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...will we enforce the same kind of rules on them as we would on ordinary users?

That is:

  1. Will we bug them to support their answers with citations?

  2. Will we remind them they cannot cite some of their own books or articles in their answers because that's technically spam?

  3. Will we flag their answers as "low-quality?"

I'm talking about people like:

  1. Your Favorite Guru
  2. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
  3. Jaggi Vasudev (Sadhguru)
  4. Rajiv Malhotra
  5. Patrick Olivelle
  6. and many more

Although at this point, it's a remote possibility one of them actually joins the site.

How do we make sure they continue to participate on the site and yet not burdened with all the site rules?

Also, will they get any VIP status and a 1000 rep. to start off with?

Bonus reputation on joining would help them (from here):

  • Edit Questions And Answers | Awarded At: 1,000 Reputation
  • Comment Everywhere | Awarded At: 50 Reputation
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  • 1
    i don't think we should exempt them from citing sources, but we should certainly allow them to cite their own works as sources. (The Stackexchange rules on spam are mainly about posting links without disclosing your affiliation. But saying "here is what my book or article says" would be fine.). And I would open to giving VIP users a certain amount of reputation to start with, so they can have certain privileges from day 1, although I'm not sure if that's possible in Stackexchange sites. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 27 '16 at 1:10
  • Have you found any one of them/such active on our community/site? otherwise I don't think this needs to be discussed at-least now/at-present! – Pandya Nov 27 '16 at 5:10
  • @Pandya See these comments and decide for yourself. My intent is have some policy in place before one joins this site. Not after! – sv. Nov 27 '16 at 5:12
  • Related Validity of references from new-age Gurus? – Pandya Jan 19 '17 at 11:18
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Good question. If the site becomes popular, then possibly some learned people may get attracted to contribute here.

Should they cite scriptural sources?

Yes, if this is the rule for a normal user then it should apply for everyone. They may cite their own work only as an add on resource, not as main. Here I am not talking about superficial equality. Rather it should make sure that the site doesn't loose its neutral stance. If we allow otherwise, then below issues can happen:

  1. Become another platform for their self promotion.
  2. What if multiple Guru-s active in SE, have contradictory views to each other in their own works? We require neutral source in such case.
  3. SE doesn't have special authentication or profile verification method like Quora, FB, Twitter. Hence at 1st, every user should be seen with neutral point.
  4. By not citing other scriptures, they put themselves in questionable situation from some users; such as: Haven't they read others' scriptures? If they have read, then aren't they respecting others' scriptures?

Should they be given extra reputation?

Fine personally with me, even though it may not be practically possible from SE network. Here are few counter points:

  1. Reputation is merely an indicator of activity & agreement. It does not represent knowledge, necessarily. This is mentioned in many meta posts. If they are not active enough then, what's the point in giving them extra rep? If they are active, then rep will automatically increase as time passes.
  2. This may also give unwanted importance to concept of "reputation".
  3. As above point 3, SE may not have verification method. Hence difficult to give 1k just by looking at name. Usually SE gives 101 to active network users, which is fair to start with.
  4. They may not require tools coming up with reputation increase, unless they understand the network. Some Guru-s, may not be interested in such tools at 1st place.

In any case, those Guru-s may not edit others' Q&A or do moderation, from day One. Even if they want to do, let it go through approval chain, which will in turn give them +2.
Since they are coming up with their own thinking, their primary interest should be to answer the queries. So, giving away 1k reputation may not be needed.

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  • Updated my Qn. I mentioned extra reputation mainly for editing questions without needing approval (at 1K), commenting everywhere (at 50) etc. – sv. Nov 28 '16 at 2:50
  • @sv., It's less likely for them to edit Q&A for others. The commenting of anywhere at 50 rep is a good point, but IMO that's also not difficult to get. If they edit few Q&A & answer few questions, then they can reach 50 in no time. – iammilind Nov 28 '16 at 4:03
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First of all Hinduism Stack Exchange is a Q/A site/community not a forum.

  1. Citing own books or articles.

    From Help Center > Our model:

    Avoid overt self-promotion.

    The community tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam. Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, that’s okay. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.

    If a large percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons. Our advertising rates are quite reasonable; contact our ad sales team for details. We also offer free community promotion ads for open source projects and non-profit organizations.

    Self promotion is comprehensively discussed at following MSE posts:

    Also note that citing own sources and linking to own sources are different but similar.

    In brief/tldr; We should not prevent them for citing their own books or articles occasionally if it is on-topic and helpful. But if it is the case of overt self-promotion, or most of their posts lead to it, the we should prevent it.

    By the way we've also an idea about which type of citation/reference is how accepted/appreciated.

  2. Although at this point, it's a remote possibility one of them actually joins the site.

    OK. No problem with their joining this community. See Do we have experts here?

  3. How do we make sure they continue to participate on the site and yet not burdened with all the site rules?

    Also, will they get any VIP status and a 1000 rep. to start off with?

    I think they will not burdened with the site rules as there is no (technicality 1) reputation required for posting A/Q and they'll hopefully get more privileges by their helpful/knowledgeable posts.

    Suggest-edits, remove new user restrictions (10) and comment everywhere (50) are not so far.

    Though if you feel they should given 1k, you can try/give your feedback to MSE.

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  • "on-topic self-promotion is not considered as spam" -- really? what about this, another answer by same user was forced to be withdrawn, can't find the link now. – sv. Nov 27 '16 at 7:41
  • How can we consider their work as a valid citation. Like for a question related to Mahabharata, why did draupadi choose 5 husbands. We can cite Shiva's boon to her and vyasa's rules laid out for pandavas and draupadi. For the same question we cannot cite a work authored by anyone else, since it cannot be considered a authentic record of Draupadi's life. – Yogi Nov 27 '16 at 20:05
  • @sv. Revised the answer – Pandya Nov 30 '16 at 9:21
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Without a doubt. More so in the case of self-styled gurus because of the depth and breadth of impact of their "discourses". Naive followers who don't know better tend to believe these gurus blindly. It is not difficult for someone to become a "guru" these days and spout "pearls of wisdom" that suit their vested interests. While, it is not my intention to say that all modern "gurus" have ulterior motives, I have heard enough from some of the listed to know that their knowledge is not rooted in sastra. Misleading the masses with false knowledge is against the basic foundation of this site, IMO.

There are rules and diktats of discourse and demystification of sastra. Only a few traditionalists seem to follow these rules while offering to disseminate sastric knowledge.

Edit: Citing their own works as sources must also be forbidden unless those works have clear references to scripture.

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