issues:

In addition to that, some are the questions which are based on historical or archeological study and would fit better at History.SE, yet may times allowed here. This type of questions are not related to religion but may be dealing with Hindu academics.

In brief, it becomes difficult to draw a line between closed and open questions in this case.

Solution: Sufficient participation of knowledgeable and other users in our child meta can help to come to constructive solution.


Active Knowledgeable Users

Keeping enthusiasm among the user is also bit challenging task. This community gets several knowledgeable users time-to-time but many of them becomes inactive after few years. It is very subtle to know the reason that keeps them engaged here or why they become inactive. Couple of related meta questions: Where are the veteran users, who used to be good contributors? [Deleted], List of avid users who are silent (and possibly chat with them).

Solution: If you talk about me, I used to be very active in posting question-answers when I read Principal Upanishads and other texts. So, it looks that the activity of gaining or practicing knowledge may keep users much active here. Hence encouraging users to read texts, having some challenge like Monthly Answer Challange and organizing occasional chat events may help to keep the community users active here.


Misc.

  1. Few old/existing users get engaged in arguing and debating with new (and existing) users and conversation becomes unfriendly leading to rude comment flags from both sides. As I have already urged here, Please flag the first rude comments and move on. Don't react by replying with another rude comment. We expect the old and experienced users to help in mitigating such unhealthy environment, instead of pouring Ghee in the fire.
  2. Privileged users are encouraged to take participate in review queue.
  3. Acknowledging the issue of insufficient moderation from moderators, Waiting for moderator election!
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  • And encouraging all users to vote too – Archit Jan 26 at 16:27
  • " we hardly delete the answers. Many unsourced answers are living on the site with post notice." -- But what is the reason Mods aren't deleting such answers? – Rickross Jan 27 at 8:25
  • If you don't implement the rule of removing unsourced answers strictly then the rule of adding sources in answers becomes invalid. Because people know that even if they write unsourced answers they are not going to be deleted. So, why would they do the hard work of finding sources for their answers? – Rickross Jan 27 at 9:14
  • Adding the banner is not that significant for the readers. It is supposed to act just as a reminder for the answer writers that either they add sources or else their answers are going to be deleted after few days. But it is unfortunate to see that it is not happening at all. – Rickross Jan 27 at 9:17
  • @Rickross We will work on this issue. – Pandya Mod Jan 27 at 16:18
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Key Problems to our main site:

  1. Only fewer users are well versed in scriptures.

  2. Many of such users who are well versed in scriptures are inactive.

  3. Only one moderator is active.

General problems

  1. Few users have hidden intentions to make this site anti-scriptural.

  2. Some users downvote without any rationale.

  3. Some users post answers or comments to trigger debates or to insult scriptures and also to kill the aspiration of the new users.

Solutions to most of the problems can be deduced from the problems themselves.

But the nearest possible solution is increasing the active moderators as well as some promotion to the site (if possible).

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  • What do you mean when you say "some promotion" ? – TheLittleNaruto Mod Jan 12 at 19:22
  • @TheLittleNaruto I mean, Facebook and Twitter handle(s) posting questions... – hanugm Jan 13 at 1:07
  • @hanugm Btw, are you self nominating in mod election? – Pandya Mod Feb 8 at 15:05
  • Can't @Pandya, Ph.D. work is at its peak... :D thanks.. :) – hanugm Feb 8 at 15:15
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Not taking timely action. And this falls not just on moderators but old timers as well. Case in point - a new member who claims to be of non-indian origin, and is going around spamming the site.

Some old timers , despite having sufficient rep points, don't downvote or even vote to close questions/answers. Instead they indulge the new user, and then after sometime leave it onto others to do the hardwork. Flagging for moderated intervention is welcome but not enough

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    Well said well said – Archit Jan 14 at 6:05
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Problem:

  • I am seeing war comments on Brahmic and Abrahamic religions
  • Some people calling others Tamasic
  • Some people think of others as not much of a scholar to be around.
  • Some people avoiding others and downvoting the posts
  • The above type of discriminations and many more discriminations

Analysis:

Irrespective of other religion SE sites, Hinduism is different because it has many groups, and people's beliefs mostly don't respect other people's beliefs even being or following Hinduism. This is because of their sects, casts, thoughts, school, etc.

Because of this, users on this site feel offended quite often than compared to other SE sites. This tends to debate and continuous ones. Even many users marking others and targetting them by downvoting, debating, having sarcastic presentations (with sarcastic questions, profile, comments, etc) or even raising meta discussions, etc.

Some users are getting so disturbed that they want other users to get a ban as soon as possible. I repeat - users are getting disturbed. The problem is not the users here but the different beliefs. I hope it was easy to understand and respect but that is not happening and I don't think it will happen in the future too.

Solution:

The only best solution I see is mods' intervention i.e even quite too frequently between the discussions having by the users. Mods should be more active than before. They should put all the yet-to-happen debates a full stop! and handle all the meta discussions quite actively. Users should help by flagging actively too. Better to stop the fire before it becomes bigger and spread to the whole site. if a user gets disturbed even once, it is not good for the site's health.

Hopefully, things will go quite differently after the mods elections. And hopefully, things will not escalate to the point where a user gets banned or feel they don't belong here (deletes account or goes inactive - We have these a lot!).

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    Your question says "This has nothing to do with the moderation problem we are facing currently" and asks for other solutions and suggestions. And then your answer is -> we need active moderation. Would be nice if you can edit your question or provide other solutions in your answer. – Carmen sandiego Jan 13 at 8:00
  • Done. My intention was different. But that is unnecessary now. – Mr_Green Jan 13 at 8:09
  • Mods, why were the comments under this answer deleted ? – Carmen sandiego Jan 18 at 5:40
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    @Carmensandiego there was only one your comment which was deleted. You can see it now. It has been deleted as no longer needed. – Pandya Mod Feb 3 at 17:25
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Honestly, I am not feeling very happy as I am writing this as I haven't written a single answer so far!

Being a bit more aggressive in marking typical questions as duplicates.

However,

Let's give him/her a chance to improve the closed question by including some research. If that is done, open the question again.


Another thing that can be done (if one wishes!):

  • Write wiki posts of common questions
  • What X says about Y?
  • X and Y can vary. So, all X can come under one Y as answers.
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    And voting on Qs and As – Archit Jan 26 at 10:15

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