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Definition and Scope

Indicate research and reflection.

  • Without recourse to another thinker or text, I need more explanation that the concern is topical.

Context matters

  • a student of philosophy can encounter a problem with anything
  • Paradoxes can be in a wide variety of contexts.

Debate and discussion are encouraged.

  • Chat and meta develop ideas so we pose more effective and interesting questions.

We are here to learn -- not to vent, bully or distract.

  • We share ethos with Wikipedia.
  • It's really important that content is a neutral point of view.
  • This increases the quality of contributions.
  • We're here for education; not here to impose our views on others.

My goal is not to create new concepts, to "play philosophers"; my goal for the main page is that we behave like responsible students and teachers of philosophy. Asking questions that arise during the study of philosophy; answering with clarity, depth and rigor that spark interest in the discipline.

  • We are not a community of philosophers or an academic enclave.

StackExchange rules are the rules.

  • They grant us some autonomy with boundaries.
  • We are a group of students and teachers of philosophy collaborating with an American corporation (StackExchange)
  • While their corporate vision involves providing open and free educational resources, another part is profit.

Great questions:

  • inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.
  • tend to have long, not short, answers.
  • have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.
  • invite sharing experiences over opinions.
  • insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.
  • are more than just mindless social fun.

(From Good Subjective, Bad Subjective.)


To really jumpstart a higher-order degree of generativity would involve additional activities in the chat spaces, new contests, a community blog, or events linking our community and the other "humanities" communities on SE (and maybe even the wider web.) This would probably demand the organization of committees and so forth. I'd be happy to help organize this effort, but for the time being it probably makes the most sense to continue focusing directly on the Q&A side of things -- maybe doing research and study groups in the chat room to help brainstorm and generate questions, etc.

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  • Research: Letting Go of the Words, Content Strategy for the Web, Don't Make Me Think!, Jakob Nielson (useit.com), Donald Norman (jnd.org) – Tyler Langan Jan 25 '13 at 21:30
  • Additional research: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Information Foraging Theory – Tyler Langan Jan 25 '13 at 21:32
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    Thanks for boiling this down to the key points! :) – Joseph Weissman Jan 25 '13 at 21:39
  • Most definitely Joseph. The users are more important than us. I'm glad you're happy with the result. I didn't change any of the content or remove any points. Just trimmed. Edit: Actually, I changed "we" to "I" in one of the paragraphs. – Tyler Langan Jan 25 '13 at 21:40
  • Just to be clear, though: the underlying post this content is drawn from is not intended to be dictating site policy; it was really more simply to record my take on our on-topic line, and secondarily to elaborate and give some motivation for our current definition and scope. – Joseph Weissman Jan 26 '13 at 0:50

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