I've asked this in the comments to, to no avail.

Regarding " https://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/697/are-small-countries-generally-governed-better ", I would like to know what can be done to salvage it, as I am fairly interested.

There are upvotes and downvotes on the question, currently balancing at -2, and there are positive and negative comments.

The only close reason given by Robert Cartaino was:

It's not likely someone could reasonably answer whether smaller countries are actually governed better than larger ones without a lot of discussion and debate around the talking points.

whereas I do think that such questions are very appropriate in Political Science. I do think that such a question can be answered objectively by looking at appropriate statistics.

Is this question salvageable? How?

2 Answers 2


This question falls into the category of is X better than Y? So it is asking for opinions rather than facts.

Besides that for every small country you can put up that is run well we could point out its flaws versus pretty much any other country.

Even if the type of debate that this type of question is likely to solicit were acceptable, this question would require at least 3 volumes to answer completely. It would require in depth analysis of different governements and analysis of statistics that would make the AHCA look like a beach read.

You could ask specific questions like do smaller countries generally have a lower Debt to GDP ratio, crime rate or other statistic.

This allows for an apples to apples comparison of facts rather than a subjective comparison of qualities that are important to the poster. I suspect that my priorities of good governing are practically opposite of many of the users here.

@lechlukasz mentioned another context where this question could be workable and that would be asking about Political Science Theory rather than about actual results(which is how it is phrased). I still think this question is just too broad. But if you focused on an aspect (like size of government required) then it would be a good question when focused on theory.


Three separate reasons:

  1. You didn't define "better", therefore any answer will be subjective.

    Your latter attempt to objectify this ("happiness index") is also subjective visavi the subject of the question. Happiness index has not been proven to correlate to good governance (or even to good quality conditions), so suggesting using it as a proxy doesn't help the question substantively.

    How to fix? Pick a specific objective criteria to evaluate by (and either don't mention good governance, or show how it's a good proxy).

  2. Even if/after you defined some objective criteria, the questions would still be of the form "I state that X set satisfies criteria Y, why?", without any proof that X set actually satisfies criteria Y in the first place. It might be correct, but you should either ask "Does set X satisfy Y, and if so, why?" or provide the "Does?" answer yourself.

    It seems your latter edit somewhat fixes this, reformulating into "is there a correlation", but this poses a separate problem (not worthy of closing, however) of "who cares about correlation and why should we?" :)

  3. Your latter attempt at defining the set X (coherent group of countries) also doesn't seem very clearly defined. On what basis can France not be compared to Haiti? (i'm not saying that it should be compared, but that you didn't elucidate the reasons not to explicitly).

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