Two fold Solution to the Problem
In case of less time, ignore this paragraph: It can be observed that off late instead of questions about scriptures and spirituality, the balance has tilted to the side of questions with “different” content which necessitates this discussion. Some users may find certain content offensive while others may find it completely normal. For example some find doubting the credibility against white gurus offensive, some find cow slaughter offensive (like me), some are averse to the idea of homosexuality, some may endorse violence (to maintain dharma) whereas for others, such topics maybe completely alright to discuss. Further as the website is not restricted to a single country but is accessible worldwide, closing a question on the basis of legality will also be a subjective matter. For example some countries may allow polygamy whereas others may look down upon it. It maybe offensive to some it may not be offensive to some. For most (including me) rape is a heinous crime but for some like the OP seeking clarification for the victim deserving it in of the the questions above (not OP of meta post) it may or may not be. Some questions maybe destroying the very spiritual essence of Sanatana Dharma. Another example (in the current scenario a trivial issue yet in the future maybe out of proportion) is probably in future giving donations to Brahmins as per scriptures maybe considered illegal (I don’t endorse such a grossly incorrect view) or may offend some (we’d rather give to an old age home or say giving donation to Brahmins incites caste based discrimination. People can twist things in any manner, etc.). (Note Brahmins’ donation and the heinous crime of rape in my opinion are in no way comparable, please see the solution below before erupting)
The gist of the above paragraph is that based on mere legality (subjective per country) or the offensive (subjective per person) nature of questions, taking authoritative action may eventually lead to a clash of views and consequently unhealthy disputes.
Yet, despite the varied views, there seems to be a consensus in the community about the fact that certain posts are out of place. We must remember that the fundamentals of this Hinduism (and consequently this site), inter alia, are primarily based on Scriptures and spirituality. Hinduism is all about being a good and pure person and the religion itself does not in anyway endorse crimes (certain scriptures may contain controversial passages but ascertaining some of them as interpolations or not is a separate matter, we must focus on the spiritual aspect here). This religion, and so also a truly spiritual person, is about refraining from committing any unnecessary violence (अहिंसा परमो धर्मः), focusing on the betterment of all (वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्) and engaging in obtaining the 4 fruits of dharma artha Kama and if possible, moksha.
Note- We cannot limit someone from asking questions to which answers are found in scriptures, whether they are not agreeable to some (eg. hitting of student by teacher). Therefore I have proposed a two fold solution below. For applying the solution, keep in mind the language and actual intent (not one we feel is plausible) of the question is to be given prime importance. A question which merely asks the view of Hinduism on something must be allowed (and the solution for the same is as per solution 2 in the two fold solution). A question which seeks justification for crimes is to be deleted with immediate effect. Also note justification clearly comes under opinion based/ personal advice.
Accordingly, while upholding the essence of Hinduism (and without disrespecting even the interpolated scriptural content) , the site rules, considering and duly respecting the fact that certain posts maybe offensive and yet without delving into the legality or offensive nature (owing to subjectivity) of the contents I propose a two-fold solution (part of which also has been proposed by others) for which the criteria has been outlined below and a step by step solution has also been illustrated :
I. Two fold solution:
1. Closing/ deleting/ downvoting questions
A. Closing the Question (this solution upholds site rules) - The criteria to close are already pretty exhaustive and a few of the “offensive” posts cited above do fit the criteria:
B. Deleting the Question-
(This solution helps curb denigrating the essence of Hinduism by seeking justification for wrongful acts) For deleting the Question, the following criteria must be met:-
“questions and answers that aim to clearly justify any act good or wrongful (the victim deserved it and other forms of victim blaming), aim to seek approval for any wrongful acts (Can I do this?) must be deleted, whether or not being closed based on one of the already existing criteria.
For the purposes above, the definition of wrongful (as mentioned by the OP) is as follows:
a) relating to emotional, physical (including sexual) violence of any sort, towards any creature, barring wars which have scriptural reference
b) causing discrimination based on gender, colour, caste, age, nationality”
C. Downvoting the Question
(This helps respect and uphold each persons views in the community and doesn’t steal the right to hold their views)
If a question/answer doesn’t fit in any of the closing or deleting criteria, and the user still feels that it is offensive, the user is free to express his views by downvoting the post and at the same time commenting his reason for downvoting. out of courtesy. A healthy discussion between the poster and voter may ensue later. I don’t see any downvote except mine on the karma rape justification question.
2. Disclaimer Banner
(This solution ensures that while quoting from scriptures, though parts of which are interpolated, the content of some scriptures too are respected, yet certain acts are not endorsed by the community)
Similar to a citation banner I propose the introduction of a banner called the disclaimer banner which reads:
“Neither does the community nor the religion support/ endorse/ recommend any kind of mental, physical violence, discrimination based on gender, colour, caste, age, nationality and resorting to the same is not recommended”
This solution will entail having a healthy discussion on the topic and yet by this way the intention of a person reading any controversial answers may be less likely to be influenced to perform such acts and it also shows meaningful non-endorsement of the community of commonly unaccepted deeds.
When to use the Disclaimer banner?
As explained below in the step by step guide, this banner is to be used in the event of questions obtaining a general view of wrongful acts, that could not be deleted (whether or not they were closed but may have answers and those answers must still have the banner) because they didn’t meet the criteria (closing criteria or they don’t seek justification/ victim blaming and hence can’t be deleted) and hence yet have “offensive content”
Wrongful acts as stated in the above paragraph again means:
“relating to emotional, physical (including sexual) violence of any sort, towards any creature, barring wars which have scriptural reference
b) causing discrimination based on gender, colour, caste, age, nationality”
Examples of questions/ answers where this banner can be used:
Note: Where an answer does not quote from a scripture and is of such “wrongful” type then it must be flagged for deletion (not even citation or disclaimer banner) as it is of a very sensitive topic. Such a user must only comment. Eg. The answer provided to If karma is real then is rape justified?
II. Step by Step guide to deal with offensive questions and applying the aforementioned two fold solution
Step 1: check whether the “offensive” question only (not answer) meets any of the criteria to be closed and exercise close vote.
Step 2: check if the “offensive” question or answer justifies/ seeks approval for wrongful acts, if yes, flag for moderator invention with the words - ‘wrongful justification please delete’
Step 3: if step 2 fails i.e. offensive question doesn’t meet the deletion criteria, then it is subjectively offensive and hence the user is free to exercise their downvote
Step 4: If the Q/A does not get deleted, monitor any answers on the question. When a user answers a question fitting the criteria mentioned in solution 2, then he himself must flag the answer for the banner, or another user seeing the answer must flag it for banner wit the words - “disclaimer banner required”. Though the answer will answers from scriptures it would not support or encourage any wrongful acts.
Let’s apply the steps to the following questions:
a) If karma is real then is rape justified? - so we see if it can be closed as per Step 1: yes as opinion based
Deleted as per Step 2: yes
no need to go to step 3
b) Under which circumstances physical punishment to wife is allowed?, Does a wife who disobeys her husband be really torn to death by dogs? What is the context in which this verse is stated
Step 1: cannot be closed as it is not opinion based etc.
Step 2: cannot be deleted as it doesn’t seek justification
Step 3: if yet offensive please use your right downvote
Step 4: is it concerned with wrongful act? Yes. Therefore flag Q/A for disclaimer banner.
Hope this two fold solution is agreeable to the unified community/ the factions If any/ in at least a majority. anyone wishes, please propose changes to better the solution and the disclaimer banner can be discussed in detail on a separate meta post.