I'm see a whole lot of comments being deleted in this SE site compared to most of the rest. I can only offer my opinion, but I find that a turn off. Politics is going to naturally be a chatty area of SE and the chattiness helps inform a lot of the answers, IMHO. Thoughts?

  • There's chatty, and there's too chatty. If you are referring to the comment discussions purged in this question and one of its answers, they didn't have anything to do with improving the posts and were generating "rude/offensive" flags.
    – yannis
    Mar 5, 2013 at 16:03
  • Perhaps politics is a doomed topic for SE. I guess I like to understand any particular biases a poster has--not to judge them good or bad, but to understand the POV they are using to frame the answers they provide.
    – user1530
    Mar 5, 2013 at 16:12
  • @YannisRizos I'm beginning to notice that even 'chatty' is now being deleted in addition to 'too chatty'. Again, perhaps this is just the way it's going to be here on politics.se, but to me that greatly reduces the ability to interpret the answers.
    – user1530
    Mar 8, 2013 at 19:55
  • Here's another thread where a few comments by myself and DVK were deleted. Anyone now why? politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1186/…
    – user1530
    Mar 22, 2013 at 20:04
  • 2
    "Since comments are being deleted, I'll try and create an answer" - That's why the comments were deleted. Comments are only meant for clarifying the post and for constructive criticism. Everything else does not belong in a comment, especially answers. Half baked answers in comments is not what the site is about, if you have an answer, please post it as such (as you did, the system worked wonderfully). Tons of other places on the internet for half baked quickies, let's keep this one for actual answers.
    – yannis
    Mar 22, 2013 at 21:53
  • Robert posted a comment there almost at the same time as I did here, and he explains in a bit more detail why comments aren't suitable for answers. Thank you for taking the time to expand your comments into a full answer that I can evaluate and share.
    – yannis
    Mar 22, 2013 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


I respectfully disagree. There are plenty of places on the Internet to get "chatty" about politics. We're trying to do something different.

Many folks felt that Politics could not work within the Stack Exchange format. We saw it as a wonderful opportunity to create a unique resource that hasn't already been done thousands of times by every other site on the subject.

How will Politics SE keep from being a discussion board?

For folks accustomed to traditional forums, it's not always obvious how a Stack Exchange site works. Most political forums involve a lot of discussions, disagreement, and heated debate; plenty entertaining — but that isn't really what we do.

Politics SE is a place for questions that can be answered with facts, references, or at least some semblance of personal expertise. Admittedly, not every question is suitable for a Stack Exchange-style Q&A. Sometimes our facts-only learning ethos goes against how debate-driven, political processes operate. But I'm not willing to cede that Politics doesn't belong in Stack Exchange at all.

But in response to your assertion —

If we're going to make Politics work in this format, we have to be extra vigilant against turning this into a general discussion forum. So when on-going discussions or debates gather around a post, they have to be removed. If the post absolutely needs these discussions, then it isn't likely a very good fit for our format. It's one or the other. Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum.

I'm sorry you found deleted comments off-putting. One thing the moderating community has to understand — Stack Exchange is a strange place and, in terms of how the Internet typically operates, we're the odd man out here. That's why I ask the folks here to, please, take the time to leave a thoughtful comment describing why some questions and comments simply do not fit our particular style of Q&A. We don't want to portray this site as a bunch of close-happy, censuring fascists.

But the alternative to forgoing vigilant community self-moderation is not having this site at all.

  • 1
    I like your intent. I hope it works. I guess my concern is that many of the comments help define the pov of the person who wrote the answer. If a poster is clearly biased with comments, that colors their answer. It doesn't make their answer wrong, but it's important those biases are declared. If they are only declared in the comments, and then the comments are deleted, it makes it much harder to accept that the answers being posted are truly objective.
    – user1530
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:08
  • 1
    In other words, I'm not against bias on this site. It's politics, so there's going to be biases. I do worry about answers 'appearing' objective when they are biased (but not knowing that because the comments that clarify that bias will be deleted).
    – user1530
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:09
  • 1
    @DA You're alluding to a point-counterpoint exchange as a means of adding balance to the answer. See the problem with that? When does it stop? What is ultimately the correct answer, or more to the point, what is ultimately being up-voted? On-going debate doesn't fit our format. Skeptics handles this by requiring that answers be presented from a neutral POV — Should we have a “back it up” rule for answers?. Either way, it comes down to vigilant community self-moderation designed to forgo these debate-style interactions altogether. Mar 5, 2013 at 19:32
  • I think if we decide to omit comments as much as possible, yes, we need to get very strict with a 'back it up' rule for answers. It's definitely a challenge fitting politics into this format.
    – user1530
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:34
  • ...that said...I frequent the UX.se site quite a bit. That's a site that discussed design and, as such, often will have Q's with plenty of opinion as answers, rather than easily documented specifics. And, as such, there are a lot of comments there. And it seems to work OK. Just tossing that out there. (but, that said, I suppose I also have the opinion that comments are as integral to SE experience as the answers are, so that'd be my bias right there.)
    – user1530
    Mar 5, 2013 at 19:58

It think the problem is the questions that are being allowed.

The boilerplate FAQ states:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

We are getting quite a few questions that seem designed to generate discussion:


Are there any non religous reasons to oppose ____? This to me is the absolute definition of not constructive. When quality answers are given to it they are downvoted not because the answer is wrong but because they do not like those positions. Even though the answer does not say that it is the position of the poster. In addition the OP argues the validity of the positions with the answer's poster in comments. A position is valid when a person hold that position. Even if you disagree with the arguments that position uses.

If Supreme Court rules against X, how will that affect Y? This is hypothetical since we have no idea how the SC will rule specifically. There is no one right answer to this question. And once a decision is made then the question is out of date.

Why does political group X have Y views? There is nothing constructive about this type of question. A group is made up of many people which may have many different reasons for wanting a given policy. Not only that it assumes that group X actually has Y view. A few of the questions assume a fact that I disagree with the accuracy of the claim.

I am reluctant to engage in this community for the most part because of the amount of non-constructive content that is being generated. I have asked a few questions and all I have gotten was spin. The whole point of asking here is to understand and get through the spin. If we can not do that then I do not see how this site is any better than all the other political forums on the internet.

  • Good point. The solution may very well to just reign in the scope of questions that can be asked.
    – user1530
    Mar 8, 2013 at 19:52
  • Damn, now I feel all schitzo (or MPD). +1 for the first bullet point. -1 for the second - I saw very well informed objective answers based on legal reasoning to SCOTUS "future ruling" quiestions. +1 for the last one, although some question like that can be made somewhat less subjective with a lot of effort.
    – user4012
    Mar 12, 2013 at 14:52
  • 1
    @DVK - That you can have good answers does not make a good question. And more importantly once an actual decision is made the question becomes outdated and irrelevant. The SE is supposed to be a resource for future users more than the author of the question. Mar 12, 2013 at 15:00
  • @Chad - even the best on-topic and objective questions draw subjective and crappy answers (and at a lot less debate-prone sites than Politics :) . Therefore, I'm more concerned with whether the question CAN be answered with a good answer (or rather, whether it can NOT be answered with a good answer as a criteria for closing/deletion).
    – user4012
    Mar 12, 2013 at 15:03
  • 1
    Crappy answers do not show up on the front page. Good answers go to the top so there is less viability for crappy answers. Crappy questions show up on the front page, and create broken windows. I would have no problem sitting down for drinks and discussion any of those points with someone. But those types of questions just do not belong here. Mar 12, 2013 at 15:07

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