Over on Christianity.SE, I see the following:

  1. https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/33938/why-is-it-called-christianity#comment90597_33938

  2. Are there any differences between Protestant and Catholic theology concerning the distinction between demonic possession from mental illness?

I flagged the second of these two comments, because I felt that Meta.Christianity.SE would have been the correct place to engage in the debate; not the comments. Unfortunately, a moderator loudly declined my flag, stating that the practice is very acceptable.

So who's right? Should we use comments to debate if a question is on-topic?

  • 7
    Wouldn't this be better asked on Christianity Meta? I think the answer largely depends on each site's culture.
    – David Z
    Dec 5, 2014 at 8:12
  • 2
    @David Z: Does it though? Do we allow various SE sites to develop their own culture for things like this?
    – Jim G.
    Dec 5, 2014 at 8:13
  • 2
    To some extent, yeah, I think so. One site might be really strict about not having these discussions in comments, another site might be fine with them up to a certain number of comments, another site might just rely on its community to decide when to take the debate to meta. I don't know that there are strict general rules about it.
    – David Z
    Dec 5, 2014 at 8:15
  • The first one was a no-brainer... That doesn't need a discussion, or anything. Only extended discussions (like the 2nd) should be taken to chat / meta, but the "line in the sand" when this should happen is mostly drawn site-wise Dec 5, 2014 at 8:16
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    @JimG.: Yes, the site community determines what is on and what is off-topic. And some discussion in comments on a question about wether or not a post is too broad is normal on any Stack Exchange site, I'd say. Taking that to Meta is an option to be considered if the discussion turns .. meta, e.g. about the type of question in general. Dec 5, 2014 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


There's a spectrum with, at one end, a single comment pointing out a scope problem, and, at the other end, a 30-comment-long thread arguing whether a question is on-topic. I think we'd all agree that taking the former to meta would be overkill and continuing the latter right there in comments is going overboard.

Different sites tend to draw the line in different places. You should take this up on their meta.

Also, once a problem has been resolved (the post has been edited and reopened), remember to clean up those comments. If there've been several, a single custom flag on the post pointing out the obsolete thread is probably best.

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