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AstroChuck's avatar

Should Fluther impose a moratorium on religion questions?

Asked by AstroChuck (37543points) July 14th, 2009 from iPhone

I mean just temporarily. They just seem to have exploded on this site lately. Every other question is some powder keg for religious argument.
And if you are an author of one of the recent questions pertaining to religion, and you feel offended, I don’t mean you. It’s the other religion questions I’m referring to.

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74 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe we could set up a ghetto uh, I mean a separate place for such discussions.

Naw, really @AstroChuck, you can’t be serious, can you? You may be tired of them, but I presume your delete button works as well as mine. Or do they trap you, helplessly?

fireinthepriory's avatar

It kind of makes sense. Previous question gets you thinking… you think of a new question that relates… etc etc. I think it’d be pretty hard to not have these influxes on a certain topic naturally.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

They should stay only so long as people are able to talk about it rationally and without attacking anyone. In the last few days however, that dead horse has been thoroughly beaten. Many of these questions take a mean spirited tone.

i.e. “How can any sane person believe in religion?” That’s uncalled for.

ratboy's avatar

If it’s God’s will.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I think we need a separation of church and Fluther.

sap82's avatar

Well if you did you would just piss off those damned angry christians even more.

EmpressPixie's avatar

No way! Especially not that last one—current events deserve to be discussed and an ex-President coming out so hardcore for the ladies is awesome.

sap82's avatar

@Ivan Besides Ivan would get all atheist about it.

SuperMouse's avatar

@AstroChuck, I knew you weren’t talking about my religion question!

AstroChuck's avatar

@daloon- I suppose I’m not all that serious, but you have to admit these questions have been coming fast and furiously lately.

marinelife's avatar

I think as long as they are within the guidelines, it’s a free Q & A site, right? That doesn’t mean I like it.

Actually, my only objection is that it is usually zealots on both (or all) sides who want to chew these things to death.

I object because I don’t think the questions are “real” in the sense of seeking answers, but are instead carefully phrased platforms for flogging people’s hobbyhorses.

I don’t object to genuine religion questions anymore than I would any other topic whether I am interested in it or not.

Ivan's avatar

I don’t understand the desire to regulate what topics we are aloud to discuss.

“I don’t find this topic interesting, so you are hereby not allowed to talk about it.”

tinyfaery's avatar

Only if we have a gay marriage topic ban, as well.

Ivan's avatar

Let’s ban the discussion all sensitive issues and just turn Fluther into an iPhone forum.

cwilbur's avatar

Yes. I would entirely support a one-month, or longer, ban on religious questions.

@Ivan: It’s not “I don’t find this topic interesting,” it’s that the topic has been discussed endlessly for the past month, and nobody is getting anywhere. Militant atheists are slamming all theists; militant Christians are slamming all atheists; people are arguing with straw men and stereotypes, and nobody is actually making an effort to reach any sort of understanding.

The last several religion questions have not been actual questions where someone is seeking enlightenment; they’re questions where someone is setting up a thread of atheist-bashing or Christian-bashing. I’m **really** tired of that.

kevbo's avatar

Questioning religious questions is truly a Fluther phenomenon. This has been debated almost since the site’s inception, although the collective was much more hostile back in the day.

Personally, I don’t care if the next fifteen questions are about religion or consistently about any other topic so long as they are earnest questions.

DominicX's avatar

Realistically and on principle no, but I wouldn’t mind if there was one. If you don’t want to participate, then don’t. Pretty simple. The power of ignore.


Religious discussions can never get too far. They can be resolved sometimes, but as long we are discussing something that most people don’t perceive with their senses, there is going to be a lot of disagreement. UFO and paranormal discussions are essentially the same, except most people don’t define their lives by the paranormal like they do with religion.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@kevbo do you mean to imply, sir, that many of the religious questions here are trolling? surely, you jest!~

Ivan's avatar


“it’s that the topic has been discussed endlessly for the past month, and nobody is getting anywhere.”

So what? If the people of Fluther want to do nothing but bash each others’ religions, who are we to disallow that? Does this have some sort of averse effect on you? Is there any reason why you can’t just continue to do what you would normally do, be there religious questions or not?

And just because you perceive these questions as havens for extremists where nothing gets accomplished, does that mean that it’s impossible to ask a genuinely helpful religious question in which a healthy debate occurs?

I’m really tired of a lot of things, that doesn’t mean I want them banned. And even if you’re tired of religious questions, obviously there are plenty of people who aren’t. Why are your interests more important than theirs?

kevbo's avatar

Can’t we all jest get along?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

to some people it’s an interesting topic. I don’t think fluther should take the path of choosing what topics to debate, enlighten, or discuss. Because later down the road, what if there’s a boom in say, physics topics, those whom are heavily invested in the religious debates could say that physics is now being beat to death and we shouldn’t talk about it anymore, and they’d site fluther refusing religious questions as a grounds to justify, and that would really really make me upset.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

If you don’t like the questions, ignore them. I don’t think Fluther should step in.

arnbev959's avatar

Does this question count as a religious question?

CMaz's avatar

I think Fluther should ban every other letter of the alphabet.

galileogirl's avatar

I think it’s interesting that provocative religious, gay and political questions come from a small group of people or hit and run newbies. The choices that seem best for those who don’t want to feed the provocateurs click ‘Not interested’ or to respond in an informative fashion pointing out the fallacies of their assumptions.

This week one of these 巨魔 asked a question about lying and raising taxes. I took the time to write a thoughtful response pointing out half a dozen errors in his 3 line question without getting snarky. Evidently some people flamed him and the question got pulled. What good does that do? S/he gets his/her kicks from negative attention. Mission accomplished. So they will just continue to feed their neuroses by cluttering up Fluther with nastiness. I find the sooner they don’t get negative feedback, the sooner they go away.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@galileogirl: No fair insulting in another language! I have no idea what that says…

CMaz's avatar

I do like the word Snarky.

galileogirl's avatar

@EmpressPixie nasty little creature living under a bridge

wundayatta's avatar

Did anyone notice that @AstroChuck said this is not really a serious question, but is rather an effort to call attention to the large number of religious questions that have appeared lately?

I presume that people don’t ask questions when they aren’t really interested in the answers. And even if it is a troll, I don’t really care, because I also presume that people don’t answer unless they are actually interested in the question.

Like I suggested above, fluther kindly provides these handy little buttons that say “remove” and “not interested.” No one is stopping you from using those buttons.

avalmez's avatar

in a sense, this question is equivalent to asking what should the “religion” of fluther be and once defined, all other “religions” shall be banned!

actually, it seems the most interesting questions are those that generate conflict to some degree or other. i do agree the discussion often becomes argumentative and mean spirited and i’m sure i’ve been guilty of contributing in that way at times.

that said, so many of the questions posed here lately have been quite trite (no offense to anyone). i’n sure many of you recall questions posed about the quality of questions posed lately on this site so not a lonely opinion i guess.

galileogirl's avatar

@daloon I wonder if it isn’t the reaction rather than answers that these questions are about. As for answering them, I’m afraid the teacher in me sometimes just pops out. If I see that a thread has degenerated into an insult fest, I steer clear. However ignorance is sometimes too compelling to ignore.

Bri_L's avatar

We all survived the “election erection” this sight had. I think we will be ok with this trend.

AstroChuck's avatar

@daloon- I didn’t say I wasn’t serious. I said I suppose I’m not all that serious. I guess a moratorium on certain topics isn’t really the right thing to do. I just get tired of these questions that are obviously designed to start a flame war. Not all of the religion questions are troll questions but enough of them are. It just gets old. How about a moratorium on those questions?

ubersiren's avatar

No, that’s silly.

Unless the question is “flamebait” as you kids call it, it should be welcomed. If we, as jellies grow sick of them, they’ll disappear when we don’t respond to them. If we’re increasingly more interested, they’ll stay. If you personally don’t like them, hit “Remove.” Why deny people who thrive on such conversations just because some don’t like it?

Jeruba's avatar

I wouldn’t like to see any topic as such made off limits. I think it would be bad for us overall, never mind the difficulty of settling borderline cases and the possibly overzealous policing of natural thread drift. It ought to be possible to handle any topic in such a way that a productive discussion can ensue, but I grant you that religion questions seem less likely to work that way than most.

No matter how tiresome they are (and they are that), religion questions are twenty times more palatable to me than anything that offers details of someone’s menstrual or bowel habits or ends with “How can I get him [her] back?” or “Could I be pregnant?”

It seems as though the guideline about avoiding redundant and duplicate questions ought to suffice. And that guideline would serve us a lot better if the search function could be upgraded enough to work decently.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba et al What she ^^ said.

Jack79's avatar

I think nobody should be allowed to ask more than 33 religious questions on the same day (one for each year of Jesus Christ’s life). We should also not be allowed to hijack non-religious threads more than 7 times per day (since 7 is a holy number). Incidentally, do you consider the Trinity to be one person or three? got 6 more of these hehe

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

No. I thought the whole idea of fluther was that you only get what subjects you are interested in. Apparently that’s not working.. or you just have too much time on your hands and are looking at every single question.

Questions concerning religion are some of the most fascinating for me on this site. Why should one of my favorite subjects be segregated due to popularity. That doesn’t make sense. xD

Jeruba's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, if you look only at “questions for you” or you use the filter of your fluther to see only certain people’s questions, it is selective. But many people do look at all questions, and visitors to the site see everything that’s on the main page.

I wish we had a feature that would allow us to block questions by user. There are a few people whose questions I simply never want to see, and I’m interested in looking at all the rest.

But refinements of this sort are probably already on the wish list. The fluthergods already have plenty on their hands. We can do that kind of selection for ourselves. It is also nice to have this site as simple and intuitive as possible instead of being burdened with a dazzle of options.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I think the possibility of a moratorium on religious questions is pretty remote here on Fluther. In essence, we really don’t have a prayer.~

avalmez's avatar

@Bluefreedom and a big reason for that is that certain kinds of questions attract a lot of attention on this site. as has been mentioned a few times above, if the majority do not wish to consider those kinds of questions, then by ignoring them, such topics will die away. we just casn’t seem to help ourselves, though.

so, it’s the power of god that compels us! sorry…couldn’t help myself…my bad

marinelife's avatar

@Jeruba Now there’s a feature I would use.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

nah, but i’ve been making a habit of clicking the ‘remove’ button on my questions as soon as i see the words: atheist, religion, spiritual, god, jesus, bible, godless, etc.
i know i’m gonna miss out on a good one, but today is not the day i will worry about that (;

El_Cadejo's avatar

How about we ban Micheal Jackson questions instead? I am so sick of seeing that fuckers name…..

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No, not at all. They have served a great purpose on this site. But I might ask, when you say religious questions, are you also talking about the recent questions on atheism?

This is a grand opportunity to meet with opposing views, and confront our own. A lot of misconceptions have been laid to waste. I recently asked an honest question about Eastern Religions and Atheism, only to be hounded by someone accusing me of a secret Christian agenda that I must be selling.

It didn’t stop until the person realized that just because I study a religion, doesn’t make me a practitioner.

I was extremely grateful when another opportunity was given me to address some commonly held Old Testament misconceptions. An educated Atheist entertained me in debate with a pleasant enough manner and we were each capable of expressing our positions clearly. That would NEVER have been possible without this type of environment to engage within. The intricate details would have never been presented otherwise. That person also has my respect for actually understanding his position beyond the ignorant passions of so many who try to speak on these topics.

We can’t expect to go through life without being confronted about our beliefs. We certainly should not desire a world where we cannot honestly question others about their beliefs. Honestly question, with the desire to learn and question ourselves in the process.

I firmly believe, that when two heavily entrenched camps are at odds with one another, the real truth will be found somewhere in between them. That’s what I’m learning from these discussions. I’m grateful to this site for giving me an opportunity to seek out that truth.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I wish fluther had a button where I could send a shock to the two or three people on here that annoy the shit out of me, now that would be a worthy goal, far better than a moratorium on subject matter.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra the converse being a button that sends $20 bills to people?

wundayatta's avatar

I think we should ban everything that annoys even one person. Yeah. That ought to do the trick! So let’s start a list of banned topics. Here are some that have already been mentioned…

Michael Jackson
Various flutherers

Who wants to add to the list?

CMaz's avatar

anything that involves breathing
human rights
the use of fingers
:) SEX :)
places to visit
I Phones

wundayatta's avatar

breathing? What’s with that?

CMaz's avatar

That would basically mean anything. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

Ah yes. Exactly my point. But you knew that, @ChazMaz!

CMaz's avatar

It is a bit early… For me. ;-)

cwilbur's avatar

@Ivan: I care because the signal to noise ratio has been going steadily downward, and a lot of the noise comes from people sniping at each other over religion. We’ve lost johnpowell and iwamoto over it; how many long-standing people do we have to sacrifice in order to protect the canaille’s right to yammer at each other endlessly over the same two topics?

The job of the moderators is to ensure that standards of discourse remain high. As I see it, one of the most salient contributions they can make to that is to shut down religious threads before more people leave.

fireside's avatar

There is also the possibility of just not participating in useless discussions.

Basically the ones who want to derail every conversation on religion and make every thread about the topic into the same discussion will get bored if nobody responds to them.

If the same five people want to have the same discussions over and over, just ignore them. Once they get bored with their level of discourse, they will hopefully realize the pointlessness of their position. Or they will just continue to be ignored.

There are plenty of questions asked every day. I don’t really think that the religious ones should be moderated any more than I think the relationship ones or the tech support ones or the math questions should be moderated.

Crusader seems to have given up on his mission.
Others will too if they marginalize themselves and have nothing productive to add.

I really doubt that johnpowell left because he saw too many religion questions.
More likely, he found a reason to live his life away from the computer and had to go cold turkey or else he would continue feeding his addiction.

AstroChuck's avatar

@fireside- He’s still feeding that addiction.

fireside's avatar

@AstroChuck – I actually saw that not too long ago :)

janbb's avatar

yeah, I noticed that too.

cwilbur's avatar

@fireside: I left Fluther for a good long while because I was tired of the noise. The noise is considerably louder now, and the signal considerably lower.

If the same five people want to have the same discussions over and over, the people who make this site valuable and worthwhile will leave. This is already happening right before your eyes.

avalmez's avatar

@cwilbur if fluther is a comunity of n, how is it possible that a subset of 5 can undermine the value of the site to the remaining n-5 (assuming that n-5 is significantly greater than 5)?

instead of bemoaning the impact of your representative 5 on the content of fluther, it would be more productive to challenge the n-5 to raise the level of content on this site.

it would be even more constructive to challenge the n at large to provide questions and answer that in general are more positive and constructive than some we’ve all encountered lately.

finally, this thread progressed from censorship to stone ‘em! that alone speaks volumes more about the possible demise of fluther than anything else i read above.

avalmez's avatar

aside from the potential economic reality of n or active n not being significantly enough greater than 5, that is

Garebo's avatar

Yeah, if you don’t like it turn the channel.

AstroChuck's avatar

We have channels on Fluther?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Considering all the religion questions asked in the last 2 weeks, just about any religion question could be considered a duplicate at this point unless it was particularly creative. My issue with the religion questions is that most of them seem to be designed to be divisive and snippy. Many religion questions are asked in such a way that they are rhetorical. Basically, the person asking the question often already has their own point of view firmly in place and do not seem genuinely interested in objective discussion. We don’t need anymore religion fights.

avalmez's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic the same can be said of atheist questions. if we’re going to make progress, we need to understand the issue from all perspectives. anything less is sos different day, you know?

nite all….long day of traveling tomorrow…great weekend to all!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@avalmez Atheist questions = religion questions.
This is because they all concern religion. I think we’ve adequately explored both ends of the spectrum.

avalmez's avatar

i ment question posted by atheists. most definitely, atheiest <> theist

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m not sure if it’s the number of religious questions. Maybe the number of responses they sometimes trigger.

I’m surprised that there are so few science questions on Fluther. I would love to see more.

Garebo's avatar

Maybe, the almighty moderators can moderate these questionable questions-indeed there must be a higher power to make such a conclusion

avalmez's avatar

@Garebo censorship is a bad thing

Garebo's avatar

I agree for the most part, but like I said it you don’t like the topic -move on. But if Fluther became a Mecca for religious zealots only, that the owners or originators of the site did not intend, then they should have the right to steer it as they so desire. I still think they prefer an open forum, but when necessary moderate useless endless, circular zen like questions that are infinite in answers.

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