Statement On Intellectual Neutrality and Forum Moderation



The Alim Foundation maintains as one of its fundamental principles the position of intellectual neutrality when moderating the community forum section of Alim.org. This means that the Foundation, as an organization and in its capacity as administrators of this website, does not endorse any specific opinion or viewpoint that may be the topic of discussion on the community forum, and moderates said forum in a manner that allows all viewpoints to be presented. “Community forum” refers specifically to the commenting that occurs by participants in the Quran and Sunnah section of Alim.org.

The Alim Foundation, through the medium of Alim.org, hopes to create an atmosphere of open and honest discussion pertaining to Islam and believes that intellectual neutrality in forum moderation is a vital component in doing so. Hence, the Foundation sees Alim.org as not simply a resource for people who are interested in learning about Islam and/or increasing their spirituality, but also a destination for people of varying backgrounds and conflicting opinions pertaining to Islam to come together and discuss their differences, present their ideas to the world, and have the ability to provide and receive feedback all without fear of being berated or maliciously labeled. To achieve this end, all opinions regardless of their political correctness according to prevailing sensibilities in any given part of the world are allowed to be voiced on the community forum. The Foundation will not intervene in conversations to weigh in on any particular viewpoint being presented since its responsibility is simply to provide and maintain the medium where the discussion takes place. It would hence leave the job of supporting or refuting opinions presented by participants to the community of users i.e. the other participants on the forum.

Notwithstanding, the Alim Foundation will moderate the community forum and has even provided users with a function to report comments as inappropriate and flag them for removal. This is necessary in order for the forum to remain a productive medium of discourse. Administrators of Alim.org will be diligent in ensuring that moderation of the forum does not result in silencing any viewpoint or giving an unfair advantage to a particular opinion or perspective. Comments that are subject to removal by admins are those which contain foul language, excessive or unconstructive criticism, are unintelligible or completely off topic. Hence all admins, whether they are members of the Alim Foundation or volunteers, will moderate the forum in a manner that does not violate the principle of intellectual neutrality.

It is important to note the difference between the community forum and the “Groups” forums. The former is the section at the bottom of every content page in the Quran and Sunnah section of this website where users can comment on the content of that page, reply to each other, and rate other comments. The “Groups” forums, are separate user-generated forums that can be created by any user. Content, membership and moderation of these forums are all managed by the users who create them and hence are not subject to the Alim Foundation’s position of intellectual neutrality.

Participants on the community forum are individuals who sign up with Alim.org to become users. Anyone can sign up and, once registered, is able to start posting on the community forum. Some users will have special user statuses (visible via a unique icon next to their avatar when they post or on their profile page) if they have a background in Islamic studies or research. Furthermore, authors of content that is featured in the Quran and Sunnah section of Alim.org will have special user statuses indicating they authored said content.

Regarding individuals with backgrounds in Islamic studies or research, their user status categories, and how they are verified please review our policy on Categorization of Special User Types for more information. The Alim Foundation does not restrict any individual from upgrading their user status in this fashion once it has verified the individual actually has the background stated. However, it is important to note that while the Foundation remains intellectually neutral, the Muslim scholars and researchers who are affiliated with Alim.org and participate on the community forum are not bound by this principle. They may expound their own views and opinions and, in this regard, are no different than any other user of the site.

Users on Alim.org will notice next to their icons when they post and on their profile pages that they are given a “reputation” ranking (coming soon!). Reputation is determined by how other participants on Alim.org rank the quality of a user’s participation on the site. Hence, the Alim Foundation does not control or influence the reputation rankings of users but simply implements and maintains the functionality behind it. The actual reputation rank is determined by the community of users.

The content of the Quran and Sunnah section of this website consists of primary and non-primary source texts. Primary source texts refers to the Qur’an and the books of ahadith. Non-primary refers to the rest of the content in this section such as tafsir / exegesis, sections on history / timelines, Fiqh, and more. Non-primary texts are authored by various individuals, some historical and some contemporary, and convey the opinions and views of their authors. In keeping with the principle of intellectual neutrality, the Alim Foundation does not endorse any views or opinions expressed in the non-primary texts on Alim.org. The purpose of making these available is simply to provide Islamic literature to help enrich the experience and usefulness of the site as well as provide more content for discussion. Towards this end, the Alim Foundation will continually add content from time to time whenever it becomes available and rights to host it are obtained.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that some members of the Alim Foundation may participate on the community forum and may also express their own opinions and views from time to time. In this way, they are acting in their capacity as individuals. This does not affect nor have any impact on the previously stated neutral stance adopted by the Alim Foundation neither as an entity nor in the manner in which this website is administered.

-The Alim Foundation
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