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I am fresh off a seven day suspension without warning or clarification as to why.

I walk in the light. I do not work in darkness. Therefore I will openly share the correspondence from the mods concerning my suspension. Here it is:

Hello,

We're writing in reference to your Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange account:

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/users/52004/read-less-pray-more

We’ve noticed a pattern of engaging in lengthy discussions in comments, frequently consisting of responses involving multiple, back-to-back posts. Comments are intended as brief messages to provide feedback, add minor information, ask for clarification, or discuss the content of the post. Lengthy clarifications should be edited into the post itself or posted separately as a new question or answer, and extended discussions should be taken to chat. Extensive comment threads tend to be a distraction for other readers. These lengthy discussions are often hard to follow, and can easily hide critical information.

Our goal is to provide readers with expert questions and answers, not host discussion or debate. If you desire conversation, stop into the site’s chat room.

We hope that you can work with the community on achieving our goals by:

Asking specific, researched, relevant, on-topic questions Providing clear, useful, accurate and well-researched information in answers Treating others with respect and civility Specifically, in a recent series of comments on this post, several comments were deleted by moderators, but then those comments were made again, then again...

  • "I thought you don't think God is a singular person. Which singular person spoke? Does your answer assume a non personified nature can speak? Or did 1 of the 3 persons of God speak? Who was it?"
  • "I did already. You answered some of them. I'm referencing your answers. In this question I'm asking Who is the He that spoke? Its in the question. I'm not sure how to make it more clear."
  • "(repost due to silent deletion) I did ask many questions last week and you answered several. In your answers you said that YHWH is a title of the none personified divinity. Is it your understanding that a non person can speak with a personality? Who is speaking to Moses? This is the question."
  • "@NigelJ I have Have asked many questions the last few weeks. You have answered several. In those answers you have said that YHWH is the divine nature shared by 3 persons. Which person spoke to Moses? OR Is it your understanding that the divine nature can speak with a personality? This is the question. This comment has been hidden twice already. Maybe the person hiding my words can explain why they are doing so."

This now explains why they were deleted. This is not the first time moderators or other users have attempted to explain matters of respect. Not only are these comments unfriendly and excessive, they are part of another pattern we have been trying to avoid called "swarming". You can read about it in this meta post here: Viewpoint swarming in comments

One of the moderators pointed out in answering that post: It's not okay for users to be routinely targeted or harassed because of theirs or others' viewpoints.

The comments you made, which were deleted by our moderator team, did target other users and it related to opinions and beliefs, not the matter of understanding the process of interpreting a text.

When those comments had been deleted by our moderation team, but then re-posted, then when re-deleted were re-re-posted, we took this matter seriously.

Moderating is important to keep the side civil and strong enough that we can have deep disagreements. When moderation actions are circumvented, that attempts to circumvent the ability for our site to host civilized disagreements and, more importantly, the topic of Bible Hermeneutics. We just can't overlook that.

In the future, if you are curious about another user's view on something like theology, you might ask in a friendly way, such as I'm just curious and you don't need to answer. But, pressing the matter and pressuring another user to explain their beliefs in the comments is not friendly at all. Other users are under no obligation to answer, nor are other users obligated to keep reading your demand that someone answer.

Your account has been temporarily suspended for 7 days. While you’re suspended, your reputation will show as 1 but will be restored once the suspension ends.

We look forward to having you return and post interesting content.

Regards, Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange Moderation Team


Now for the full story......

Nigel and I were having very friendly exchanges in the comments. The weeks preceeding this BHSE question, I had asked several Trinitarian specific questions on the Christianity SE.

In the answers and comments of those questions, Nigel shared the following about his beliefs:

"Three Persons share one Divine nature. Your reference to 'three persons can't equal one person' is irrelevant. Nobody is suggesting that. Three Persons share one Divine nature and thus there is but one Deity. Prior to the coming of the Son there was a revelation of Deity but only with the coming of the Son is there full revelation." – Nigel J Jun 29 at 22:32

"I repeat (yet again) Three Persons share one nature. My person is manifested in and expressed by - my human nature. But that nature is not my person. My person is a spiritual being. I cannot think what else to say to you that you might understand . . . . . . . And this is well developed and widespread trinitarian doctrine. It is not unique to myself. All three Persons may be seen expressed in the OT scriptures." – Nigel J Jun 30 at 8:33

"I do not use the word 'essence' (commonly). I prefer the word 'nature' : three Divine Persons share one Divine Nature. (Or, more correctly, Father and Son abide in a perfection of union in One Holy Spirit.)..." Nigel J Jul 16 at 4:39

"The nature is shared by three persons. It is not 'non personified'." – Nigel J Jul 16 at 20:31

And within his answer to my question https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/95996/60347

"Thus it could also be said of Jesus Christ that he also is 'one true Deity'. This is a matter of divine nature, shared by more than one person."

Ok Nigel I respect your beliefs about the 3 Persons sharing the 1 nature of God.

Most recently Nigel answered another question of mine on BHSE. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/85913/52004

My question asked which person spoke to Moses. Nigel didn't answer the question as anyone can read. What he wrote relative to my question is the following:

The One who speaks is 'God' . . . 'Theos' . . . 'Elohim'.

Does anyone else see a problem with this answer? Nigel believes that God is Deity/Nature shared by 3 persons. I asked which person spoke to Moses. His answer is completely ambiguous in context with what he believes.

He failed to answer the question rationally. So naturally, since its my question, and since I am earnestly seeking rational explanations, I asked for clarification in several comments that were hidden and later listed by the mods above.

I have no idea why my first comment was hidden in response to the following comment by Nigel:

"I have answered that question, see above. The One who spoke is 'God' . . . 'Theos' . . . 'Elohim'. If you wish to develop this further, we would need a further question, to which I may, or may not, be able to supply an answer." – Nigel J Jul 31 at 5:14

My first comment that was hidden was this one:

"I thought you don't think God is a singular person. Which singular person spoke? Does your answer assume a non personified nature can speak? Or did 1 of the 3 persons of God speak? Who was it?"

Now this comment was silently deleted without notice or explanation. I didn't remember if I had already responded to Nigel because I had multiple conversations going on on several of my question. So I commented again (not seeing my hidden comment) addressing Nigel's request for me to ask further questions:

"I did already. You answered some of them. I'm referencing your answers. In this question I'm asking Who is the He that spoke? Its in the question. I'm not sure how to make it more clear."

That comment was also silently deleted without explanation. At this point, I think that maybe it was a glitch or possibly deleted by mistake so I try again with another comment. My intention is the same: to ask for clarity of an answer I know to be incomplete. Note that this answer, which fails to answer the question, was and is still being upvoted as a good answer. This happens often with answer to my questions. Non-answers get many many upvotes. Its must be nice to be in the majority.

My next comment that was deleted:

"(repost due to silent deletion) I did ask many questions last week and you answered several. In your answers you said that YHWH is a title of the none personified divinity. Is it your understanding that a non person can speak with a personality? Who is speaking to Moses? This is the question."

Note at this point, Nigel hasn't responded because the comments keep being deleted before he can read them. I try one last time. This time I ask why my comments are being deleted.

"@NigelJ I have Have asked many questions the last few weeks. You have answered several. In those answers you have said that YHWH is the divine nature shared by 3 persons. Which person spoke to Moses? OR Is it your understanding that the divine nature can speak with a personality? This is the question. This comment has been hidden twice already. Maybe the person hiding my words can explain why they are doing so."

NO answer from those who are hiding my comments.... just an overbearing authoritative reaction from the mods in the form of a notice of my suspension(shared in its entirety above).

I responded to the mods and asked for some clarity as to why my first comment was deleted.... Crickets.

So now I'm fresh off the suspension, and I'm here to find some understanding as to how this situation could have been handled better. I see nothing wrong in what I was asking, neither does God.

Can anyone explain to me why my first comment was deleted?

Can anyone suggest a course of action the OP can take when a popular answer does not actually answer the question?

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  • I also completely reject the mods asserting that I was "viewpoint swarming". I was asking Nigel to clarify his answer(a top answer) to my own question. Why do you think people ask questions here? Perhaps its too receive rationally sound explanations. Does preventing the OP from asking for a complete answer help in building a robust library of good knowledge...... NO IT DOES NOT. Aug 11, 2023 at 3:25
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    There is "asking", and, "asking so persistently that it seems as if an argument is being sought, as comments given in response continue to be rejected." Comments are not for debating. Stack is not here to provide a platform for debates or arguments. A question is asked, those scoped to answer give their answers, the OP gives the Green Tick to an answer viewed as the most helpful, or refrains from that if no answer is considered to merit the Green Tick. A few comments along the way can be made, but never to the degree of getting into an argument with anyone.
    – Anne
    Aug 11, 2023 at 14:35
  • @anne Did you not read my side of the story? Why was my original comment deleted? I was asking for clarification based on Nigel's revealed theology. Do you think God is upset that I asked for clarification to a question about Him? Aug 11, 2023 at 19:29
  • Its funny that people are downvoting even my Meta q's at this point. Do you not think this question took effort and time to present in a rational way? This place is just a popularity contest for reputation in babylon. Its too silly at this point.... Aug 12, 2023 at 2:57
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    I am not a Moderator and chose to make a comment instead of answering. But nobody is obliged to respond to comments. That’s an optional extra on here. I’m responding further as I just want you to know that I have not down-voted your question, nor will I, but I further choose not to make any more comments.
    – Anne
    Aug 12, 2023 at 8:50
  • I didn't upvote/downvote this Q, but as with Qs in the Main site, rationality is NOT the criteria (although desirable to have). As the tooltip says "shows research", "usefulness" and "clarity" are the criteria. This Q is certainly well researched, clear, plus rational too. I guess some downvoted this Q on the "usefulness" factor as a worthwhile collection of Q&A for the meta site; "useful" being potentially relevant for future use of this site. Aug 12, 2023 at 10:17
  • The silliest part of this story is that my last comment that the mods deleted asked them why they were doing it. But instead of clarifying their actions... (which would have only helped the situation) they decided to suspend me first. Its been almost 2 weeks of me asking them for clarification on the deletion of my first comment and STILL CRICKETS.... Not a peep back to me in the form of a private message in response OR in any form of response on this Meta q.... They suspend me for no reason and then vanish. Aug 13, 2023 at 21:47

2 Answers 2

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I'm here to find some understanding as to how this situation could have been handled better.

First, some of the comments at issue seem to scrutinize a user's beliefs or state of mind ("I thought you don't think [...]", "Is it your understanding that [...]") instead of focusing on hermeneutics of the Bible.

Second, the author's remark that "If you wish to develop this further, we would need a further question" should not have been replied to with a repetition of your central question. That repetition was not a further question.

Third, you answered your own question earlier than anyone else. This reflects your certain, preconceived idea --whether accurate or inaccurate-- as to what the right answer is. That determination is at odds with subsequently insisting others to produce a definite answer, as when a user has no clue on what the right answer would be.

Lastly, although not inappropriate in a disciplinary sense, the underlying question entails the unsupported/anachronistic presumption that Exodus is premised on Trinitarianism. Trinitarianism stemmed predominantly (if not entirely) from a subsequent source or doctrine which might not have established exhaustive rules of correspondence between its elements and those of its precursor (i.e. Judaism). Accordingly, some "cross-testamental" questions tend to be unanswerable unless the New Testament provides enough guidance on the matter at issue.

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  • I see you are assuming the intentions of my heart. Only God knows the heart. I answered my own question immediately because my questions get closed before I can answer many times because they are unpopular and unfortunate for the majority here. Like I already said, I already developed this further with Nigel on previous questions that he answered. I was only referencing those answers and comments that I shared in my question. Did you not read my entire question here? Aug 12, 2023 at 2:53
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    @ReadLessPrayMore "Did you not read my entire question here?" I did, which enabled me to pinpoint the phrases where the focus of your scrutiny is your interlocutor's beliefs and state of mind. Your subsequent comment "I was asking for clarification based on Nigel's revealed theology" only reinforced my perception. Clarifications should be based on hermeneutical issues rather than on someone's theology. Aug 12, 2023 at 10:45
  • You mistakenly claim I scrutinized his beliefs when instead I am scrutinizing his non answer. Nigel's statements didn't answer the question. What recourse does the OP have when a NON answer is upvoted? He revealed he has different beliefs that render his stated answer irrational and incomplete. Aug 12, 2023 at 19:14
  • Can you explain to me why my first comment was deleted? Can you suggest a course of action the OP can take when a popular answer does not actually answer the question? Aug 12, 2023 at 19:21
  • @ReadLessPrayMore "Can you explain to me why my first comment was deleted?" The mods' letter explains their reason for deletion, specifically the paragraph that starts with "The comments you made". "Can you suggest a course of action" Besides what I wrote in this answer, (1) assess whether the problem is that the actual terms of your question differ from what you intended to ask; (2) point out [material] deficiencies (if any) from a strictly hermeneutical standpoint without going in circles; and (3) be mindful that the merits of an answer reside in its contents, not in its popularity. Aug 13, 2023 at 14:44
  • I'm NOT speaking of the commentS I made. But only a singular comment that was first deleted and which prompted my other comments. This conversation is a great example how my q and a's go.... I ask a question, and the person attempting a response fails to answer and refuses to do so. SO now in THIS instance If I ask @Iñaki to clarify once again his non answer..... I might be suspended again.... LOL babylon's rules are silly. Aug 13, 2023 at 21:43
  • @ReadLessPrayMore "I'm NOT speaking of the commentS I made. But only a singular comment". The mods' phrase "The comments you made" is unqualified (other than by "you made"), and therefore it is understood to encompass all the deleted comments you posted. Regardless, the initial paragraph in this answer applies to, and literally cites, the first deleted comment. This is not a matter of babylon's rules (whatever you mean by that), but of elementary reading comprehension which is requisite in a site about Hermeneutics. Aug 14, 2023 at 11:27
  • Yes. The mods and yourself want to move the focus onto all the comments made instead of addressing the initial deletion of my comment which preceded any offense I have done. If you can't answer the q thats fine. Did you see the bold inquiry at the conclusion? Can anyone explain to me why my first comment was deleted? Aug 14, 2023 at 13:50
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First, I'm not taking a position whether your suspension is justified. I just want to recommend (which I try to practice myself) that when you find comments tend to multiply into dozens, it's a good sign to move them to chatrooms as the system sometimes suggests this automatically.

Two kinds of comments

At the risk of jumping into the fray without investigating your specific context (re: comments between you and @NigelJ about Trinitarian topics), I just want to share what I try to do as the ideal I'm striving for (because sometimes I'm guilty of polluting the comments space too):

  1. when it's about the truth of the ideas or clarification of the answerer's / OP's perspective, I go to chat (or create a chatroom) right away (like what I just did with you here)

  2. when it's about the logistics of the answer (such as requesting citation, pointing out factual errors such as misidentification, or tips to improving the answer such as here, etc.) I create brief comments.

Sometimes it's practical for putting 1) in comments as a temporary space, but I try to move them to chatrooms when it become unwieldly. For examples:

  • the comments about state-sponsored persecution between myself and @jaredad7 here should eventually be deleted after I moved it to my answer.
  • the comments about immutability & Trinitarian hypostatic union between myself and @eques here should also eventually be deleted by being folded into the answer

Notice that myself, @jaredad7 and @eques try to limit the number of comments and respect the use of comment space for purpose #1 as temporary space. When in doubt, I would err into moving the comments / discussion into a chatroom. In a very few instances where I felt a moderator shouldn't delete my comment, I try to remember that the site is not mine, and I could have used the chatroom for that comment. Moderators have the unenviable job of cleaning up for the site to be better for everyone.

Advocacy vs. Discussion (Church vs. Seminary)

Lastly, SE sites are NOT the place for advocacy / campaigning but for discussion. This also applies to chatrooms. Applied to religion topics, this means C.SE and BH.SE are not churches / crusade-events where preachers have the duty to advocate Christian truths (from their denominations' perspective) and some can even legitimately do that with "fire and brimstone" preaching style intended to convict the hearts of the hearers. Some legitimately do speak in place of God!

Instead, try to see these SE sites like seminary / university classrooms and imagine the participants are students following classroom etiquettes where attempts to understand each other should be paramount. Even professors do NOT preach or speak in place of God like prophets but only explain and elicit discussion for the greater enlightenment of everyone.

YES, sometimes explaining overlaps with advocacy. I do that myself in chatting about YEC with @Matthew, which can become heated. I also tend to promote Thomistic views. But we both try to remember that in SE sites (not churches) explaining trumps advocacy. If discussion veers toward advocacy with ZERO progress on explaining, then @Matthew and I both know that we should stop, and we did!

I hope this answer has been helpful.

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  • Its not helpful to ignore the entire explanation of my comments. I didn't take the time to write and edit it all for nothing. I appreciate your feedback but I'm trying to understand why my original comment was deleted.... Aug 11, 2023 at 19:27

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