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It's a fact SE sites that are successful have many experts available to answer questions. Presently, experts are what Buddhism.SE sorely lacks. What can we do about this?

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    This question seems like a better priority than attracting new users in general, as has been advocated recently. Without proper knowledge to guide new users, they will be lost. – Erik Jul 7 at 12:06
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    There were many more experts contributing in the past, from different traditions. Some have become completely inactive or left the site. A rare few have disciplinary issues and become banned periodically. Many from older times return once in a while to make a few new posts. I missed the time when we have seen not just Theravadins, but also Chinese Mahayanists, Tibetan and Zen Buddhists posting questions and answers. Unlike StackOverflow, Buddhism.SE also competes with other sites like Dhammawheel / Dharmawheel and SuttaCentral. There are too many sites with too few experts spread across them. – ruben2020 Jul 7 at 15:23
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    This is suffering from text overload! Most of what is said here doesn't answer the question. Can we have some focus here? – Kumāra Bhikkhu Jul 8 at 4:25
  • @KumāraBhikkhu Would you care to share some suggestions of your own? – Erik Jul 8 at 8:34

10 Answers 10

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Some thoughts on this:

  1. Experts in Buddhism (at least Pali Buddhism) would be experts in the language of the texts (Pali) and may other forums questions and discussion on Buddhism goes hand in hand with that of the language of the texts. Even in universities in Sri Lanka, the Buddhist departments are named Pali and Buddhist Studies where the word Pali precedes Buddhist Studies as without knowledge of the language of the texts one cannot lean the doctrine properly. Forums which have attached experts allow Pali as they naturally discuss Pali along with the doctrine.
  2. Improvement of the quality of content also will lead to having experts participate. The content would be largely directly from Suttas or Suttānuloma and also from Atthakathā. Most of the content here are Attanomatika or personal interpretation and opinions and where Suttas are referred to what is discussed are the translated meaning of the English words than the original meaning in some cases. Experts may be put off in participating on a site with largely questionable content. So every participant would be encouraged to lean thoroughly from a formal source or authority then contribute what one has learned.
  3. Community members who ask questions are not experts themselves who vote and accept questionable answers which are well formulated and articulated than based on the correctness of the content provided. I am not sure if anything can be done about this than trying to get experts to participate in which case proper answers will get the deserving votes, still acceptance is up to the user and will be limited by their knowledge.
  4. Also, people voting for the sake of it can also be a problem as doctrinally wrong answers can get a lot of votes implying to a novice that this is correct. Also, voting should take into account other content from a particular user vetting it to be doctrinally correct otherwise their reputation may imply mastery of the doctrinal position or depth of practice.
  5. Not use certain terms in a derogatory sense which might put off experts in the area especially monks. E.g. hinayana - noun: a pejorative name given by the followers of Mahayana Buddhism to the more conservative schools of early Buddhism. The tradition died out in India, but it survived in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) as the Theravada school and was taken from there to other regions of SE Asia. (source:hinayana) when In 1950 the World Fellowship of Buddhists declared that the term Hīnayana should not be used when referring to any form of Buddhism existing today. (source: Hinayana).
  6. Content from all traditions should be equally welcome without trying to limit content on whatever pretext both intentionally or unintentionally (due to lack of knowledge). When moderating care should be taken not to alienate or lean toward any particular tradition (knowingly or unknowingly) especially in areas which different traditions subscribe to opposites or emphasize different aspects holding the other opinions to be controversial. If one lacks the knowledge to make an impartial decision I think it is best that one holdback. E.g. question on Jahana and Sukkha Vipassana should be equally welcome as Thai Forrest, Pa Auk and other Samathapubbangama vipassana schools emphasises Jhana practice and deemphasizes dry vipassana while Mahasi and other Sukkha Vipassana Schools deemphasizes Jhana and lean towards dry vipassana. Similarly use of noting and not using noting Mahasi and Goenka traditions.
  7. We should accept both Pali and Sanskrit tags on equal footing not to alienate or prefer one tradition over the other as Theravada practitioners will want to use the Pali tags and Mahayana practitioners will want to use the Sanskrit tags. The questions should have the tag added by the user. Inability to have the relevant (Pali) tags may put off some Theravada contributors who might be experts.
  8. Have more complicated or challenging questions. Experts may not be attached by mundane or simple questions. They will want something which is more challenging and stimulating. E.g. some sites have a challenge questions scheme:
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  • Are there specific current site policies which need to be changed to implement these suggestions? Your item #2 for example suggests that answers to a question about the meaning of a sutta must be based on Pali commentaries, and we should prohibit answers based on a user's personal interpretation of their reading of the suttas' English-language translations? – ChrisW Jul 7 at 9:13
  • Item #3 (and #4) suggests that people shouldn't be trusted to vote. Or perhaps that there should be another quality control mechanism -- e.g. deleting "questionable" answers -- to ensure they can't be upvoted. – ChrisW Jul 7 at 9:15
  • Re. your #6 I don't know enough to prefer one tradition or school of vipasanna over another! So I presume I "hold back" as you say a moderator should. Though I remember your being suspicious that a previous moderator belonged to one tradition rather than another -- even then I don't remember that affecting whether "content is welcome" and whether the moderation leans to one tradition (though the moderator as a user may have taught one more than another). – ChrisW Jul 7 at 9:24
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    I am not saying prohibit anything. #2 means base answers from the Tripitaka, if such an answer cannot be found then extrapolate from the Triptitaka failing which refer to commentaries failing which authoritative texts, failing which give one's opinion in and hierarchical fashion. Though I have not mentioned it above, if it ones opinion state that explicitly. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 7 at 10:26
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    #3 & #4 unless we have a larger user base with more experts votes are an unreliable indication. As votes signal acceptance of content, this might send a wrong message to experts, but there is nothing we can do about it other than trying to get more experts involved. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 7 at 10:37
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    @ruben2020 To be fair any question about the meaning of a specific Pali text is probably on-topic. What was once considered off-topic was a question about Pali ("how do I learn Pali?") unrelated to any specific doctrine. It was thought that the language as a subject isn't on-topic (though any use of the language might be) -- similarly this isn't a site where Chinese and Sanskrit (and so on) are on-topic. – ChrisW Jul 8 at 0:47
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    Pali is held at an esteem position by Theravada Buddhists and Pali is exclusively used to write Theravada texts. Same cannot be said about general Chinese and Sanskrit as these are not exclusive to writing Buddhism. Successful forums on allow Pali also. As for Chinese and Sanskrit dialects specifically and exclusively used to write Buddhist scripts should be on-topic also to be fair. Also, dharmawheel.net (Mahayana) does not have Chinese and Sanskrit but dhammawheel.com (Theravada) has Pali. discourse.suttacentral.net also allows Pali. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 4:23
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    Saying Pali is off-topic would sentimentally put off quite a few people. People who are proficient in Pali would be naturally experts in Buddhism also. So this would be put off many experts in chiming in. Theravada Buddhism is also called Pali Buddhism and in our country many university departments are named Pali and Buddhist Studies with Pali appearing 1st. Removing Pali being off-topic will remove at least one factor which put off in joining and contributing. Pali being off-topic will be poking people in an area they might be sentimental in. ... – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 4:33
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    ... This evident as many past Theradadian participants didn't take it well also and also left the site. When making decisions like this one must pay attention to peoples sentiment, culture and value systems. Afterall Buddhism has a cultural and quasi Religious side also. Otherwise, we cannot hope to attract new participants if we keep rubbing them the wrong way. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 5:22
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    Another instance when a monk came to the site his 1st Pali question was also closed (but later reopened after you made it related Buddhism). But he did not participate afterwards. I think Pali should be on-topic to accommodate potential experts. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 9:12
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    I guess there's already an SE site for Chinese language. Do you think that Sanskrit should be on-topic too? Sinhala and Thai, Tibetan and so on? – ChrisW Jul 8 at 9:31
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    Everyone is welcome to vote here -- Proposal: Pali should be on-topic – ChrisW Jul 8 at 11:42
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    Looking at the current synonyms, which English words would you like the site to use instead of anatman (no-self I suppose?), sutras, nirvana, karma, samatha? And you'd want to use alms instead of dana, craving instead of tanha, dependent-origination instead of pratityasamutpada? And do you want to replace (with English) other Pali tags, like dukkha, which don't currently have synonyms? – ChrisW Jul 8 at 12:28
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    As the site changes pali tags for sanskit i.e. sutta is auto changed to sutra etc., the site is unfriendly to Theravadin, EBT, or let-me-speak-in-words-I--have-chosen experts. Increasingly, this seems a sectarian preference for Mahayana. To attract experts across sectarian lines, reduce these discouragemments, and educate people as to why diversity is cultural rather than an aspiration. – Metta2All Jul 18 at 12:00
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    It is sometimes the little things like this which go a long way either for the better or worse. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 19 at 11:28
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As well as "being attractive" there's "not being off-putting".

I always imagined that seeing people arguing on the main site, or being argued with, would be off-putting to experts, and that's one of the reasons why it's my job as moderator to prevent and/or delete that.

I'm mindful of something a Pacifist (a young Quaker) told me when I was young,

I'll discuss anything with anyone -- but as soon as it turns into an argument, I walk away.

I kind of get that impression from Ven. Yuttadhammo's parting words,

Personally, I haven't the time for or interest in debating Buddhism on the Internet

and,

What I was looking for here was a place where I could answer specific questions about topics on which I was somewhat of an expert, under the assumption that I (or anyone) could provide the single right answer to the question as a resource for Buddhists searching for answers online, without having to deal with (much) controversy or opinion.

So it's been my (not always successful) intent to shield people who answer from controversy, to limit the number and tone of comments.

Simultaneously (and perhaps at odds with the above) I think Yuttadhammo also suggested we exercise stricter quality control over content:

  • I also don't have the time for or interest in answering questions about meditation practice in a broad public forum

    suggests that some questions which are currently allowed should be off-topics (our moderation policy for questions is unusually permissive compared with other SE sites)

  • answers based on personal opinion are acceptable

    suggests there should be more quality control on answers too, and that perhaps a site policy like What about providing sources? should be reversed (and/or some other mechanism for the moderators or community to police answers.

Given that he doesn't have time or interest to answer all questions, that's a reason why I've tried to answer so many questions myself. I try to answer some of the questions with a reference, I figure if any expert also wants to post a better answer that would be welcome, otherwise at least the OP gets some answer, and the users who are relatively experts might be free (i.e. had the time) to answer question that I couldn't.

And so I've been a prolific poster though I'm relatively novice.


Anyway I see my job here as being to provide a hygienic, sheltered, orderly environment in which people can post -- with a minimum of "rules" they need to learn, and a minimum chance that their post (questions or answers) will be criticised -- because I think that's the kind of policy and moderation that the community asked for (the majority of people expressing their views on Meta when the site started).

Some SE sites are a bit exclusive. Stack Overflow is for any programming question, but some people find it hostile (their questions are easily closed), it's mostly for professional or professional-level programmers.

Mathematics.SE says it's "for people studying mathematics at any level and professionals", there's a separate site (MathOverflow) for "research-level mathematics".

Our policies are unlike those of other religion sites on SE too, which forbid "pastoral" questions.

It would be slightly counter-intuitive tome to imagine that changing our policies to increase quality -- to forbid more types of question and to criticise or delete more types of answer -- would make this site more "attractive" (to experts) or "popular" (to users in general).

Anyway you might want to criticise or give me feedback on:

  • The policies we defined -- see the topics
  • The way in which I moderate -- whether I have a right balance between permissive, advisory, and prohibitive
  • The way in which I post -- given that I'm a prolific user I hope I'm not "part of the problem" and doing more harm than good here (and a reason for the "sore lack of experts")
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  • objectively evaluatory,cf judgementally categorised: Seems to be largely excellent moderation: fair, thoughtful, calm, receptive to information, evenhanded, knowledgeable, consideration for information preservation, eclectic analysis re eclectic topics & contexts, diplomatic, straightforward, noncondescending, considered, polite, good English skills, appreciates & demonstrates The True Spirit of Buddhism, helpful, reluctant to trash people, helpfully guides, appreciation of context, unselfish, attention to detail, respectful, overall perhaps singularly beneficial to site, instructive, kindly,+ – M H Jul 17 at 10:22
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I see little good coming out of the scoring system, as it is counter to pretty much everything buddhism stands for. I wonder if that puts potential new users with a background as serious practicioners off from participating. (I should add that i understand that the scorings comes with the SE territory.)

I wish i could give you a clearcut answer, but unfortunately i only have more questions like yours.

However, reading old answers to questions gives me the impression that the forum was more prolific historically. If this is true, it is a clue to learn from.

Sometimes the current forum culture reminds me of my university years, where students - in my opinion - had way too much saying about the contents of the curriculum and/or literature.

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  • I know of no way to remove the "scoring system" except by moving to another site -- on Discourse for example you can "like" a post but not dislike it, a users' "score" isn't so obviously displayed everywhere, etc. – ChrisW Jul 7 at 13:03
  • Plus IMO this isn't a place with a set curriculum. For students it's more like a place where they can help each other with their homework, and/or ask question even if they don't have access to any formal/regular education, kind of unlike a university. I'm not sure that my Dad for example (who was a history professor) would have been very interested in participating much on History.SE -- not that there's anything wrong with that site, but he already knew 100s of people whom he could teach or conference with or write and review books or papers for. – ChrisW Jul 7 at 13:13
  • I've no idea who is involved (who the regular users are) on History.SE -- students and graduate students maybe, possibly some professors and amateurs? – ChrisW Jul 7 at 13:14
  • @ChrisW Thanks for sharing. To clarify: i understand that the scoring is an essential part of SE, and that one has to accept it to participate. My parable to university shouldn't be read literally, but i do believe that Buddhas dhamma is comparable to a set curriculum to a certain degree. I also believe that the university parable has several other implications as well, but maybe i digress. Regardless, your association to your dad's sentiment could be a clue for answering the original question. Those with substantial knowledge are possibly occupied elsewhere. – Erik Jul 7 at 13:35
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    Those with substantial knowledge are possibly occupied elsewhere. I expect so. What do you think of this and this by the way, what do you think that implies? – ChrisW Jul 7 at 13:46
  • Some people use a series of unregistered accounts which avoids their accumulating rep -- so that's not completely impossible e.g. if they figure that vinaya requires it -- but is a bit inconvenient e.g. because they can't edit their own posts and so on, can't comment or chat or post on Meta, and we can't even search for their previous posts (across multiple accounts). – ChrisW Jul 7 at 14:04
  • Regarding the links you asked about, i think they imply a lot of things. I don't have much more to write than that. – Erik Jul 7 at 14:46
  • Perhaps Ven Yuttadhammo hoped the site might be more like MathOverflow than Mathematics.SE -- i.e. only by and for experts. – ChrisW Jul 7 at 17:35
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Thank you for everyone's interest in this. I've not read everything written here, but scanning through gave me a better sense why Bud.SE has been having trouble taking off.

What can we do to attract experts?

  1. THE TERRAIN This is the most important factor. Let Bud.SE be as SE sites are meant to be: a Q&A site. Don't turn it into a forum about Buddhism. (Experts don't want to waste their time with free-flow discussion.)
  2. ACTIVELY INVITE EXPERTS Don't be eager to answer question. It's better to let the questioner wait, than to give a poor answer. Use the "share" link. Email experts if you know them personally. Go to websites where you know they are found and place the question and the link in the right places.

That's all and that's a lot.

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    To be clear, are there examples on the main site where it has being turned into a forum and not a Q&A site? I ask because I think we know that theory (i.e. that SE is for Q&A and not a discussion forum); but have we been failing to implement or moderate that in practice, if so may I see some example[s] of what you're referring to? – ChrisW Jul 10 at 9:58
  • I'm not saying it's epidemic, but it happens enough where "answers" aren't answers, but side opinions (which should be comments, if at all). There's also assertion of that (as an "answer" and other comments) in my first self-answer effort. – Kumāra Bhikkhu Jul 10 at 10:04
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    I see yes, you're right -- a lot of those answers are quite tangential on the main part of the question. – ChrisW Jul 10 at 10:10
  • @ChrisW Here's a job for the Moderators! – Kumāra Bhikkhu Jul 10 at 10:19
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    Tangential answers are not too unusual (and not forbidden) e.g. on SO -- if another answer already says 80% of what can and needs to be said, and if you have something to add, you might add that as an additional answer, and that's assumed to be potentially relevant to readers (and the OP) interested in the topic. Unfortunately in this case many of those additional answers addressed the bit of your question where you said that people are "teaching" on the site, which might be splitting a hair and a relatively uninteresting meta-topic. But you're right, maybe we should be stricter about answers. – ChrisW Jul 10 at 10:25
  • What kind of question would you like to answer? Re. invitations, Lanka would obviously (because he put a bounty on it) like an expert answer to this question: How to deal with our aversions & judgements? I'm not sure it's an "expert" question but perhaps an "important" one -- so, may I invite you to answer it. – ChrisW Jul 15 at 11:31
  • Maybe a reason it can seem more discussional is because different Branches of Buddhism may have very different replies to certain types of questions. And another: there may be simply mediocre answers which are helpful & are intended to be helpful, yet leave things out. – M H Jul 17 at 9:47
  • "Don't be eager to answer question. It's better to let the questioner wait, than to give a poor answer." - I think anyone is free to attempt an answer to a question. Whether it's a good answer or poor answer can be evaluated by votes. – ruben2020 Jul 21 at 6:06
  • @ruben2020 I thought this comment, from when the site started, was a fair summary. And IMO the only possible remedy for a "poor answer" is to attempt a better one, given there's no mechanism for deleting "poor" answers. Still I gather from this answer (and Ven. Yuttadhammo's last meta-post) that experts like they don't want their answers to be "lost in the noise" -- but I don't know how to fully accommodate/implement that (except to some extent e.g. try to moderate anything hostile). – ChrisW Jul 21 at 12:36
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I assume it must be important to improve the quality of questions, in any way possible.

I recommend for example this description of 'a good question' -- perhaps a question which "shows research effort" etc.

This site's Moderation policies for Questions is exceptionally lenient (permissive) of any "low quality" in a question, for the sake of being Welcoming to new users.

I usually upvote any question that's on-topic, which I think is worth answering and/or which I hope someone else should answer.

I propose we begin to consider holding at least the regular/established users to a higher standard -- and vote down (or even vote to close) their question if it's "unclear" or "shows no research effort" -- i.e. if it isn't asked well.

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  • perhaps questions/ answers are sometimes deliberately more generally phrased in order to include a broader range of meanings – M H Jul 17 at 11:21
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    All the most popular (upvoted) questions that I've asked (see here) have been quite long, including references to what I didn't understand – ChrisW Jul 17 at 11:46
  • Your link is much appreciated, and the question list! Thank you! – M H Jul 17 at 12:09
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The interest to encourage new participants with knowledgeability re Buddhism at this site is a reasonable, and people with knowledgeability/ expertness re Buddhism would be expected to be ordinarily present within a typical group of persons looking up a Buddhism website! So encouraging new & continuing participation on the site for All people will result in a larger pool of text analysis scholars as well! So, encouraging new & encouraging continuing participation by everyone, & avoiding discouraging things, is sensible & would result in more new participation & more continuing particpation by everyone, including knowedgeable/ expert people!

*It may be good to continue to be, as some put it 'more lenient' cf some other sites: Buddhism is broad subject with thousands of specific analytic topics, existential aspects, & tangible topics. Buddhism is a broad philosphical/religion area generally based on participation, honesty, helpfulness, generosity, & kindliness, and so to be presented in the same format developed for some other sites. Persons(including Buddhists) tend to perceive Buddhism as being associated with kindliness, so if they see something which to them seems contrary to that, they may consider it unappropriate. And the more that persons might be familiar with The Teachings of The Buddha, the more they might notice both obvious & subtle aspects of a site.

*The site seems somewhat directed to speakers of English: so encourage having the English used be more usual English usage. For example, maybe stating what an 'expert' is being defined/considered as could be helpful. The term expert re Buddhism is considered by many here to be a person who has studied/ studies Buddhist books and is knowledgeable regarding Buddhist texts & lists of texts. That might confuse some persons, since they might construe a Buddhism expert to imply unusually scholarly Monks/Nuns, Abbots, Masters etc.

*Encourage/ allow having scholarly questions indicate at their outsets their textual analytical nature by having a specific relevant Name/ word in the Title, (maybe even in actual Pali etc), before presenting most of the text of the question. That could make it easier to notice questions of more technical/ analytical content, as well as make it easier to notice less analytic questions: more efficient for everyone.

*Scholarly analysis of Buddhism texts can be very helpful, and is one of many aspects of Buddhism. When most people(including knowledgeable experts)see sites named Buddhism, they might tend to expect a broader site than only textual analysis, which is comparatively specialised. Also, posts dont seem to currently contain much Sanskrit/ Pali/ Etc text, which terms & text can be useful(& many persons' PCs can support the character sets to some extent), since Romanisations can be ambiguous for the same actual terms. And pronunciation of Romanised material can be misleading, especially if exact Branches & Texts aren't cited. And some links seems divergent from the material theyre listed as references for, and if new participants encounter that, they may be less inclined to continue.

*Some things, which if observed, might be unencouraging/ offputting of participation re a Buddhism site, maybe moreso the more knowledgeable re Buddhism the oberver, such as:

+aspects of the format of the site: the scoring listings etc is part of the basic featuring of the site. But perceptive persons would likely notice & appreciate how this site is operated evenly & nicely wrt all users! (eg, this site might be operated less like a mathematics or programming site: Buddhism q&a isnot the same as, eg, what does 1+1 equal in a standard Decimal System, so instead of deleting anything other than 2, in Buddhism, there could be correct aspects to several different answers!) And if something is actually Incorrect, then maybe suggest something gently in a comment: And knowledgeable/expert people will notice such things, even if that q&a hasn't anything to do with them directly.

+re extensive replies which are interesting & correct yet would seem likely to be nonunderstable by the Asker, or are out of context re the context of the question: leave the answers up if theyre nice & well intended

+avoid automatic favouritism to high scores: yes, listing scores is apparently part of the structure, but may discourage new participation, especially if seen as such

+avoid automatic disfavouritism to low scores: eg, please dont shoo them away because they arenot deemed worth paying attention to: experts/knowledgeable persons observing that might be unencouraged by that & other such barriers to participation. Buddhism isnot like an arcade game where certain sets of scores need to be arrived at & then all of a sudden scores for the same thing are multiplied by a hundred or a thousand: the accounts are largely nonfunctional & languish until they accrue a certain number of points. Simply the listing of scores may tend to bias impression(which may be intended), yet new contributors will be encouraged if they observe that contributions from people of all score levels are appreciated & respected.

*Be encouraging and nice to everyone! Nicer for everyone, and will encourage sincere study of material which guides such kindness and helpfulness.

*Synopsise text, & reply in helpful ways to people sincerely asking asking for advice (a kindly example of this is a helpful comment below from a Participant who is clearly knowledeable re Buddhist texts)

*Continue gentle editing etc of all answers & questions, which encourages participation from people with technical knowledge to reply to perhaps mundane questions; kindly steering questions, & answers which may seem sort of tangential to reply to a specific question is encouraging. And seeing such atmosphere may encourage everyone, including new technically knowledgeable participants!

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    An "expert" can be Ganthadhura and/or Vipassanādhura. Ganthadhura - "The Duty of Study necessitates gaining a knowledge of the Word of the Buddha in a manner conformable to one’s understanding, the mastery of one or two Nikāyas, or indeed of the whole Tipiṭaka, bearing it in mind, reciting it, teaching it." Vipassanādhura - "On the other hand the Duty of Contemplation, which leads to Arahatship, involves frugal living, satisfaction with a remote lodging, fixing firmly in one’s mind the idea of decay and death, and the development of Spiritual Insight by persistent effort." – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 5:54
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    In my uneducated personal opinion/understanding, "expert" is relative -- "anyone more expert than me is expert" would be one definition. If you are an expert then "my peers and colleagues" might be another definition. – ChrisW Jul 8 at 16:21
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    I think you're saying you'd prefer to see Pali written in a non-Roman script (character set)? All the translated Pali I see anywhere is in a Roman script (with extra accents) for example Ariyasāvako saddho hoti – ChrisW Jul 8 at 16:35
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    yes, excellent points, as long as persons are kindly & helpfully replying and part of it isnt literally uncorrect(re something very fundamental eg The Noble Eightfold Path etc) & hence literally misleading, then thats good, and if something is uncorrect then can gently guide to correctness! the essential aspect to try reply understandably to Askers' questions & share The Teachings of The Buddha! Thank You – M H Jul 8 at 16:44
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    Pali does not have a written script so the local script is mapped the Pali alphabet. The following might be of interest Pali Rosetta Stone – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 16:48
  • Yes, & संस्कृतम् , though looking now, online texts currently seem obscure or unavailable in character format (so guess that idea isnt so helpful); & the very nice link to the Romanised Pali Text will be helpful for developing smoother pronunciation reading Romanised Pali! Thank You for the nice comments & links! – M H Jul 8 at 18:28
  • & Yes, អក្សរខ្មែរ seems easier to read than Romanised Pali, & the Older includes several characters used especially in Buddhist texts, but it isnt as widespread outside of Asia, so mightnt be very immediately helpful for many persons likely to be viewing this site. Thank you – M H Jul 9 at 7:57
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To create a new question from this

As suggested by Suminda, I think a weekly or fortnightly topic challenge might be interesting, though I'm not sure how much participation would be generated.

This question shows a good example.

Topics can be like:

  • Parents and children
  • Brahmaviharas
  • Speech
  • Emptiness
  • Riddles #1
  • Mindfulness
  • Nationbuilding
  • Life of the Buddha
  • Similes #1
  • Monastic order and lay people
  • Enlightenment
  • Impermanence
  • Buddhist traditions
  • Intention
  • Health
  • Parables and anecdotes #1
  • Happiness
  • One sentence teachings
  • Daily life
  • Five Aggregates
  • Similes #2
  • History of Buddhism
  • Finance, business and economics
  • Samatha and jhanas
  • Food
  • Riddles #2
  • Three Poisons
  • Humour
  • Social discrimination e.g. racism, sexism
  • Actions
  • Anatta
  • Charity
  • Time
  • Parables and anecdotes #2
  • Dependent Origination
  • Renunciation
  • Desire
  • Teacher and student
  • Precepts
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  • Good topic list. Maybe best to spin off a new thread with these topics on "weekly or fortnightly topic challenge". – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 10 at 11:08
  • @SumindaSirinathS.Dharmasena OK. Will do. – ruben2020 Jul 10 at 14:13
  • @ruben2020 Turning this into a typical Buddhist website? – Kumāra Bhikkhu Jul 14 at 6:37
  • @KumāraBhikkhu Bhante, No. Please see this page. The idea is to stimulate question generation using the topic challenge. But so far, nobody is interested except Suminda. – ruben2020 Jul 14 at 7:08
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Experts are busy people. If you want to attract them, you need to welcome them as you would any busy person.

Metta.

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I doubt it's going to happen, unless we drop the pretence we know what we're talking about.

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    You doubt what's going to happen? – ChrisW Jul 13 at 20:38
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    that we\'ll attract many experts @ChrisW it's possible, but i doubt it will happen – sorta_buddhist Jul 13 at 20:50
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    I don't think that answers the question exactly. Perhaps you can connect the dots and phrase it as a constructive answer, e.g. "I propose that we improve X and/or fix problem Y by trying to do Z". – ChrisW Jul 13 at 20:58
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Maybe send a swift messenger to some Venerables saying; 'Come Venerable Sir, you too can be moderated by a Perfectly Enlightened Householder whose coming was foretold!'

If that doesn't get them lining up you can mention the free of charge training in tolerating abuse by Dhammadhatu.

If that still doesn't get them excited you can tell them about the prospect of seemingly endless & futile complaining about the policy & moderation on meta.

If you want to keep experts then you have to realize thar you can't bargain with them, you give them whatever it is they ask or keep building a community without.

I would suggest finding people you want to recruit and ask what that particular person wants and then proceed to give them exactly that hoping that is sufficient and that they will be kept satisfied, otherwise you can just be without as there are really no alternatives.

You just don't have any leverage to negotiate with one who is independent of the learning place. Any real expert can easily make a youtube channel if they really want to teach or just teach irl.

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  • To be clear, this is a reference to Andrei's profile message -- I take it you don't like the profile message, and/or something about his moderation. The second paragraph is to the effect that that one of the users has been "abusive" and difficult to tolerate (and presumably insufficiently "moderated" by the moderators). – ChrisW Jul 7 at 23:25
  • Sometimes for example here Samana Johann suggested we shouldn't have people like me as moderators -- that instead there should be "Elders from traditional countries invited to advise". – ChrisW Jul 7 at 23:30
  • Well, if you think Theravadin experts will subject themselves to being moderated & at times at the very least arguably wrongly censored by a perfectly enlightened Vajrayanist, good luck with that. – MAGA2020 Jul 7 at 23:35
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    My job as moderator isn't to assess people's attainments -- and I assume nobody who has read my posts mistakes me for a subject matter expert (except only I must sometimes judge "What's considered 'Buddhism' and what isn't?", to close a few questions or answers which are "off-topic"). It's to advise new users of site policies, to minimise (or you say "censor") content which disparages other users (that's an SE policy) and other sects (that's a site-specific policy the community here seemed to be asking for), and even to keep an eye on (understand and/or discuss) other moderators' actions. – ChrisW Jul 8 at 0:02
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    I personally really like to come here and post an answer without having to worry about it being deleted or downvoted for no good reason. That's really discouraging and annoying. Furthermore i don't like spending so much time discussing policy, i really just want to answer people's questions without being harrassed and censored. Too much to ask for apparently. – MAGA2020 Jul 8 at 0:07
  • When you say "question of compartmentalization of knowledge & expression" I'm not sure what you mean -- but I imagine it's a reference to this again -- Can Andrei stop deleting perfectly reasonable answers? -- that's the only instance I know of. Five answers (one of them yours) were deleted from that topic because they were trying to explain Maths ("infinity") not Buddhism. – ChrisW Jul 8 at 0:08
  • It happened to me once too many times. I don't like other people being censored for no good reason neither, just because they choose to use mathematical expressions as long as they are supposedly on point what do you care. I hope this stops but i don't care too much either way. Luckily i don't feel like i need this community but it sucks for those who appreciate my answers and that's on the mods. – MAGA2020 Jul 8 at 0:21
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    Well, the issue about Andrei profile message is that claiming enlightenment in Theravada is taboo. Also in Theravada, there cannot be an enlightened householder as one has to become ordained as a monk within 7 days of enlightenment or one will perish. Andrei is not Theravadain and has a different belief system. So there is nothing to get too upset about it. Lay people moderating monks is problematic, but there are no monks in the moderation team to deal with other monks. If moderating is kept to a minimal where absolutely necessary, especially with monks, then this will be less of a problem. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Jul 8 at 5:13
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    This answer is indeed rude @Chris.W. This answer criticised Andrei on the basis of what he wrote in his profile, which is unfair. Andrei can write whatever he wants in his profile. It is none of anybody's business. – Sriram Goutam P Jul 8 at 7:29
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    This is a sarcastic rant on the site and hence unhelpful. This answer doesn't provide any specific methods to improve this site. – Sriram Goutam P Jul 8 at 7:34
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    @SriramGoutamP Welcome to Meta, and I do agree with you; but also think that any criticism of moderators' action may potentially/ theoretically improve the site or the users' experience, and is better discussed with the user in public (i.e. with the community) and not simply deleted by a moderator, so on principle I'm reluctant to delete this. IMO a worse-case scenario would be moderators being (perceived as) abusive and also deleting any and all criticism of themselves. That said I might also be a bit too tolerant of moderators (who are also users of this site) being criticised personally. – ChrisW Jul 8 at 7:48
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    @ChrisW I don't think you are getting my point. Criticizing moderators is ok if one provides valid examples of abuse of power. The guy who answered this did not provide any proof or instance like that. He did not provide any reason why he doesn't like the moderator. He doesn't seem to like his profile, and this is not a good argument. Also I don't remember DD using any abusive or curse words. Yes, he violates the rules of the site by straightforwardly telling that others views are wrong. Calling that as an abuse is a stretch. – Sriram Goutam P Jul 8 at 7:52
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    @SriramGoutamP Apparently Ruslan is principally complaining about this incident, where Andrei deleted one of Ruslan's answers, and that's what Ruslan was referring to when he said that "you too can be moderated by [Andrei]". – ChrisW Jul 8 at 8:04
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    @SriramGoutamP If you don't see DD being very abusive that is unfortunately because I sometimes censor (edit or delete) what DD writes. I'm glad to hear that what you read on the site (i.e. which I haven't deleted) might be tolerable and not too abusive. If I remember rightly, DD was especially rude to Ruslan once, and perhaps Ruslan has never forgotten that (and may have had other problems with DD that I am not aware of). Again I read this as a criticism of moderation for not having done more to stop that (see also this meta-topic). – ChrisW Jul 8 at 8:12
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    I don't care if you choose to remove it and i would do it for you if not for other's having invested time in commenting. I just didn't care to write a lengthy answer and choose this sarcastic form to make my point in a few words. – MAGA2020 Jul 8 at 8:32

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