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There are some minority of them that are legit and good questions. But from my observations:

  • A vast majority of them seem to (and many clearly are) attempts to merely present one political side or another in bad light. "Actor ABC did this really bad thing XYZ. Did anyone/actor ABC do XYZ before?"

  • If they are phrased as "did the same thing happen", they are opinion based, as the answers would depend on subjectively deciding whether a previous occurrence was "same" or not.

  • If they are instead phrased as "did specific thing XYZ happen", most of the time this reflects a subjective judgement that XYZ actually happened in the first place (the recent Saudi question is on of those, with the poster subjectively assuming that the thing they claimed to happened, happened. In reality it can be argued their assessment of what happened is wrong).

    And, even in this phrasing, often the answers would depend on subjectively deciding whether a previous occurrence was "XYZ" or not.

  • They rarely serve any purpose. What difference does it make if anyone did XYZ before? The best (and useless) use of an answer is to engage in whataboutism, which illuminates nothing about politics as scoped in this site's goals nor "makes the Internet better".

  • To avoid rehashing disputes, it's probably better not to use actual questions as examples. But the examples in this Q. ("Actor ABC...") don't clearly illustrate the nature of the problem -- a better example should clearly imply an undesirable whataboutism, and would need to outline the possible sides and (mis)interpretations in algebraic or fictitious form. – agc Aug 7 '18 at 2:36
  • @agc - I provided an example - the recent Saudi question – user4012 Aug 7 '18 at 5:25
  • @user4012 I think I found the "recent Saudi question" you meant and linked it. It would really help to better discuss this matter if you would add some more example questions, so we know what you are really talking about. And most importantly, so that people in two years who might reference this discussion know what we were talking about. – Philipp Aug 7 '18 at 7:48
  • @Philipp - i don't feel like getting into partisan argument morass by linking to actual questions. I'll try to find some of Alexei's Romania ones if he had any examples, since not many people seem to get hot and bothered by that country's politics for some strange reason – user4012 Aug 7 '18 at 11:34
  • "with the poster subjectively assuming that the thing they claimed to happened, happened" - the question included "while the Saudi government has deleted the account involved, and said that the threat of a terrorist attack was not its intention". – Andrew Grimm Sep 3 '18 at 21:51
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I think such questions can serve a useful purpose. The intention is usually:

[Thing] recently happened, and the media is making a big sensation out of it. Is [thing] really something special and extraordinary in the political landscape or is it just business as usual?

An answer to such a question would help people to better understand political processes and gain a better media competency.

But that does not necessarily mean that such questions are always good. The usual criteria apply:

  • Is the rhethoric unnecessarily one-sided?
  • Is the question a thinly veiled attempt to call more attention to alleged misconduct by a political actor?
  • Did [thing] actually happen or is the author (intentionally or unintentionally) spreading fake news?

If so, edit the question or close it as "promotes or discredits a political cause".

  • I'm less worried about something as extreme as "fake news", and more worried about it being a subjective evaluation of the situation (as was the case with linked question) – user4012 Aug 7 '18 at 11:36
  • And "promotes or discredits a political cause" seems too high a bar. Some of those questions are genuine, just bad or non-answerable. – user4012 Aug 7 '18 at 11:36
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    @user4012 But are all of these question bad and non-answerable? Unless we have some criteria which says "a question which fulfills this criteria is always undesired per se" we shouldn't create a custom close reason but instead use the tools we already have to deal with bad questions. – Philipp Aug 7 '18 at 11:43
  • Most of them seem to be subjective, less or usually more. Pick any random one and I'll explain how accepted answer is not using correct criteria to match the question because some important definition or context differ. – user4012 Aug 7 '18 at 13:04
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    @user4012 I've already asked you to add some more examples to the question so we know what we are actually discussing. – Philipp Aug 7 '18 at 13:05
  • here you go, just posted: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/32752/… – user4012 Aug 8 '18 at 14:25
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    @user4012 The question seems quite answerable to me. Expelling ambassadors doesn't happen every day, so it shouldn't be difficult to look up the cases where Saudi Arabia did this and check the official reason they provided. – Philipp Aug 8 '18 at 14:34
  • except what was being asked wasn't merely "expelling" but "expelling in reaction to specific actions". This is either #2 or #3 problem on my list. And has problem #4 (what's the point in asking? This situation never happened before, and neither answer doesn't tell you anything about the future) – user4012 Aug 8 '18 at 14:44

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