I am using my own answer in this question because it was easy to pick on my own issues than others (I'm trying to make a point, not go on a witch hunt). While I think good answers will also follow this, they could stand without doing so.
For instance, allow me to critique my own answer. In my last paragraph of the 'Grammar' section of my response, I wrote:
ἦρκεν (he has taken up/set aside) is a perfect active indicative verb, and thus our record of debt ("certificate of indebtedness") has indeed come to be set aside (or taken away).
I added emphasis on the word that illustrates the issue. I wrote in first person: 'our.' But Paul didn't write this letter to me or to the readers of this website (not to mention that this also assumes the reader is a Christian). He wrote it to Christians in first-century Colossae, a small Phrygian city.
Since I consider myself to be a Christian, I believe that I can rightly apply this text to myself. However, to do so is going beyond describing the text itself and prescribing it to a contemporary audience. I could easily defend this assertion by arguing that Paul is writing to Christians about topics that are applicable beyond the first century, but this site is not Christian. A Jewish or other non-Christian reader would not believe that this passage is talking about him/her. By using first person plural language, I am alienating this reader and subtly imposing my prescription of the text upon him or her.
From a scholarly perspective and from a site scope perspective, the question I answered is about the language in a specific text that was written to a particular audience at a fixed time in history. Applying the text to my readers is uncalled for and does not add to the answer. This is subtle, but it is also very important—and it happens all the time on this site.
Using first person plural language when referencing the audiences of ancient texts moves from describing the text itself to prescribing norms that are expressed as binding on readers and therefore imposes this application upon the reader.
Here is another example to clarify this, it was given on another meta question so I'll use it here:
- Does Hebrews 6:4-6 imply that we can lose our salvation? There is an inherent imposition upon the reader of an assumption in this question, namely that the epistle of Hebrews is applicable to the reader today, who is presumably a Christian. Scholars don't agree on the audience of this text aside from (mostly) agreeing that it was written to Christians in the first century CE. But to apply it to your readers shifts the question from being being descriptive to being prescriptive (s/he is also assuming the reader is a Christian by the use of a first person plural pronoun). It could be reworded like so: "Does Hebrews 6:4-6 imply that the recipients could lose their salvation?"
Is the prescription of a given text to people beyond the text's author's original intended audience undesirable? I believe it is.