Just moving on from the sectarian affiliation question - should we encourage users to fill in their profiles with a few details about their own affiliation and practice. It may help new users understand where an answer is coming from if they can click through to a user a see this kind of information. Obviously it would be entirely up to the individual if they wanted to do it but we could maybe think of ways to give them a gentle nudge into filling in the profile with this kind of information.

I have to say my own profile is very unhelpful. It's a poem taught to Japanese school children as a way of memorising their alphabet (or the equivalent). I do like the poem though.

3 Answers 3


Yes! But no need to divide them in sects.

If one likes to make it most possible for everybody to answer and to have a good estimation of others without doing a fault, its good to encourage people in regard of: * age (matter of approach between lay people) * gender (matter of approach if uncritical answers of monastics are wished) * avatar picture (a matter of respect) * stage of practice (matter of approach and a matter of giving proper answers)

maybe if select-able: refuge, 5 sila, 8 sila, ascetic practice (Anagarika, 8 or 10 sila yogis), ordained, (date of ordination), higher ordination.

To encourage people not to use certain Avatar names is also good for more mindfulness and heedfullness. Maybe there are some foods for thoughts for your community here: Avatar and User placements

Of course no forcing is useful, but good reasonable explaining and invitation to walk a secure way.

You would also serve your fellows if you explain them the problem when wearing hats and encourage them to put it down when asking here or discussing.


Some Pros & Cons here in the comment thread:

Encouraging users to add a bit to their own profiles to identify the perspective from which they answer might be helpful as a way of addressing the issue being asked about in Overt Sectarian Affiliations.

I think asking people to tell us about their perspective might be more accurate than just throwing a label on an answer in the form of a comment or edit from another user; as this answer shows the nuances of perspective.

It's just something to consider as the site grows and more participants become active. I'm sure we all want our site to be helpful to newcomers to the site and newcomers to Buddhism. We do have different teachings within Buddhism and we do pretty well presenting the different views without animosity. But it's a valid point that while long time users will recognize User X as being from Tradition Y as per information they've given in prior answers, new users won't know that. And we want to be user friendly I think. :)

So just a suggestion as an option.

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    You are right - people do have complex viewpoints that aren't easily pigeonholed. Thiago has just filled in his profile and it's very informative. A good model perhaps Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 18:09

Should we encourage people to fill in their profiles?

Yes however no.

  • Yes, you might (or should) want to know about the teacher in order to understand the teaching.

    On the other hand I for example have tried to answer some newcomer questions (hoping that helps the newcomer, and makes it easier for the experts on the site to answer remaining expert-level questions) ... but I am not a teacher, and I cannot be counted on to represent a specific sect.

    Still apparently people do read the user profile, if you want to put something you find interesting there: e.g. Jayarava's profile has been viewed 103 times in its first 11 days.

  • No, because what matters is whether an answer helps you to "know for yourself".

    I also vote "no" because I don't very much like greeting people with a canned response. I don't know what you mean by "encouraging" but a boilerplate response to newcomers like ...

    Welcome to the site. We've put together this introduction to get you started, and for these reasons we encourage you fill in your profile with a few details about your own affiliation and practice.

    ... isn't a hearty welcome, it's (just) another (pointless) rule, another hoop to jump through, a way to pigeon-hole people.

    And, in the subset of Q&A topics where you think it's worth saying, there are other ways (other than the user profile) to convey that information (e.g. state in your own answer to the topic, that one answer represents a sectarian view and that your own answer represents a different sect's).

In summary it's not a bad idea in theory or ideally, perhaps it's a counsel of perfection (wouldn't it be nice if all the answers, or per this suggestion all the users, were neatly catalogued), but I fear it's more trouble (more alienating to current and future users) than it's worth.

we could maybe think of ways to give them a gentle nudge into filling in the profile with this kind of information

For example you could insert or append that nudge to the new user welcome page.

P.S. forgive me but I too like the poem in your profile.

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    I like your boiler plate; with a couple of tweaks. "Welcome to the site. We've put together this introduction to help you get started. Please consider adding a bit about your Buddhist perspective on your Profile Page. This is optional, but helpful, to introduce yourself to the community." Just a thought. :)
    – Robin111
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 20:23
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    That's more gently worded, yes.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 20:25
  • I think the new user page is good - but it's also established users that would be good to encourage. I'm very conscious though that not everyone has a straightforward viewpoint - i.e. I belong to sangha XXXX. We are after all a site about Buddhism not for Buddhists so I expect that many people will not identify with any formal Buddhist tradition at all. Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 18:12

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