Here is a response I gave someone further explaining the points in the above post
: The forum rules require that the OP of a thread in any on-topic forum must contain some sort of philosophical argument and/or philosophical question. So if the OP only preaches, providing no argument or evidence in support of his conclusions and asks no philosophical question to discuss, then it will be deleted--even if the OP realizes that he will likely be met with objections. This would be true in other forums too. For instance, it would be against the forum rules to post this and only this as a new thread in the general section:
Dogs have four legs. Cats have tails. The sky is blue. The Yankees are the best baseball team. Killing is immoral. I ate a whole bag of potato chips today. Martin Luther King says you should judge people by the content of their character.
The problem isn't necessarily with any one of the statements, but the fact that the post only contains a set of assertions rather than any kind of philosophical question or argument. There's a number of reasons why this is not conducive to productive philosophical discussion. Such rule-breaking posts happen more often in the philosophy of religion section since, I think, such preaching is a common act in religions. This is why the post stresses the difference between religion
and philosophy of religion
. Neither the sample post above of preaching about cats, dogs, etc. nor preaching about god is philosophy. If it's preaching about god, it's religion, but it's still not philosophy.
-- Updated 15 Mar 2014 02:01 pm to add the following --
Misty recently asked a good question about this rule:
Misty wrote:Clarity: Why does a topic have to be in the form of a question and not a statement to be a legitimate topic for discussion? My answer to [another poster] in his topic 'Three human concepts, language, math, time' was a rebuttal to his statement, but [the moderator] locked it. I fail to understand why?
Here is my answer to this question of why we have a rule against preaching, and not just in religious topics:
Mostly, simply it is because rule H.4. says so. The moderators and I are just enforcing the rules: Each new topic must ask an open-ended question or make an argument. Philosophical discussion is more than people posting bare assertions, i.e. preaching.
Another way of looking at it is that a bare assertion without backing argument/evidence and without open-ended question actually creates too broad of a topic to be of the philosophical quality the forum rules aim to require. While the arguments/questions 'rebutting'/questioning a bare assertion might themselves be philosophical or lead to philosophical discussion, really each different 'rebuttal' would deserve its own topic because it's not really rebutting the assertion but arguing for the negative or opposite in its own right. The original assertion gave no argument/evidence to rebut
, so any given response could itself start a philosophical topic by introducing
an argument but that introducing of a potentially philosophical topic via argument/evidence/questioning needs to be in its own topic. It's really a topic starter not a reply. For instance, we might have 20 different topics on the forum that each start with an argument for legalizing abortion and 20 different topics each with a different argument for criminalizing abortion, if someone simply posted a topic with the ipse dixit one way or the other about whether abortion shall be legal or illegal (e.g. a new topic that just said "Abortion should be legal!" without any backing argument/evidence), all 40 of those other topics could be posted in response but get jumbled up in one topic that does not have a specific argument or question at its core if such non-philosophical ipse dixit was allowed to be a topic starter on these forums. Sure we can give philosophical responses to the non-philosophicalness of a preaching topic-starter, but by not giving argument or evidence to rebut but rather just offering preaching, the OP would leave too broad a topic; there are too many possible philosophical responses by people.