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I would like to present Mi Yodeya to a potential new reader/contributor. The Q&A aspects and the SE mechanics are all explained in the Help Center. What I'd like to collect here are examples (posts/comments/edits/etc.) that illustrate why our site is a particularly unique and effective Torah study tool. Please post examples as answers, where each answer begins with something like:

I think [this item](http://mi.yodeya.com/q/###) shows how Mi Yodeya XYZ...

Some possibilities for XYZs are: showing multiple opinions, finding obscure sources, responding to non-Jews/uneducated-Jews, dealing with sensitive issues, handling overly detailed questions, sharing practical experience, covering a range of topics, making a Kiddush Hashem on the internet, etc. It's up to you, though, to find the good examples to show it.

Vote based on usability for demonstrating good qualities of Mi Yodeya.

  • I notice that your criteria mostly focus on the nature of answers. Are you interested in particularly unique questions as well? – Y     e     z Jan 14 '15 at 21:12
  • @yez posts includes both questions and answers – Double AA Jan 14 '15 at 21:49
  • I wasn't picking on the terminology - I was looking at your examples of XYZs and seeing a צד השוה which seemed more germane to answers than to questons. I was wondering if it would include unanswered questions. – Y     e     z Jan 14 '15 at 23:39
  • @YeZ I try my best around here to be very precise in my terminology and this was no exception. Questions are valid as well. – Double AA Jan 15 '15 at 5:21
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    This list is a great resource to have around for recruitment efforts, and could also be something to point a journalist to if one wants to write about MY. Thanks for spurring its creation. I hope you'll share with us some follow-up about how you used it, and what the response was. – Isaac Moses Jan 15 '15 at 14:00
  • How did this effort go? – Isaac Moses Jan 27 '16 at 21:09
  • @IsaacMoses I found this thread to be very helpful. They were impressed with the material, but have not become a regular user. I wouldn't be surprised if they stop by sometimes to read things or at least feel more comfortable when brought here by Google. (I'm 98% sure I told you this on chat at some point but I can't find it anywhere.) – Double AA Jan 28 '16 at 6:14

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"Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?" shows Mi Yodeya's ability to gather and curate practical advice based on personal experience, from all different kinds of people. In addition, I know from experience and conversation that participating in this Q&A has inspired individuals to deliver actually improved tefilot.

  • This was a very useful post. +1 – Double AA Feb 3 '15 at 16:12
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When it's in-season, our Purim Torah provides a great deal of fun for askers, answerers, and readers. In addition, Purim Torah questions are a stimulating exercise in source-finding and creativity for answerers and expose readers to sources from all different aspects of Judaism - Scripture, Talmud, Halacha, language, etc.

If you'll excuse the departure from the rules, I'll list a few great examples in one answer, so as not to crowd the general list with many Purim Torah Q&A. These are the three top-voted ones so far, and each of them provoked a bunch of different answers that draw on different kinds of sources.

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One of the less-appreciated treasures in Mi Yodeya's repository is the collection of intriguing, unanswered questions. Someone might notice a promising connection, as Menachem did in "How are the two tales of dancing in vinyards on the 15th of Av related?," and ask for sources explaining its significance. Even if no one who looks at the question initially knows, someone might, sooner or later. Also, someone new to the site might consider an interesting, unanswered question like this one and be spurred to do interesting new learning in a quest to try to answer it. This process is sometimes aided by our "featured" function, which allows users to, among other things, highlight an old question that they'd really like to see a new answer to. (I tried this, unfortunately fruitlessly, with this question.)

  • Linking to a long-unanswered, eventually-answered question would improve this answer a good deal IMO. – msh210 Jan 15 '15 at 7:47
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    @msh210, I chose this question as one that could be used to pique a potential recruit's interest and provide a challenge. A question that already has any good answers doesn't provide the same challenge. Our ability to get old unanswered questions eventually answered, which, yes, I do include in the description here, could be demonstrated with a separate example. – Isaac Moses Jan 15 '15 at 13:57
  • As of today, the question has an answer, though it doesn't quite have sources. cc @msh210 – MTL Feb 15 '15 at 21:23
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What is the halachic source for objection to gay (civil) marriage?

This question is quite possibly our best example of how we handle sensitive topics. Due to a combination of active use of moderation tools and our general culture of handling questions seriously, this question received multiple high-quality answers that provided on-point sources and information accessibly without attracting (and certainly without preserving) a great deal of invective or fighting. All this despite the fact that the topic of the question is a hot-button one, and one about which Judaism (as described in the answers provided) is at odds with the current momentum in the surrounding society.

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I think something like Is it acceptable under kashrut to eat tyrannosauridae meat? shows our sense of fun. The question seems silly on the surface, but got several answers and community participation, while still keeping the spirit of the thing.

I particularly like Isaac's comment there, currently with 11 score:

Earwin, welcome to Jewrassic Park(1), and thanks very much for bringing your interesting question here! I hope you'll look around the site and find other information that's to your taste. Here is a slightly more practical question about dinosaurs, and here is a parallel speculative question about hypothetical kosher pigs. (1) I mean, Mi Yodeya. Sorry to get your hopes up.

The question itself also evoked some interesting discussions and followups, creating a big kiddush Hashem by leveraging an attention-grabbing, unconventional question to teach thousands of people (3000+ views to date) about the basics of kosher animal identification.

In addition, this is a great example of a strange question that forces would-be answerers to think through the relevant halachic issues carefully to provide a complete answer, resulting in a stimulating experience for answerers.

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"One of my favorite questions" is "Height of a mezuzah and children:." It's a great example of the value of multiple perspectives in one place. The question is a simple halachic one, and its top-voted answer provides a clear-cut answer from an on-point source. Two additional answers provide stories of rabbis, one from the Litvak tradition and the other from the Chabad tradition, pronouncing the same ruling and also providing some insight about how and why to follow the ruling as a way of reinforcing Jewish values, each one discussing a value that is especially emphasized in his respective tradition. These three answers together make for a great integrated lesson on Halacha and Jewish values.

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    This was good, but I found pointing out this answer as well to be useful in order to demonstrate a multiplicity of approaches. – Double AA Feb 3 '15 at 16:13
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Woman with 2 wombs in regards to pidyon haben

This is my favorite question on the site. It is a great example of an intriguing question, which I would never have even known of the circumstances which the question is predicated on if not for seeing it here, plus it has a direct answer! How crazy is that!

So the question itself broadens the horizons of the reader. There are many like it on the site.

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We Jews don't live in a vacuum; we also live in a world full of people who don't understand our laws and customs, people we interact with on a regular basis. This can be especially challenging for somebody who wasn't always observant but wants to become more observant now -- how do you do that, practically speaking? It's one thing to know the halacha; it's another thing to stay on good terms with your family and friends. Maintaining Tzniut in Uncomfortable Social Situations covers one such topic. Answers provide practical advice and are sensitive to the asker's situation, meeting the asker where she is and offering a helping hand.

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Another thing that Mi Yodeya is very helpful with is our questions. Note that not all questions that have to do with the practical aspects of living with Judaism have been tagged with that tag yet (we're "working on it" ;), so it pays to do a specific search without that tag to see if your question has been asked already.

Specific questions would include What can I do if I don't have a Chanuka menorah? (which might also qualify for the fun answer); How to explain to friends/family that one will not attend an intermarriage (which might also qualify for the sensitive topics answer); and all of the Sukkos/lulav how-tos.

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Seder advice when with people who aren't interested? is one of several seder-planning questions. This one received many helpful suggestions, showing a range of helpful answers and helping the asker (and, I hope, others in that situation) to make a kiddush Hashem instead of being seen as "that annoying relative who wants to keep us up past midnight doing the whole haggadah".

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Very interesting content, questions that ask about what the halacha would be in very intriguing scenarios.

One of the best of these, in my opinion, is Does artificial meat grown in a petri dish have the halachic status of meat? (and its younger sister, Milk-free cheese: Is it kosher? Parve?) -- a question that I'd love to know the answer to, but would have to do some research to find on my own.

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Is Christianity Avodah Zara?

This question shows how we deal with a sensitive topic.

The questioner and top answerers deal with the topic respectfully, providing different points of view and sources, all with respect.

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    I don't really see why it's that sensitive: whether it fits a certain legal definition or not, everyone knows we think it's Wrong. In addition the (currently) top voted answer is pretty poorly sourced. – Double AA Jan 14 '15 at 17:08
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    @DoubleAA re "everyone knows": I can't begin to count how many times I've been asked something like "but you believe in Jesus, right?". – msh210 Jan 19 '15 at 2:22
  • @DoubleAA Ok now it's not as poorly sourced. Still nothing to write home about. – Double AA Mar 8 '15 at 22:15
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Mi Yodeya is great at helping find sources for Torah learning. Whether you're looking for one thing in particular, or if you're trying to research a general topic, you can use Mi Yodeya to find what you're looking for.

For example, Fruit Leather in Gemara Sukkah helped me find a gemara that I had been looking for, very quickly; and Source for exemption of hekdesh by nizkei adam gave me a relatively obscure source that I hadn't been able to locate myself. I don't know if this has helped anyone, yet, but I posted Sources for the halachos of medical emergencies on Shabbos after preparing a presentation on the topic, and I know that I would have appreciated having that to start with. In fact, I found out about Mi Yodeya when my friend told me he found a source he was looking for after asking this question.

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