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The statement that homeschooling is bad for socialization or statements that would indicate this underlying assumption has been made in a few question and answer discussions on parentingSE. When responders have tried to correct this assumption, citations are crituqed, they are accused of not having anything to back up their statements, or their responses to correct the assumption are thought to be off topic. The SAME statements that indicate negative implications to socialization in home schools are NOT treated in the same manner by most members of the community. Apparently it is ok to indicate that homeschoolers do not get socialized while indicating the opposite is ok only if very specific guidelines are followed.

Is this a bias that might be unwelcoming to this community?

Here is an example that got down votes because it didn't have any citations. Even after adding citations, community members +1'd the comment that it was unfounded AND it got another down vote (the comment had 2 or 3 +1's and now has 5 and the question had two downvotes, I upvoted it which would mean it was only at -1 and it is now again at -2). https://parenting.stackexchange.com/a/1381/2876

Here is an example of a "snarky?" comment: "Here's a list. It seems our country is surprisingly (or is it unsurprising?) lax on regulations for home schooling education.uslegal.com/homeschooling/homeschooling-laws-by-state – DA01". This is not particularly offensive and is really just "snarky" causing me to have rolled my eyes - I even agree somewhat that in certain states regulations are pretty much nil. but it still includes unnecessary commentary that is snarky and negative. This one is found on my question regarding finding a reference for requirements in different states. Due to some sort of bug or slip, I have not been able to flag it and now the computer even says I +1'd it. I must have slipped as I clicked my mouse. In reality, it DOES contain a link that is useful, I'd really just rather see it edited (comments can't be edited though).

Here is an example of an ANSWER that has been upvoted despite its lack of citations to support the indicated and underlying claim that our schools actually socialize kids https://parenting.stackexchange.com/a/5394/2876. The answer suggests schools do socialize kids without a need for parent supplementation, while in homeschool socialization would need to be "supplemented" through its context even though it does not necessarily say this directly.

YES there are also some examples of accepted statements but not if you go so far as to dare to say home schoolers are typically BETTER socialized. Also, two/three of these examples are answers given by either former or current moderators which automatically (and perhaps, justifiably) gives them more credibility. I pointed out Hedge Mage's spectacular answer to this problem myself in another location (link in Beofett's answer). But one great example does not negate Many other instances, it simply moderates them. It does indicate that some one else out there is tired of this myth and dealing with it. It indicates there are others out there noticing the existence of the "myth" as considered believable by members of this community and shows one example of "education" to the contrary that was made successfully. I am very glad for this example, but is that ONE example and an old one no less. The example by a newer member I found, is no where near the top of the list of upvoted answers.

In the third example, (the one by Beofett which I believe he also includes a link to in his answer) the answer actually says nothing in response to the assumption that home schooling results in a greater likelihood of a child not getting enough socialization that can be directly read from the answer. The answer only includes the link, so unless a person looked at the link itself, one would never know which way the information goes. There were many OTHER aspects to the answer deserving of upvotes so I am skeptical that the upvotes were given in favor of this one link. This is fine and not problematic or a sign of a problem by itself, but I do not really see this as a good example to contradict the existence of a community bias.

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    Could you provide some links to where someone has said "homeschooling is bad for socialization"? I have seen people mention in questions that they were worried about this, and requesting more information, but I don't recall anyone outright claiming that it is bad. This doesn't mean it hasn't happened; just that I can't recall any specific instances of it. – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 13:31
  • The number of questions closed has nothing to do with how welcoming our community is to homeschooling. Stackexchange sites have a specific format. Incredibly broad, open-ended discussions are not a good fit for that format, for exactly the reasons you are citing here. The homeschooling proposal, were it to make beta, would have similar criteria for closing questions, and "let's discuss every possible education possibility" is, as you yourself said, broad enough that entire books could be written on specific facets of it, and would not be appropriate for a Homeschooling.se either. – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 13:47
  • I think you may be misremembering DA01's comment. It was: "not knocking home schooling at all...I just wouldn't put too much weight into that one citation. After all, at least in the US, home schooling can also lead to a very poor education foundation in a lot of states based on political or religious motives". I read this as very different than "many homes are that are using homeschooling for religious or political reasons result in little to no socialization or a good education foundation". – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 13:52
  • I'm not certain what you mean by saying I didn't flag the comments as offensive or lacking citations. They were deleted by a moderator. Flagging is to bring something to the attention of a moderator. I agreed the comments were not appropriate (and not just, as you claim, because there was too much back and forth). As for the "double standard"... again, his comments were deleted. How would it make any sense for me to ask him to back up his opinions if I deleted them? – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 13:54
  • let us continue this discussion in chat – balanced mama Jul 13 '12 at 13:57
  • Moderators can view deleted comments. Again, though, we are already in agreement that the comment discussion was not appropriate. It was removed. I'm not sure why it is still an ongoing issue. I'd be happy to participate in a chat to further discuss this. Incidentally, the only other homeschooling question closed was over a year ago, and was closed by HedgeMage, who, for rather obvious reasons, is clearly not demonstrating that "homeschooling questions aren't welcome". – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 14:00
  • Again, you say there's a double standard, but have not shown a single instance where such a double standard can be seen. I don't understand how a double standard could apply on voting and flags when flags are completely invisible to users, and the motivation behind downvotes (which are also invisible to you, since you can only see vote totals until you have 750 rep) is only available if the downvoter chooses to provide it in a comment. Even if they were visible to you, its an apples-to-oranges comparison to say that they aren't "held to the same standard" as comments. – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 17:10
  • Cont. - There is also a difference between the standards we hold questions and answers to, and comments. Since comments (once again) should not be used for discussion, it makes no sense to require that comments be backed by references. I really wish you would join us in chat to discuss this further, but you left each time without responding or commenting. – user420 Jul 13 '12 at 17:14
  • There is a double standard simply in your comments to me about how to fix that question when you did not comment to him how unreasonable he was being in not being satisfied with the changes I made. Additionally, this applies to statements on other questions where the opposite opinion is not required or requested to be backed up. – balanced mama Jul 22 '12 at 1:21
  • For the last time: comments are different from answers. If you're upset because I didn't ask DA01 to back his comments up with references, then you need to read the FAQ. If you still have questions about the difference between comments and answers, you can ask in chat (although "opening it up to chat" doesn't help if you leave without saying anything, and then never come back). If, instead, you're upset because I didn't chastise him for disagreeing with you, then you misunderstand the idea of moderating. Either way, your use of the term "double standard" is completely off base. – user420 Jul 22 '12 at 18:51
  • There is no further point in continuing this discussion here unless you can provide specific examples of what you consider problems. Repeated requests for you to do just that have resulted in nothing but blanket complaints. This is not productive. If you have something to actually contribute to the discussion, please do so. If not, take it to chat. Chat does not have to be in real time, so if you get interrupted you can always come back and respond later (even if the other participants left; we'll see it when we log in next). – user420 Jul 22 '12 at 19:02
  • Actually, I have quoted an example, but you think I'm quoting something else from memory. The quotations are from an ANSWER. I have also referenced other circumstances you claim are not relevant because they are comments or questions, however they still indicate the community bias. Just because answers are held to a different standard than questions and comments does not mean these two sources cannot indicate an existing belief or bias in the people making the question or comment. – balanced mama Jul 23 '12 at 3:10
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We've established a number of guidelines here in this meta to address soapboxing, disagreement with basic question premises, and the issue of general disagreement on general parenting techniques/methods.

If there any violations of these guidelines, they should be responded to in accordance to our policies (i.e. downvote, ignore, or flag, as appropriate).

These rules and policies are driven by the community. If the existing rules and guidelines don't cover situations that are an issue to our community, then bringing it here to our meta, as you did, is exactly the right approach. The goal should be come to a community consensus. However, in order to come to a community consensus about whether the bias you are describing exists, you will need to point to specific examples. As it is, I am not aware of any instances where statements that indicate "that homeschoolers do not get socialized" have been allowed, let alone in multiple questions and answers.

Again, if you can provide specific examples, we can address it, but every example you have cited seems to not support your claim. Your recent edit mentions "the answer" to this question. I'm not sure which answer you are referring to (the top answer certainly disputes the claim that there is a problem with socialization, and backs it with a reference). However, there is not one single response or comment in that entire page that supports any claim of negative impact of homeschooling on socialization. Rather, I count 2 citations (aside from your own) for sources demonstrating that socialization is not a problem inherent in homeschooling, and at least 4 separate answers advocating homeschooling as a good option.

This question does not claim that there are negative social impacts for homeschooling, nor do any of the answers. The highest voted answer (also the accepted answer) completely dismisses the idea of problems with socialization associated with homeschooling as absurd.

Looking at the other questions with the tag, I see absolutely no evidence of any bias other than in support of homeschooling as an option.

To address some of the other claims you make about community bias:

Your reference to the critiquing of the citations seems to be in response to this answer. In actuality, it wasn't the references that were critiqued, but rather the complete absence of any reference. As I mentioned to you in comments there, the answer itself doesn't even address the question, and rather focuses on one specific comment (that the OP was concerned about possible social implications of home schooling, which is not necessarily the same as worrying that it would result in their child being "undersocialized") that was tangential to the main question. The comment about lack of citations, and the downvotes, were made before you added any citations, so criticism of lack of citations was perfectly valid at the time those criticisms were made.

On Parenting.se, we expect all answers to be either backed up with references, or based off of experiences that happened to you personally. There is some leeway in this, but if someone claims that something is unscientific or false, it is expected that it be backed up with a good reference. This isn't an indication of doubt, but rather a desire to provide concrete and authoritative reference to demonstrate the high quality of our site's information.

Additionally, if there is ongoing discussion in comments, it should not be there. Comments are for clarifying a question or answer. Period. We allow some leeway there, as it is also helpful to help explain motivations for a vote (as this usually indirectly clarifies the question or answer), but, as a general policy, discussion in comments is liable to be deleted, and should instead occur in our chat system.

If you see something you feel should not be in comments, flag it. You've done this already, and I agreed with your flag, and removed the comments. The moderators are here to help prevent exactly the type of situations we're discussing, but this isn't something that can happen instantly. We need time, and participation from the community, to fix anything that is causing a problem.

The claim that negative statements about homeschooling are not held to the same standard as positive is not one I agree with.

Since this site was started, there have been 4 moderators. Our former moderator, HedgeMage, is, as you know, a strong proponent of Homeschooling. I am also a proponent of Homeschooling, although my son is not yet old enough to go to school (and we will likely put him through public school due to necessity). Torben has mentioned that he is simply not very familiar with the entire topic of Homeschooling, and I've never seen any indication of bias against it. I do not know Cabbey's personal position on homeschooling, but again, I have never seen any indication of bias one way or another.

If there are any instances that I missed where someone made an actual claim (as opposed to mentioning in a question that they were concerned about it, or asking about it) that Homeschooling has negative repercussions, and the claim is made without any references or context of personal experience, then it should be downvoted, or possibly even flagged for moderator attention. It may still be there as an oversight, but not because of some double standard.

However... if you are feeling that Homeschooling questions aren't welcomed by our community, then there is a problem that we need to fix.

We do not want anyone to feel that this community is unwelcoming.

But we need specific examples of where you think we are accepting of unwelcoming behavior. Comments that were moderated, however, don't fit into that category, since, by definition, they aren't being accepted.

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I would posit that in a community where acceptance of ideas is driven by community and there is an underlying belief or assumption (however incorrect) that is accepted by most of the community it is much harder to negate that underlying and incorrect belief. That is not a problem about which a whole lot can be done other than to better educate said community.

The crux of the "bias" problem mostly exists in the fact that if a questioner or commenter makes a naive statement that includes an assumption based on myth, it is generally considered off-topic to address the underlying - although incorrect assumption with anything more than a passing statement accompanied by other points regarding the question that the community can get on board with.

"Educating" about a topic that is only related but does not directly answer the original question is considered "soap boxing", "chatty" or "off-topic" even if it is to alleviate a concern mentioned in the question. How is a myth to be corrected or a bias rooted out if the policy continues to stand that most of these corrective kinds of comments are not acceptable?

I understand the policy under most circumstances as it provides a protection against on going argument where both parties go back and forth not really getting to the heart of the matter. However, what is one to do about such a problem because the policies in place don't really open up much opportunity to address the incorrect assumption?

The policies in place do allow a knowledgeable person to down-vote an inaccurate answer or an answer that contains such a bias with edits and comments briefly explaining the edit, but there is no real way to handle the other two types of pieces of information. Such statements do demonstrate the existence of the bias and compound the incorrect assumption (yes, even questions can contain information). Additionally, answers that demonstrate the answerer holds the mythological assumption are not held to the same standard as those that go against the grain of the community, therefore votes, flags and others can actually substantiate the incorrect information (more rare, but it has happned - see below for link).

Refusing to acknowledge comments and questions themselves as a part of the discussion and information that could indicate a bias is also a convenient way of ignoring its existence.

As I said before, overall I really like the way this community is structured. Despite a statement to the contrary I have not minded edits to my own work on most occasions and have made changes based on suggestions made through comments to improve my answers or make them better suited to the community (including situations regarding home schooling).

I feel that overall, this is a great resource.

I simply feel if you want to welcome more HS community in, it is important to ask, "Is there a way to address this bias (while still working in the system) that remains "on topic" and not "chatty" when comments, answers or questions include the underlying myth that socialization is a natural process of schooling and not of home schooling".

In a community driven environment such as this, should biases like this be looked for before inviting a group of people in who are likely to receive the negatives of the bias?

I wish I could feel welcomed in this community but when I find a recurring theme that is for lack of a better word - tiresome - to most of us in the HS community and can't even call attention to the inaccuracy of it without "editorializing" from a moderator no less, I just can't figure out how I - or others like me are supposed to feel welcome here, ask our questions without having to write an essay that includes links and citations as a preemtive measure or just expect to tolerate the same old, tiresome "concern" about socialization.

If I thought this forum was completely horrible, I wouldn't have bothered to bring it up and would have just moved on, but I'd like to use SE AND not feel like I can't ask questions or respond to questions when I see that I have information that could be useful to the community.

I finally had the chance to go through and find more of the examples and figure out how to link them - I do homeschool (yes, including in July) as well as nanny and keep up on a blog though I admit figuring this out sooner (despite the amount of time required as the comments were not necessarily easy for me to re-discover) would have been helpful.

Here is an example that got down votes because it didn't have any citations. Even after adding citations, community members +1'd the comment that it was unfounded AND it got another down vote (the comment had 2 or 3 +1's and now has 5 and the question had two downvotes, I upvoted it which would mean it was only at -1 and it is now again at -2). https://parenting.stackexchange.com/a/1381/2876

Here is an example of a "snarky?" comment: "Here's a list. It seems our country is surprisingly (or is it unsurprising?) lax on regulations for home schooling education.uslegal.com/homeschooling/homeschooling-laws-by-state – DA01". This is not particularly offensive and is really just "snarky" causing me to have rolled my eyes - I even agree somewhat that in certain states regulations are pretty much nil. but it still includes unnecessary commentary that is snarky and negative. This one is found on my question regarding finding a reference for requirements in different states. Due to some sort of bug or slip, I have not been able to flag it and now the computer even says I +1'd it. I must have slipped as I clicked my mouse. In reality, it DOES contain a link that is useful, I'd really just rather see it edited (comments can't be edited though).

Here is an example of an ANSWER that has been upvoted despite its lack of citations to support the indicated and underlying claim that our schools actually socialize kids https://parenting.stackexchange.com/a/5394/2876. The answer suggests schools do socialize kids without a need for parent supplementation, while in homeschool socialization would need to be "supplemented" through its context even though it does not necessarily say this directly.

YES there are also some examples of accepted statements but not if you go so far as to dare to say home schoolers are typically BETTER socialized. Also, two/three of these examples are answers given by either former or current moderators which automatically (and perhaps, justifiably) gives them more credibility. I pointed out Hedge Mage's spectacular answer to this problem myself in another location (link in Beofett's answer). But one great example does not negate Many other instances, it simply moderates them. It does indicate that some one else out there is tired of this myth and dealing with it. It indicates there are others out there noticing the existence of the "myth" as considered believable by members of this community and shows one example of "education" to the contrary that was made successfully. I am very glad for this example, but is that ONE example and an old one no less. The example by a newer member I found, is no where near the top of the list of upvoted answers.

In the third example, (the one by Beofett which I believe he also includes a link to in his answer) the answer actually says nothing in response to the assumption that home schooling results in a greater likelihood of a child not getting enough socialization that can be directly read from the answer. The answer only includes the link, so unless a person looked at the link itself, one would never know which way the information goes. There were many OTHER aspects to the answer deserving of upvotes so I am skeptical that the upvotes were given in favor of this one link. This is fine and not problematic or a sign of a problem by itself, but I do not really see this as a good example to contradict the existence of a community bias.

To clarify the statement that Beofett was exhibiting a bias (I made in another location) for Beofett's benefit, I believe his bias is in not being able to see a flaw in the system or the double standard that one side of the argument requires citation while the other is not asked for the same - he simply can't see the flaw because he loves SE too much to see it and is not experienced in having to listen to the results of this myth on what is probably a weekly basis in the real world. This lack of experience makes it really easy for him to overlook the problem. To back up my point that the double standard exists, I will again point to this example which was mistaken as a misquote in earlier commentary.

Most often, the statements are simply made of naivete and rather than down voting them, it actually seems kinder to find a way to educate and just not vote to me. In looking into finding the most egregious examples, I have discovered that the worst have all been made by ONE person alone, but there is only one example of those statements having been removed, edited or flagged by anyone other than myself in my knowledge. One example I cited, has even received an up-vote.

In the one instance where the comments were removed, the stated reason was not that they were inappropriate but that the question itself was too broad and EVERYTHING was removed. To clarify, I agreed the question should have been removed, as it was too broad and I STILL agree it should have been removed (even though it has been indicated by Beofett that I have said otherwise). I did attempt to indicate in comparing numbers of questions and the ratio of those that have been asked successfully to those that have been closed shows that the sheer lack of questions regarding home schooling and the lack of response (or the ill-informed responses) they get would certainly indicate a lower number of responders with the expertise to answer. That does not indicate bias either, but certainly a mismatch and makes me wonder if anything can be done to draw more of us in. It seems that a good way to do that is to begin the process of educating the community so they don't exhibit the same tiresome bias HS families encounter in the broader world anyway. If some one is here to ask a question about HS and they have to spend a bunch of time re-educating, the sit4e becomes a lot less efficient to use and you are likely to lose those members quickly.

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