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Sometimes the lines between religious myth and other elements overlap. Religious practice, history, politics, individuals, whole peoples, and entire cultures have affected mythoi around the world and myths have affected them in turn. Studying the interaction of all these elements is certainly interesting.

However, on this site, questions must focus on mythology, not practice, history, people, or anything else. You can ask, for example, how a given myth has influenced a certain practice, or how a practice influenced a myth, but you cannot ask about practice only. Every question must be about a myth or the study of mythology.

Examples:

Practice:

  • On-topic: What Greek myth explains animal sacrifice?
  • Off-topic: How did the Greeks sacrifice?

History:

  • On-topic: How did the Norman conquest of the British Isles affect Arthurian mythology?
  • Off-topic: Did the Norman conquest of the British Isles result in a change in religious power?

Individual:

  • On-topic: On what basis does [Scholar] conclude that [myth] evolved from [something]?
  • Off-topic: What are the credentials of [Scholar]?

Culture:

  • On-topic: How did Norse myth change as Christianity began to influence their culture?
  • Off-topic: How did Norse culture change as Christianity began to influence their culture?

People:

  • On-topic: In what ways was North American myth affected upon the influx of white, Europeans?
  • Off-topic: How did the North American peoples respond to the influx of white Europeans?
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  • This is good, but stated as an sort of definite ultimatum, rather than a question. – HDE 226868 Jun 18 '15 at 22:15
  • @HDE226868 Meta posts don't have to be questions. – frеdsbend Jun 18 '15 at 22:15
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    Not everyone will agree, though. And, technically, this has never been explicitly stated. – HDE 226868 Jun 18 '15 at 22:16
  • @HDE226868 Agree on what? The content of the post or that it's okay that it's not a question? For the former, they can downvote and post and answer. For the latter, there's plenty of precedence on most SE sites, including meta SE, the meta for the whole network. – frеdsbend Jun 18 '15 at 22:18
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    The content of the post. I guess this is just my personal preference, but I don't think it's good for any of us to not post a discussion question as a question. – HDE 226868 Jun 18 '15 at 22:23
  • @HDE226868 I guess we could make a meta-meta post, asking what the meta community wants to do, if anything, but it really is common across many SE meta sites. – frеdsbend Jun 18 '15 at 22:25
  • That works, if you want to do it. I guess I'm being a bit nitpicky, though. I apologize. Can we delete these comments? – HDE 226868 Jun 18 '15 at 22:26
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    Would your ban on "practice" questions make this question/answer off-topic: mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/913/… – user62 Jun 18 '15 at 23:53
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    I'll second Christofian's question. I think religious rites that are tied to mythology should be freely permitted, as the two are inseparable. Myths help explain rites, so asking "Why this rite?" is akin to asking "Why the historical origin of this rite, and what myths were used to justify it?" – C. M. Weimer Jun 19 '15 at 18:21
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What problem are you trying to solve?

All of the example questions you give are bad questions because of reasons other than "can't be answered using mythology." They're either too broad ("How did the Greeks sacrifice?"), not even about religion ("How did Norse culture change as Christianity began to influence their culture?" and "How did the North American peoples respond to the influx of white Europeans?"), or have other problems.

Do you have any examples of questions that would be closed under your proposed rule but aren't covered by existing close reasons? Are those questions problem questions?

Woah there, cowboy

This post seems to have been created in response to this awful question about "pastafarianism". That question, like your other example questions, has a number of unrelated problems with it that contributed to it getting closed:

  1. It's about pastafarianism, and there's disagreement on whether pastafarianism should be on or off topic.
  2. The question is unanswerable: since pastafarianism isn't a real religion, there aren't any "authorities" who can answer such a specific question.
    • The question Are there Pastafarian myths which explain their religious attire? is answerable; there are pastafarianism myths. However, no one really puts pastafarianism into practice because it's a parody religion with no real believers, so no one (i.e. academics, etc.) has had any real reason to analyse those myths and determine how to live according to those myths.
    • tl;dr specific practice questions for pastafarianism aren't answerable because there aren't any specific pastafarian practices.
  3. The question was asked from the perspective of a believer rather than the perspective of an academic unbiased outsider.

I'm not sure why you're using one bad question as a "test case" to ban an entire class of potentially good questions.

What is wrong with "practice" questions?

Off the top of my head, here are some excellent (and well received) "practice" questions that don't explicitly discuss myths/stories:

Let's not ban these questions just yet, let's wait until we get more questions and develop a methodology to separate the good questions from the bad. I agree that problems could arise if someone asked a question like "is it kosher to eat [food x]".

Why aren't you proposing this rule instead of acting like it already exists?

What if people disagree with you (like what I'm doing now)?

Generally, you use the following structure if you want to propose a rule for a site:

What to do about [problem x]?

I've noticed [these 5 examples] of a problem on our site. What can we do about it?


(Answer) Implementing [rule y] would fix this problem because...

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    Your point 2, "The question is unanswerable" is not accurate. The written works do contain the answer to this question. – James Jenkins Jun 19 '15 at 10:33
  • @JamesJenkins point number two has nothing to do with scripture. In Christianity, if I had a question about how to apply pastafarian scripture to my life, I could go ask a priest, who would be able to point to academic interpretations. With pastafarianism, we're flying blind here. To tie this to point #3, I don't think this site should be a place to give religious advice. I'm not sure yet what criteria we should use to identify "religious advice", but I'm 100% sure your question is a religious advice question, even with the edits you made. – user62 Jun 19 '15 at 14:31
  • Last I checked Pastarianism is not mentioned in Christian works, so there is no expectation that the topic would be in scope at Christianity. In this case there are written Pastafarian works that address all the points in the question. If this site is not about asking questions where the answers can be found in works directly related to the subject, I must have missed something in the scope statement. – James Jenkins Jun 22 '15 at 13:35
  • Just to clarify, I write a lot of questions, some are considered pretty good, some pretty bad, and I write some that test the scope of site (by intent) I really don't see how my question should be testing this sites scope. I can see parts of why it you think might be better written and am working on how to phrase it better. Of course I think all of my questions are going to be great when I write them, that does not always turn out to be the case though. – James Jenkins Jun 22 '15 at 14:39

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