I've noticed a number of recent trend where both moderators are deleting and I am voting to close questions and answers on grounds that they were not written in "good faith".

Examples include:

As a question:


As an answer:


Is there a full and objective description of what we mean by "good faith"? So I can link this to posts which I believe don't demonstrate it.

I'm NOT asking for a justification of why these questions were deleted, but rather a canonical "what is good faith"

  • The first question is just badly written. I can fully understand that people closed and deleted it just on appearance alone. Maybe you can find a better example?
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 8:47
  • @Philipp - I think the OP refers to a comment under the deleted question that literally put "good faith" into the comment text. I happen to agree, the question was posted in good faith, but it was a poor question worth closing (don't see the need to delete imho, downvotes were enough).
    – user4012
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 11:42
  • 2
    I voted to delete the question because it was just a very bad question and I could not see any possible way of turning it into a bad but acceptable question let alone a good question. On that one if you disagree get a bit more rep and you will get an undelete vote... Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:40
  • @SoylentGray I have enough rep to cast an undelete vote, but that is not the purpose of the question. These examples were purely given to help an answerer. Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 13:23
  • But for the first question it was deleted by the community, not a mod action. So the community process should be used to reverse it barring obvious reason otherwise. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 0:30

4 Answers 4


Good Faith involves the following

  1. Be Serious - As Sam I Am noted, there was a recent unserious answer that was upvoted and defended. People liked the snarkyness and the political jabs. A serious question can contain jabs, but it needs to have a real point. Good Faith means that you're not solely playing (or pandering) to an audience.
  2. Defensible viewpoints - If your question or answer contains nothing but unfounded assertions, it should be flagged and deleted via the LQP queue. Make your arguments but back them up with links and quotes.
  3. Be careful of highly partisan sources - Feel free to quote them, but if the only source you can find is a highly partisan site, you might want to reconsider, as many people on the other end may discount it as valid (i.e. breitbart.com or moveon.org). The hallmark of these sites is they post incendiary articles and often advocate positions more mainstream people actively avoid. A good source can be critical of their own side when they need to be.


  1. Attempt to answer the question - I had a rant with a petition posted under a recent question of mine. Both pertained to the subject, but there was no answer or even an attempt at an answer. If you've never read it, I still point people to this Meta.SO discussion of Low Quality. The TL;DR rule #1 is always answer the question.
  2. Cite, cite, cite - Pick almost any answer by Panda. You'll find ample citations and links. Quote what is relevant and link to the source. Questions with citations and links are rarely deleted (provided they observe #1).


  1. Explain your question - This question is a prime example of what a bad, closable question looks like, and what turned it into a good question for reopening. Ask, but give some background. My standard is, if I have to go to Google to figure out what you're asking about, it should be closed. It defeats the point of Q&A to have readers do their own homework.
  2. Avoid bad (opinionated) assertions - There's an old schoolyard insult that goes like this

    Does your mother know you're stupid?

    The question starts off with a bad assertion and then tries to trick you into answering within that assertion. Giving a boolean response to that question validates the assertion. Now, we don't do that here, but we have a variant where the bad assertion is understood and played into by the answerers

    Does [country] know their leader is a bad leader?

    Bad questions lead to bad answers. Even if you don't like said leader, any answer would have to validate the assertion to answer. Questions like this should be closed.

  • 1
    flagged and deleted via the LQP queue. - Negative ghost rider... LQP is supposed to be limited to gibberish type posts, and posts with content that is not fixable to be readable. It has nothing to do with if it is opinion, wrong, or a rant. We have been instructed to use not an answer, or other with a description of the problem. Otherwise +1 Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 22:04
  • 2
    @SoylentGray Just in case you didn't know, LQP and NAA both feed into the LQP queue (which is confusing, I know). And the LQP flag goes away after 7 days because those are reviewed by mods. But, yes, be careful with LQP flags.
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 13:41
  • Well that has been what I have been told LQP flags get declined for actual content problems Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 15:24
  • 1
    Re "highly partisan sources ... positions more mainstream people actively avoid.": This wrongly implies both that partisanship itself is an indicator of bad faith and bad reporting, and that what we might call "Mainstreamism" implies good faith and good reporting. Neither need be the case; besides, today's mainstream is often yesterday's partisan, (and vice versa). Agreed that all other things being equal, it's better to cite a mainstream source rather than a partisan one, when both establish the same fact -- but not on those occasions when a partisan source does a better job.
    – agc
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 11:19
  • 1
    @Machavity "Be careful of highly partisan sources" - very difficult to do in certain cases. The reason being, is, on some questions, the "trusted sources" from group X are extremely unified, so far as doing round-robins of citing one another, without actual evidence being provided. Meanwhile sources from group Y oppose group X, but despite not being unified, are all branded as partizan propaganda by group X.
    – MishaP
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 11:24
  • There's two things to keep in mind here about the highly partisan sources bit. First, it's advice to be careful making a partisan source your single source of truth. That doesn't mean your source is wrong, but it also means that you might want to see if there's other sources to back them up. The more sources you can quote on a position, the better. Second, some people will dismiss anything that doesn't match their confirmation bias. Again, the more diverse a position, the better the post. Be careful. That's the only point I was trying to make there.
    – Machavity
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 12:48
  • To be clear, does this also include "you know and I know" type phrasing in comments? Commented May 21, 2023 at 8:37

How to be partisan on Politics.stackexchange

Here's a typical partisan answer:

Barack Obama is corrupt and gives money to his union cronies. It happened [ here ] (partisanSite). This is bad bad bad. Barack Obama and unions are bad.


ObamaFan1138:No way Barack Obama is the best! Unions are good you're opinion is wrong

OP: No your wrong

Partisan back and forth intensifies from here

Here's the correct way to phrase that answer:

Many Republicans believe that Barack Obama is corrupt and trades campaign donations for favors. Here's an example of a popular opinion columnist (partisan link) expressing his

views here quoted from link

This is also an opinion shared by Republican leadership "leadership trash talking Obama." Polling suggests that this is a common [opinion] (link to poll)


ObamaFan1138: No way Barack Obama is the best! Unions are good you're opinion is wrong

OP: I'm not sure I understand your comment, I never said Barry was corrupt. I was just saying that many Republicans think that. It's important for followers of American politics to understand their opinion, since it is a fairly common one and helps shape discourse in America.

It's very important to phrase potentially partisan answers in a way that doesn't express your opinion. The bigger a stab you're taking at a party, the more careful and factual you have to be. If you aren't objective and instead express your flat opinion without much evidence, you could be rightfully accused of acting in bad faith. Bad faith is when you aren't trying to give the kind of detached factual view that makes this site work, but instead are just clearly trying to make someone you disagree with look bad with a partisan attack. People can't help but answer a partisan attack in the comments and it can quickly spiral into a toxic environment.

Note: I actually think @SleepingGod's answer was on the right track, and better than many on this site that aren't deleted, but it definitely wasn't detached enough to be beyond a doubt in good faith and I can see why it could be closed.

  • 6
    It's very important to phrase potentially partisan answers in a way that doesn't express your opinion. - This Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:55
  • 3
    Yeah, in an ideal state this might work. I did exactly this in this answer, and it got voted down. politics.stackexchange.com/questions/1435/…
    – user9790
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 9:59
  • 3
    @KDog but you didn't get deleted or have a partisan fight in the comments. Small victories? This is obvious partisan down-voting at its worst, but what are you going to do?
    – lazarusL
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 12:42
  • We resolved most potential arguments on christianity.stackexchange.com with a very similar policy. My summation is that your answers should be descriptive, not prescriptive.
    – user2578
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 19:18

Good Faith according to Dictionary.com:

accordance with standards of honesty, trust, sincerity, etc. (usually preceded by in)

The purpose of asking a question is to get an answer. In order for a question to be in "Good Faith", it's purpose needs to be to obtain an answer. Rhetorical questions are not in good faith. Push Polling style questions are also not in good faith.

The purpose of an answer is to solve the question. In order for an answer to be in good faith, The essence of that answer needs to attempt to solve the question. A substantial non-answer with a flippant answer tacked on doesn't count, because the essential element of that answer would be the non-answer part. Take note that wrong answers or answers based on a misunderstanding can still be in good faith so long as the user intends to provide a genuine answer.

And in case you're wondering, Yes, determining whether a post is in good faith is somewhat subjective. We can't read your mind to determine your intent, so we have to make a judgement call.


Disclaimer: I'm not a moderator. I can't understand a mind of someone who's willing to do such an onerous job. So I can't speak for one :)

However, I noticed one answer (Dodd-Frank one I was reading today) deleted with such a wording; ironically right before I saw the link to this Meta question.

In that case; I happen to fully agree that it was indeed an answer I would consider not being in good faith.

The question was of the form "Why does political group X do Y".

A good faith answer would provide evidence, preferably citing members of group X; or citing guiding documents the group generally follows; or at the very least, a solid proof indicating likelyhood of causation (which is hard in politics but possible in some cases; but perhaps solid statistics of campaign finance breakdowns might help).

The answer that was deleted made up the worst possible motivation for the explanation, backed it up by sheer opinion from a highly partisan source directly opposed to group X, and ... that's it for the content.

The answer basically amounted to "I think group X is doing this because they are bad actors" - with the "bad faith" of the answer part not being the accusation of being bad actors but, rather, this accusation not being substantiated by anything in the answer.

  • 4
    This answer would stand far better on its own with out the last paragraph... Being wrong is not reason for deleting an answer. The rest of your answer is spot on. So I have edited it out. If that offends you roll it back Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:35

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