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This is bugging me for a while, but I would like to raise the flag on a problem we have.

We should avoid having "Suggestive Rules", having suggestive rules is far more damageable that a suggestive question, because it lead to question that are controversy closed.

I noticed that those "Suggestive Rules" lead to user who lure the question author to jump through a series of hoops in order to have is question accepted by the community. Comment like, "if you [do something], your question will be acceptable". But since the rules are not clear, more that often it's a false hope that's just increase the frustration.

As Tony Meyer noted on the Are "recommend me" questions allowed there is currently a big confusion about this particular rule. We could edit the rules together, but we need ONE rulebook, the rule should be as clear as possible and easy to find.

I think the main issue we have right now is that we does not have any moderator nominated yet. Since some rules are still subject to interpretation, we need someone with the necessary authority for drawing the line between acceptable and unacceptable, even if it controversial, at least we should be coherent.

We need a referee, as soon as possible.

Here is our rulebook workbench

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A moderator only acts as an exception handler to a normal-running site: ideally he or she doesn't lay down the law. What SciFi.SE really needs, as you touched on, is a well-defined site identity that isn't defined in a dozen or so unresolved questions on meta.

We had a similar problem on Programmers.SE when we were defining our identity, and what we did was create one meta topic containing all the different types of questions that were being used on the site and voted on them. It allowed us to go through each issue in one place separately to figure out what Programmers.SE was going to be about.

I think it would be beneficial for SciFi.SE to do the same thing. This way, we can have one place to figure out what our FAQ should contain and subsequently have an authoritative reference that users and moderators can use.

Edit: I've created a new topic, What questions are on-topic, and what questions are off-topic?, to combine all the disparate questionable topics into one discussion.

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  • Good points, I agree that we should have one place to define what our FAQ should contain, but I'm not saying that moderators must "lay down the law". They have the authority to clarify it: In the article you linked, they "guide the community with gentle — but firm — intervention." and "leave frequent comments on posts [...], explaining the reasoning. This is important so that community members can learn the norms of the community and the moderation policies." Moderator are not normal user, When they said "if you [do something], your question will be acceptable", it's (should be) true. – DavRob60 Feb 17 '11 at 18:43
  • @DavRob60 the problem is any potential moderator won't know how to guide the community without the community first identifying its raison d'etre: it's why moderators pro tempore aren't appointed until some time after the site gets into beta. Moderators can help guide, but they first need guidelines. – user366 Feb 17 '11 at 18:49
  • OK, agreed. I will edit to reflect that. – DavRob60 Feb 17 '11 at 19:07

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