The question has now been completely deleted. Can anybody please explain who did this and why?

This question has been closed as too broad by the community.

The only comment regarding the closing was

List questions are, by their very nature, too broad

This comment was addressed by two users (Disclosure: one of them is me) to be answerable as it is, and that it should be re-opened.

However, in the comments, some more objections have been put forward, which I try to summarize fairly in the following as well as giving their respective counter-argument by me.

  • if these lists already exist then we don't really need to duplicate them on this site

    This argument could be applied to anything on this site.

  • These sort of "big-list" questions don't really fit all that well in the format in my opinion

    The list isn't a big list at all; as the question is sufficiently specific, "democratically elected" and "removed from power" , it boils down to about 5-6 cases where successful coups removed fully democratic governments, and 5-6 cases where successful coups removed initially democratically elected heads of state which were moving toward more autocratic regimes, which technically would also fall under the category of the OP.

  • The question might be reworded to ask for sources of lists

    It has been reworded by the OP accounting for that.

  • but it seems to be a history question anyway

    Ok, I admit that's a valid point as the question is in the intersection between contemporary history and international relations. To accommodate for that fact, the question has been edited by me to restrict to cases after WWII. As most of these cases belong to the Cold War period, for a orientation I've compared the affiliations of first 20 members (alphabetically) of the Editorial board of the Journal of Cold War Studies, to find that 50% are in Political sciences, 30% in History, and 20% have interdisciplinary chairs. So this would suggest that it is legitimate to have this question in Politics.SE

  • as long as we […] accept any particular definition of "democratically".

    There are indeed cases where the question is open whether the elections that brought the person into power were indeed sufficiently democratic or whether the head of state subsequently tried to change the constitution etc. However, this is not problematic to address, a sentence in each case is sufficient, e.g. "the election was boycotted by the opposition". This requires of course some research, but I'm ok with that. Also, objections to a certain framing of an answer could be raised in the comments, and the answer can then be improved (this is how this site is supposed to work, see also the Tour page or the third bullet point under "When should I edit posts" here)

  • I would say a list of historical military or quasi-military actions is not what this site is expected to provide.

    This is not about a historical list (see point above) of plain military or intelligence actions, this is about changes in governments facilitated by another government. This results in huge implications for the politics of the state that became a victim to such a regime change as well as for the international relations between states. Just compare this the the impact of such history-changing events as the failed Bay-of-Pigs-invasion, or the Soviet crackdown of the Prag spring uprisings. Google "9/11 Chile" if you want to find out how significant such events were.

    A short rebuttal of this point is the following excerpt from On-topic Help page: "This means, the following items are on topic: 1. Matters of Policy:" Foreign policy is a subset of policy, therefore this is clearly on-topic.

After a suggestion in the comments to take this discussion to Meta, I've done so hereby. As of now, all the questions raised in the comments have been addressed, so that I suggest that this question should be re-opened.

I've flagged the question already to be re-opened by a moderator, but the moderators answer is quite disappointing, as he or she shifts responsibility back to the community. Here the decline-message:

declined - I'm sorry, but I am hesitant to unilaterally reopen a question which was closed by community vote unless it was edited to address the concerns the community mentioned. Ask community members to reopen.

The question was edited to address the valid points raised by the community, unfortunately the moderator still declined the flag, which can not be objected.

So I kindly ask the community hereby to either

1) provide a substantiated argument why this question should remain closed, questioned

2) give suggestions how the question could be improved by editing to better fit in here,

3) or to please vote to re-open it.

  • 1
    the moderator still declined the flag -> Note that no moderators were involved. The reopen queue is done by the community: politics.stackexchange.com/review/reopen/12820
    – user11249
    May 18, 2017 at 15:05
  • @Carpetsmoker Ok, but then can you please tell me reasons why you've voted 'Leave closed' when you have no justified objections communicated in the comments, and every other concern raised has been addressed?
    – jjdb
    May 18, 2017 at 15:12
  • I did leave a reason in the comments, whether this is "justified reason" is of course a matter of opinion ;-) I think there are several good reasons why this question is not a good fit for this site, and if I have some more time later I'll elaborate on them (unless someone else does it first).
    – user11249
    May 18, 2017 at 15:16
  • @Carpetsmoker Ah, sorry. I quickly glimsped over the comments and missed yours. Yet, I gave an answer to your comment for which you have not provided a reply so far. If you have several good reasons, I would be happy to hear just one at least.
    – jjdb
    May 18, 2017 at 15:47
  • Well, I typically get a bunch of comments/replies every day, and have other things going on in my life as well and can't always reply to every comment in <20 hours ;-) If you want an in-depth discussion about a question like this, or want to dispute the closure of a question, then the best way to do that is start a meta question (which is exactly what you've did!)
    – user11249
    May 18, 2017 at 16:39
  • @Carpetsmoker Nobody expects seriously that every comment is answered in less than 20 hours. However, if people are able vote in less than 20 hours to decline a re-open request before arguments are exchanged sufficiently, their motivation behind the vote appears questionable, to say the least.
    – jjdb
    May 18, 2017 at 20:19
  • Arguments about these sort of questions have been exchanging for almost ten years - ever since Stack Overflow got launched ;-)
    – user11249
    May 18, 2017 at 20:39
  • @Carpetsmoker This is again one more point for providing the actual reasons here (if these arguments are so common they surely can be brought up quickly again). But what exactly do you mean by "these sort of questions"? Doesn't this already show you having a bias toward the question?
    – jjdb
    May 19, 2017 at 9:59
  • 1
    I saw some questions that require a very long answer be discarted. While one can answer yours in less strictly less than 197 words (with a list of country names), I think each country would require a lot of context and precisions. Hence the broadness of the question. Also, the "motivations" part at the end is not really useful. May 19, 2017 at 21:13
  • @user5751924 Besides the fact that not every state has a name consisting of a single word, and the fact that over the course of history there were more than 197 states, it is neither the case that all these states were democratic, nor that the US tried to topple all their governments, nor that the US were successful in each of these instants. As I explained before (2nd bullet point), the list is sufficiently succinct. The context and precision can be given, of course. Maybe we can edit the question to address that point? I agree, the motivations part added by the OP is not helpful.
    – jjdb
    May 20, 2017 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


How the question was deleted

The question was deleted because three users with 2k reputation or higher, or one moderator voted to delete the question.

How to fix your question

As you mentioned in your post, you asked a ‘list question’, which is off topic because it needs more focus (a close reason). The way to make it on topic is instead of asking

what are all of the politicians who have done x?

(Or some variation of that), you should ask

have any politicians done x?

(Or some variation of that).

Addressing the comments mentioned in your question.

if these lists already exist then we don't really need to duplicate them on this site

Your response to this comment was correct

These sort of "big-list" questions don't really fit all that well in the format in my opinion

I already explained how to make your question not a “big-list” question.

The question might be reworded to ask for sources of lists

Do not do this. You can say that linking to sources will be allowed (and tag it with reference-request) but only allowing linking to sources is off-topic

but it seems to be a history question anyway

Politics and history seem to have some overlap, so this question is most likely fine, but without seeing the question I can’t say for sure.

as long as we […] accept any particular definition of "democratically".

As long as you explain what you mean by democratically (linking to the dictionary would be a valid explanation) you’ll be fine, if not, your question needs details or clarity (a close reason)

I would say a list of historical military or quasi-military actions is not what this site is expected to provide.

I explained above how to make the question not a list.

About the moderators response

It is often frowned upon when moderators close or reopen any question where it isn’t extremely obvious that your question should be open or closed. Your question could have been made to the point where it should be open (or maybe not), but the moderator was right to decline that flag.

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