I have asked a question, here. The question isn't open-ended, it is given context that is current, but is a broader question about the political science behind that context. It calls for historical evidence from similar situations and direct evidence from recent polls, etc, where possible. It makes absolutely clear that it is not about rightness or acceptability, but about the political science of the choice made.

It has been put "on hold" for being "primarily opinion-based". And when I challenged one of those who put the hold on the question, they asserted that it was opinion-based because the evidence doesn't exist (direct quote: "the data hasn't been produced that could be analyzed to determine the effects of his strategy")

In short, they put the question on hold as "primarily opinion-based" because the only answer they could give was opinion. They cannot possibly know that such data does not exist, as it would require omniscience on their part to confirm that no group anywhere in any country is doing, or has done, any focus testing or polling on this topic, either in this case or in any similar case in the past, at any time in history.

Is the hold reasonable in this case? And more generally, should a question asking for evidence be closed/put on hold for being "opinion-based" on the basis that the evidence doesn't currently exist?

  • Not sure what goes in other people's heads, but the title sounds subjective ("advisable"). I would suggest editing the title to reflect the thrust of the question in the body ("what is the effect on campaign"). Having said that, "evidence is hard to obtain" is imho NOT in any way a valid VTC reason, unless said evidence can be proven to only reside in some person's mind (such as questions about intent), which this isn't. – user4012 Nov 4 '16 at 21:21
  • @user4012 - I've made a small adjustment to the wording of the title - "beneficial to his campaign" rather than "advisable". – Glen O Nov 5 '16 at 4:35

So, from my perspective The things that would go into answering that question are so complex that you cannot answer it without making some sort of estimation, and the judgement calls behind how you do that kind of estimation can get pretty opinion-based.

A general rule of thumb is to imagine the best answer that you can reasonably expect on that question and ask yourself "If I saw that answer would the issue be settled? would there still be any room for debate?" and if the answer to that question is "yes", then the question is probably broad or opinion-based.

You did attempt to narrow it down by asking for "historical examples", early in the question, but then you went on to talk about your own instinct, and you edited your question to include "In the shortest way of putting it: Is this focus having a positive or negative impact on Trump's chances of winning?", and that stuffundermined "historical examples" qualifier.

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    You can't honestly expect all questions on the politics stackexchange to be so narrow as to not require at least some estimation and judgement calls. But the claim wasn't that it was a bit broad, but that it was "primarily opinion-based", and not worthy of an answer. Politics isn't a hard science, and it's not mathematics. My "shortest way of putting it" is short for a reason - it leaves out all of the details and specifics. – Glen O Nov 7 '16 at 14:17
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    To put it another way - this is politics, there will always be room for debate. It comes with the territory. – Glen O Nov 7 '16 at 14:17

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