We have a number of questions tagged . They are generally questions with some philosophic component. They are not questions about any actual government, policy, process, group, etc.

Political theory does not fit into any of the areas of our help. On the other hand, we have a reasonable number of these questions and they aren't being closed as off-topic.

If we think that political theory is on topic, we should edit the Help page to make this clear.

  • 7
    If anything, i'd argue that we need MORE political theory questions as opposed to current events ones.
    – user4012
    Feb 21, 2017 at 14:15
  • 1
    @user4012 - Working on it! Feb 21, 2017 at 15:07

3 Answers 3


Yes, since the community is supporting political theory questions we should make it clear that these questions are acceptable on this site. The Help page is basically our "policy" that formally describes what is or is not on topic.

What We Need in a Help Page

The Help page should be a resource for users to understand what kinds of questions they may ask. Our current Help may be dissuading some people (especially newer users) from asking political theory questions because they don't appear to be on-topic.

The Help page should also make it clear to users what kinds of questions are on-topic for the purposes of closing or opening questions. Currently, it would not be unreasonable for all our political theory questions to be closed as being off-topic.

Finally, the Help page is a tool for us to teach users what to do. When there is a discussion about what is or is not on topic, we should be able to refer users to the Help page to clarify what is or is not wanted on this stack. Currently, our Help page doesn't accomplish that task for political theory.


I would recommend adding a fourth item to the Help page.

  1. Political Theory:

Many questions about governments, policies, and processes are abstract or philosophical in nature. Questions about political philosophy and theory are on-topic, so long as they can be adequately backed-up. We recommend using the tag for these questions, as they are answered differently than other questions.

I am not solid on this text, but I hope it will be a good starting place.

The last sentence is meant to indicate that, unlike empirical questions, things like historical case studies, survey evidence, references to laws or policies, economic indicators, etc are not likely to be best evidence for a political theory question. It's a recommendation based on my experiences both asking and answering theory questions here, and one I'm happy to reconsider if need be.


As a newbie to politics site, I think it would be a good idea to have political-theory questions on-topic:

So, yes, we should update the Help page.

  • 1
    Should we update the Help center? Mar 11, 2017 at 4:00

Even if this SE is originally constructed as a Q and A site, this site, Politics, which covers from foreign affairs to economic policy and armament and others, there could be at any moment the chance that any kind opinion-oriented answer/question can be "embedded". So I think it would hard for even moderators to judge if a question/answer is opinion based or not by the exact fair standard, so I think Political theory, aka Political opinion, can not be helped from being averted to be off-topic.

  • Why do you think political theory is synonymous with political opinion? I would say that political theory can be easily answered using SE's good subjective/bad subjective standard. Mar 11, 2017 at 3:42
  • Theory is theory. Not the fact with just a news - what happened nor a law. So anyone can create his/her own political theory, am I wrong?
    – user7598
    Mar 11, 2017 at 3:45
  • In order to pass the site's good subjective/bad subjective standard, any answerer's opinion would be irrelevent. The opinion of an expert(a well such as a political philosopher or political scientist) would be valuable. If you aren't familiar with this standard, I would recommend reading the blog post I linked too. Mar 11, 2017 at 3:51
  • What are you talking about? You suddenly started talking about experts. But you are saying Political theory should be on-topic. Once it becomes on-topic, it doesn't matter the questioner or the answerer is an expert or not.
    – user7598
    Mar 11, 2017 at 3:55
  • This question is not about whether political theory is on topic. It is already de-facto on topic. This question is about whether we should update the Help center. I suggest you read the Stack policy on good subjective/bad subjective for your other questions. Feel free to post a meta question if you need something clarified. Mar 11, 2017 at 4:00
  • Yours : Should we change the help center to mention that Political Theory is on-topic?
    – user7598
    Mar 11, 2017 at 4:03
  • What on the earth is the de facto topic? And what kind of relationship with your proposal? I have no clue, sorry.
    – user7598
    Mar 11, 2017 at 4:05
  • They are de facto on-topic because people ask them, they are answered, and they are note closed as off topic. The community has already decided they are on-topic. You can also read about it on Meta here. Mar 11, 2017 at 4:09
  • Then, why are you asking?
    – user7598
    Mar 11, 2017 at 4:36

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