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We all love Hinduism Stack Exchange, but there is a whole world of people out there who need answers to their questions and don't even know that this site exists. When they arrive from Google, what will their first impression be? Let's try to look at this site through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before, and see how we stack up against the rest of the 'Net.

The Site Self-Evaluation review queue is open and populated with 10 questions that were asked and answered in the last quarter. Run a few Google searches to see how easy they are to find and compare the answers we have with the information available on other sites.

Rating the questions is only a part of the puzzle, though. Do you see a pattern of questions that should have been closed but are not? Questions or answers that could use an edit? Anything that's going really well? Post an answer below to share your thoughts and discuss these questions and the site's health with your fellow users!

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    I think more active participation is required in order for the community to grow. Right now it shows lot of promise but lacks in some regards. For example, most of the answers are written by two/three stalwarts. I think this is because other users are simply scared to put answers for fear of being argued against. It gives a hostile feeling to the newbie when he is confronted with hostile arguments for each of his post. It is one thing to express disagreement 'your speculation is baseless!' can be put as 'could you add some reference for this speculation of yours?' to make it welcoming to users – Sai Jan 2 '15 at 17:10
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    secondly, most people don't even bother to vote up/vote down answers or questions. When people do choose to vote down there is simply no comment :). Also OP many times expresses comments like 'thank you for answering the question' or 'this is a great answer' but simply doesn't aware that it can be 'accepted'. I'm just guessing but I think the quality of the site can be improved if more people participate by posting answers/questions but even if not atleast by voting on good answers and leaving comments for ones that need improvement! :) – Sai Jan 2 '15 at 17:14
2

Ten questions is a lot to comment on, so here are the first five; I may comment on the other five later. But first a general remark. A growing number of users are learning to post good answers, elaborating on details and backing up claims with quotes from scripture. But we need to do more to raise question quality. A good question should be detailed and well-researched, just like a good answer should be. And it's fine if a few questions are pretty basic, but we should encourage more users to post questions that will attract experts to the site, rather than continue to ask so many "What does Hinduism say about X?" type questions. I've tried to set an example with my questions; people should try to emulate those.

Now on to the questions!

  1. How can the Shiva puranam and Vishnu puranam be interpreted? - Needs Improvement

    I think this is a poorly phrased question. From the title you'd expect this to be a question about the general interpretation of these two Puranas - perhaps whether they can be interpreted in such a way that they don't contradict each other. But actually the core of this question is not about these two Puranas at all - fundamentally it's a question about Hindu mythology: how do we interpret stories found throughout Hindu scriptures that talk about the gods in very human terms, when they are infinite all-powerful beings? Is it that these stories are allegories, or did the gods take human form to do these things, or do gods genuinely have anthropomorphic qualities? I think this would have the potential to be a good question, especially if it was backed up with specific citations of stories in Hindu scriptures and specific claims in Hindu scriptures about gods being infinite, all-pervading etc. (Of course it would still be a pretty basic question, so it's not the sort of question that will attract experts ti the site.). But I think it needs to be worded better.

    Swami Vishwananda's answer is about how Puranas are Smriti and thus are of lesser authority than the Vedas, but it doesn't address the core of the question which I discuss above. That's not his fault; it's because the question gave the misleading impression that it was just about two Puranas, when really it should have asked about Hindu stories, whether Vedic or Puranic (and should have perhaps focused on a single story). Aby's answer, on the other hand, does answer the question, but it would have been better if the answer included quotes from the Shiva Purana to back up the claims about Shiva having both a physical form and a formless aspect. That way readers could have some confidence that the answer is correct.

    As far as Google search results go, searching for Vishnu Shiva purana interpret gets you the post as the first result, but like I said the question title is misleading.

  2. Why do these many religions exist? - Needs Improvement

    I think this question is off-topic/opinion-based. Asking why people follow different religions and why Jesus didn't tell people to worship Krishna and Shiva are things that aren't relevant to Hinduism. I think the question should have probably been closed. And you can't easily find it by Googling, unless you type why do these religions exist, but it's unlikely that people would put the word "these" in their search.

  3. Who is oldest form of God to be worshipped? - Satisfactory

    I don't see any major problems with this question. But it's a pretty basic question, and going forward I think we should encourage more detailed and well-researched questions, the sorts of questions that are more likely to attract experts to the site.

    Regarding Swami Vishwananda's answer, everything below his first paragraph is irrelevant, but that's just because it's responding to a previous revision if the question that said "first" rather than "oldest". But his first paragraph is good, providing citations to the Rig Veda and the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda to support the contention that water was the oldest form of God to be worshipped. But it would have been better if that part of the answer had been longer and the rest of the answer had been taken out. Parth Trivedi's answer wasn't very responsive to the question, spending most of the time arguing for the supremacy of Shiva, and saying things like "so if gods worship shiva lingam then it should be the oldest", but of course the question is presumably about what form was first worshipped by humans. The only relevant part of the answer is at the end when he mentions Shiva Lingams beings found by archeologists. And srinavasacarya dasa's answer isn't very responsive to the question either; it just responds to Partn Trivedi's claims of Shiva being supreme by arguing that Vishnu is supreme. Now it does provide some good quotes demonstrating Vishnu's supremacy, but that's all irrelevant for this question.

    As far as Googling goes, oldest form of god works, but of course people looking for the information in this question wouldn't search that; they'd search for something like oldest god in Hinduism, which doesn't yield this question. But it does yield some Yahoo! Answers questions where some scriptural quotes are provided that weren't mentioned in any of the answers here. So there's room for a more comprehensive answer.

  4. Why do we need a guru? Can Lord be our Guru? - Needs Improvement

    I think the "Can Lord be our Guru" part of the question is pretty pointless. But I think the core of the question, about whether we need a Guru or whether we can pursue Moksha on our own, is a good question, although it's a pretty basic question rather than the sort of detailed and well-researched we want to encourage.

    In any case, srinavasacarya dasa provides good quotes from the Bhagavad Gita to answer the question, but he doesn't address the issue of whether having a guru is necessary; he just shows that it's recommended. Swami Vishwananda's answer is good, but it says "As indicated in some prior answers to some of your prior questions, I have given you specific scriptural verses that support this need for the human guru." Those verses should be incorporated into his answer here. Raghavendra Kumar's answer is just opinion-based without providing any sources to back it up. And Hindu's answer seems to be baseless speculation.

    It's hard to find the question via Google search, and there are much better sources in the Internet about the importance of Gurus. So there's certainly room for a better answer here.

  5. Is Goddess Lakshmi goddess of happiness or wealth? - Excellent

    The body of the question could have been more concise and less meandering, but the gist of the question is clear enough, although yet again it's a very basic question and we should be encouraging more high-quality questions that attract experts.

    Krishna's answer is excellent. It is extremely thorough and well-researched. He provides quotes from famous Suktas of the Rig Veda, Sayana's commentary on the Vedas, Yaska's ancient etymology text, and Sri Vaishnava Acharyas like Yamunacharya, Vedanta Desikan, and Periya Vachan Pillai. This is what a good answer should be like; the reader will have gotten a very detailed picture of Lakshmi. Now jabahar's answer was fine, but of course it wasn't as comprehensive as Krishna's. One small problem with both answers: they should have spent a bit more time on Kubera, perhaps providing a scriptural citation on his role and perhaps even his relation to Lakshmi.

    This question comes up in as simple a search as Lakshmi happiness. And you'd be hard pressed to find a better description of Lakshmi's status than Krishna's. So I'd call it a success.

  • Since you are one of the professionals on HSE, I would please you to edit/improve a answer which is correct but not detailed or with lack of citation. I know this is a big task and requires lot of time but this is only how it is possible to make this site full of quality content. This is just my opinion. Let me know what do you think about this. :) – Mr_Green Jan 2 '15 at 7:51
  • Nice evaluation. I think we can make it better. – Ankit Sharma Jan 2 '15 at 12:03
0

I won't be talking about which question is better and which is not but I want to share my thoughts on this feature. So according to me this is an excellent option for new comers to show what we want to show them.

Secondly, it also creates good impression on first time visitors. As far as I know questions which are ethical, superstitious and so on are found the most online. I would like to insist the users to fairly review the queue, if you are not sure then please SKIP the question rather then pressing a random one which won't help the community to grow.

Moderators and users are trying their best to keep the site clean by editing out the questions and formatting them, fixing grammar and also closing off-topic duplicate questions asked on this site.

Last but not the least, if you think that you are not sure what option should be selected for a particular question in the review queue, feel free to discuss with community by posting a question on meta for what you should be doing with that particular question or you can always use Hinduism room.

  • Unfortunately, the queue will disappear in less than 24 hours, so not that many people will see it. – Keshav Srinivasan Jan 3 '15 at 6:23
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Only if people review it fast... or is that the mechanism part you talking about? – Mr. Alien Jan 4 '15 at 6:20
  • Earlier I saw a notice on Hinduism.SE's front page that said the self-evaluation queue was ending in this many days, and it kept going down until it hit zero a few hours ago and then the notice disappeared, but the queue is still there now so I'm not what the notice meant. – Keshav Srinivasan Jan 4 '15 at 6:27
  • @KeshavSrinivasan This is a new feature may be only for Beta websites.. so I think they will keep this until people review and we filter out the content. – Mr. Alien Jan 4 '15 at 6:28
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Final Results

Net Score: 1 (Excellent: 2, Satisfactory: 6, Needs Improvement: 1)


Net Score: 0 (Excellent: 2, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 2)


Net Score: -1 (Excellent: 1, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 2)


Net Score: -1 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 8, Needs Improvement: 1)


Net Score: -2 (Excellent: 1, Satisfactory: 6, Needs Improvement: 3)


Net Score: -2 (Excellent: 1, Satisfactory: 4, Needs Improvement: 3)


Net Score: -3 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 3)


Net Score: -4 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 4)


Net Score: -4 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 4)


Net Score: -4 (Excellent: 0, Satisfactory: 5, Needs Improvement: 4)


-4

Having been a member of the Philosophy Stack Exchange (PSE) for over a year and only a few months on the Hindu Stack Exchange (HSE), I will give my comments.

Overall, PSE is run on a better and fairer basis. On HSE, the moderators have too much power. Example: To close a question on PSE requires 4 votes from members who have over 1,000 points. To reopen a closed question, it again takes 4 votes of members with over 1,000 points. On HSE 1 moderator can close a question and again can open a question. This is highly subjective and unfair. I have seen some questions which should be answered but are closed too quickly by a single moderator. HSE should have the same rules for opening and closing questions as PSE.

These closed questions are also closed for comments, again highly unfair and dictatorial. This needs to change. HSE should have the same rule for opening and closing comments on closed questions as PSE. Comments should remain open on closed questions.

Finally, there is too much emphasis by a single moderator on ALL answers having scriptural reference. There is nothing wrong with an answer that does not have scriptural quotation.

  • 1
    Actually the rules on both sites are the same. Moderators on all Stackexchange sites can close and reopen questions on their own. But a lot of the time we don't exercise that power. Like in most cases, even if I think a question should probably be closed, I just put a comment saying it should be closed, and then allow other users to vote on whether it should be closed or not. It's only when I think a question should clearly be closed that I close it myself. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 30 '14 at 20:51
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    Also, I don't think closed questions are closed for comments, they're just closed for answers. As far as as scriptural references go, I think that for the vast majority of questions on the site, answers should be backed with citations of Hindu scripture. The only exception is when you have questions that have nothing to do with the sort of subjects that Hindu scripture discusses, like questions about why Kartikeya isn't as popular as other gods currently: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/948/36 But where Hindu scripture discusses a subject, we should give citations to it. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 30 '14 at 21:00
  • Moderators close the questions straight away when they feel that particular question is off-topic, duplicate or unclear. As you know, Hinduism.SE is in beta and has started recently. Due to less number of active high reputation users it is not possible for a question to get 5 close votes and by the time it gets, the question already has number of irrelevant answers further degrading the quality of the site. I've discussed this before on this question, refer to Why certain actions are taken by moderators straight away – Mr. Alien Jan 3 '15 at 6:01
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    @Mr.Alien then there should be instead of 5 close votes make it 3 close votes. The question that should be reopened is the living wage question. Keshav's OPINION is that it is not based on scripture. I can quote scripture to show it is. – Swami Vishwananda Jan 4 '15 at 5:56
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    @SwamiVishwananda Please take a look at the active visitors on the website, even 3 close votes are not enough to close the questions and as I said, no question will get instant close votes, so by the time it gets closed it will be already answered with irrelevant answers by users who are not actually understanding the question. Inorder to control the quality of the websites content we need to close personal questions / opinion based / unclear questions immediately as of now. – Mr. Alien Jan 4 '15 at 6:19
  • Second Swamiji's note on insistence on reference. Additionally, when a reference is provided, the responder should not be expected to do all the work. An indication should be sufficient and further follow up may be done by interested parties – user1195 Feb 9 '15 at 12:24

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