Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

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zan
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Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by zan » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:28 pm

Would it be a good idea to have stickies containing the classical orthodox Theravada commentary tradition answers to hotly debated questions so that users that want to debate and share or learn new ideas may do so but ones that are simply seeking the orthodox answers can find them easily?

There are only a handful of these questions. Every time they are discussed things get confusing.

The commentary tradition has answers for most of the tough questions, and making the option to read them instead of asking a question (or search someone else's question) and wading through a sea of answers may be helpful for some users, and reduce the number of new topics about these questions.

For each hotly debated question a sticky could be opened that all users could post on but that were only posted after moderator approval and only if they met the requirement of containing an actual commentary tradition quote or quotes, with sources, and perhaps also Sutta and Abhidhamma quotes could be allowed, again with sources, that support the orthodox position. Once the question is answered, the topic could be closed and remain as a sticky.

This would also prevent at least some of the repeated topics about the same questions when asked by people who would be satisfied with the orthodox answers but do not know where to find them, do not have access to the commentaries, or do not know that these answers even exist.

This would be extremely helpful because the commentaries are not widely available and even when they are referenced within these topics the posts containing them are frequently difficult to find as they are mixed with the other posts and it can be hard to discern which is orthodox and which is not.

It would allow all of the accurate information to be placed together instead of all of it being spread out amongst many other answers and even spread among separate topics.

I am suggesting orthodox for the stickies simply because this is a Theravada forum and only the orthodox is in consensus about most issues and so these questions can be answered concisely, whereas non orthodox positions do not always agree and it would be nearly impossible to include all non-orthodox answers to any of these questions.

One question could be answered in a few posts using orthodox sources, whereas the same question would take hundreds of posts to cover all non-orthodox positions. And so it would be practical to have hotly debated questions stickies that provide orthodox answers.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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robertk
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Re: Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by robertk » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:56 am

sounds like a good idea. :anjali:

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Kim OHara
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Re: Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:52 am

In a perfect world it would work beautifully but we're dealing with human nature here.
One large group of the people asking these questions is made up of newbies who hardly know what such a thing as an orthodox answer might be. They could indeed be directed to a standard answer but they are then quite likely to ask "do we have to accept this just because it's in the suttas?" and "wtf is the abhi-whatsit?" so you still have a thread.
Another group, just as large, knows the orthodox position but really wants an answer that validates their own desired position - "just having the occasional drink but not to the point of heedlessness" is typical. :rolleye:
The third group wants to argue that the dhamma must evolve to adapt to modern western society so we need to change this rule and that doctrine.
Groups two and three will not be satisfied with a standard answer, so again, we still have a thread.
:thinking:

:meditate:

:juggling:

Having a set of standard answers, then, will head off some pointless discussion but far from all of it. It may also provide a really useful reference point for those patient people willing to debate groups two and three. As against those advantages, the answers will take some time and discussion to set up.
Omnibus threads like https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9229 are not, of course, as good but were initiated as an easier solution (for the mod team) to the ongoing problem.

:namaste:
Kim

zan
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Re: Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by zan » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:23 pm

robertk wrote:sounds like a good idea. :anjali:
Thanks!
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
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Re: Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by zan » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:50 pm

Kim OHara wrote:In a perfect world it would work beautifully but we're dealing with human nature here.
One large group of the people asking these questions is made up of newbies who hardly know what such a thing as an orthodox answer might be. They could indeed be directed to a standard answer but they are then quite likely to ask "do we have to accept this just because it's in the suttas?" and "wtf is the abhi-whatsit?" so you still have a thread.
The stickies could have a header explaining what "orthodox" is, what each source is and explain that other views are found and discussed everywhere but the orthodox is being presented here because it can be used to give simple and concise answers. That way they know what they are reading and that there are other options for interpretation.
Kim OHara wrote: Another group, just as large, knows the orthodox position but really wants an answer that validates their own desired position - "just having the occasional drink but not to the point of heedlessness" is typical. :rolleye:
The third group wants to argue that the dhamma must evolve to adapt to modern western society so we need to change this rule and that doctrine.
Groups two and three will not be satisfied with a standard answer, so again, we still have a thread.
:thinking:

:meditate:

:juggling:

Having a set of standard answers, then, will head off some pointless discussion but far from all of it. It may also provide a really useful reference point for those patient people willing to debate groups two and three. As against those advantages, the answers will take some time and discussion to set up.
Omnibus threads like https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9229 are not, of course, as good but were initiated as an easier solution (for the mod team) to the ongoing problem.

:namaste:
Kim
So for group one it would be really helpful and prevent a lot of repeated topics and as you said, will provide a reference for people.

As far as how long it would take to set up: I don't know about the time it would take to create the stickies themselves but the time it would take to have users fill them would be very short and limited only by whatever amount of time it would take whatever moderator would be so kind and patient to filter the posts. I believe I could write a post that would help to answer one or two questions in a few minutes of typing, in the form of quotes and references from the Visuddhimagga and Abhidhammattha Sangaha. This is because these questions are answered extremely well in these works and I already have the references laid out in a notebook that I have kept for my own study. My answers would undoubtedly be only partially complete and so I imagine there are others with access to the commentaries themselves, or more thorough knowledge of the works I have referenced, who would be able to do the same as I but provide even more information. Even their answers may be still slightly incomplete and so still others may post and perhaps some Sutta and Abhidhamma quotes and we would have a very complete answer sticky in no time :smile:.

With all posts being posted only after moderator approval the sticky would probably come along very efficiently and smoothly. Only quotes with references means no opinions or arguing and so the moderator would have a very easy time deciding what went in and what did not. If a post were not a quote from an orthodox source, with said source listed, that clearly answers the question, then it would be rejected.

No interpretation or discussion just:

Sticky Topic: "Question"

Reply: "Answer to said specific question in the form of orthodox quote or quotes with sources. No text surrounding it, no explanation, no opinions, just the quotes and sources." Approved.

Reply: "Anything else." Disapproved.

So the stickies could go up and would have wonderful posts from users that perfectly present the orthodox answer to questions within a few hours or days, a week at the most I would imagine. Maybe longer if the moderator wanted to let it stay open and wait for all users with a lot of knowledge to see it and give input in order to make sure all good information got in before it was closed to make the answer as comprehensive as possible.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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DNS
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Re: Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by DNS » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:54 pm

We have the Classical Theravada sub-forum here where in general posts are to remain within the Mahavihara, orthodox / classical Theravada view point, i.e., not modern interpretations, nor "Modern Theravada" views.

We have some very knowledgeable members here for the Classical views, including (but not limited to) Ven. Dhammanando, Ven. Pesala, and RobertK. Perhaps we could recruit (draft) them for the responses to the hot button questions?

zan
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Re: Stickies for hotly debated questions that have orthodox answers

Post by zan » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:56 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:We have the Classical Theravada sub-forum here where in general posts are to remain within the Mahavihara, orthodox / classical Theravada view point, i.e., not modern interpretations, nor "Modern Theravada" views.

We have some very knowledgeable members here for the Classical views, including (but not limited to) Ven. Dhammanando, Ven. Pesala, and RobertK. Perhaps we could recruit (draft) them for the responses to the hot button questions?
Apologies for the verbose and frankly rambling nature of this reply! Feel free to ignore it, I won't have my feelings hurt lol! I am just trying to share my idea so hopefully people will see the potential that I see in it.

The Classical Theravada sub forum is a wonderful thing and so many knowledgeable users post there. I love it and have learned so much thanks to the users there (not to mention all that I have learned in the other forums). However not all users are on all the time or post on every thread. So a topic may get the best of responses and then one six months later asking roughly the same thing by a different user may not.

Then there are users who post there and paraphrase or completely rephrase things, this can be helpful to be certain as sometimes the original language is difficult. Sometimes though it can be confusing to discern what is actually being said.

What I am suggesting would be a decisive compilation of strictly orthodox quotes only, with sources. One reason is to be a ready reference. Another reason is that it would allow all of these knowledgeable people to compile their knowledge on a single thread rather than it being spread out over many threads and interspersed with other posts, and inevitably getting lost in a sea of posts either by sinking below other threads or getting lost in a great thread, or both.

So, for the hotly debated questions, in addition to the current great threads that are amazing and good in their own right, which themselves are mass amounts of every possible view, including the orthodox, non-orthodox, quotes, paraphrases, rephrasings, and opinions (I have learned a lot from taking a dip in their waters!), and in addition to the random topics that pop up asking the same thing as the great threads (that sometimes get merged anyway) we would have one for each question with just quotes that clearly and decisively answer the questions, exhaustively if possible.

It would be a way to gather information quickly and efficiently that is directly from the sources for these hot questions and have it all in one place, where it will never sink down below hundreds of other posts. Not to mention that some have access to texts that most do not and if those users do not see a post and it sinks then the information never gets shared, or even if it does get shared it still sinks or can get surrounded by replies from other users that muddle it's meaning. This way they can share this rare and much needed information where it will be seen and stay put.

It also would be a burden off of some users who kindly and patiently answer the same questions over and over again. They could share their knowledge once and users could find it easily instead of creating new topics. Any users who overlook it but are clearly looking for it (as opposed to looking for discussion, new ideas or debate) could simply be pointed in the right direction. Like being directed to one page of a book instead of a bookshelf full of books (sticky instead of the great threads or search function).

If we drafted those mentioned in your post, and the others it implies, it would be done in a day, those users are all extremely knowledgeable!!! Without them, and others, I would know half of what I do about the complexities of the Dhamma and I am grateful to them and everyone who has patiently answered my posts!

I understand that the search function can be used to find sunken posts and this is helpful but does not prevent the fragmentary nature of the posts themselves nor the volume of them being an obstacle. For example if one wanted to know the commentary position on vegetarianism one could search some keywords and get some good posts but it would take some elbow grease to sift through them until one found the ones that have direct quotes from the commentaries decisively answering the question, with sources listed, amongst the hundreds of posts that are simply discussing the issue. Stickies would allow for immediate reference to exhaustively complete answers directly from the commentaries with support from the Suttas and Abhidhamma, with sources.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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