I would appreciate some official, documented clarification of MeFi's policy on conversations about religion—specifically, what kinds of criticisms of religion are acceptable, under what circumstances—and I suspect that others would too.
posted by escape from the potato planet to Etiquette/Policy at 10:04 AM (317 comments total)
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Is there an official policy on this, or is it up to the discretion of individual moderators?
To whatever extent an official policy exists, what is the rationale behind it?
Is it spelled out somewhere, or do we just have to guess at the law?
I'm asking because, in recent months, the mods have been taking a much more heavy-handed approach to deleting comments and otherwise steering threads in this area—and I don't understand the rhyme or reason of it.
Is it believed (perhaps rightly) that challenges to the legitimacy of religious beliefs will inevitably degenerate into unproductive flamewars?
Does that mean that it's never okay to question religious beliefs on MetaFilter, for fear of starting a flamewar? (And if so, how is that distinguishable from an officially pro-religious editorial policy?)
Is the likelihood of a comment being deleted (or line of discussion being discouraged) proportional to the likelihood that the comment with be regarded as offensive or controversial among MetaFilter's user base?
(For example, certain denominations of certain faiths have beliefs about women, homosexuals, and evolution that are roundly and vocally criticized on MetaFilter—and I've never seen any moderator objection to those criticisms. On the other hand, deletions of comments that criticize belief in the existence of deities are routine.)
Is it that we're allowed to question specific dogmas, but not the fundamental idea that some kind of supernatural intelligence exists?
Are we supposed to assume the same view of religion that's assumed by the FPP? (So in a thread about Richard Dawkins' new book, we're supposed to avoid challenging the atheist viewpoint—but in a thread about a particular church community, we're supposed to avoid challenging the religious viewpoint?)
These are just guesses; I suspect that they touch on the full reality, but that none of them describe it completely. At least, I'll be damned if I can make them add up.
This issue comes up frequently enough that I think we could stand to have some clarifying remarks in the FAQ.