Last night some folks were talking in Bam about assembling a Mi Yodeya haggadah or haggadah supplement, drawing from questions and answers here. We are commanded to ask questions and learn at the seder, and we've got questions! Users of the haggadah/supplement could use whatever subset they wanted at their sedarim, which both adds something new and spreads knowledge of Mi Yodeya.

If you think this is a good idea, up-vote this question; if you think it's not, down-vote it.

Please use answers here to post any and all ideas about this project. Make sure to specify only one suggestion/idea per post, and know that it's ok to repost a slight variation of someone else's idea. Please vote and comment on suggestions to indicate agreement and disagreement.

If the community seems to be in favor we will open a second question to collect proposals for specific questions to include.

PS: In the meantime, please continue to ask lots of good questions for potential use in the haggadah. Try and ask things you have seen asked or can imagine being asked at your seder.

As a by-the-way, I've purchased a couple of books (and a calendar) published through Lulu, and they're physically well made. Decently printed; properly bound. –  TRiG Mar 6 '13 at 3:06

13 Answers 13

This Pesach is coming very soon. I think that doing everything necessary to publish a polished volume would be very difficult to do in time. And even if it could be somehow completed, there's a danger that in rushing it, we'd have to sacrifice quality, which would be a shame in a product we're hoping to introduce ourselves with. However, assembing decently (not perfectly) edited content in time and releasing it electronically does seem doable. So, I propose a two-stage project:

  1. Curate and edit content for a quickly-released, format-light Hagada supplement, in the form of a .pdf and in the order of the Seder. Get this out by Pesach this year. See the "call for submission" posts here on meta. Deadline March 18.

  2. Use this content as a first draft for the original-content part of a real, live, bound Hagada, to be released in time for Hagada-buying season next year. We could potentially even shop it around to real publishers.

I wonder if we ever really want to do more than a pdf. Invariably, we will have more content on any subsequent year. Do you think we should physically publish a new edition every year? –  Double AA Mar 6 '13 at 3:25
@DoubleAA, That's not inconceivable, though a somewhat lesser frequency would probably work better. A published book would really put us on the map. Another possibility: One published book, with annual supplements beli-nedered therein and published here electronically annually - get them to keep coming back! –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 3:34
+1, though bullet point #2 may well be aiming too high. –  msh210 Mar 6 '13 at 4:23

The license on all of SE's content says that we can remix it into whatever we want, and even sell the product, as long as we attribute properly. Consistent with this (and of course with Queen Esther), the hagada should say who originally wrote each question and each answer as well as possibly who made major contributions, and it should include as footnotes or endnotes URLs for all questions included.

Users who work on the hagada project itself should also be credited for that, though in one big masthead/credits for the work rather than on a per-question basis.


The publication should contain an introduction and/or words of torah from Mi Yodeya's patriarch.

:) Do we really want to start naming names already? Here are some other people of whom we could say the same: mods, top users, Joel Spolsky, R' Gil Student. –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 2:52
@IsaacMoses, I was just going to do the one, who is in a special class. :-) Seriously, when we get to choosing questions and answers I expect many of our top users to be represented, and I encourage you to add a "solicit contributions from friends of the site" answer if you like. –  Monica Cellio Mar 6 '13 at 2:57

Some of the work might involve effort that is not onsite or can't be done through meta posts. I don't know if/what this may entail. If you are interested in potentially putting in some time to help (and agree to let a mod email you at your registered email address for this purpose), then please volunteer by leaving a comment on this post saying so and deleting it. (I do this so no one feels peer pressure to volunteer because 'everyone else is'.) If you have special abilities that you think might be relevant (experience in copy editing, design etc.) or special requests about how/when to be contacted, put that in the to-be-deleted comment.


Yes, @DoubleAA (suggested in chat), there should be some representation of toward the end.

I'm not sure exactly how high it should go. Perhaps 49? Also, it's possible that it should start where the canonical song leaves off, with 14.

I suggest that each number should get the one answer that's most likely to be interesting to the print reader (which may not be the same as what got the most upvotes or the acceptance). Bonus points if the whole thing can be set to the rhyme and meter of a song.

I suspect that including the mi-yodeya-series may confuse some people who haven't seen the site, making them think (based on its name and the m-y questions) that it's devoted to m-y questions. Other than that, good idea. –  msh210 Mar 6 '13 at 19:21
@msh210, the placement of this in the hagada would seem to indicate that it's literally an afterthought compared to the more meaty Q&A (each of which points back to locations here) in the rest of the volume, wouldn't it? –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 19:35
Good point, yeah. –  msh210 Mar 6 '13 at 22:23

While we should aim for light-weight and minimal formatting for anything we do this year due to time, we can still use this as a way to promote Mi Yodeya:

  1. Ask SE if Jin could design a nice cover page for us. Attractive art will entice people to look within.

  2. Include somewhere (inside cover? last page?) a pitch for the site.

I think that the pitch for the site should be in the introduction, explaining where the concept and content for this volume came from. –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 3:59
It might be necessary to get SE's blessing to use the MY logo at all, with or without Jin's help, since it probably belongs to SE as a trademark. And I think it would be great to use the logo. –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 4:03
@IsaacMoses you can certainly use the Mi Yodeya logo for this. –  Jin Mar 6 '13 at 17:42
@Jin, thanks! [15 char] –  Monica Cellio Mar 6 '13 at 18:18

In the spirit of Mi Yodeya, SE, and the Hagada, perhaps all of our content, including any introduction, should be in the form of Q&A, and with the questions being as well-formed and -motivated as possible, not just one-line titles with question marks at the end. Having questions like this, I think, would set the volume apart from other Hagadot on the market that have plenty of Q&A, but much less focus on well-formed questions, per se. People should feel that they've gotten their money's worth after reading some of the particularly good questions.

Beware though that we want it to be usable at the seder. Not everyone at a seder wants to, for instance, spend more time understanding the question than the answer. –  Double AA Mar 6 '13 at 3:25
@DoubleAA, some hagadot are better for use at the table, some are better for perusal before and after, and some are in between. Where this would fall on that spectrum is a decision to make. Still, a well-written question should be of immediate value, too, and doesn't have to be huge. –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 3:38

For collecting and editing questions, I suggest a series of Meta questions, each of which solicits content for a particular section of the Hagada, with Magid broken up into sub-sections. They would each link back to a central post that catalogs them all and also provides a template and guidelines for answers.

Answers should be adaptations of one MY question and at least one answer for print, with print-worthy writing, consistent language and quotation conventions, hyperlinks converted into footnotes or removed, etc. (all to be described in the guidelines).

We can all edit these collaboratively, but at the end of the day, someone's still going to have to pull them all into a single document and do final edits.

Related: –  Monica Cellio Mar 6 '13 at 17:21

Proposed style guidelines:

  • Hebrew/Aramaic words and quotations may be in either Hebrew characters (vowelized preferred but not required) or transliterated, according to the transliteration scheme of your (or the original poster's) choice. Transliteration should be used mainly for words or phrases (as opposed to long quotations) and should be italicized. Either way, a translation into English should be included and set off clearly as such unless the word is commonly used in English discourse. If the original post doesn't live up to the jargon guideline, fix that here (and feel free to fix it there, too!).

  • Citations should use a full name of the cited work, using the (reasonable) translation or transliteration of your choice. E.g. "Exodus" "Shemos" and "Sh'mot" are all fine, but not "Ex."

  • If the original post doesn't live up to the quotation guideline, fix that here (and feel free to fix it there, too!).

  • All English should comply with standard English grammar and spelling.

  • Try to preserve the original poster's tone and voice (within the bounds of appropriateness!).

(Feel free to edit this list.)

The italicization-of-transliterations guideline isn't being followed, for the most part, it seems. –  msh210 Mar 18 '13 at 2:37
As a general rule, transliterations should be italicised unless they have become naturalised into the language. Now, exactly what counts as naturalised is a judgement call, and, of course, it may depend on your audience. A Jewish audience may accept certain Hebrew terms as naturalised into English which a broader audience might not. –  TRiG Feb 11 at 19:53

Reviewing Submissions

Per this answer, post adaptations of questions/answers on meta (launch coming soon). We need to decide what counts as the community agreeing that a submission should go into the book. I think we should take a light approach here; assuming the original question wasn't closed for a "bad" reason and somebody cared enough to write it up, it should probably make it in unless there's a real problem.

So I propose:

  • A submission with at least one up-vote (and no down-votes) is accepted. More votes will be considered a sign of increased support but aren't strictly necessary.

  • A submission with any down-votes will be discussed (in comments and/or linked chat) to identify and try to resolve the issue.

  • Notwithstanding the above, the people actually doing the work of assembling the book get to make final decisions.

I think that within your final point, the redactors should reserve the right to limit the length of the volume and of individual sections thereof even if it means not including worthy submissions. There's always next year ... –  Isaac Moses Mar 7 '13 at 21:35

I think we could probably stock an entire Hagada quite full with content adapted straight from Mi Yodeya Q&A.

Besides the obvious , below are some other tags that may contain relevant content. You'll note that I'm casting a wide net, which is intentional. If a Q&A is high-quality and interesting enough, it could be well worth including even if it's only somewhat related to the Hagada element at hand.

The problem with some of these is there is no obvious place to put them in the Haggadah. –  Double AA Mar 6 '13 at 3:24
selling-mechirat-chametz? –  Double AA Mar 6 '13 at 3:26
@DoubleAA, most hagadot have that printed at the beginning –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 3:29
Have what printed at the beginning? A shtar mechira? I've never seen that. –  Double AA Mar 6 '13 at 3:29
@DoubleAA I mean, Bedika. –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 3:31
I'm still not so sure this is useful right now. We will solicit for questions to actually include later. –  Double AA Mar 6 '13 at 3:38
@DoubleAA There's a conceptual point here: Cast a wide-ish net. –  Isaac Moses Mar 6 '13 at 3:39

Title/tagline idea:

Hagada - Mi Yodeya?

Real questions and answers that spring from the Passover Seder


Form for a possible introduction Q&A:

What questions from the Passover Seder to people really want answers to?

We asked:

The Passover Seder, by design, is full of questions, as are many Hagadas. But what questions really bother people who confront this holiday and material? ...

We answered:

Well, there's this site called Mi Yodeya ...


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