According to A Theory of Moderation, one of the central tenants of Stack Exchange is that the community at large moderates itself. By judicious use of upvotes, downvotes, and votes for closing, the community decides what is "good" and what is bad.

Does this work in practice here at politics?


Yes and No. Primarily No; sadly.

Closing subjectivity-inducing / opinion-based questions we have had a spotty track record on; possibly getting better. But NPOV (or SE equivalent) answers and comment-chain restraint hasn't worked as well without active moderation I'm afraid. A draw back of being a soft science stack with a highly passionate membership.

The hands off approach won't make the site any worse than it already is; but with a lack of entrainment of the current membership, it isn't going to get any better either.

So I'm of the mind that laissez-faire has capped out for Politics.se and we need to have a condensed set of clear, possibly arbitrarily ontological, rules defined in Meta and enforced through escalating and consistent punishments up to and including the timeout penalty box.

We'll lose only a few members and entrain the rest so effectively as to increase the overall quality of the site notably.

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    Any that you lose won't be the kind of people that can positively contribute anyway. – PointlessSpike Nov 21 '14 at 16:14
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    Of course, what constitutes a NPOV answer would be solely the purvue of those same left leaning members of the stack that currently upvote (with no single downvote) every POV answer that looks good to left wing and downvote factual asnwers without ability to state which of the facts are wrong, when said answers are negative towards left wing views. So basiclaly you'll turn it into "liberal_politics.SE", with no disagreements, thus reducing to prior meta question about splitting into 2 exchanges but with no exchange left for those whose politics was voted out. Elegant. – user4012 Nov 21 '14 at 19:06
  • @DVK As far as I can tell we have a healthy mix of both common ideological camps. What we need are agreed upon and enforced site etiquette and site standards. Nothing controversial for a stack exchange site. Politics.se has backslid into a forum, or began as one. This stack doesn't have a special remit to be argumentative. If we want to improve the site we need to, like an alcoholic, admit we have a problem; and admit that this a structural problem, not the fault of one side vs another. – LateralFractal Nov 21 '14 at 21:01
  • @LateralFractal - I have given you numerous examples of content that was worth moderating out but had ZERO such moderation and positive votes. THOSE peolpe won't need to leave, and since you don't mind their content's implications, you don't see it as "not following basic level of behavior". – user4012 Nov 21 '14 at 21:18
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    @DVK Sigh. I rather dislike culture warriors and their mindset. You are all up in arms that the purpose of increased moderation is a putsch to kickban specific ideologies. It is entirely pointless for me to tighten down on posts you suggested for three reasons: 1) I'm not a moderator and as I've said, self (i.e. community) moderation at this point isn't sufficient; 2) We need an agreed structural reform agenda in Meta before we begin; 3) You have been highly selective as to precisely what posts you point out need attention; as if I don't know the problem is structural. Do you know this? – LateralFractal Nov 21 '14 at 21:29
  • @DVK What exactly are you trying to say? That you like the quality of posts we have? That higher moderation of the site is all about me me me spy vs spy ideological cant? It's not personal, it's not ideological, it's structural and we have to fix this regardless of children who are perfectly happy to SHOUT and kick and scream each day like this a sandbox forum for bad prior life experiences. – LateralFractal Nov 21 '14 at 21:32
  • @LateralFractal - I'm trying to say that I will take the calls for improved quality a lot more seriously if they would NOT be coupled with a completely one-sided political application of what's considered "quality". As I noted repeatedly, I gave you plenty of examples where that's not happening. Until you specifically address that trend, no platitudes about caring about quality would convince me that quality is really the goal. – user4012 Nov 22 '14 at 3:58
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    @DVK You are like someone who sees firemen come to their burning house and automatically assume they are thieves. Are you telling me with a straight face that you can't conceive of quality problems with this site that are ideologically neutral? You are spiking the punch before we even begin, out of a completely irrational fear that my motives are not precisely what I've said they are. Besides, what ideological pre-conditions you demand before site improvement is irrelevant - since you've clearly never cared about raising the level of this site yourself; just enjoy wallowing in the mud. – LateralFractal Nov 22 '14 at 6:05
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    Sigh. Between moderators that are too hands-off and members that enjoy having this site as a political mud-wrestling pit between opposing clown cars - Any drive to raise this site to the standard of the rest of the network is doomed to failure. Again. And Again. Have fun with that writhing pit of hate in your heart, @DVK: You'll have it for the rest of your life. – LateralFractal Nov 22 '14 at 6:26
  • @LateralFractal - sure I see quality problems with the site. I just don't see a genuine bias-free effort to clean them, so I'm not about to acknowledge the effort to clean them in a biased way. As I said, if you want to have left-wing-politics.se, you can have it and clean it up without my efforts. If you want to have a clean politics.se, don't act like the only low quality stuff on the site is right wing, which is exactly what you do now. – user4012 Nov 22 '14 at 13:52
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    @DVK This attack (you) and defence (me) dialogue model you've created is simply because you prefer this; not because you have any moral high ground. Indeed not. Do you want me to switch to attack-style commentary and dig up all your biased posts? That task will be remarkably easy. So yeah, I suggest you stop side-stepping the original moderation discussion of this meta Q&A; with wild neverending accusation of other people's bias. You recognise that bias requires two people to exist right? And that "bias bias everywhere but not drop to drink" has to be partly in your own head. – LateralFractal Nov 24 '14 at 20:55
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    @DVK Well, I obviously prefer the former over the latter as two POVs don't cancel out to become a NPOV site. If we've come to a consensus that the first option is something you can stomach (i.e. excising rhetorical tricks that promote bias); then we can proceed to the next step in separate meta question of articulating what tricks we prohibit and penalties for breaching them. Whether you believe my sponsoring this objective is something you can not be but cynical of is simply a concern that will resolve itself with time. – LateralFractal Nov 24 '14 at 21:31
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    @user1873 - And that contributes to the "Right wing gets edited, left wing doesn't" view that DVK was mentioning. – Bobson Nov 30 '14 at 16:33
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    BTW, your extensive posting tends to use phrases like "idiot liberals" so I hope you see some of the irony in your argument here. – user1530 Dec 2 '14 at 4:08
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    @user1873 - Individual questions don't need to present both sides, unless they're asking about the difference between those two sides. Simply saying "Which of these two is right?" sets up a false dichotomy, where it's possible that the "right" answer is a third side that didn't even get mentioned. When I'm talking about balance, I'm talking about the site as a whole. Individual questions are quite welcome to be heavily biased towards one side or the other, so long as they're still good SE-style questions. – Bobson Dec 8 '14 at 13:21


I was really pleased to see this question:


was closed by 5 users, doing their jobs, without "special exception handling" from any of the mods. Any time scare quotes are needed, it's probably a good sign the question was poor.



Not really. This place just never has never got a solid run of active members. Some of us have come and gone. The place hasn't gotten worse, but not really better.

It's just too small of a pool of contributors to make self moderation work as well as it does on the busier sites.

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    Someone told me once that the various 3yr+ beta sites are basically around as a thank you to the members of the major stacks (high traffic / ad revenue) by giving them a variety of hobby stacks they can blow off steam in. I'd have to run complex Data Explorer queries to verify this though. – LateralFractal Nov 21 '14 at 8:57

Self-Moderation doesn't work for all users. But it depends on there experience level. I would assume users with very high rep could Self-Moderate. So its a yes and no.

  • I believe 'self moderation' isn't referring to individuals, but the community as a whole. – user1530 Dec 9 '14 at 23:15

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