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Newbie (on Philosophy) here.

I’ve been reading questions to get a feel for how this site works. I notice there’s at least one user who seems to take every opportunity to strongly preach a Christian sin-and-guilt message in comments and answers. No discourse, just “you must repent your sin” and similar.

From reading the Help Center I would have thought this would not be tolerated. Does this behavior merit flagging?

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Proselytizing is definitely inappropriate — but my first thought is just applying SE guidelines. If a comment isn’t helpful in clarifying the question, then flag it for removal.

Just in general, content in Q+A should be as neutral point-of-view as possible. For comments this is less important. But bounds of reason apply and “be nice” ethos is in effect everywhere. Stay on topic in comments, try to address the question, don’t drag people into discussions. Feel free to bring the energy to chat, but this sort of thing isn’t really on-topic there either.

  • As I explore the site more I see many more borderline- (and some outright-) proselytizing comments from a couple of users, one in particular ... Most of the time they do not add anything substantive and seem to be ignored by other commenters. Should I infer that this is accepted, or at least tolerated, and just ignore them? – Jim Garrison Apr 3 '18 at 6:32
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    @JimGarrison: Honestly, we cannot possibly read every thread and comment and evaluate its appropriateness. In the end, we do this as a hobby. If you find comments like these, feel free to flag them. I am increasingly fed with this kind of comment and addressing this (also in chat) did not change anything. I will happily delete them. – Philip Klöcking Apr 4 '18 at 9:26
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    An actual link to Be Nice. would certainly help understand what users are expected to do and behave here :) – Andrew T. Apr 6 '18 at 9:59
  • @PhilipKlöcking I apologize if my comment sounded like I was complaining. I’m just trying to calibrate myself to the tenor of the site. Thanks for your response, I will flag if the proselytizing is obvious and adds nothing, but give the benefit of the doubt otherwise. – Jim Garrison Apr 7 '18 at 3:17
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    @JimGarrison: Sorry if I came across annoyed or something, nothing of that kind. :) I actually like that it is you who addressed this issue since I crossed with persons because of this before. We need more users that act like you did here. – Philip Klöcking Apr 7 '18 at 14:18
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Also a newbie, but I think that applying the SE policies is sufficient. That being said, I believe that philosophy is a strong enough practice to tolerate answers such as "because God said so" within normal Socratic dialogue, without resorting to blocking and flagging and so forth. "Because God said so" is a weak answer to "why", whether or not it is in bad taste.

  • I agree, which is why I plan to be careful and flag only really inappropriate comments. Thanks for your input. – Jim Garrison Apr 8 '18 at 5:14
  • These comments often do not contribute to the discussion. If that's the case, feel free to flag them. The point is not just to remove disruptive behaviour but also to streamline normal behaviour. – Keelan Apr 8 '18 at 16:37
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    Would it be good to flag inappropriately materialistic comments as well? – elliot svensson Apr 9 '18 at 14:10
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    @PédeLeão: As long as the comment does not ask for clarification, constructively criticises the content, or adds additional context to the answer given, it is off-topic. In general, it is about improving the point of the answer as given. See the help center on comments. Giving your own opinion (or God's or whoever's) on the matter does not justify commenting. If you like this view to be represented, give an answer to the question. And as the votes show here: Faith is seen as belief, not Truth. Meta threads and votes are part of the "site guidelines". – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 9:35
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    @elliotsvensson: Inappropriate/off-topic comments should be flagged in any case, no matter the view they represent. If it is not asking for clarification or constituting constructive feedback, it should be considered as misplaced. – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 9:37
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    "Would it be good to flag inappropriately materialistic comments as well?" - yes. – Keelan Apr 10 '18 at 11:07
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    And to be even clearer: this also applies to comments which are not proselytizing ("You must repent your sin") but just make claims from a particular reasonably debatable point of view ("We are created in God's image"; "There is no free will") without putting them in context ("In the Christian worldview, ..."; "According to current scholarship, ..."). These comments obscure the content and do not honestly contribute to its quality; they should be removed. The tricky part is the "reasonably" (though if people would just be forthcoming on this point by themselves there would be no issue). – Keelan Apr 10 '18 at 11:15
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    @PédeLeão you can flag it... does not mean it will be deleted. The "reasonably" is a judgment call (which is why flags are handled by democratically elected moderators). If you don't want your comment to become the victim of such a judgment call, be forthcoming with putting your comments into context. – Keelan Apr 10 '18 at 12:59
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    @Keelan. What's the point of this discussion, when all you have to say is just do it? The problem is that moderators are trying to invent new standards that are arbitrary, impractical and perhaps even unjust, but when questioned for clarification, you can't provide a coherent justification for them. The reason is simple: there is no way to establish a double standard without making it clear that that's exactly what you're doing. Trying to cover up the fact leads to logical inconsistencies. – user3017 Apr 10 '18 at 13:05
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    @PédeLeão there is no new/double standard. I have explained how I follow the existing guidelines as in the help center. You take it into the absurd by claiming it includes everything on this site. "In a Christian worldview, man is created in the image of God" is not reasonably debatable, while without the first four words it is. Thus it is very well possible to follow the guidelines. What clarification do you need? – Keelan Apr 10 '18 at 13:14
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    @PédeLeão: I do not care which belief you have or what it says. What I do care about is if you continue putting your belief forward against many posts that are widely related to faith without showing any effort of putting your comment into context with the point made by the post. It is the same with any other doctrine and the standard as it is written in the help center. Do not try to victimise yourself. I suggest simply not making comments à la "You are wrong because the bible says so." This is - most of the times (if not about the Bible) - besides the point and hence off-topic. – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 13:27
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    @PédeLeão: These rules are in place all the time. The help center hasn't been edited in that regard. I consider the last two Meta questions more as an incentive for executing them more rigorously (and independent from you or your views) as it became a growing problem due to many Hot Network Post questions recently. If you have problems with that, feel free to open a question on Philosophy.Meta addressing it. Judgements of mods are always a potential matter of revision if community votes are accordingly. – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 13:57
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    To put this into context: Recently, there were four or even more automatic flags because of discussions of 20+ comments under a single post each day. We have to review these flags. It is work. Most of the times, it was due to users throwing in their own views on the subject matter (mostly strong opinions) with the discussion going off the rails afterwards. Nothing constructive for the post. This makes a pretty good incentive for preventing this kind of behaviour by more rigorous execution of the rules, as the cleanup afterwards includes judging the viability of every single comment. – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 14:08
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    @PédeLeão: Also, your comments have been flagged as not being relevant to the post or even outright offensive multiple times. It is not arbitrary behaviour by the mods following made up rules. We follow the official guidelines as laid down in the help center and other places (as Meta.SE). As hard as it may be for you to accept, under these guidelines your faith is considered opinion and not Truth. Everything else would be offensive towards people of different or no faith and against the Be Nice policy which asks for mutual respect. – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 14:15
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    @Discretelizard The most important is probably this page of the help center, where it is stated what and when not to comment. – Philip Klöcking Apr 10 '18 at 22:09

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