The question Are Pastafarians required to always be dressed as a Pirate when discussing their religion? was closed as off-topic. What I can gather from the comments on the question and the meta discussion here is that there is a general feeling that questions about practice may not be appropriate for the site, but I don't find any guidelines in the help or on meta for what the scope is.

At what point is a question out of scope as being too centered around 'practice'?

  • There are couple of attempts to answer this below both seemed more focused on my answer then on the broader topic. I invite you use my question to write a really good rule that excludes the type of question you want to avoid, but does not unduly choke out the questions you want to continue to receive. I also suggest that possibly the answer you are looking for is already highly up voted here Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 14:43
  • we're focusing on your question because that seems to be your motivation for asking this question. While your link is very helpful, we aren't going to create a specific guideline yet because we just haven't seen enough questions like yours to know how to identify them.
    – user62
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 14:49
  • I can write questions about pretty much anything. What do you need to see to form a guideline? Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 15:18
  • 1
    As both what you linked and what I linked suggests, we already have guidelines explaining that we don't want questions about doctrines. Both answers below are focussing on your question because we tried to explain to you why these guidelines applied to your question.
    – plannapus
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


I originally wrote this as comments but now I think it's probably better as an answer.

The issue with most questions about practice of a religion is that they deal often more with the doctrine than with the myth and we agreed early on to stay away from the doctrine:

the following are off-topic (including but not limited to, and subject to change):
doctrinal questions

Where the limit between doctrine and myth goes is sometimes difficult to pinpoint (particularly in the case of religion rites) but in your case you made it explicitly about the doctrine by the phrasing you used ('is it required'). See C.M.Weimer's comment for a counter-example of something that would be about rites and on-topic.

The fact that you didn't find any guidelines on the help or on meta is not that surprising as our site is still very young and your question is basically the first one to test that particular limit so we never felt the need to draw that particular line in the sand before.


Just to elaborate on plannapus' argument:

What we want to avoid are situations like the following:

  • Someone gets banned from Christianity.SE; decides to post their questions here instead (because we talk about religion).
  • Stack Exchange decides that they won't create a website for a certain religion; people take their [religion x] questions and ask them here.

In my meta post responding to fredsbend's proposed rule, I told him not to to create specific criteria to identify questions like yours (i.e. "all questions discuss a specific text"). There are a few other examples of people posting here instead of on their dedicated religion site, but not to the point where we could create a specific criteria for identifying these questions/answers. We don't have enough data to know what form these questions are going to take.

However, I think we can all agree that your question fits the definition of "asking a religion question that should be asked on the [religion x] Stack Exchange and not on Mythology." As such, your question should remain closed.

I'm sorry that we don't have a clearer reason, but that the downside of participating in a beta site. In a year we'll be able to explain exactly why that post was closed.

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    You might want to remove your last sentence, given the current amount of "Needs Work" flags at Area 51, telling people to come back next year might be counter productive. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 15:16
  • @JamesJenkins meta.stackexchange.com/questions/257614/…
    – user62
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 15:24
  • @JamesJenkins Although I see how that last sentence reads a bit harsh, I don't think Christofian is telling you to leave the site for a year. The way I read it, what that sentence says is that in a year the site's scope will have solidified, and it will be a lot easier to explain what's on and off topic and why. Early beta, especially a somewhat slow early beta, is volatile.
    – yannis
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 7:27
  • @Yannis I just edited the post and removed the phrase "come back in a year". Like Yannis said, I wasn't trying to say that anyone should leave, but that things will be clearer after time has passed.
    – user62
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 13:38

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