If there are political opinions/bias in an otherwise "good" and neutral/factual answer, how do we as a site want to handle it?

As a hypothetical, someone asks a question on presidential elections. The answer directly addresses the question, but there are some comments within the question like But people voted for Obama anyways because they wanted free stuff or Romney lost because he was an inhuman robo-man.

How should we handle opinions injected into factual answers?

My personal inclination is to just edit them out, but I'm hoping to get an consensus on meta so that I'm not seen by anyone to be acting alone or being biased.

  • Are you asking this under assumption that the answer at large (say 50%+) is good factual answer, and you want to know how to handle the 1-49% of non-factual opinion in such a (presumably good) answer?
    – user4012
    Dec 14, 2012 at 17:02
  • @DVK Pretty much. I would even go so far as to say 90% of the answer is good and factual but there are some opinionated tidbits sprinkled in.
    – JNK
    Dec 14, 2012 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


Hm... This is tricky. SE generally seems biased against large scale edits that change the substance of the post... therefore unilaterally editing the bits out seems a bad idea.

I would say that the standard SO approach would probably work:

  1. Downvote

  2. Post a comment very explicitly explaining what needs to be done to remove the downvote (e.g. "please back up statement X with facts or edit it out"). If you feel that the question is worth an upvote "except for this one flaw", state so, this will give the poster extra incentive to improve.

  3. Very important - Go back and do as you promised if the user did add facts or edited out. Undownvote, or upvote if the question is worth it.

Also, in truly egregious cases (e.g. the answer is awash in unbackedup-opinions) but has too many upvotes (e.g. from partisan upvoting) for the OP to care about your single downvote, raise the issue on Meta. If active community members agree that there is a problem and form a consensus, we can request that Moderators or high-rep users delete the answer.

  • I think this approach is ideal. More so for politics.se than than other SE sites, we need to be particularly careful about editing answers, lest we acidentally change their intended meaning.
    – user97
    Dec 14, 2012 at 19:42

Ideally we would downvote any answer that included opinion in a question about the facts.

If the answer can be salvaged by editing then it should be edited.

If the answer is mostly or entirely opinion in a question asking for facts then it should be down-voted and flagged as not constructive/not an answer depending on which is more approrpiate.

For instance a question asking if there has been any legisation introduced to overturn the AHA(Obamacare), a question that is a rant about how it is a good law and should not be overturned would be flagged as not an answer. An answer that "A republican introduced a bill that would destroy everything Obama has worked for to date! would be flagged not constructive unless it included enough factual information that it could be edited to remove the opinion but leave the facts.

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