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See the Faurisson affair

I made it explicit that I would not discuss Faurisson's work, having only limited familiarity with it (and, frankly, little interest in it). Rather, I restricted myself to the civil-liberties issues and the implications of the fact that it was even necessary to recall Voltaire's famous words in a letter to M. le Riche: "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." [...] Many writers find it scandalous that I should support the right of free expression for Faurisson without carefully analyzing his work, a strange doctrine which, if adopted, would effectively block defense of civil rights for unpopular views. [...] (emphasis added)

The answers of users MathematicsStudent1122 and rs.29 are representations of those users' perspectives regarding the matter of "the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and large scale killing of farmers" and "South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers."

Why were the answers of users MathematicsStudent1122 and rs.29 deleted at What national interest does the U.S. have in "the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations"?

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    The answers detail and reflect the sentiment of the U.S. President. They should not have been deleted, and should be immediately un-deleted, no matter how unpopular they might be. "down" vote if you decide, but deleting the answers is outright censorship. If you cannot handle dissenting perspectives either way, then stop reading the answer instead of stifling dissent by deleting the answers. – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 16:56
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    Given the sheer number of times you come into Meta to complain about things being deleted, I don't think the moderators are stifling anything by deleting answers. – F1Krazy Aug 25 '18 at 17:04
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    @F1Krazy The evidence supports the fact that moderators are deleting far too much content - on a political board. Simply because users' emotions get inflamed is not reason for stifling political dissent. Adults are able to make their own decisions about the content, without some would-be "big brother" deleting content which conveys those users' perspectives. There is no "complain" involved. Am pointed out objectively incorrect and wrong behaviour that should be corrected. Those users' perspectives are valuable in spite of people not agreeing with them. – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 17:13
  • Partial duplicate: Why was my answer deleted? – tim Aug 25 '18 at 17:33
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    US national interest is decided by those elected to further US national interest, that's what representative democracy is all about. US national interest is not decided by strangers on the internet, therefore their opinions were not answers, right or wrong as they may be - and this is a Q&A site, not an opinion site. An answer would contain some official statement of why an action was taken by someone whose job it is to represent US national interest – Gramatik Aug 27 '18 at 21:10
  • @Gramatik Your opinion of what national interest is and who represents that interest at all times is simply inaccurate. The President of the United States at all times represents the interests of the United States, in all statements and actions, as the individual who holds that Office, the Executive Branch of Government, is acting in their official capacity at all times when holding that Office. You are not the individual who decides what is contained in an answer. The individual who decides to answer a question decides what content is included in their answer. – guest271314 Aug 28 '18 at 22:22
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    @guest271314 I'm aware the president represents those interests, that's what I was saying. That a stranger on the internet does cannot definitively say "this is the US national interest in X", only the executive branch. Therefore these speculative "answers" do not constitute an acceptable answer as defined by this site. Again, this is a Q&A site, not an opinion site. – Gramatik Aug 29 '18 at 16:01
10

There are at least two more answers on that question that should be deleted or heavily edited, for the simple fact that they do not attempt to answer the question or spend far more time editorializing or debating your sources than in addressing your question. Frankly, you've not gotten a very good set of answers there yet, and if I was an active member of this site I'd be pretty concerned about that.

This isn't a discussion board; it is imperative that answers answer the question asked. Failing to do this - or using answers as a soapbox for one's opinion without paying more than lip service to the existence of a question to be answered - is and will always be grounds for removal. That the answers removed were divisive and polemical in addition to their irrelevance only hastens their removal.

Part of the problem here might be that your original question butchered the Reuters quote, clipping two-thirds of a sentence from the middle of a paragraph. I assume the intent of that quote was to provide a statement of fact on the South African situation from a relatively neutral party; I'm afraid though that it became almost incoherent due to the redactions.

I've expanded that quote to the entirety of the two relevant paragraphs, and also added some attribution - please be careful in the future when using others' words that you don't inadvertently misrepresent what they were trying to say.

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    I read them, @guest271314. I also read your question. If you meant to ask something other than what you did, I suggest you post a new question. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 18:28
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    One person's opinions don't constitute a U.S. national interest. There are hundreds of millions of individuals in this country and many times more perspectives on just about anything; we have a system of government that seeks to represent some cross-section of that, but does not purport to endorse anything and everything a citizen might say or think. To conflate the ideas of an individual or subgroup with national interest is to observe a bee and call it a swarm. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 18:37
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    Do you plan to expand this to a nation-wide poll, @guest? To interrogate the elected officials and civil servants as to the interests they serve? "National interest" is a term with a history and a meaning, not a euphemism for "some folks' idle chit-chat"; if you're going to ask for something specific, you should ensure that you get what you ask for. There are many sites on the Internet where you can find opinions and non-answers to any question you may wish to pose; there's no need to use this one if you prefer to listen to the ramblings of the bored than to gain assistance. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 18:44
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    I recommend, when looking for definitions, to start with a dictionary @guest. Not opinion pieces. That you'd argue the opposite does help me to understand your distress in this situation however. I recommend avoiding arbitrary opinions until you've done a bit of study on the topic you wish to learn about; this baseline knowledge helps a great deal in putting those opinions into context. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:08
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    I didn't write your question, @guest. I don't know, nor particularly care why you asked for what you asked - I assume you had good reason for it. If you're now arguing that you asked for something with no use for it nor even interest in getting what you asked for... Then you were dishonest and wasted a fair few people's time - if this is the case, I kindly ask that you do not waste any more of mine. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:17
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    You asked for relevance of a statement to the US national interest, @guest. I would assume, then, that you wanted an answer that explained how the statement related to the US national interest, not a discussion on the subjectiveness of "national interest" as a concept. If I ask you for the timezone in Sydney, I expect "UTC+10" not a debate over the arbitrariness or historical unfairness of time. So which is it? Did you ask for something you didn't want, or are you upset that you lost something you don't need? – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:30
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    Then there's your source of confusion, @guest: no one has the right to post their political perspectives here; that's simply not what this place is for. I recommend you start with the tour: politics.stackexchange.com/tour – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:35
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    Again, I really think you should read the tour. You're making a lot of claims about this site that the site doesn't make for itself. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:48
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    It's a short tour; take you maybe 5 minutes, way less time than you've already invested in this doomed conversation. If you're still feeling energetic, there's a ton of good stuff in the help center too. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:50
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    Tour tells you what the site is for, and what's on-topic here. Here, read it again, you'll see. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:52
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    Is it the animation? I understand that can be distracting; look, just search the page for the text "Get answers to practical, detailed questions" - it'll take you right to the section. Give it a sec for the animations to finish, and it's all right there. – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:55
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    Ok, I apologize, I forget sometimes how many years I've been staring at this stuff; take all the time you need & study it closely. Every single bit of text on that page is important, and if you overlook it you'll come away with a bad idea of what we're doing here - as you did and have. Here's the link again, for convenience: politics.stackexchange.com/tour – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 19:57
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    Hi again, @guest - I've contacted you privately with a list of reading material that we'd all consider essential for understanding the nature of these sites. Please study it before continuing here. Thanks! – Shog9 Aug 25 '18 at 20:02
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    "Respect the original author's intent" is the rule when editing, @Brythan; I've come to have doubts as to that intent in the 20-some comments preceding this, but at the time of the edit I had nothing but the question itself to go on - and I did not alter the question being asked at all. – Shog9 Aug 26 '18 at 14:28
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    However partisan the question might be, the quote I altered referenced a major wire service and I would not default to assuming a partisan slant there - so my assumption as to the author's intent in using the quote was as I stated above: a statement of fact as a baseline for interpreting the other quotes. Both paragraphs serve that purpose, which is also the purpose the served in the article being quoted. Meta: if you don't want to argue, then don't leave two back-to-back comments; the effort betrays your intent. Happy to take this to a new meta discussion if you wish to not argue further... – Shog9 Aug 26 '18 at 14:32
7

The code of conduct is pretty explicit:

We don’t tolerate any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion — and those are just a few examples. When in doubt, just don’t."

Stack Exchange deciding that they will not be a forum for this sort of hate is not censorship. If someone wants to spread white supremacist propaganda, they are free to create their own website, or to do so on existing sites like stormfront or 4chan.

Additionally, Stack Exchange isn't a "board". It's a Q&A website. "Users' perspectives" aren't really what any Stack Exchange site is looking for; instead, substantiated posts that answer the question are what this site is about. Some answers may fall short of that, and that isn't always a reason to delete them, but when some users decide to almost exclusively use this site to spread their hateful propaganda, then something is clearly going wrong; that just isn't what Stack Exchange is intended to be used for.

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    The entire history of the U.S. political machine is rife with content that would apparently "offend" or "alienate" people. It makes no sense to censor content and stifle dissent. The individuals will simply not go away. It is far more prudent to place all of the views on the table, discuss the matters in detail, then make decisions - individually. One cannot know the difference between or find common ground with a SHARP, a Peckerwood, a Skin Head, "alt-right" or "white nationalist" without having discourse with each. – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 17:36
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    @guest271314 History being full of bad stuff is not a reason to continue doing bad stuff. It's better to learn from history (which nobody is talking about censoring) and not repeat past mistakes. Coincidentally SE policy is for preventing new mistakes. – Alexander O'Mara Aug 25 '18 at 18:00
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    @AlexanderO'Mara What you are missing in your analysis is that SE is making the same mistake; essentially being a SE Stasi - not allowing political dissent. Therefore people will never know the difference between a SHARP and a white nationalist if you do not sit down and listen to what they are saying. You certainly will not ever get to the point where you can find common ground after the yelling and screaming subsides - which is the goal: what is the common ground after the emotional responses have been stated. There is no "bad stuff"; it is just "stuff"; stop labeling content. – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 18:06
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    @AlexanderO'Mara It is possible that users at Politics SE are wholly incapable of mature political discourse, and are instead only capable of understanding their own ideas and excluding others ideas from even consideration. In this venue users can delete content. In the real world people cannot simply wish others to the corn field and abracadabra, the other disappears. You have to deal with those same people every day in all human activities, thus you MUST understand where they are coming from - and the nuanced differences between what might appear to be they are all the same. – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 18:12
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    @guest271314 Why would anyone want to find common ground with white supremacists? But even if you do, this isn't the site for that. The difference between a SHARP and a white supremacist is pretty easy to find; I don't have to extensively talk with the later to find that difference. But if I do want that, this isn't the site for that. – tim Aug 25 '18 at 18:22
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    I can use secondary sources to find out more about white supremacist thinking, I can visit their websites (instead of inviting them to every website that exists so that they can use it to further spread their propaganda), I can go out and find one, or I can ask a question about white supremacy here. – tim Aug 25 '18 at 18:22
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    @tim Because the reality is there are class issues ongoing which have far greater actual practical importance than any fictitious "race" issues. The U.S. is a white supremacist organization, you might as well delete all references to the U.S. at Politics SE as well. People here are simply used to "delete" answer equating to the concept being gone forever. That is not the case in real politics. Other parties are not going anywhere, and alliances are formed between widely varying political groups and individuals for the greater good of the entire society. – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 18:24
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    @guest271314 There is a world of difference between talking about white supremacy and actively spreading white supremacy propaganda. Once you realize this you'll realize your straw man makes no sense. – Alexander O'Mara Aug 25 '18 at 18:27
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    @guest271314 So what if that's true? We can talk about the KKK without spreading white-supremacist propaganda. There lies the difference. You can talk about the KKK no problem, but you can't go on spreading their propaganda unless you clearly mark it as such. The user with the white-supremacy symbol of an avatar fell on the wrong side of that line. – Alexander O'Mara Aug 25 '18 at 18:38
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    @guest271314 This is a bit off-topic, because the main points here are 1) Racism is not tolerated at SE 2) This site isn't about doing politics, but about asking and answering questions about politics. But anyways, I don't think that there is a main contradiction (class), and then secondary ones (race, gender, etc) which can be pushed aside. – tim Aug 25 '18 at 18:42
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    @guest271314 And white supremacists make race an issue of practical importance. When white supremacists go out in the streets to murder people based on their ideas of race (or go into parliament to pass laws based on them), then race is an issue, whether you think that the concept is fictitious or not. But again, this is really about the two basic points about what is allowed here and what isn't, and what SE is meant to be and what it isn't meant to be. Both issues are network-wide issues and can't really be changed here (even if we wanted to). – tim Aug 25 '18 at 18:45
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    @tim The answers were no more "racist" than any other content. Just honest and direct. Again, do not have to agree with a political perspective to still defend the individuals' right to present their perspective. If you are stating that "racism" is not allowed, you might as well delete all questions and answers that deal with "race" - which is arbitrarily done - as "race" itself is a white supremacist political construct. Say it directly: No questions or answers dealing with "race" are permitted at SE. Instead of arbitrarily deleting content when people get emotionally inflamed by content – guest271314 Aug 25 '18 at 18:45
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    @guest271314 I will be all for defending those users' rights to register their own domain where they can spout whatever nonsense they please. I don't have to defend people trying to co-opt other people's space for their own agenda. That is, unless you don't mind me walking into your house and pushing my agenda on you. – Jeff Lambert Aug 28 '18 at 20:54
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    @guest271314 If the perspective starts from the presumption that other races are somehow inferior, then I have no problem doing everything in my power to wipe that sort of garbage out wherever I find it. I certainly wouldn't support a law banning such talk out in the woods, or somewhere else, because you have a sliver of a point. But you over-extend it and feel that a private entity owes you something which is not the case. Unless that is your pastor wouldn't mind if I spoke next Sunday on the merits of birth control. If you want sympathy for a perspective, start with a better perspective. – Jeff Lambert Aug 29 '18 at 0:07
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    @guest271314 I don't have to do any of those things, and if you want me to you have to convince me. I'm not convinced, and I don't think I'm the one missing the point. – Jeff Lambert Aug 29 '18 at 0:38

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