So this gem from the Christianity site is currently being displayed on HNQ:

I'm not one to try to prevent religious people from discussing ... whatever they want, amongst themselves.

But can we at least not promote the rejection of the identities of 2 groups of people for how they were born, across the entire Stack Exchange network? Especially given that those identities are affirmed by science, and supported by Stack Exchange, as far as I know.

Maybe religion isn't the best candidate for HNQ?

If someone were to make a similar claim to "the sin of homosexuality" outside of religion, that would certainly be in clear violation of the code of conduct, and it would likely get downvoted into oblivion and deleted long before mods have to deal with it. Bigotry shouldn't be given a free pass just because it's part of religion.

Edit: maybe it would be sufficiently respectful and considerate to change the title to:

According to Catholic teaching, is it acceptable for a priest to approve of homosexuality and affirm transgender identity?

The current phrasing takes it as given that homosexuality is sin, and suggests that even approving of it may be sinful.

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    Have you tried... just flagging it for HNQ removal? I'm not familiar with Christianity.SE or their guidelines on what they think is/isn't fit for HNQ, but perhaps a flag with an explanation of how badly this may reflect on them as a site is all it takes...
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Feb 8 at 15:38
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    Sounds like a perfectly valid question. It isn't promoting rejection, it is questioning it.
    – Chenmunka
    Feb 8 at 15:55
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    @Chenmunka It doesn't question whether homosexuality is sin, it seems to take as a given to ask a tangential question.
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 8 at 16:48
  • "Maybe religion isn't the best candidate for HNQ?" Are you asking for religious sites to be removed from HNQ altogether?
    – Mast
    Feb 8 at 19:05
  • @Mast It's a question for discussion.
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 8 at 19:22
  • 1
    Already been discussed: Remove <religion>.SE sites from Hot Network Questions Feb 9 at 7:01

3 Answers 3


It seems like a valid question to me.

According to Catholic teaching, is a priest who denies the sin of homosexuality and affirms transgender identity a heretic or a dissenter?

It is simply asking an official viewpoint on a particular Christian denomination, in this case the Catholic Church. Asking the Catholic Church’s position on a particular position or sin seems like a valid question.

Others do not have to accept the teaching of Catholicism, but the question asks simply for the Catholic perspective on this.

I do not believe that any bigotry is intended in this post at all.

As Chenmunka pointed out in his comment: Sounds like a perfectly valid question. It isn't promoting rejection, it is questioning it.

The title of the question has now slightly modified: According to Catholic teaching, what is the status of a priest who does not agree with the Church's stated teachings on homosexuality and gender?

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    Mind that one could consider the question’s current phrasing slightly biased as “denies the sin of homosexuality” implies that homosexuality is a sin. So I wouldn’t call it “perfect”; but it’s close. Also, I wouldn’t read any intent into it; in fact at least in the question and answers I cannot find anything that allows to deduce the opinion of the author. (Ironically, this does not apply to many other questions that make it into the HNQs.)
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 8 at 16:30
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    @Wrzlprmft The whole question title is prefaced with "According to Catholic teaching,". I read the whole title in light of that preface.
    – starball
    Feb 9 at 8:12
  • @user: That would be my default assumption as well, but I can see why somebody would read it differently. As I said, I assume no intent here.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 9 at 8:49

It seems the post has been removed from hot network questions now, so no, it wasn't a good candidate for the HNQ list.

Being a moderator on a site that once got kicked entirely out of HNQ after an angry tweet about the inappropriateness of some of the titles shown, I first want to say I disagree with judging entire sites (religion) on a few titles/posts that are (I agree with that) not good candidates to be shown to people not looking for "that kind of stuff". There are plenty of questions that are appropriate to be shown from the religion sites, so I still think 'religion' is as much a good candidate for HNQ as any site.

The thing is, moderators still only have retroactive tools. We can only remove things once they've already become a problem. We still can't prevent them by excluding them from the hot network questions lists during the 8-hour cooldown period before they're even eligible to be there (with the exception of some hacky stuff that not all mods know off or would be knowing how to do). Instead of banning entire sites/topics like religion from HNQ, the tools need improving so that questions like this can stay on the sites they're on.

Whether the question itself should be allowed on Christianity.SE or deleted for violating the CoC is probably a discussion that needs to be had on Christianity.SE's meta, not here.

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    "We still can't prevent them by excluding them from the hot network questions lists during the 8-hour cooldown period before they're even eligible to be there." it's technically possible, but needs a quick hack. Feb 8 at 15:59
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    @MetaAndrewT. That looks a bit more complicated than I would expect the average mod to be able to a.) know b.) figure out or c.) actually do :P
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Feb 8 at 16:00
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    I don't expect the (presumably all Christian) mods to agree that the question violates the CoC, given that this is fairly representative of the beliefs of many Christians, and 2 mods even contributed to that Q&A. Does the same CoC apply network-wide? If so, there is definitely a network-wide discussion to be had about the intersection of religious discussion and bigotry.
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 8 at 16:04
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    @NotThatGuy Eh. I think that's making mountains out of molehills. If you rephrase things like 'is a priest who denies the catholic position that homosexuality is a sin' that already solves the whole bigotry problem. Unless you think any mention of the fact that there are people out there that hold those beliefs is bigotry. But really, I'm not familiar enough with Christianity.SE, which is why I said to go discuss this particular post there if you want to. There's probably no need to have a bunch of 'outsiders' weigh in on how bad their site is for just having an unfortunate title on the HNQ.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Feb 8 at 16:10
  • @Tinkeringbell You can't really solve the bigotry problem by just adding "the position of {group of people} is" before some bigoted statement. That would make it way too easy to avoid bigotry. Of course if you say that and then criticise that position, that wouldn't be bigotry, but that isn't what that question or answers are doing (except for one answer, partially). I'd have a hard time coming up with an appropriate title, given that this is so core to what the question is asking.
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 8 at 16:22
  • If they deem it to be an "unfortunate title" or unfortunate question to have on HNQ, and commit to dealing with similar issues in future, that may be an adequate resolution to the issue. But the reason I asked here is because I very strongly doubt they would see the problem with it (but maybe you're right that I should've given them the opportunity to decline my flag first ... although one of their mods literally just posted an answer here saying they think it's fine).
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 8 at 16:46
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    @NotThatGuy and another mod just edited the title of that post and did a freaking awesome job of it too. So I still say that flagging or maybe even a meta post on their site (if a flag doesn't give enough characters) would've had a pretty good enough chance of succeeding, and it really was just an unfortunately phrased post. I think you could've even made the edit yourself instead of posting your comment yesterday, instead of waiting for it to become a problem on HNQ! Sometimes it's okay to edit posts to keep the good and get rid of the bad, don't hesitate to do that too much.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Feb 8 at 16:50
  • @Tinkeringbell Even on the sites where I contribute(d) most, it usually feels like people actively push back against improvements to site quality that go beyond fixing spelling errors, never mind when I was told I'm essentially no longer allowed to contribute to my most active site due to a change in site policy, and my issues with the Christianity site and its mods go far beyond that. So trying to submit an edit to fix a controversial thing there is not exactly my first impulse, but maybe I'll try that if the situation arises again in future (it was already on HNQ when I left my comment).
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 9 at 0:28

Sometimes the religious sites have questions asked which invite that the correct answer should go against what is expected by our code of conduct.

I won't make a complete list of questions and sites, but here is one site which has triggered Charcoal flags previously:

Using an SEDE query we see that Muslim.SE had 117 HNQs, and none removed. Christianity.SE had 746 HNQs, 50 removed, just 6.7%.

"Bigotry shouldn't be given a free pass just because it's part of religion.".

It is the right of one belief versus the right of another belief, the freedom of speech, and the right of polite discussion; to ask a question framed by the beliefs of the site's users.

If you think it would be better that it isn't a Hot Network Question it's up to you to flag it for the moderators, otherwise they must discover the question themselves and decide if they should impose censorship without anyone requesting it.

That's a question for the site's meta.

"... maybe it would be sufficiently respectful and considerate to change the title ..."

You can edit, and it can be rejected.

"The current phrasing takes it as given that homosexuality is sin, and suggests that even approving of it may be sinful.".

Different religions have different beliefs and different tolerances for variance from their teachings. Asking that they change their beliefs is a question to be asked on their meta.

  • Did Islam being a beta site longer affect its HNQ'ness in the past? (might want to run that query for just the last 3 years) Feb 8 at 17:14
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  • I couldn't care much less how individual sites phrase their questions, in as far as they remain isolated within their site. But they do need to play nice with others if they want to go outside of that, which would consist of either making their questions suitable for HNQ or not being included in HNQ. It shouldn't be up to the discretion of the mods of individual sites to decide how much offence is appropriate for them to cause to others.
    – NotThatGuy
    Feb 8 at 17:46
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    @NotThatGuy, that is true: Sites make the asking of such questions a license for leniency; beyond what is usually acceptable. Much like the recommendation sites allow promotion of products. - It's not an ideal situation. This question, tagged as a discussion, is one place to offer the opinion; that we should take more control. --- Questions and answers don't "remain isolated within their site" and are available on the main network search and the search engines.
    – Rob
    Feb 9 at 0:00

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