The Nature of Politics
Unlike topics like those covered in SO, Physics, Biology, etc. Politics tends not to have a unique answer to everything. A communist, a fascist, an anarchist and a neo-liberal won't see the world in the same light.
It is inherent to Politics and there isn't much that can be done about. But one could also say that the variety of opinions is what makes Politics so fascinating. Politics is plural.
Political science exists. However, it is often hard to separate oneself from one's opinion about a subject. This is also something that needs to be accepted. Politics is often partially opinion-based.
Depending on the definition one goes with, it could be argued that Politics affects everyone, everyday, in many aspects of their lives. As a consequence, Politics is often important enough to fight for.
The Risks of a Site Like Politics.SE
Stack Exchange is a network of sites aimed at providing the best answers to everyone questions. One can read that post about subjective questions. And politics is a complex subject, where many people are looking for answers.
Due to the previously described nature of politics some issue may appear, for example:
- vote contests: one answer presents one view on a topic, another presents the opposite view, and people upvote one and downvote the other on opinion-ground alone.
- conflicts: politics often lead to physical conflicts, wars, etc. And sometimes those are brought back to the site, as an extension of that conflict. Most of the discussions involving Middle-East and Israel are illustrations of that conflict.
- speculations: Conspiration theories are growing through the Internet. There are many reasons for that, and it's way beyond the scope of this post to analyse them. But we probably don't want to be propagating those.
- Political rants or Political tribune: for different purposes, people may be tempted to try to prove a point publicly: explain their ideology, complain about the latest law, etc. That is neither a question, nor is it an answer. And those should not be on Stack Exchange.
Politics Does Not Stand Alone
Within the Stack Exchange Network, Politics isn't the only site which is subject to endless debates, flame wars or discussions. In that respect, it might be interesting to see how those deal with those problems. Amongst others, we have
- Skeptics has a tendency to attract very speculative subjects and possibly conflictual topics. They try to keep the site clean, and quite successfully so, by having a rather strict discipline. This is summarised in the help section and a meta post (and related posts). And they are actively enforcing that discipline.
- Religious sites. Religious communities tend to be diverse and they sometimes conflict with one another, even within a "single religion". So I'm not a member of any of those, but for example,
- Christianity has a series of meta posts explaining that SE is secular and the different parts of the community should try to respect each others, at least on the site. A summary can be found here.
- Islam has, for example, some meta posts discussing the quality of questions and answers. And how to vote accordingly. Or that post.
- Judaism also has some meta posts about it. For example about handling pluralism, or how to effectively improve the quality of questions and answers.
Those sites were ordered alphabetically.
Defining a Scope and Quality Requirements
The scope and quality required on a site is decided my the community and can only be enforced by the community at large. Not from our moderators alone, and much less from me alone.
To give an example on how the scope can be discussed by the community, one can take a look at Worldbuilding (disclaimer: I am the author of that summary).
Now, What Do You Want to Do?
Concerning overall quality, and scope, you'd be more
- "Don't change anything, you guys1 are great!"
- "Nah, it's ok... maybe a little more up/downvotes."
- "Nya something should be done, but not sure what."
- "Ok, those posts sounds great, when do you get started?"
- "Ah! Forget it you guys2 suck anyway"
It would be nice to read your opinion on that. And it would be even more appreciated if some arguments were provided.
1: I'm probably not one of them then. 2: I might be included this time.