How will Politics SE keep from being a discussion board?

It appears that the majority of the questions here have become discussion topics. We are having 20 and more comments on questions and answers, sometimes after a chain has already been deleted. Most of the comments have little to do with improving the post but rather arguing the validity of their position which is opposite of the position taken(or assumed) in the post they are commenting on.

There appears to be little concern with approaching questions from a neutral view point and an avoidance of approaching answers from a neutral position. This is exactly the problem I feared back in A51.

So now I think the questions is:

What are we going to do to change this SE from being a discussion board?

  • 3
    Wouldn't the first step be setting a good example?
    – user1873
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 0:56
  • I wish I could set a bounty on meta questions Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


It's not working as a discussion board, obviously, as comment threads are being deleted wholesale. That means the only solution is to get really strict with the questions, but that's not happening either. So instead we're left with questions that are inviting discussion, but discussion is banned.

Alas, I think that ends the politics experiment on SE. That's not said with any malice, just coming to conclusion that this simply isn't a topic that fits the apparent goal (answers without any comments).


Stopping your own (I'm referring to generic user, notspecifically @Chad, just to be clear) partisan behavior would be a good first step. How do you do that?

  1. When you vote on a answer, think about whether that vote would be in full agreement with a hypothetical fair and honest user whose political viewpoint is 100% opposite.

    • Indicators: If there exist comments indicating flaws in the answer which makes it either off-topic (example), or inaccurate (e.g. using torturous semantics), and you are upvoting, you may be voting for bias reasons, consciously or not.

      IMPORTANT: one of the main reasons people keep posting long discussions in comments is that they see people keep (seemingly for partisan reasons) upvoting answers AFTER 1-2 comments pointed clear flaws with the answer. Personally, I am a lot less inclined to argue in comments (as opposed to chat) when the post doesn't get runaway political based upvotes after I point out a clear un-adressed flaw with it in the comment. I'm pretty sure the same holds for many people.

  2. Force people to post clear questions.

    When you vote on a question, and the question has 2 competing opposite answers both based on the fact that the question was imprecise (e.g. can be parsed different ways), don't upvote the question even if it's "interesting". Comment on it requesting the clarification and temporarily downvote to enforce that (example, although I asked moderarors to delete my own clarifying comments after OP fixed the imprecision - AFTER I changed my vote from -1 to +1).

  3. Don't downvote without commenting.

    This gives people impression that the downvote was politics based and makes them more defensive and less likely to be objective going forward.

    If you agree with existing comment, upvote that comment (instead of spamming with me-too objections).

  • Most people do not think they are partisan rather simply think their position is correct. But to most people looking at the discussions they appear partisan since they tend to follow party lines. I disagree with comments on downvoting. Especially since most of the comments tend to boil down to you are wrong. Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 20:16

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