I believe my answer has been wrongfully deleted. I answered this question. What was wrong with my answer?

My answer.

I understand that the arguments expressed by the asker of this quesiton are rooted in Hebrew tradition. I thought this wasn't a (strictly) Jewish site. I am not a Jew, and I do not base my life on the teachings of Jewish sages. I'm interested in their teachings, but they have no impact whatsoever on how I bear myself. I don't understand why I should be forced to follow their advice or commandments.


Isaac Moses: ymar, You make an interesting point about the role of Jewish law and tradition here on Meta.Judaism. On this issue, in particular, my position is generally driven by secular concerns. In general, I agree that gentile users of Mi Yodeya are not bound by Jewish Law, but I'd also point out that Mi Yodeya, like any SE site, is correct in asking users to adhere to reasonable community standards, as defined here on Meta and in our FAQ. Given Mi Yodeya's defintion, Jewish sources sometimes inform these discussions.

Double AA: Who is forcing you to do anything? If you have a different policy suggestion for any post here on meta please post it and if many community members agree with your policy it might be adopted.

Me: @DoubleAA I am not being forced to do anything at the moment. I have just expressed my concern about the possibility of being forced. The question gives arguments for forbidding anonymity that are based on Jewish teachings only. I only care about Jewish teachings intellectually. I would be very unhappy if I were forbidden to do something on this site because Jewish sages say so.

Me: @IsaacMoses I do not at all oppose reasonable community standards. As far as I know, there is no SE site that demands telling one's name in order to post. I know MathOverflow recommends it, but I haven't heard of any requirements yet. I find requiring that users identify themselves unreasonable. But what I find the most unreasonable is basing these requirements on Jewish law or tradition.

Double AA: What if we forbid you from insulting people on the site?

Double AA: There is a point you are trying to make, but you have yet to formulate it very precisely. When you do please ask it as a new discussion question. For now, I'm deleting this as not an answer.

I was not able to answer Double AA's comments because the whole answer was deleted. I wished to answer thus:

I do not believe I have insulted anyone. If I have, please tell me where, and if I agree, I will apologize.

I would be grateful if someone would tell me whether I was offensive or not and why. I don't think I was, but I know I can be wrong. I would also like to know why my answer has been deleted. I find the explanation condescending and not very illuminating. I think it is unfair to delete an answer with the explanation

There is a point you are trying to make, but you have yet to formulate it very precisely.

I don't know what was imprecise in my answer because I haven't been told.

3 Answers 3


Your answer was deleted by me because it doesn't discuss anonymity on Mi Yodeya. It was a comment on most of the other answers and possibly some site functions in general. So it was Not An Answer. I had a flag from a user saying as much as well. (I'm of course not infallible so if others disagree I can undelete it.) I encourage you, if the issue of traditional Jewish influence on site policy still bugs you, to ask a new discussion post about it, possibly using examples from the anonymity issue as support for your claims.

As to your last point : no I was in no way offended by your question and I think it is an important one for the community to discuss. You said to me in a comment that you would not like to be forbidden to do something based on Jewish sages' advice. I challenged you That many things such as insulting people are forbidden to do by Jewish sages but you might agree to it. Since I don't think that is what you wanted to complain about, I suggest you clarify your issue very precisely in your upcoming post. I do not plan on continuing that discussion in comments here; we should start afresh in the new post where anyone can be involved.

I hope this has clarified everything for you and I apologize for any misunderstandings.

  • I don't know enough about the site to start this discussion. I have just joined. I don't want to discuss the Jewish influense on the site's policy. It would be more than I can handle with my knowledge of the community. I agree with Isaac that my "answer did not address the question, but rather, criticized premises suggested in the question." It is true. The reasoning is often more important to me than its result. I don't know whether this qualifies my answer for deletion as "not an answer" on this site. It hasn't in my experience with SE, but this is not something I wish to discuss.
    – user2300
    Jan 21, 2013 at 21:29
  • FTR, I had flagged the answer.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 22:35

I can't answer for DoubleAA, but the question was, roughly, "Should anonymity be allowed?" and your answer did not address the question, but rather, criticized premises suggested in the question. As such, it should probably have been posted as a comment to the question rather than as an answer. Had I mod powers, I would have migrated it along with its comments to become comments on the question.

I don't think your comment was offensive or insulting. I suspect that DoubleAA brought up the concept of insult as an example of something that we might forbid on the site, based at least partly on Jewish values.

  • Baruch shekivanta!
    – Double AA Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 21:21
  • 1
    The question was why anonymity is excusable/justifiable here, and the answer, though it read as a criticism, could easily be reworded to "why not? All your reasons for thinking otherwise are Judaism-based, which doesn't apply to everyone". IMO an answer that obviates the question by refuting one of its premises is usually perfectly fine. Does this case not fall into that category? Ping also @DoubleAA.
    – msh210 Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 21:56
  • @msh210, I suppose it could have been salvaged by editing the "Why not" in explicitly. Given that this question already had an accepted, upvoted answer, saying why so, that's pretty much entirely based on secular reasoning, I don't think that this "Why not?" answer, as an answer, is a great loss.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 21:59
  • I definitely think that editing or commenting the answer properly would have been a better decision.
    – user2300
    Jan 21, 2013 at 22:08
  • @msh210 Actually, now I think the proper thing to do is close the question as too localized. It's from pre-migration when Patriarch Isaac Moses could have actually enforced such a rule.
    – Double AA Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 22:46
  • 1
    @DoubleAA, At the time, I was "Founder and Administrator," not "Patriarch." It's worthy of discussion even without an autocrat who's a member of the community. In theory, this community could try to enforce or at least strongly suggest a "real names" policy, and it could also lobby SE for same. Also, I didn't really have a good mechanism for enforcing such a rule at the time, either.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 22:53
  • Maybe. IAE while the question is couched in Yeshivish terminology, I don't see any points which could not be conveyed without appealing to authority (Jewish ones, in this case). So "why not?" is an incredibly weak answer to a question with many reasons "why yes". (ping @msh210)
    – Double AA Mod
    Jan 21, 2013 at 23:11
  • @DoubleAA No. The question cannot be phrased without appealing to Jewish tradition. Some of the points could be salvaged, but not the whole question. Especially the rephrased version cries for being migrated to the main page.
    – user2300
    Jan 21, 2013 at 23:47
  • @ymar How about now? meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/posts/91/revisions || Can I also get another Yodeyan's confirmation that I have maintained the OP's intent?
    – Double AA Mod
    Jan 22, 2013 at 0:03
  • 1
    @DoubleAA, your revision looks good to me. Jan 22, 2013 at 1:18
  • @ymar, your answer didn't address anonymity, but I think msh210 is right that challenging the premise of a question is a valid response. If you could edit your answer to comment on the value of anonymity I think that would be enough to undelete. If you could address the points raised in the question about possible harms done by anonymity that would make it a better answer. Jan 22, 2013 at 1:23
  • @DoubleAA I'm sorry to be a pain, but it doesn't to me. It is certainly much more accessible to a Gentile now, but the question "should a religious Jew participate in a site if the only way to have that site function is one which risks promoting slander?" is still one for the main page and not for meta. This is the part I was concerned about mainly. Now it doesn't suggest it applies to everyone, but it's still not in the appropriate place. The previous part is acceptable I think (even more so now, which doesn't mean that I'm particularly fond of it though).
    – user2300
    Jan 22, 2013 at 1:31
  • Perhaps I'm being oversensitive now. I'm sorry if I am. I'll think about it and perhaps comment later.
    – user2300
    Jan 22, 2013 at 1:34

Regardless of whether or not the original question, before editing, was written assuming everyone was Jewish, your answer was still not an answer. It addressed your personal feelings about having to follow some religious dictates of another faith, which has absolutely no bearing the question whatsoever.

Your answer would be best left as a comment on the question, if you felt it served as food for thought for anyone else reading the original question.

Furthermore, your presumption that this isn't a (strictly) Jewish site is wholly incorrect. See this answer for more on this.

We do not prevent anyone from participating (if they participate in good faith - obviously we weed out trolls and spammers, etc.) in our community, but the assumption made when participating is that questions will be about Jewish life and learning, and that answers will draw from Jewish tradition. Period.

  • Personal disclosure: I did not intend my answer to sound harsh, but now upon reading it again it does come off that way. I'm considering an edit, but I may leave it because it still makes the point I intended.
    – Seth J
    Jan 30, 2013 at 17:38
  • I have read the answer you have linked to. It is unclear to me whether that applies both to the main site and to the meta site. I believe it should not apply to the meta site. Meta is the place where all users should be able to voice their opinions on the matters of the site. If the question had been asked on the main site and phrased differently, I wouldn't have answered it. I believe that my answer was relevant on meta.
    – user2300
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:43
  • @ymar, Fair enough, but you're ignoring the first half of my answer. It wasn't an answer; it was a comment on the question.
    – Seth J
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:44
  • Yes, I did ignore that because it has been discussed in several places previously. I don't think my answer should have been a comment. It answered the question in the negative, even if only implicitly. The question was whether it was right or desireable to force users to disclose their names. My answer was, "No it isn't if your reasons are applicable to Jews only, as they are, because there are non-Jewish users." I can't see how it's not an answer, sorry. But I've decided to leave it alone. The question has been edited so there is no issue.
    – user2300
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:51
  • @ymar Correction: "The question has been edited to show there hadn't been an issue." I didn't change the meaning of the post in my edits.
    – Double AA Mod
    Jan 30, 2013 at 23:05
  • @DoubleAA Yes, this is actually almost true. You changed the meaning only slightly. I lied in my previous comment and hoped it wouldn't be picked. I do still have an issue with the edited question. I just don't want to discuss it anymore. It turned out to be a tiresome enterprise, which I didn't expect when I first posted. I will not comment on this anymore.
    – user2300
    Jan 31, 2013 at 0:43
  • @ymar, anytime that a well thought out question/answer is rejected, defending it will be tiresome and frustrating, especially if your defenses are rejected. Take it from me. Don't let it keep you from participating in the future.
    – Seth J
    Jan 31, 2013 at 1:13

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