What should go in the FAQ material for this new site?

It turns out that on the FAQ page itself, only the part at the top that describes the scope (under "What kind of questions can I ask here?") is editable. Anything else we want in the FAQ materials could be posted as a meta question here and then marked by the moderators with the faq tag.

Regarding the scope, the current text is

Jewish Life and Learning - Stack Exchange is for students and teachers of Jewish law and tradition.

The definition in the Area51 proposal that recently achieved full commitment was

... for people who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more.

(See the comment stream there for the reasoning behind this formulation.)

What we need is something beefier, that does a more precise job of laying out what belongs on this site, and what doesn't. The questions voted as on- and off-topic in the proposal may provide some guidance.

For reference regarding other material, below the next line is the FAQ from the original mi.yodeya, which started with the SE 1.0 boilerplate FAQ but got a bunch of Jewish- and mi.yodeya-specific modifications.


  • There are a number of references to site policy guidelines on mi.yodeya's associated blog, lo.yodeya. I'm probably going to close that blog down eventually, so if we want to incorporate ideas from there, it would probably make sense to either incorporate relevant text into the FAQ or make it into a meta question.

  • ani.yodeya (yodeya reddit, intended to be yodeya's "third place") never took off, and I never really promoted it. Now, we have a chat room for that purpose!

  • Obviously, some of the technical details, like how rep works, are different now.

What is going on here?

Here's a fun introduction to mi.yodeya.

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Questions about Jewish life and learning. As long as your question is:

  • detailed and specific
  • written clearly and simply
  • of interest to at least one other person somewhere

... it is welcome here. No question is too trivial or too "newbie". Oh yes, and it should be about Jewish life and learning.

Please look around to see if your question has already been asked (and maybe even answered!) before you ask. If you end up asking a question that has been asked before, that is OK and deliberately allowed. Other users will hopefully edit in links to related or similar questions to help future visitors find their way.

It's also perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question, but pretend you're on Jeopardy: phrase it in the form of a question.

For a final decision on any practical Halachic matter, please consult your Rabbi.

What kind of questions should I not ask here?

Avoid asking questions that are subjective, argumentative, or require extended discussion. This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered!

If you don't have a question, but want to share a link or participate in a discussion of interest to the yodeya community, check out our sister site ani.yodeya.

We reserve the right to remove any content that we feel does not belong on mi.yodeya.

Be nice.

Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. (See Lev. 19:18.) We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

Be honest.

Above all, be honest. If you see misinformation, vote it down. Insert comments indicating what, specifically, is wrong. Even better — edit and improve the information! Provide stronger, faster, superior answers of your own!

Be fair. Be authoritative.

"One who says something in the name of its speaker brings redemption to the world" (Avot 6:6).

Whenever possible, cite your sources and link them. If a position you present (or someone else presents, for that matter) is a matter of dispute, note as much.

If you want to quote material from another website, please follow the Referring and Quoting Guideline.

Can I use Hebrew terms?

Yes, within reason. Here's our guideline on jargon use.

Do I have to log in or create an account?

Nope. You can answer and ask questions to your heart's content as an anonymous user, much like Wikipedia. However, there are some things you won't be able to do on the site without registering. But it's easy to register if you want to.

What is reputation?

Reputation is completely optional. Normal use of mi.yodeya — that is, asking and answering questions — does not require any reputation whatsoever.

Remember, mi.yodeya is run by you! If you want to help us run the site, you'll need reputation first. Reputation is a (very) rough measurement of how much the mi.yodeya community trusts you. Reputation is never given, it is earned by convincing other users that you know what you're talking about.

Here's how it works: if you post a good question or helpful answer, it will be voted up by your peers: you gain 10 reputation points. If you post something that's off topic or incorrect, it will be voted down: you lose 2 reputation points. You can earn up to 200 reputation per day, but no more. (Note that votes for any posts marked "community wiki" do not generate reputation.)

Amass enough reputation points and mi.yodeya will allow you to go beyond simply asking and answering questions:

15  Vote up
15  Flag offensive
50  Leave comments
100 Vote down (costs 1 rep), edit community wiki posts
200 Turn off "Did you know?" tips on each question page
250 Vote to close or reopen your questions, create new tags
500 Retag questions
2000    Edit other people's posts
3000    Vote to close or reopen any questions
10000   Delete closed questions, access to moderation tools

At the high end of this reputation spectrum there is little difference between users with high reputation and moderators. That is very much intentional. We don't run mi.yodeya. The community does.

What if I don't get a good answer?

In order to get good answers, you have to put some effort into the question. Edit your question to provide status and progress updates. Document your own continued efforts to answer your question. This will naturally bump your question and get more people interested in it.

If, after two days, you still don't have an answer you like, you can offer a bounty. Slice off a bit of your own hard-earned reputation -- anywhere from 50 to 500 -- and attach it to the question as a bounty. We'll even throw in 50 reputation to sweeten the deal. The bountied question will appear with a special icon in all question lists, and it will also be visible on the home page Featured tab.

Once initiated, the bounty period lasts seven days. If you mark an accepted answer, your bounty is awarded to the answerer (do note that accepted bounty answers are permanent and cannot be changed). If you do not accept an answer in seven days, the top voted answer will automatically become the accepted answer, and half your bounty will be awarded to that answer. You will always give up the amount of reputation specified in the bounty, so if you start a bounty, be sure to follow up and accept the best answer!

Of course, bounty awards, like all accepted answers, are immune to the daily reputation cap and community wiki mode.

Other people can edit my stuff?!

Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

What if there's wrong information here?

If you can, fix it! Provide alternative information, leave a comment, vote it down, or if you can, edit it.

Of course, like Wikipedia, mi.yodeya makes no guarantee of validity. Here are some thoughts on why that's OK.

How can I help?

Thank you so much for your generous spirit! You can participate in the site, follow the latest contributions, and share it with your friends and the world. Here are some more details.

What's up with the site's name?

Who knows?

Who runs this site?

As we said above, you do, especially when you have accumulated enough reputation to take part in moderation-type activities.

If you want to know who's picking the color scheme and mowing the lawn, Isaac Moses is the founder and administrator of mi.yodeya. You can contact him at [email protected].

Additional moderation support is provided by WAF, Yahu, and users like you.

The technology that runs mi.yodeya is provided by StackExchange.

  • 1
    Re "only the part at the top that describes the scope... is editable": Can additional headers not be put there, equal in header-level to the existing ones?
    – msh210 Mod
    May 11, 2011 at 16:16
  • @msh210 I suppose so, but that may not be in the spirit of how SE intends this FAQ to be used. I wonder what @rebecca-chernoff thinks of this idea, e.g., incorporating in this manner sections like those recommended in your answer.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    May 11, 2011 at 16:58
  • @Isaac, you can use the editable portion of the FAQ to include whatever we want. So basically, it might require a bit of reordering, and push up all the Judaism.SE-specific stuff to the top... but that should be fine. Only downside is if it gets too long...
    – AviD
    May 11, 2011 at 18:27
  • @msh210 @AviD Note that anything we stick in that space will be in the middle of the answer to "What kind of questions can I ask here?", before the paragraph on that topic beginning "Please look around."
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    May 12, 2011 at 2:14
  • @Isaac, no biggie. That last paragraph can be part of a "How do I ask a question?" section.
    – msh210 Mod
    May 12, 2011 at 6:21
  • 1
    @msh210 I see that English.SE used this technique to add a notation section to their FAQ, CodeReview.SE and Security.SE inserted material, and CSTheory.SE did so too, and also went so far as to make a separate "Official FAQ" post and link to it from the FAQ. I guess we can treat this space fairly liberally, too, if we see fit.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    May 16, 2011 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


I think the "What kind of questions can I ask here?" and "Be fair. Be authoritative." sections from the old FAQ list are important ones that should be incorporated somehow into the new one. (The rest are good, too.)

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