Although obviously regardless of Mi Yodeya policy, each user needs to apply his / her own discretion, what is the policy regarding posting information, in a question or answer, that if publicized could lead to antisemitism, provide fodder for missionaries, or have other unintended consequences?

Should this information be avoided, or is it perhaps assumed that in the internet age the world has no more secrets, and thus information may as well be publicized?

One example is lack of agreement on major topics in hashkafa (Jewish outlook) such as Rambam's principles. This can have the unintended consequence of jarring, shocking, and confusing people.

E.g. Is there a place for the documentary-hypothesis in observant Judaism? and In Judaism, does God have a body?.

You have also got the flip side, such as The Origins of the Zohar - Why is it accepted as being true? and Is one a heretic if he does not believe in Kabbalah? which deal if anything with ideas against Rambam, but still highlights the degree of dispute about basic hashkafa. This last one centers around the veracity of works viewed by some as canonical to Judaism.

Depending on people's backgrounds this information can prove problematic.

Furthermore, there seems to already be some sort of unwritten policy to this extent, as I noticed this question: Is Mossad Assasination allowed in Torah? where nobody mentioned even the possibility that there might be any legal difference between killing a Jew and a non-Jew, but rather affirmed that they are the same. This is somewhere on the border between outright lying, and lying through omission, but in my opinion, closer to the former.

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    Somewhat related: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/1720/2
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Aug 3, 2015 at 21:24
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    "or have other unintended consequences": Probably every post on MY will have consequences the poster doesn't intend.
    – msh210 Mod
    Aug 4, 2015 at 1:44
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    I think this question could be improved with some concrete examples, perhaps of existing content that may have this problem, and how.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Aug 4, 2015 at 1:49
  • @IsaacMoses well I feared that by providing examples I would be engaging in the very behavior in question, albeit to a lesser degree, and in meta.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 4, 2015 at 1:51
  • I hear you, but I suspect that the publicity increase for a question, especially if it's been around a while and collected activity and votes, won't be enhanced much by mention on meta.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Aug 4, 2015 at 1:54
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    @IsaacMoses meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1180/…
    – Double AA Mod
    Aug 4, 2015 at 5:23
  • @IsaacMoses slavery answers: could be problematic. Amalek annihilation adds nothing negative besides the well known dictum to kill 'em. It actually introduces the possibility of peaceful reconciliation; seems harmless. Age of the universe seems fine, I remember kids asking this to the teacher in early grade school; that is to say everyone is familoar with the problem; no shocking revelations there. The Chassidus question seemed equally harmless; no dangerous revelations, kept machlockes to a minimum.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 4, 2015 at 17:35
  • @DoubleAA well differences in Torah are much more weighty than in Nach. Those familiar with minchas Shai will note the girsa issues in Nach. Furthermore, the accuracy of Torah is ostensibly part of Rambam's ikkarim. Nevertheless, even issues in Nach can be a bit much for the faint of heart.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 4, 2015 at 23:54
  • Accusing the people who answered the Mossad question of lying because they didn't incorporate a particular principle you're interested in is uncalled-for and unfair. Assuming that this is the result of some unwritten rule is difficult to support, as the participants (presumably) have no way of communicating with each other other than through Mi Yodeya's various public forums. Can you show somewhere in any of them where someone said "we don't talk about how murder of gentiles is forbidden due to a basic social contract around here."
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Aug 10, 2015 at 18:52
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    @IsaacMoses I suppose you simply have a radically different standard of accuracy. To me cloaking a good suggestion as the most sever cardinal offense seemed like deliberate concealment for the greater good of preventing anti-Semitism. I think there is nothing else to be said on the matter.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:26
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    I dont think that an explanation of this commentless downvote is dangerous information to be hidden.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:29
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    @IsaacMoses that is censorship. The actual girsa is כל הורג נפש אדם מישראל.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:57
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3 Answers 3


As an impartial observer, to whatever degree impartiality is possible, I would say that anti-Semites and extremists will find information that they can distort and manipulate, no matter where it might be. We are living in the Information Age, and the material is available in any number of places.

Removing such information from this site doesn't materially weaken the anti-Senites' position or deprive them of "ammo", but it does deprive honest, curious, and decent people of information which they are trying to find without any malicious intent.

Thus, removing information which might be misused would be detrimental to the people who have no intention of distorting it, and would not affect the people who have bad intentions. Censoring the site would be self-defeating and counterproductive.


אַבְטַלְיוֹן אוֹמֵר, חֲכָמִים, הִזָּהֲרוּ בְדִבְרֵיכֶם, שֶׁמָּא תָחוּבוּ חוֹבַת גָּלוּת וְתִגְלוּ לִמְקוֹם מַיִם הָרָעִים, וְיִשְׁתּוּ הַתַּלְמִידִים הַבָּאִים אַחֲרֵיכֶם וְיָמוּתוּ, וְנִמְצָא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְחַלֵּל׃


We subscribe to Jewish religion because we believe that it is wise, honest, and good, on balance. In other words, we are aware that "dangerous" information exists, but we find enough counter-information to redeem it in our eyes. Or we believe in the dangerous stuff--which usually means there is a kernel of wisdom, truth, and goodness even in it. (Even if that kernel is hard to explain.)

Missionaries and anti-Semites are always going to abuse and distort portions of Judaism for their purposes. But what we can do is present a clear, balanced, and complete enough perspective on all so-called "dangerous information" that intelligent and goodwilled people of all faiths will see the sense in it, or else be reassured to learn, as we were, that not all Jews believe in it.

  • But you cant drown out a single lone view. For example, in this question: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/60880/… a missionry site was sited that brought various midrashim that reference various changes to the Torah. The real answer might be: those sources are deviant heresy, but first of all, it is a little difficult to refer to classical rabbis as heretics, and second of all, even if one indeed maintains the illegitimacy of those sources, a reader will still see that room for Torah abrogation exists in Jewish sources.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 10, 2015 at 18:20
  • What do we do with such information? No matter how many counter sources you find, you cant remove the problematic sources. For even if a missionary concedes that some Jewish sources say that the Torah cant be abrogated, once he has achieved doubt, and shown multiplicity of views, his aim has been achieved.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 10, 2015 at 18:22
  • @mevaqesh Hmm. I think in the case of that question, Judaism's actual disagreement is not that mitzvot won't change in the Messianic age, but that we are not in that age now (it should be soon). IMO in the case of rabbis whose views are not accepted today, it would be best to include the modern refutation of these views along with the views themselves, rather than attempting to conceal both.
    – anon
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:02

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