In Is there any validity to the Claim that Hillary Clinton got bribed by India?, the question is of this form:

  • Link
  • Headline claim.
  • Questions saying essentially please go to this article and tell me if the things in it are true.

Should we allow that? Or should we insist that the author actually include any claims to be checked in the question itself? And specify particular claims to check. Both to prevent link rot and to prevent the question from being too broad.

"Did Hillary Clinton get bribed by India?" is not a factual claim. Two people can look at the identical facts and come to different conclusions. Especially if the two people are from different partisan backgrounds. This isn't a clear case where someone is known to have said, "I'll do this for you if you give me money or some other compensation."

There are a number of factual claims in the linked article. E.g.

  • Did Bill Clinton impose restrictions on India which would be lifted by the bill?

  • Did Hillary Clinton favor an amendment to limit the bill with additional restrictions?

  • Did a number of Indian interests give money to Clinton enterprises after she announced support for that amendment and before she voted for the overall bill?

  • Was Sant Chatwal involved in the process of getting the bill passed?

  • Did Sant Chatwal arrange or help arrange a $450,000 speaking fee for Bill Clinton?

Not claimed but posed as a question:

  • Did the Clinton enterprises receive money before the change in position (assuming it occurred) or after?

There are also some implied claims that are never formally stated:

  • Did India oppose the Russ Feingold amendment?

  • Did Hillary Clinton oppose the bill itself prior to receiving the cash?

  • Did she vote for or against the amendment?

  • Did the Clintons keep the $450,000 speaking fee arranged by Sant Chatwal?

  • Did she know about the gains that she received?

  • If she received the money after changing her position, was she still legally at risk of a bribery charge?

There are also a number of claims that are purely opinion-based:

  • Did Hillary Clinton gain in some way from the donations to the Clinton enterprises?

  • Assuming she gained, did this influence her vote?

  • Was this deliberate and intentional? Did she tell someone that she would support the bill if certain amounts were paid in certain ways? Or were the donations given without any promise or offer from her?

  • If she changed her position before the money was paid, does that mean that she wasn't morally guilty of receiving a bribe? Or just that she had more confidence in the bribers than they did in her?

Partisans on each side are likely to take different positions on each of these questions.

You can also click through to a Politico story that apparently inspired the Power Line blog entry. But reading that reveals that the original story comes from a book. Presumably both the book and Politico have other claims that I have not covered here.

Is this question Too Broad because it asks for sixteen fact checks in one question?

Is this question Unclear What You're Asking because that's too many questions, so it should be limited to a clearly defined set?

Is this question overly opinion-based because we have no way of knowing if Hillary Clinton is guilty of more than the appearance of wrong-doing?

Is this question off-topic because it is about claims made in the media about politicians rather than about the actual politics themselves?

  • 1
    Is your post all about that one question, or about important question-information behind links in general? Jul 4, 2016 at 1:21
  • Both this question and this issue in general.
    – Brythan
    Jul 4, 2016 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


On Stack Overflow, we usually like a question to be able to stand on it's own. I.E. We want people to include the important code in their question, so people don't have to navigate off site in order to answer it.

Often times, however, the project the OP is working on is very large, so we allow them to post offsite links to their code as long as the important parts are in the question itself.

Since Politics, unfortunately, isn't as exact a science as programming is, it is unfeasible to require the OP to include all of the relevant information in the body of the question. People here also don't even trust the OP's information unless they have an external source to back it up, so we can expect them to rely on external links a little bit more than on SO.

As far as the specific question is concerned. The OP could probably have summarized the article a little bit better, and maybe included relevant quotes in the article.

As for what question should the OP be asking, Is seems like the OP stumbled across this seemingly incriminating article, and wants to know "Is this real?" or "Did Hillary Clinton get bribed By India about this Nuclear Deal"

and if that is what the OP wants to know, then "Did Hillary Clinton get Bribed by India about this Nuclear Deal" is the correct question to ask.

All the other proposed, "more factual" questions are likely to fail when answered correctly. They are more likely to fail because they are not the OP's real problem. The OP's real problem is "Was Hillary Bribed".

So if the question is:

Did the Clintons keep the $450,000 speaking fee arranged by the Sant Chatwal?

and the answer is "No" because of some technicality like the purely hypothetical. "they only kept $260,000 of it and gave the rest away", then the answer of "No" is technically correct, but it misses the whole point of what the OP wants to know.

  • But our answers aren't one word, like "No" or "Yes". It's perfectly possible to say, "They kept $260,000 of it." Which would be a mostly yes in my book. And I would be more satisfied if the question were "Did Hillary Clinton get bribed by India in this nuclear deal?" than the actual question here, which was "Did the facts actually happen as represented by the article?" or your variant of "Is there any validity to the claims in the article?" While it is often allowable to post links as context, this doesn't do that. The link isn't context -- it's the question.
    – Brythan
    Jul 4, 2016 at 2:06

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