9

We've done four Purim seasons under the existing Purim Torah Policy, so we have a decent amount of experience to draw on in determining if it needs any changes. This meta-question last season garnered a great deal of attention and some well-thought-out ideas, some of which were expressed in a dedicated chatroom (no longer active). The next Purim Torah season starts in less than two months.

Therefore, I propose that we look into revisions of the Purim Torah policy. Answers to this question should consist of verbatim re-writes of all or part of the policy.

In my opinion, there should be an emphasis in that drafting on concision and formatting for inviting readability. The more fine print, the less it will be read and implemented.

I suggest that once the community has had a chance to write, edit, comment on, and vote on drafts, the moderators make the final decision about how to edit the policy post, since it has official status.

11

This was implemented in 5778.


I move to change

  • All Purim Torah questions must include the following disclaimer code at the bottom:

    ---

    #This question is [Purim Torah](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim_Torah) and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the [Purim Torah policy](http://meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/797/).#

to

  • All Purim Torah questions must begin their title with PTIJ: and include the following disclaimer text at the bottom:

    ---

    #This question is [Purim Torah](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim_Torah) and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the [Purim Torah policy](http://meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/797/).#

This can make it easier both on the homepage and in the related/HNQ lists (as well as when using an RSS reader) to determine if a post is serious or just in jest.

  • Agreed. is this something we'd do retroactively too? – Daniel Jan 14 '16 at 0:19
  • 1
    Only if the post is already bumped, IMO. – Double AA Jan 14 '16 at 0:45
  • 2
    Note that they have "purim torah in jest" at the start of the page title (in your browser window's title bar or what-have-you) once someone navigates to the page, and the tag is visible on the MY homepage (and it's the only tag on the question). Therefore the added "PTIJ" is mostly just visual clutter. I disagree with this proposal. – msh210 Jan 14 '16 at 4:14
  • 3
    I don't think there's anything negative about having extra ways to even more easily identify the material. We make the disclaimer obnoxiously large for a reason. And it does help in the related/HNQ lists. – Double AA Jan 14 '16 at 17:00
  • DoubleAA and @msh210, how about requiring that PTIJ question titles end with ;^)? That's less clutter and slightly less redundant to the tag name, I think it's clearly-understandable, and the SE engine doesn't auto-reject it (I checked). – Isaac Moses Jan 26 '16 at 14:52
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses I would prefer something at the start of the title so that on the homepage it's aligned. – Double AA Jan 26 '16 at 15:03
  • DoubleAA, OK, so what do you think of prepending a winky? (@msh210) – Isaac Moses Jan 26 '16 at 15:04
  • @IsaacMoses "That's less clutter and slightly less redundant to the tag name"... I think "slightly" can modify both of those. (That said, it's probably even clearer (less ambiguous) than "PTIJ".) I'm not a fan personally, but post it as an answer and see what people think. – msh210 Jan 26 '16 at 15:26
  • @msh210 Or DoubleAA could edit this post if he thinks that this tweak might change its reception. – Isaac Moses Jan 26 '16 at 16:58
  • @IsaacMoses Until today (+6/-2) I had no worry that it would be accepted. Now there's another downvote. I think I'll see if we get anymore votes in the next few days still. – Double AA Jan 26 '16 at 17:00
  • @IsaacMoses, DoubleAA, changing the post now would ambiguate what the votes are for. – msh210 Jan 26 '16 at 17:16
  • @msh210, true, but that's one of the things voting+editing is supposed to be for. – Isaac Moses Jan 26 '16 at 17:19
  • @IsaacMoses, yeah, except that that would change a high fraction of the substance of this proposal. (If substance is something that can be measured.) – msh210 Jan 26 '16 at 18:59
  • 1
    I mainly see the new questions through an RSS reader, where I first see the title and only find out if it is Purim Torah once I read through the whole question and get to the bottom. so starting off the title with "PTIJ" would be great so I could know just by reading the title – Menachem Mar 9 '17 at 4:54
  • 1
    @msh210 see Menachem's comment about a different way users consume content here – Double AA Mar 9 '17 at 4:56
8

Note: I think that if we want to ensure that all relevant users will read and apply the entire policy, we need to make it more inviting and readable than the incumbent version, especially if we're increasing the complexity of the rules. This is one attempt at that. I'd love to see other rewrites that demonstrate other ways to communicate this policy invitingly.


We pride ourselves on generating and maintaining clear, high-quality, serious questions and answers about Judaism. Once a year, though, for a couple of weeks, we also go in for something a little ... different.

Purim Torah Q&A

Purim Torah, silly parodies of real Torah discussion, is a way to loosen up during the Purim season, and look at Torah concepts from a new and creative vantage point:

A man's image distorted in a fun house mirror
"Henry & The Funhouse Mirror," by mob mob, used with permission

We want to have this fun without compromising our carefully-cultivated regular Q&A, so there are some rules:

When

Post Purim Torah questions between Rosh Chodesh Adar [Bet, if there is one] and a day or two after Purim, only1.

  • 5776/2016: Sundown on March 9 through the evening hours of March 26

What

It's gotta be distinctly "Purim" (not serious), distinctly Torah, and distinctly Q&A. Purim Torah questions that don't have all three of these qualities may be closed.2

So, post sincere-looking questions (you know, the kind that invite answers) that:

  • misinterpret a real Torah concept or Jewish text

or

  • apply a distinctly Torah style (e.g. Talmudic analysis) to an irrelevant topic

Post answers in the same spirit3 as their questions, so no completely serious answers to Purim Torah questions, and no silly answers to serious (non-Purim-Torah) questions.

And (Don't skip!)

We don't want to confuse anyone, so please mark your Purim Torah questions in these two ways:

  • Apply the tag and no other tag.4

  • Paste this disclaimer, exactly as it is here, at the bottom of your question:

    ---

    #This question is [Purim Torah](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim_Torah) and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the [Purim Torah policy](https://judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/797/).#


Moderation Stuff

  • Close5 Purim Torah questions that aren't "Purim", Torah, and questions.

  • At the end of Purim Torah season, delete all Purim Torah questions that were closed as not ""Purim", Torah, and questions."

  • At the end of the Purim Torah season, close all open Purim Torah questions as "Off-Topic" with the close comment:

    Purim Torah questions are on-topic only once a year, and will be closed after Purim. For details, see: Purim Torah policy

  • If you want an old Purim Torah question re-opened during this year's season, ask the moderators.


1. Of course, serious questions are also allowed and encouraged during this period!
2. On Meta, Purim Torah has to be about Mi Yodeya, not necessarily about Judaism itself.
3. No pun intended.
4. On Meta, apply the tags and .
5. Use "Off-topic/Other" as the reason.

  • 1
    If the community consensus is to adopt Double AA's title rule, that can be added as a third provision in the "And" section. – Isaac Moses Jan 14 '16 at 15:30
  • 1
    IMO this reads more like guidelines and less like policy: 1, it has less "must", "allowed", "may", and "permitted", and more "please" and "we want". 2, it's in second-person imperative about the agent (user) rather than third-person imperative/jussive about the patient (post), which seems less formal to me and thus less like a policy. 3, it has the funhouse picture. Was this more-like-guidelines,-less-like-policy change intentional? Is it all in my head? I think people may therefore take it lightly. – msh210 Jan 14 '16 at 15:54
  • 1
    @msh210 I think what we need is clear guidance, which can take the form of either the kind of policy you describe or clear instructions. I hadn't thought to approach it this way, but I think it works. – Monica Cellio Jan 14 '16 at 16:08
  • 1
    I don't know if it's just me, but I found the "What" section confusing and hard to read. I had to read through it a few times before I understood the meaning of the bold Purim and Torah – Daniel Jan 14 '16 at 16:08
  • 2
    I also don't really think having two rounds of deletion: one for negatively scored questions that are closed and one for all questions that are closed is really necessary. I don't think it's a big deal to have the negatively-scored closed questions still undeleted for a couple of extra days. – Daniel Jan 14 '16 at 16:11
  • @msh210, The slightly-irreverent tone is certainly intentional, consistent with the subject-matter; I would not mind toning that down. The inclusion of a picture is meant to break up the wall of text and make it more inviting, as are the titles; I think those elements (if not the particular choices) are important. The shift from passive voice to second-person imperative is meant to relate directly to the user in whom we're trying to induce behavior; I can shift it back to passive with little trouble, if that would work better. – Isaac Moses Jan 14 '16 at 16:48
  • @Daniel, Thanks for that feedback. I'll see if I can express those ideas more clearly. What I had in my head was a chart with "Purim" and "Torah" headings, or a graphic with "Purim" and "Torah" labels, but those don't translate to text so well. – Isaac Moses Jan 14 '16 at 16:50
  • @IsaacMoses Yeah after reading it a few times I understood what you intended. I'm not exactly sure how to make that clearer in text, though – Daniel Jan 14 '16 at 16:50
  • 2
    @Daniel, I think the 24-hour idea is a reaction to the very high rapidity with which marginal-quality PT posts got posted last year, trying to provide a way to clear out the low-quality stuff from the queues closer to real-time. – Isaac Moses Jan 14 '16 at 16:55
  • 1
    @Daniel, I made a minor change to the "What" section. Does that make it better, worse, or neither? – Isaac Moses Jan 14 '16 at 16:57
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses Better (at least for me; I still don't know if anybody else was even confused in the first place) – Daniel Jan 14 '16 at 17:03
  • 1
    Since this revamp is partially inspired by meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/3490, I think it's worth explicating in the What section that the question itself, irrespective of answers, has to satisfy the criteria laid out in that section. (Compare Daniel's proposal, which has "If the question does not meet this criterion...".) – msh210 Jan 14 '16 at 17:15
  • 1
    @msh210, I added "Purim Torah questions that don't have all three of these qualities may be closed." – Isaac Moses Jan 14 '16 at 17:28
  • 1
    Would this policy apply to Meta PTIJ? This question (which I happen to be partial to) would seem to not meet any of these criteria. – Y     e     z Jan 26 '16 at 3:39
  • 2
    "At the discretion of moderators and delete-voters, delete Purim Torah questions that are at least 24 hours old, closed, and with negative score." What should inform the discretion of moderators and delete-voters? – Daniel Jan 26 '16 at 16:58
5

My additions in bold. Please edit as you feel appropriate.

Generally, we expect all questions here to be written from the point-of-view of genuine curiosity, and we expect all answers to be genuine attempts to provide real information and analysis that directly addresses the question.

However, the community has indicated that, if regulated carefully, Purim Torah - silly parodies of real Torah discussion - could be a worthy exception to this expectation. So, Purim Torah questions and their answers in kind are allowed, with the following regulations:

  • Purim Torah questions may only be posted between Rosh Chodesh Adar [Bet, if there is one] and a day or two after Purim. (In 2016, this corresponds to the period from sundown on March 9 through the evening hours of March 26.)

  • All Purim Torah questions must be tagged with exactly one tag: (or, on Meta, only and ).

  • All Purim Torah questions must include the following disclaimer code at the bottom:

    ---

    #This question is [Purim Torah](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim_Torah) and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the [Purim Torah policy](https://judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/797/).#

  • Purim Torah answers are only permitted on Purim Torah questions, not on sincere questions.

  • A valid PTIJ question must invite multiple possible answers and have at least one of the following three components:

    1. A mis-application of a Torah principle
    2. A mis-interpretation of a Jewish text, be it Tanach, Talmud, or some later writing
    3. A "distinctly Torah style (e.g. Gemara/Rashi/Tosafot-formatted) analysis of some secular issue."

    If the question does not meet this criterion, it will be closed. If one of the standard closure reasons does not apply, those voting to close should use a custom reason.

  • After the time period specified above, all Purim Torah questions closed per the above point will be deleted, and all remaining Purim Torah questions will be closed as "Off-Topic" with the close comment:

    Purim Torah questions are on-topic only once a year, and will be closed after Purim. For details, see: Purim Torah policy

    At the discretion of the moderators, some exceptional questions may be re-opened during future years' Purim Torah seasons.

  • 3
    I changed "should" to "will" because this is a policy statement, not a recommendation. – Y     e     z Jan 14 '16 at 1:33
2

I propose, based on Scimonster's recommendation, to change

  • Close5 Purim Torah questions that aren't "Purim", Torah, and questions.

to

  • Close Purim Torah questions that aren't "Purim", Torah, and questions. Use "Off-topic/Other" as the reason, and paste the following into the Comment box:

    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it does not meet the requirements of the [Purim Torah policy](https://judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/797) that it "**misinterpret** a real **Torah** concept or Jewish text or apply a distinctly **Torah** style (e.g. Talmudic analysis) to an **irrelevant** topic."

and to delete Footnote 5.

  • 2
    I think "you might paste" instead of "paste". I can't think of any reason that the precise wording should be a matter of policy. – msh210 Mar 11 '16 at 20:25
  • 1
    The comment "I'm..." really applies to non-Purim and non-Torah posts but not to non-question posts, but the proposal is that our policy be that that comment be used for non-question posts also. – msh210 Mar 11 '16 at 20:27
  • @msh210 Maybe add a line: "For answers, change 'voting to close this question' to 'voting to delete this answer'." – Scimonster Mar 12 '16 at 21:27
  • @Scimonster, I meant not answers but question posts that aren't actually questions. – msh210 Mar 13 '16 at 2:02

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