Is it because it contains capitals?

I didn't add any references, but then I'd say about 2% of the content here does so, at least in any useful sense. It answers the question and is not just an opinion (I refer to Kant and philosophy in general), and I think shows where the question may be confused (ethical action is rational, not just what God says is good).

Is the mere people's understanding of the concept of good and evil a proof of god?

Meanwhile, a one line answer (which I consider rushed anyway - different definitions does not mean no definitions) is currently at +22

Testing Free Will

  • Regardless of the fact that I agree with Philip on your answer, I think that the fact that the "testing free will" answer has such high count is awful and I personally am down-voting it. Although intuitionally has a good direction, it is inadequate as an answer. I might even go as far as flagging it as "not an answer". And I'd add, not because of its length, but because it's not well-developed and half-baked answer. Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 9:11

2 Answers 2


The question was flagged as 'not an answer'. The standard system-side procedure when moderators approve that kind of flag is deletion.

So why did I delete this answer?

Firstly because it is, other than you imply, quite opinionated. Good as rational is one view among others and in contemporary philosophy certainly not the most discussed one. You even state that you only write what you believe.

Secondly, the answer is not directly addressing the question at all. There are some musings which are more or less related to the question and a rhetorical question at the end. That is not quite in accord with the standards of answers as laid out in the help center.

But why do we not delete other, in these respects similar, answers? Mainly because we cannot and do not want go through all Phil.SE content and moderate away with a heavy hand that which we think to be inappropriate. SE is supposed to be run primarily by the community itself. So we as moderators prefer to handle flags or add a final vote, ie. only act where there has been some kind of initiative by the community. That's basically it.

A last word on the other answer you linked: The vote count is purely due to it having lingered in the Hot Network Questions. It does in no way reflect the quality per se. This happens quite often when a HNQ answer is the first reasonable one, since it gets upvotes by many people from other network communities arejust reading the question because it is advertised on the HNQ bar and leave their votes. But beyond that, the answer at least highlights the main obstacle with regards to testing, which relies on an agreed-upon, descriptive definition. As of free will, we lack such a description. So even though not sourced, and in some respects too short and incomplete, it definitely gives at least a partial, direct answer to the question as asked. You basically stated only that rationality may be infused by a god - or maybe not. That's not quite what the question asked.

  • what do you mean "God as rational". i already said it answers the question
    – user49640
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 16:36
  • also, lack of definition could mean anything. that people disagree, that philosophy makes no sense, that there is currently - or can be - not operationalized definition. as it is it's just nonsense
    – user49640
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 16:47
  • you could say the same for the rationality of God and ethics, but they are very different questions - the one i answered is obviously unclear about what exactly they are asking, so i think my - vague - answer could help. the other question doesn't need any elaboration to make sense, so the ambiguity in the reply is just unhelpful
    – user49640
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 16:53
  • 1
    @anon I did not write anywhere 'God as rational', I wrote 'good as rational', which is a shorthand for your definition of good as rational action. And you can write anything, it does not mean I share that belief. The question is whether the existence of mental content that goes beyond the representation of material existence does not imply that this content has to be given by some non-material entity. That is not answered in you post. Also, the context of testifiability clarifies a lot why a lack of descriptive definitions is problematic.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 16:56
  • wow, i had no idea. thanks!
    – user49640
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 16:57
  • if someone approaches you and asks where to get good food, you can reply with some opinionated nonsense about food in the area. if someone asks you were you can buy tacos and you reply "at a good shop that sells tacos IMHO" then you're just taking the piss
    – user49640
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:04
  • The question of what answers a question is the central question on meta, anon. So, what you believe answers a question, and what the consensus on what answers a question can be radically different not only in the moment but across time. There are general guidelines I offer to anyone who suffers closure:
    – J D
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:34
  • Please be aware that questions and answers are subject to editing and closure, and that reflects the site's policies on acceptable questions and NOT a personal attack. What to avoid in questions. Anything closed can be edited to bring it within guidelines. Keeping questions on-topic. Additional clarification at MetaPhil.
    – J D
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:34

I doubt it is on account of the capitalization.

What you are witnessing is a certain inconsistency in rule application which sometimes leads to strange results. See my question about how a well established philosophical topic was voted closed as off-topic.

Friends, how could a question about an idea with its own article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy be closed as off-topic?

Most organizations have a mission statement and by-laws that govern administrator action which is revisable by democratic principles of the membership. This organization does not, and there seems little interest in extending the rule of law to empower more consistency.

The factors that have been raised boil down to two major factors:

  1. Strong ideological differences between two or maybe three groups of users based on factors such as formal training, differences in ability, and a desire to use this site to different ends which manifest themselves in different use of mechanisms. Some prefer to rely heavily on question and answer closure, some believe the voting mechanism is the better system, and some like me try to encourage philosophical and metaphilosophical discourse to build political consensus.

  2. System administrators who are volunteers and therefore are encumbered with a certain amount of work without pay and are not empowered by by-laws to act decisively, perhaps not agreeing among themselves on matters raised in 1. This was exacerbated a while ago by a 'Stack Exchange'-wide protest over a conflict between staff and a volunteer named Monica which encouraged an exodus of experienced volunteer moderators.

I have myself for a year and change explored how this site functions, and how various parties use the site, and it has been insightful into how this contemporary technology is being used by such a disparate, but intelligent and well-informed group of people.

I would suggest that first and foremost, take nothing here personally. While there are many strong heads, it's rare for a contributor to genuinely be hostile. Feathers are easy to ruffle in general online, and intellectuals are particularly prone to be offended. Secondly, if you want to make this your home, just adhere to some rule of thumbs about answers. I'd support the post of 'Chris Sunami supports Monica':

How do you write a Stack Exchange answer?

Personally I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate in this forum. But this organization of thinkers suffers from the same problems of any loose confederation: without strong tools creating a central mechanism of strong consistency, one simply is interacting with a herd of cats, or out of ethology and into mathematics, vectors which point in all different directions tend to work at cross-purposes.

Until there is a reformation of governance, on-topic posts will be closed as off-topic, and some one-line answers will exist for years and others will be closed quickly. I consider this site suffering from a certain kind of metaphorical brain death.

What is the current state of health of Philosophy SE?

There are many who do "their" philosophy on the Q&A-side, but refuse to do "their" philosophy on the meta-side to resolve conflicts, facilitate a mission statement, or build social cohesion and consistent use mechanisms of governance.

  • there is a strong scientism feel here, which reminds me of popper. thanks for the reply
    – user49640
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:26
  • @anon There is a certain ruling class here, not composed of arrogant intellectual noblesse oblige so much as a general lack of consensus and inconsistency of well-intentioned contributors. Since there is little barrier to participation, there tends to be a pattern of "just enough information to be dangerous" which suffers from a high turnover when their prescriptivism is let loose on the community.
    – J D
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:31
  • It's my belief that this site should be a place that encourages thinking about thinking and promotes ideas of competency in the spirit of Dunning-Kruger.
    – J D
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:31
  • Good luck! My boiler plate: Welcome to SE Philosophy! Thanks for your contribution. Please take a quick moment to take the tour or find help. You can perform searches here or seek additional clarification at the meta site. Don't forget, when someone has answered your question, you can click on the arrow to reward the contributor and the checkmark to select what you feel is the best answer.
    – J D
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 17:32

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