Who/what are the two witnesses in Revelation 11? asks for text-supported interpretation of an image in Revelation. The question has 7 upvotes and 4 favorites, which by this site's norms is significant. However, it has attracted (at this writing) four sub-zero-scored opinion-based answers where people make assertions about the imagery without supporting those interpretations in any way.1 It also has upvoted answers (including one at +9 and with a bounty), so it seems the question is answerable.

Our broadly-accepted policy says that these answers should be deleted (or edited, but the authors haven't done so and comments were left):

If a post is essentially an opinion-based argument or testimony, it doesn't fit and will need to be removed or edited.

It's clear that these answers need to be deleted. My question is about the question. Is there some wording change that would help deter these kinds of answers, or is Revelation just prone to this sort of thing (it being full of imagery) and we're likely to have this problem more on that tag than others?

I'm mainly asking what we should do about this question, but if there are things we should do differently for future questions too, either all of them or ones of specific types, please share.

1 -2, -2, -4, and one deleted. None have any upvotes.

I'll leave the discussion of what (if anything) should be done with the wording to the folks here on the site, but I would like to note that this is exactly the scenario that the "protect" feature exists to serve: if new users are solely and repeatedly posting poor answers to a given question, protect it and they'll have to contribute elsewhere before being given a chance. –  Shog9 Jan 8 at 0:36
True, protection would have prevented three of the four. We get bad (opinion-based) answers on lots of questions and I know we've protected a bunch after the fact. I'm hoping we can figure out some things that would prevent some of these from landing in the first place (we don't know which questions to protect until after it happens). –  Gone Quiet Jan 8 at 1:41
No one knows which quiet country roads are accident-prone until folks start dying in fiery wrecks... You try to proactively structure questions to encourage good answers (hence my deference to the folks here for wording suggestions), but sometimes the best you can do is install a four-way stop and some flashing lights before the next car gets t-boned. –  Shog9 Jan 8 at 1:44
@GoneQuiet,please could it be explained to me why the answer with 9 upvotes + an award of +50 has been given.It does not even come close to answering the Question. –  Bagpipes Jan 8 at 17:19
@Bagpipes you'll have to ask the author, voters (anonymous), or bounty-awarder. (I haven't voted on most of the answers on that question (including yours) because the subject is kind of esoteric and not my area of interest. I did vote on obviously-bad answers, though; you don't need to be an expert to spot problems sometimes.) –  Gone Quiet Jan 8 at 17:22
@Gone Quiet,thanks for that.I am sure you will agree,that it does look a bit "dodgy." –  Bagpipes Jan 8 at 17:28
I see a partial answer (the Gill stuff), but yeah, I don't know why that's +9 and bountied. The bounty was awarded by Jon Ericson. –  Gone Quiet Jan 8 at 17:35
@GoneQuiet,i have up-voted you as i feel your question is very important.Maby i have a suspicious mind,but it is not the first time that i have noticed certain individuals being awarded up-votes when i feel it is not deserved. –  Bagpipes Jan 8 at 18:41
Oh, there's definitely person-based (and dogma-based) voting, both on main and meta and in both directions, but what can you do? Votes are, by design, secret, and people can do what they want with them. It's actually more damaging on meta because that's where site direction is set. (e.g.) –  Gone Quiet Jan 8 at 18:56
Kazark's answer isn't the best one by any means, but I upvoted it because it gives its framework (partial preterist) and cites a commentary's position on the question. While the OP himself doesn't claim to 'have the answer,' he did cite someone who gives one and that is sufficient. I presume that when it was posted there probably were no other answers on the question. And @Bagpipes , I am also the one who upvoted your post, btw. –  Daи Jan 9 at 0:09
@Daи,I understand your view.The up-vote is appreciated.I am trying my best to improve the way i,"plate my answer." –  Bagpipes Jan 9 at 9:53
I have written stuff like "I only want answers that argue from the text itself and it's historical situation" when asking about the book of Revelation. What I meant by that was pretty much "follow the rules of this site". It's not great but I think that it sometimes is necessary for some kind of questions to state that clearly. –  Niclas Nilsson Jan 9 at 20:46
@NiclasNilsson is Revelation particularly susceptible to this problem? (It looks that way to me, but my view of it may be skewed by activity on this site.) If you think a reminder about site rules in all Rev questions would be a useful thing to do, I encourage you to propose it as an answer here. While the specific case has been dealt with and that was the primary purpose of the question, I did also invite answers about what we can do in the future to fight this problem earlier. –  Gone Quiet Jan 9 at 20:50
I think it's fair to say that of the New Testament, the Revelation in particular is going to get the widest variety of answers, as well as some of the least substantiated, simply because it's so difficult to interpret outside of a pre-existing theological lens. It's actually my favorite book in the NT, but on here I find myself less likely to answer the more 'difficult' questions about it simply because of the inherent difficulty in providing a good answer that isn't twenty paragraphs. IOW: good, succinct answers for the Revelation are hard to write. –  Mark Edward Jan 10 at 7:04
@Bagpipes I believe the bounty was offered in hopes of drawing other answers besides Kazark's, but by the time it needed to be awarded there were still no other answers and so Jon just assigned the bounty to him. –  Soldarnal Jan 10 at 21:27
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Questions regarding some texts is subject to bad answers, especially those focusing on apocalyptic texts. Often this could be foreseen and it might be a good idea to always add a note as an edit in those. I suggest that all new questions that is focusing on Revelation, parts of Daniel and other passages where it is easy to foresee bad answers have this note added:

This question is likely to attract answers based on dogma and/or speculation. New users to this site are highly encouraged to read about why we are different than other sites before answering.

This is a little different than adding protection to a question, because:

  1. The protection don't explain what kind of answers we are looking for. The link in this note do.
  2. To be honest, there are also people that have more than 10 points that answers without getting what this site is all about*1
  3. Even members that have lower scores than 3500 points (i.e. able to protect question) can suggest an edit and mods could fix it pretty quick.
  4. Someone that do have the right skills to answer an interesting question might be turned off by the fact that they cannot (yet) answer it and they just move away without contributing at all.

Prior art :-p

Actually, this kind of note (in simpler forms) is already present in some questions, because we instinctively feel this problem. Both Jon Ericsson and I have done this here and here. I would not be surprised if it is to be found in more questions as well. My suggestion is to have an unified note that also links to a text about what should constitute a good answer.

*1 To be even more honest, even high score contributors still debating details about what this site is all about.

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Some of the answers to that question were indeed very low quality or did not answer the question. I removed some of them for this reason. The question is fine as it is; matters of Christian eschatology will generally attract a lot of attention. Also, as Shog9 commented, the question has now been protected to ensure that only users with a certain reputation can answer in the future. I believe this is a sufficient resolution to this issue.

If Christian eschatology is a big attractor, do you think we should protect those right out of the gate? –  Gone Quiet Jan 8 at 1:42
On the beta site, any user with a reputation of at least 3,500 can protect posts, and I encourage you/them to do so if you/they see the need. –  Daи Jan 8 at 1:47
Understood. This subject is not my strong suit, which is why I asked for input. –  Gone Quiet Jan 8 at 2:16
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