Why are questions about the practices and behaviors of political figures or others involved in politics considered off topic?

Body Language of Hand on the Back: A power statement??

Another example: Explanation of John Oliver's jokes about countries?

These are clearly topical questions by the definition of "politics", yet both are clearly out of scope to the Ask guidelines of Politics Stack. Both have up and down voting showing clear confusion.

To Summarize: Do we think there is a discrepancy between guidelines in the Ask section and the dictionary definition of the word politics? Perhaps Politics Stack is really "Government Stack"?

  • 2
    The thing with your question isn't that it asks about "behaviour of a political figure", but rather that it asks about general human behaviour that is often observed in political figures. There is a subtle – yet important – difference between those two categories!
    – user11249
    Jan 24, 2017 at 20:53
  • @Carpetsmoker ...which is an immaterial difference. Only made material by the guidelines which I'm suggesting maybe need adjusting or you cannot really call it Stack Politics at all.
    – maplemale
    Jan 24, 2017 at 22:14
  • 1
    Well, answering "why did that person do this?" requires knowledge of that person's political viewpoints, political tradition, etc. Where as answering "why do humans do this?" requires knowledge about psychology and human behaviour. In other words: it's a different expertise.
    – user11249
    Jan 24, 2017 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Well, because such questions are not:

about governments, policies and political processes within the scope defined in the help center

, where the referenced terms roughly split in three topics:

(1) policies introduced by governments;
(2) rules and processes by which policy is made in various legislatures or ruling bodies;
(3) supporters and opponents of legislation;

Normal human behavior, like expressing emotions, etiquette, shopping preferences, or private life simply do not qualify for "governments, policies and political processes".

Keep in mind that there are many objectively answerable questions, still off-topic here. For instance, "What is the politician X's favorite beer?" may be well answerable (by providing links to numerous interviews of X), but it is not about "governments and policies", hence off-topic here.

Questions on jokes may or may not be on-topic. If the background of joke reveals some objectively existing (again, remember the keyword?) "policy or political process", some may argue it is on-topic.
Personally, I don't like it for yet another reason: we are here to learn. I learned nothing by reading the referenced question and its answers, the name of Luxembourg in no way resembles me a kind of cheese, and I find poking on country's size is not a very bright idea, to say the least.

  • Makes sense... though I still think the entire site is misnamed and "Politics" provides a broader statement than the 3 topics mentioned. I originally decided I was going to remove my question until I saw how many other questions were referenced in Meta as being on-topic. I think the issue might be bad house keeping. But, still not convinced by your answer that the site correctly reflects the entire meaning of the word "Politics". I guess by asking my question, i'm not asking for clarification on guidelines, i'm suggesting the guidelines should change.
    – maplemale
    Jan 24, 2017 at 22:10
  • 1
    @maplemale Then you can try asking another question, specifically suggesting a certain change. No rules are carved in stone, so if your suggestion has solid basis, its implementation is well-defined, and all in all it convinces many users, it can become true. Jan 24, 2017 at 22:37

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