As mentioned in various places including another meta question, it is very important during the site's beta (especially the private beta) to focus on questions that are expert-level, specific, and build a good precedent for questions in the future:

Everyone is welcome. But, in these earliest days, we are DESIGNING a site for experts. To attract experts, you need a site where people are asking very interesting and challenging questions, not the basic questions found on every other Q&A site. Remember, the pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!

The earliest questions on a site will set the tone and topic of the site for a long time.

What is the right way to deal with questions that probably would be acceptable on a launched Hermeneutics.SE site, but aren't quite the caliber we want during the beta? Should we vote to close, or flag, or edit?

We don't want to offend and scare off new users because their questions aren't "good enough," but on the other hand it seems extra important to keep questions focused and objective, especially during the private beta.

2 Answers 2


Thoughtful… understanding… comments…

A lot of users don't understand that a private beta (and increasingly less so, the early public beta) is about designing a site — much more than it is about actually getting your questions answered (although, that's a nice side effect).

If a particularly egregious, overly "beginner-level" question comes up, first take a look at it and see if it seems to "break" the front page of your site. If the question seems conspicuously out of place in the initial design, you can always close it.


You always, always, always have to leave a thoughtful comment to explain why the site isn't quite ready for their question. Welcome them to the site and explain that, while they have a good question, we're not looking for really basic content this early... yet. Welcome them to come back when the site is ready to launch.

Or just point them to this answer.

The meta post below is adopted from several Stack Exchange sites coming across this issue…

After going through several dozen Stack Exchange betas so far, if there's one thing I've learned, is that nothing hurts a young Stack Exchange more than appearing to be a place for those who only have a superficial level of knowledge in the subject.

What do I mean by that?

The purpose of this seven-day private beta is to stock up the site with a bunch of on-topic, expert questions and answers about Biblical Hermeneutics, so that when the site opens to the public, it's already pre-populated with a bunch of the kind of content that will attract experts on the subject.

It's tempting to start with broad, subjective questions, like "What is Biblical Hermeneutics?" or "What is a good blog/book on the subject?"

Those are not good questions for the private beta, because ultimately, they don't reflect the actual content that we want this site to contain, and are not representative of it. Once the site gets going and accumulates some quality content, come back and ask those canonical, basic questions. But hold off on them for now; they are only hurting the long-term prospects for the site. Please read: Asking the First Questions.

If you're a Hermeneuticist and stumble into this site, if you see the an actual, intriguing question faced by professionals, you might think, "wow, yeah, this is a site for ME!"


Coming out of a period of relative isolation I know that I am "strange" and "wierd" and so I do not take offense at such comments in your publicly available logs of chat.

I was notified of the original questions where I first posted, by Google alerts on "Sensus plenior".

I started seeing pictures of Christ in the scriptures about ten years ago. I thought that everyone did. As I shared them I got called all kinds of names and had to research Gnostics, Kabbalah, Midrash to know that is not what I do. I eventually reverse engineered the process and have been able to teach it.

I believe it is the way that the apostles read the OT. I know that is an extraordinary claim, but even more so, that every verse participates in such pictures. I am documenting the evidence of such things.

When I stumbled on your site I didn't really know what it was about. Just that someone had asked a question that was of interest to me.

I appreciate your kindness in the responses and have read your comments as input to help me communicate these ideas better. After all, I am speaking of Christ from the OT, I wish to do it well.

I am more interested in your comments than in any scoring system. If My whole approach to sensus plenior is inappropriate for the site because of preconceptions just let me know. I see that this is beta, and do not wish to cause you grief in introducing it publicly.

Oh I have to tie this to the post, ...

My impression by the response of the community was that it was unlike other forums where shouting, piling on, ad hominem attacks, etc. take place. The forum style and how the community handles wierdos is professional and welcoming. Thanks. If you'll have me. this is a site for me. I appreciate your patience in helping me to communicate better.

(Although others may take offense at talking behind their backs)

  • 5
    Thank you for letting us know how you are doing. I do find your answers strange and have wondered what your agenda might be. I'm glad (and intrigued) that we have someone who interprets the texts in a different (mystic?) manner. Unfortunately, being different will probably mean that you have to go further than most to explain your answers. I sense that you might not even know how you arrive at interpretations. If so, I think it will help us understand to just let us know your interpretation is perhaps a bit individual and might not be universally helpful. Personally, I hope you stay. Oct 19, 2011 at 6:13
  • 5
    There are two kinds of "novices". One would be people new to the field of hermeneutics (not really you, you have considerable experience even if it's a bit isolated and your use of terminology isn't matching up with everybody elses). The other would be people new to SE sites and how this format works. I think this meta question was more about the former not the latter ... being new to the SE format is no problem, we'll help you along. You've done great with interacting with comments and editing, clearly your more recent answers better fit the format than your first ones. See you around!
    – Caleb
    Oct 19, 2011 at 8:59
  • 4
    I am delighted you are here on the site, even more pleased you have posted on meta and would be overjoyed if you joined us in 'chat' from time to time! You could easily have taken offence at some things said behind your back and it is to your great credit that you are choosing not to do so. I am personally not used to your approach and agree with Jon that you may need "to go further than most to explain your answers" - which it seems to me you are already taking on board. Thank you for that and welcome to our community :) Oct 19, 2011 at 9:05
  • 2
    @Jon Actually the method I use lends itself to formal proofs, it is self correcting, and reproducible. An 11 year old girl, using this method discerned that the real horror of the cross was not the physical torment, but that God was split (Father and Son separated), by considering the two tablets of the law. She marveled at how long three days separation would be for God. I know it sounds bizarre, but only because of unfamiliarity. If you don't know the methods, it all looks like free-for-all allegory at best, and utter confusion at worst. It is not mystic, but correlation.
    – Bob Jones
    Oct 20, 2011 at 6:14
  • 1
    @Bob then your contributions will be a good fit for the site - as long as you can communicate your methods in a way others can understand :) Oct 20, 2011 at 9:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .