I saw this question and thought about how I could improve it into an on topic objective question. I ended up writing this question as a separate question. Was that an appropriate course of action? The question is quite similar, should I just have hard edited the original question or helped the author get to a more objective question?

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: In my opinion, it is usually better to post your own question.

The reason for this is that if you post your own question, you can determine what you do and do not want to know and what is acceptable as an answer.

If you hard edit the asker's question, it is not at all strange for the asker to be annoyed and revert your changes. Because they may not want to ask the question that you see as the objective question behind the subjective wording. This could be because they want to learn a different objective fact. Or it could be because the subjective question is really the question that they want to ask.

I would only make an extreme edit if I had some reason to think that the asker wanted me, or someone else, to do so. The goal there should be to try to help the asker see how to ask questions. So not only this question is fixed, but future ones as well. With the extreme edit, you are trying to express what the asker really wanted.

In this particular case, the question that you asked, while related, is significantly different from the original question. Further, it is not fixing things in the way that people were suggesting (an objective measure of better). Instead, you are focusing on what a particular group of politicians say. But what if the asker really wanted to know the economic answer? Would a policy of ignoring tariffs be better than one where they engage in retaliatory tariffs?

If you start from a free trade perspective where tariffs harm the country imposing them more than the country being charged, then the answer is a clear yes. People talking about "retaliatory" tariffs are missing the point. Do you retaliate against people who shoot themselves in their own feet by shooting yourself in your foot? Perhaps they should use different sanctions to retaliate. For example, a tax on foreign capital invested in your country could be used to compensate people who lose their jobs as a result of the original tariff. If that causes people to withdraw their capital from your country and transfer it back to their own, then that capital deficit will cause a trade surplus.

That kind of answer would have been appropriate on the original question, as it discusses the relevant trade theory. It wouldn't fit on your question, as it essentially says that they shouldn't justify retaliatory tariffs.

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