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The term "necromancer" means one who is involved in the forbidden practice of 'Yidoni'. Why, on a Jewish site like Mi Yodeya, would a badge be awarded calling the possessor someone who practices 'Yidoni'? It seems like bad form.

Shouldn't badges at least be alluding to something positive?

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    Mi Yodeya is not a Jewish site... – Double AA Jan 22 '16 at 15:37
  • @DoubleAA From the "Tour", "Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more." – Yaacov Deane Jan 22 '16 at 15:46
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    I once used the word "crucial" in casual conversation with a French Jew. He interrupted me with "... so to speak." I didn't understand what he was getting at, so he pointed out that "crucial" means "having to do with the Cross." I haven't striken the word from my lexicon. – Isaac Moses Jan 22 '16 at 15:53
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    The term "necromancer" in the context of the badge system obviously does not refer to someone who is involved in the forbidden practice of "Yidoni." It refers to someone who gives a good answer to an old question. – Daniel Jan 22 '16 at 15:53
  • @YaacovDeane Exactly as I said. It's not a Jewish site. It's a site for anyone (especially Jews) to discuss Judaism. – Double AA Jan 22 '16 at 15:58
  • @DoubleAA No that is not the comment. It says, "If we were designing this system specifically for a Jewish community". That means that even though, like it states clearly in the Tour, that it is a Jewish site, meaning for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition, it is designed to be accessible and usable by the non-Jewish community to learn about Torah. – Yaacov Deane Jan 22 '16 at 16:03
  • "a Jewish site, meaning for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition" That's not the definition of "Jewish site" that I'm familiar with. But I suppose you can define terms however you want, as long as you are clear that's how you are using them. IAE your quote from the answer below is merely a antecedent to a conditional, not an ontological statement about the site. We are a site that discusses Judaism and naturally has a lot of Jewish users who, being a large part of our user base, we in theory might accommodate in various ways. We are not a Jewish site in any standard sense. – Double AA Jan 22 '16 at 16:07
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A related question came up some time ago about the difficulty of earning Enthusiast and Fanatic (for consecutive days of site activity) in a Shabbat-observant community. At the time a community manager answered thus:

You're right. If we were designing this system specifically for a Jewish community, we probably would not implement the Fanatic and Enthusiast badges in its current form. But there's also the practical matter that Stack Exchange is a tool — a framework — designed for folks of varied interests to build their own site in this Q&A space.

Badges -- both definitions and names -- are consistent across the network. I seem to recall some objections here to Guru because of the word's association with another religion, and there was some early objection to Strunk & White from the English Language community (from people who think that's a poor choice of style guide). Communities currently just have to accept these quirks. If a badge name is blatantly offensive we could probably get a per-site exception, but I don't know if this reaches that threshold.

Robert went on to say (about changing the definition of a badge):

There have been scattered requests for custom badges for sites to use based on their need. But we're not there, yet. Still, the tag is the best way to suggest these changes. We regularly review feature requests to guide us in future directions. The development of Stack Exchange is driven by these feature requests, so even if this doesn't get implemented in short order, it's always under consideration.

I encourage you to think about a feature request, either a specific one here or a broader one network-wide on Meta.SE. As a seasoned Meta.SE user I offer the following suggestions if you do this:

  • A change that benefits the whole network is more likely to be implemented than one that benefits only one site; that would be the reason to ask on Meta.SE. On the other hand, a change that harms other sites will get lots of negative feedback on Meta.SE. So think about scope first.

  • If you go to Meta.SE, think about how this would work across 150+ sites. Will per-site renames, or per-site redefinitions with the original names, confuse users? If so, how would you mitigate that?

  • In terms of user expectations, it's easier to modify something than to take it away. Outright removing this badge would cause people to lose silver badges they've already earned; that will make some people unhappy.

  • In terms of development, it's probably easier to disable something than to modify it. There is thus a tension between this point and the previous one.

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  • Thanks for a thoughtful answer. The particular badge I referenced is quite different from the ones mentioned in your answer. Even "Guru" only means 'one who leads others from darkness to light'. That is a positive Torah value. To be a necromancer is something forbidden from the written Torah. Perhaps a site exception would be appropriate. But executing that is above my pay grade. – Yaacov Deane Jan 22 '16 at 15:55
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    "Guru" seems to have originated with the Hindu religion, so while westerners might not see it as a religious term now, some have been concerned about that. Similarly, I think of "necromancer" as a fiction/gaming reference and it wouldn't occur to me to think anybody on Mi Yodeya is actually working dark magic, while to you the term is a concern. And I'd never heard the "crucial" case Isaac mentioned in a comment. Anyway, bottom line, if you're concerned about a term on these grounds, probably somebody else is concerned about others too, so I suggest not dismissing those concerns. – Monica Cellio Jan 22 '16 at 16:50
  • I'm not arguing with you. Strictly speaking, "Guru" is just a phrase in Sanskrit. Sanskrit was the early native language in India. It may have come from the children of Avraham and Keturah. The etymology is exactly as I explained it. See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru Concerning the term "Necromancer", even in the fiction/gaming context, it means what I have said. See the following link. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necromancy Something to consider... – Yaacov Deane Jan 22 '16 at 17:09
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    @YaacovDeane In the Stack Exchange context, though, it obviously does not mean what you have said. – Daniel Jan 24 '16 at 15:44

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