I was curious about the community's opinions on the areas of knowledge where we are currently lacking. It seems to me that many questions are getting decent answers, and there are certain topics where questions are very likely to be answered well, given the current userbase. But there are other cases where good questions will go unanswered, or get a low-quality answer (I'm guilty of this too). So I wanted to get a sense of where our current blind spots are.

This question is about "known unknowns", the things we know we don't know. There are also "unknown unknowns", the things we don't know we don't know, because nobody's asking them in enough volume for us to diagnose a problem. I want to focus for now on the answers, and perhaps consider the scope of questions separately. Also, an obvious next step is "what do we do about it?", and that's a difficult one. At least, I think we should be aware of our known unknowns, so that we can be especially vigilant for quality when these topics come up. Ultimately, we want to attract people who can answer such questions.

I hope this will be taken in the intended spirit, which is not about shaming anyone but identifying areas for growth, given the questions that are currently being asked.

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We got a real expert on this question. I hope he sticks around. christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/9575/… –  fredsbend Mar 12 '13 at 23:29
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4 Answers

One of the areas that I've felt we are particularly lacking is good answers to questions from specific minority opinions/sects in Christianity. Specifically getting regular users/contributors from those sects to come and constructively participate.

The biggest one of these minorities is the Jehovah's Witnesses. For whatever reason (and this is a general observation rather than a highlighting of specific instances), when a Witness posts and answer it is almost always copied and pasted from one of their publications, it's not original writing of the author and it's rarely tailored to the question that has been asked.

We (the community and the moderators) have done everything short of beg these posters to edit their posts to fit our site's rules, or to continue to begin contributing in a constructive manner and basically all of our pleas have fallen on deaf ears, or the users are just merely drive by posters who never return.

We're here to serve all sects of Christianity and it's very hard to do so when we don't have good reliable contributors from minority sects. This is (naturally) a chicken and egg problem. We need folks from those groups asking good questions, and answering them, but they won't come and ask and answer if we don't have questions that will attract them. And the less of that stuff we have the more it looks like we only cater to the mainstream groups and (like most other things like this) marginalize the minority sects.

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I was going to say something similar, but my wording was 'more outlandish, less known opinions.' Your last paragraph sums it up though. We need to ask the questions. If leaving them unanswered for a month is necessary then so be it. Then we can feebly try to answer them ourselves. –  fredsbend Feb 21 '13 at 18:47
    
On a note about generally considered cults like JW. They tend to be a closed off people, only willing to say what they have been told to say. Maybe this site is asking too much of them? –  fredsbend Feb 21 '13 at 18:48
    
@fredsbend it doesn't have to be a member of the group, just an expert on them. However, a lot of these experts are internal.... –  wax eagle Feb 21 '13 at 18:53
    
If not a member, then what makes an expert? If this expert sounds in opposition to them they will surely say he does not represent them. Which shows the chicken and egg problem I see now. –  fredsbend Feb 21 '13 at 18:55
    
@fredsbend many outsiders are capable of taking a neutral, nuanced unbiased and academic approach, but yes, folks internal may not feel that an external voice represents them (I know for instance that Witnesses are not happy when ex-Witnesses speak authoritatively about their church). So yes, chicken and egg here :). –  wax eagle Feb 21 '13 at 21:32
    
One of the areas that I've felt we are particularly lacking is good answers to questions from specific minority opinions/sects in Christianity. Specifically getting regular users/contributors from those sects to come and constructively participate. I could tell you what that is, but I've explained it lots of times and no one cared, because TPTB are interested in using this site to suppress those very minority currents of Christianity. –  Steely Dan Mar 7 '13 at 20:56
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I think we lack pastoral care doctrines. What I mean is there is a whole section of Christian books under 'pastoral care' and standard beliefs about the process of helping standard problems, like drug addiction for example. There is a way to have Q and A to identify mainstream practices. I think the subject must insist on published works though as it easily slips into discussing personal problems rather than identifiable and published standard church practices. Because of this problem we currently avoid questions that seem to be about this subject like the plague.

I think a subject like this is more valuable then sectarian quirks as it affects more people. Not saying it would be easy to introduce or even if it is feasible, but definitely an expertise is missing here.

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We are bit lacking towards Eastern Orthodox Church and its doctrine. Off course, there are few good Orthodox experts like Dan O'Day, but this branch of Christianity is definitely underrepresented here. More difficult questions (like the one featured until yesterday) either get some answers after long time (and a bounty might be necessary), of poor quality, or both (my answer for the linked question was sent on the last day of the bounty and definitely isn't as good as was expected).

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I think we just need to buckle down and ask questions that we are uncomfortable with. Questions that we know exist in the world but we personally do not care or feel threatened by it or otherwise are disinterested. The feel threatened by is the big point, imo.

The existence of these questions in text on this site is the only thing that will bring the true experts in those fields.

We will have to be the ones to break the chicken-egg cycle.

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