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  • Representative Bramby, Downhill, TX-J said in a campaign speech yesterday that 100% of convicted murderers in Texas were from public school system and not one of them was homeschooled. Is that true?

  • Senate candidate Ssatah running for Hawaii seat answered a reporter's question that a woman who was raped can not get pregnant. Is that a medically sound statement?

  • Billy Kenneddy, 10, running for a dog-catcher seat in Boston, MA, said that he never kissed a girl, EWWW. Is he telling the truth?

  • A mayor of Thailand town stated that people in Urugway routinely engage in cannibalism. How frequent is cannibalism in Uruguay?

  • A member of Iranian parlament today alleged that President of United States imprisoned all his political opponents in a dungeon under White House. Is that the case?


The common thread here is that we are asked to validate a statement/opinion which, had it been asked in isolation, would have had either:

  • NOTHING to do with politics (aside from the fact that a politician stated it).

  • Or, as is the case with the last one, relates to politics but asks to validate completely bizarre "fact" or theory that nobody should be bothering to disprove without a shred of evidence.

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Representative Bramby, Downhill, TX-J said in a campaign speech yesterday that 100% of convicted murderers in Texas were from public school system and not one of them was homeschooled. Is that true?

 

Senate candidate Ssatah running for Hawaii seat answered a reporter's question that a woman who was raped can not get pregnant. Is that a medically sound statement?

Is the statement true should be off topic. There is another SE this fits well on(skeptics) it is only tangentially about politics. However questions about was it said, the context, or the ramifications of such a statement would be about politics and should be on topic.

Billy Kenneddy, 10, running for a dog-catcher seat in Boston, MA, said that he never kissed a girl, EWWW. Is he telling the truth?

There are aspects of this that could be on topic. The fact that a 10 year old is running for a paid elected position opens up some interesting questions. The question of has he kissed a girl is not about politics so should be off topic.

A mayor of Thailand town stated that people in Uruguay routinely engage in cannibalism. How frequent is cannibalism in Uruguay?

I Think this is absolutely on topic if it is a claim about his town in Thailand. An ad-hominem attack against a distant nation is off-topic.

A member of Iranian parliament today alleged that President of United States imprisoned all his political opponents in a dungeon under White House. Is that the case?

Vetting the truthiness of the statement should be off topic... again we have skeptics for that. However did he say that and what context should be on topic. I also think that questions about specifics aspects of potential consequences of the president creating a secret political prison as claimed could be on topic. IE Would this prison be a violation of the constitution and how? I also think that the claim has more weight if it is a US politician claiming it rather than a foreign official. Just like a Italian offical claiming it against an Italian PM has more weight than a US official.

  • IIRC, there are elected positions that children were elected to. In US and IIRC Mexico. – user4012 Jun 26 '13 at 13:44
  • If you don't mind, I will emphasize those parts of your answer that are directed at questions as asked (as opposed to which related question may be ontopic), and then I can upvote/accept. – user4012 Jun 26 '13 at 13:46
  • Re: the last 2 questions, my examples were VERY specifically about non-local issues. I agree that if it's a US politician claiming this (or Italian about Italy) it would be ontopic. – user4012 Jun 26 '13 at 13:48
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    @DVK - I just wanted to point out that these are on the wrong side of the line but that similar questions would be on the right side so as not to bar the question so much as the contexts – SoylentGray Jun 26 '13 at 14:37
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I would argue if there is a certain standard of notabilty (i.e. Podunk Dogcacther is off topic, POTUS is on), then in fact, all statements made by known politicians are political. As such, if Gerald Ford is asserting that Eastern Europe is not under Soviet control, then in fact it is a valid question and is about politics.

  • Sorry, I don't think your example applies. (1) Whether " Eastern Europe is not under Soviet control" is a political question even aside from Gerald Ford asking it; and (2) Gerald Ford's assessment of geopolitics would be of critical importance to his work as President – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 14:16
  • Just to be clear, the type of statements that I was referring to were those that have NOTHING to do with the political area of that politician's expertise or area of concern (e.g., Gerald Ford commenting on dog catching rules in Mongolia). – user4012 Jun 25 '13 at 14:31
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    @dvk I think some of your examples DO have tangental relationships to politics, though (for example, did the politician talking about home schooling have a say in education policy?). But I guess it really comes down to the context of the particular statement. – user1530 Jun 25 '13 at 15:37
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Representative Bramby, Downhill, TX-J said in a campaign speech yesterday that 100% of convicted murderers in Texas were from public school system and not one of them was homeschooled. Is that true?

Should be rephrased. Rep. Bramby makes the claim notable, but the important part is "100% of convicted murderers in Texas were from public school system and not one of them was homeschooled." This would make an interesting question about the percentages of home schooled kids who commit murder (or other violent crime) as compared to public schools. (Adjusted for education, race, wealth, etc.). This is a political question, because some politicans want to ban homeschooling.

Senate candidate Ssatah running for Hawaii seat answered a reporter's question that a woman who was raped can not get pregnant. Is that a medically sound statement?

This question is already on Skeptics.SE that is very similar to this (with a highly voted wrong answer though). The question actually belongs here. The reasoning being that laws should/do allow abortion in cases of rape. This is on-topic since the laws are written to allow for abortion in cases of rape, so if it was medically impossible to get pregnant the laws shouldn't allow that exception.

Billy Kenneddy, 10, running for a dog-catcher seat in Boston, MA, said that he never kissed a girl, EWWW. Is he telling the truth?

To Localized, or is that going away. This could be on topic of it was a person of some importance, and the claim had some importantance as well. (I.e. a politician claims that they are against sex education in school, "because sex is for married couples. I never even kissed a girl before I was married let alone had sex with her.")

A mayor of Thailand town stated that people in Urugway routinely engage in cannibalism. How frequent is cannibalism in Uruguay?

This question should be about the legality of cannibalism in Uruguay, or extreme poverty that leads to cannibalism, or some such thing. As written, I agree it is off topic, but I think it could be salvaged. Perhaps, is cannibalism legal is Uruguay, Why?

A member of Iranian parlament today alleged that President of United States imprisoned all his political opponents in a dungeon under White House. Is that the case?

I see nothing wrong with questions regarding political prisoners. (Do you?)

  • The last question wasn't about political prisoners. It was about wild baseless conspiracy theory by a person who has no idea what they are talking about, which should NOT be entertained on a serious political science Q&A site. (mind you, if Bill Clinton alleged the same, it may have been on topic since the assumption is, Bill Clinton is in the position to know) – user4012 Jun 26 '13 at 2:55
  • @DVK, I am not sure I agree with "no baseless conspiracies" Those are definitely on topic for Skeptics.SE, but I don't see why we shouldn't be able to debunk them here. We should require that the baseless conspiracy theory is well referenced though. – user1873 Jun 26 '13 at 6:59
  • because they have nothing to do with stated high level purpose of the site (analysis of political process). – user4012 Jun 26 '13 at 12:48
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I think that all such questions should be off-topic, and those that are notable enough and worth being answered, should be migrated to Skeptics.SE

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