What is the reason for deleting this users' answer - twice - at Is paying for ex-staff's silence a legal use of campaign funds?

The answer directly states "No" there is no evidence of "illegal" conduct relevant to any NDA or "campaign finance" laws or regulations, which is based on facts, not pure speculation.

Does the deletion of this users' answers indicate that the answer MUST be based on pure speculation?

  • 8
    I was about to message you about reposting that answer. Please do not do that. Three trusted members of the community decided your answer was of extremely low quality. You are free to challenge their decision here on Meta. You are not, however, free to ignore the community and repost your answer. You may find more information in our help center: How do I write a good answer? & Why and how are some answers deleted?
    – yannis Mod
    Aug 17 '18 at 0:01
  • @yannis Yes, am challenging the decision to delete the answer. The answer is based on facts, not pure speculation. There is not even a citation giving attribution to the "talking head" claim made that any NDA is remotely related to campaign finance laws. What is the reason given for the deletion? Those "delete" votes are are fraudulent in nature on their face. At least two of those votes appear to be reprisals for not accepting their answer and pointing out the fact that they acknowledge themselves that their answer is not backup up. The answer directly answers the question: "No". Aug 17 '18 at 0:08
  • @yannis What exactly is being alleged as being "low quality" about the answer? Not accepting the premise that an unidentified "talking head" allegedly mentioning "campaign finance" violations in relation to NDA's is not "illegal"? That is a preposterous notion of any standard. There is no evidence of any investigation into "campaign finance" violations by any governmental agency related to the matter. Those are facts. Not sure how any person can dispute those facts by citing an obscure "trusted members" document, which does not address the facts of this question or the facts at the answer. Aug 17 '18 at 0:20
  • @yannis Similarly, with this answer politics.stackexchange.com/a/32858/21216, which directly states "No" there is no evidence of "illegal" activity, the comments indicate that just because people think they are on to something somehow they can wantonly allege "illegal" activity with no evidence to support those claims. Is this your standard here? Make wild allegations of "illegal" conduct, try to convince users that the letter of the law applies jbecause they think so, i.e., the speculative answer can only be "Yes" - without any evidence? Then delete answers that say "No"? Aug 17 '18 at 0:34
  • 1
    Removed your last comment. I understand you are frustrated, but you are crossing a line. Rudeness isn't going to help restore your answer.
    – yannis Mod
    Aug 17 '18 at 0:53
  • @yannis Then do not engage in fraudulent behaviour. That is not being "rude", those are facts. You have failed demonstrate otherwise. Aug 17 '18 at 0:54
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    Enough is enough. Time for a break.
    – yannis Mod
    Aug 17 '18 at 0:55

The second answer was deleted because it was almost the same as the previous answer which was deleted by 3 trusted users after receiving a large number of downvotes. The community self-moderation system exists for a reason. I don't think I need to explain why we do not allow people to circumvent it by simply reposting content after the community decided to remove it. If you think that your content was removed without a good reason, ask here on meta and maybe you can convince people to undelete it. Trying to set yourself above the community by circumventing their decision does not help your case at all.

Now about why the first answer was so ill-received. I did not contribute to its deletion, so I can only speculate why people deleted it. But the comments on the answer provide a lot of critique of the answer. To provide a summary of what the comments say:

  • Your argument that "this is not hush money" seems weak because people don't agree with your definition of the term "hush money". The question author agreed that it wasn't a good term to use in the question and subsequently removed it. You should have edited your answer accordingly.
  • They don't agree that your argumentation chain "NDAs are not illegal, therefore it is not illegal to spend campaign funds on paying for NDAs" is complete, because not every legal contract is a legal use for campaign funds.

Other things I find worrisome and which, in my opinion, might have swayed some people to down-vote and delete-vote are:

  • The answer is written in an unnecessarily aggressive tone.
  • Your response to criticism was confrontational, polemic and in some cases bordering on abusive. When you give people the impression that they can not reach you with words, then it is understandable that they try to reach you with actions.

If you want to have a good time on this website, please take criticism seriously. Being immune to constructive criticism is not a strength, it's a weakness. If you want the community to accept your content, listen to their criticism and take it to heart. You are not above the judgment of the other Stackexchange users. If you do not take people's criticism seriously, then they will keep downvoting and deleting your content.

  • This answer assumes based on an appeal to authority that the critics are more correct than the critiqued. Sometimes this is true, but not always; it's not obvious that they are here -- downvotes seem appropriate for those who don't find the answer useful, but deletions should have a greater burden of proof.
    – agc
    Aug 18 '18 at 20:02

I was one of the three that originally voted to delete the answer. The main reason I decided to delete was that it didn't answer the question being asked, and didn't seem to do anything (to me) other than attempt to muddy the waters of what the question was about.

No. A non-disclosure agreement is not, as far as am aware, "illegal" in and of itself.

No one said that they are. The question is about can a campaign pay ex-staff for silence legally. This fact has nothing to do with the question.

A contract is not "hush money".

This is true, but money given for someone's silence is. Whether that consideration is drawn up in a written contract or not is immaterial.

That is engagement in pure speculation without at least citing the law and specific section of that law which directly address the popular culture phrase "pay for an outgoing staff member's silence".

The premise of the question lacks evidence to support the theory of an NDA being remotely related to any "campaign finance" laws or regulation; the theory is attached to an unknown "talking head". Again, pure speculation without the ability to attribute the theory to any actual person.

Someone heard a talking head and wanted to verify what they were hearing. They had a gap in their knowledge and were unable to evaluate what they were hearing, so they turned to Politics.SE to fill in that gap. Regardless of where the theory originated, the question asks, basically, "Is this true?" What does it matter the identity of this talking head in order to answer this question? If they provided the identity, would that change how you would answer the question, and instead would the answer just be about how so-and-so was wrong so many times before? How is it relevant?

The theory substantially lacks all merit unless such a law can be cited. Even then, without the conduct having occurred, the inquiry leads back to pure speculation and clearly indicates an interest in attempting to find or created some situation by which conduct could be pointed as as being "illegal" - not in a court of law, but rather, in the court of public opinion.

The question is asking the answerer to cite a law. If no such law exists, then that is a valid answer. The answerer could have said so and I wouldn't have voted to delete it. But just saying that because someone asking a question (which is specifically asking for the law) didn't cite it means obviously it is not illegal is not a fact. After attacking the "theory," the answerer launches directly into their own hypothetical assuming that the conduct did not occur. That is not a fact, currently it is supposition. Still, whether it happened or not is not relevant, because the question asks, in bold: "Would it be illegal--specifically as a matter of campaign finance--for a campaign to pay for an outgoing staff member's silence?" This is a general question, and deserves a generalized answer regardless of the specifics that inspired it.

No charges or allegations of "campaign finance" violations of "illegal" conduct relating to personnel contracts have been announced by any federal agency in this matter.

There is someone out there saying it did occur. There are those out there saying that it did not. Since this (when asked) is only just the most recent of Trump-related scandals, perhaps the federal agencies are currently investigating? If they are, I would expect that information to be a part of an answer claiming that it is "not against the law." Simply pointing out that no conclusions have yet been reached in something very recent again just muddies the water.

No. There is no rational reason to conclude that the proffering of, acceptance or refusal to accept the terms of a contract are "illegal" or in violation on its face of any campaign finance laws or administrative regulations.

The answerer did not include the relevant parts of what people are claiming in this context, so I can think of many counter-examples where offering and/or accepting contract terms are illegal (the hiring of hitmen, prositution, buying / shipping illegal narcotics). Those don't hit on the campaign finance laws part, but they are illegal, and people go to jail for doing those things. Any contract that as part of its terms asks someone to violate campaign finance law would also invalidate this claim.

What I would personally expect from a really good "No" answer to this question is to explore where the "No" breaks down, because that would provide extra context to the person asking the question about campaign finance law. To me the answer is just extra noise, so I voted to delete it. I didn't really want to break down and critique the answer when I clicked the delete link, it simply rubbed me the wrong way from its general tone and dismissiveness. By that time there were already plenty of comments that captured my general sentiment.

If it helps, I have been guilty of this myself before, and the jackboots moderators and others were kind enough to offer constructive criticism to help me update my contributed content to something less partisan and more aligned with this community's standards.


I was one of the people who voted to delete the answer. Even given a generous reading, I could not see how it was a good-faith effort to provide a factual answer to the question.

This site is not a discussion forum and is not an exercise in pluralism. The StackExchange premise is that questions have factual answers. There are many excellent places on the internet to discuss politics, but this is not one of them. Unless your answer can make a claim to being the definitive answer to the question, it does not belong here.

  • 1
    Re "not an exercise in pluralism": It's not clear what's meant by that. Surely we all agree that political truth is many-faceted, and nobody wants this to be a single-party community.
    – agc
    Aug 18 '18 at 20:11
  • If I just read your first paragraph: OK. But the second is indeed strange. Just look at Structures that turn out to exhibit a symmetry even though their definition doesn't. You expect math to be '2+2='-clear on this Highlander approach to 'numbers of answers'. Yet there are now 37 answers. There are also partial answers all over SE. May I suggest you rephrase "pluralism"? (I guess and hope I did not misread your stance here. "Claim" seems to indicate to me we are more or less on the page after all.) Aug 20 '18 at 14:21

The Politics beta moderators will not un-delete the answer because their own conduct is wholly lacking objective credibility and professional integrity.

They want answers based on pure speculation and not facts. The culture of Politics beta is based on opinion of users and fraudulent in nature and substance conduct by moderators.

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