Do we need, can we have, a topic which describes or summarizes the purpose and policies of this site?
Most people (including new users) don't seem to need one, i.e. they contribute questions and/or answers and there's no problem.
Occasionally there's a user who I, as a moderator, find slightly more problematic -- sometimes I feel like I have to keep telling them, well there's "this" rule, and there's "that" rule, and there's also the "other" rule ... and all the various rules aren't clear and in one place.
- There are rules in the Help about "Be nice" and about "comments" (how much to comment or not to comment), etc.; but there are many dozens of Help topics.
- And there were policies expounded in Meta, about what kinds of answers we do or don't want to see on this site, about how or even whether to express your disagreement with other answers (and/or with other schools), etc.; but there are nearly 300 Meta-topics.
We already have at least two proposed-faq meta-topics:
- Welcome to Buddhism.SE! is mostly positive and mostly about asking questions.
- Moderation policies for Questions is again mostly positive and entirely about questions.
Whereas this topic might be more negative or prohibitive
It may be that what I'm asking for in this topic is a larger number of negative prohibitions than of positive permissions. For example like there many prohitive 'rules' in a public swimming pool:
- What you can do: swim! and not swim.
- What you cannot do: spit, run, jump, fight, shoes, glass, etc.
I feel like I've written so much Meta-stuff already. Do I have to write more?
Can you say whether we need this topic, and if so what it should contain?
IMO some of the topic might be,
Not too many comments ... see e.g. Robin's summary,
And not having this back and forth "forum style" interaction is what makes this site special and different than other forums for some users. We seem to appreciate the neatness of simply providing an answer and leaving it at that as compared to being drawn into arguments via endless comments.
Answers may not need references but should have some foundation in Buddhism
Answers (not 'advice' instead of an answer)
Use Meta not the main site, when you want to discuss the site
Avoid being rude about 'other' schools of Buddhism