It seems some of the members of the politics beta forum seek to avoid any questions which might be political or politically incorrect. I've received close votes on this question suggesting it is off-topic and unclear (but NOT as primarily opinion-based.) I've edited the question it to address specific concerns raised. Is it inappropriate to vote down a question because someone doesn't like how it was asked?

I'm open to help by editing the question, which I think would be much more friendly than the approach taken so far by senior members of the site.

It seems the moderators are resorting to Tone Policing and Moralistic Fallacy in ad hominem attack of how a question is asked by an individual memeber, rather than actually trying to find the core of what the question is asking and addressing it or encouraging others to do so in their answers.

The help center links to guidance on good subjective vs bad subjective by Robert Cartaino (director of community development for the platform.) But as that guidance indicates, some topics are at least partially inherently subjective. Politics is one of these subjects, yet it has been admitted to the platform on a trial basis. I make every attempt to stay on the good subjective side, yet feel personally attacked for letting even a bit of opinion, supported by citations, into my question.

The StackExchange platform awards badges for "Discussion" and "Socratic", yet the moderators seem deeply opposed to Socratic Questions. I have always found Socratic questioning an effective learning tool, on both ends of the questions. When I answer sensitive questions, my answers are well received, but when I ask them, I'm treated in a less than friendly way.

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    I stopped reading this meta question after the first sentence. I am SO tired of this "zomg political correctness!!!!!1!1!11!!111111" line at the first hint of some sort of disagreement about the topicality of a question. It's rude, dismissive, unconstructive, and frankly just a lazy discussion-stopper. Instead of actually engaging with people in a meaningful manner you can just flash the political correctness card and declare victory for yourself.
    – user11249
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 0:01
  • @MartinTournoij, sorry if you didn't like that word choice. Perhaps Tone Policing would be a better choice. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 1:31
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    The problem is with the entire premise of this meta discussion. You're dismissing people's feedback on your question by waving it away with "political correctness" or "tone policing". A better response would be to engage in a constructive way, such as asking "what are your concerns?", or "how do you think this question could be made on-topic?" and then go from there. If you disagree, you can say "I disagree because X", which is very different from dismissing with "PC!" or "Tone Policing!", which is a very strange thing to say anyway, as all I see is a very gentle comment from Philipp?
    – user11249
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 0:27
  • Thanks for the feedback Martin. What I'm saying is Tone Policing is the use of downvotes and close votes (often without comments or attempts to edit the question) in the main politics.SE.com questions. I'm not referring to this meta as tone policed, and I am paying attention to the feedback. In my experience, questions about politics will always involve some subjective tone, and that it's not as useful to police the questions for being potentially vulnerable to the subjective. Instead answers by experts and newcomers alike should be to standards of objectiveness and referencess.. Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 2:07
  • What I found objectionable in your comment was putting something I never said in quotes, as if it needed censoring by substituting in 1's and exclamations points for swear words. If there are discussion stoppers here, take a look at that. Who was being rude and dismissive? Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 2:17

3 Answers 3


The purpose of Politics Stack Exchange is to be a community to learn and teach about politics and political processes in an objective and fact-oriented manner. It should not be a platform for discussions, opinions, emotions and political activism.

As I commented on an earlier version of the question: The problem with the question is not what you are asking but how you are asking it. And that problem still persists after your numerous edits. If anything, it got worse.

It does not seem like a question with the intend to learn more about politics and political processes. It reads more like a rhetorical question, posted as a pretext to tell us your opinions about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, criticize how media and politicians react to it and share your suggestions about what they should be doing instead. That's not what this website is for.

This has nothing to do with your views being "politically correct" or "politically incorrect". Personal views just don't belong on this website at all. Political discourse is important for a democratic society, but there are already more than enough websites which cater to that. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and many more. But Stack Exchange is for sharing knowledge, not opinions.

Now let's see if we can save this question.

If you want this question to be on-topic, first remember what you actually want to ask. I am assuming it's the one bold sentence "Who would congress logically declare war against, or alternatively why haven't they withdrawn the AUMF? Have any recent recorded votes in congress been held?". That might be an actual question. So how do we focus the post on this question?

  • Cut out all the context explanations which are not required to understand the question. A bit of context doesn't hurt, but you might be overdoing it here.
  • Cut out all the paragraphs where you discuss media reactions, because the question isn't about the media.
  • Cut out all the paragraphs where you try to explain what's wrong about the AUMF, because that's personal opinion.
  • Cut out all the paragraphs where you discuss whether or not the Taliban are a valid target for a declaration of war. That's what you are asking about, so it should be explained in an answer. When you already know the answer to your question, you shouldn't be asking it at all or you should self-answer it.
  • Cut out all the paragraphs where you suggest what congress should do, because you are asking about what they would do.
  • The additional context you say made the question worse was added in direct response to other comments and answers. Most of it is in a separate section after the bolded questions. I didn't add TL;DR because that's jargon that may not be familiar to readers, but a reader can easily stop at the questions. I did add context regarding the AUMF, and do not cite the criticisms of it as my personal opinion, but as reported fact in reputable journalism, of criticism in congress. It is highly relevant to the question of constitutional authority. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:12
  • I did not even think of AUMF when asking, but updated the question to included it in direct response to DrunkCynic's feedback, and while it was already mentioned in another answer, it seems reasonable to include the context in the question. I believe I asked if Talaban is a valid target, and did not express an opinion. Furthermore, I said what I thought congress could do, not should do, based on referenced sources. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:19
  • But the real point of this question is that the "rules" you expressed above seem completely based on a minority opinion, which to me seems like political correctness. Stackoverflow, and now Stackexchange are intended to be democratic, but as of yet politics.SE has yet to achieve that. Could such rules of political correctness suppress participation? Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:23
  • As moderator, you have stated you are open to constructive criticism regarding your style of moderation. Here it is. You seem to be letting your own subjective viewpoints effect your moderation, rather than acting as a neutral and unbiased moderator. I could be wrong, but it's the impression I'm left with. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:30
  • Your own earlier feedback talking about "primary purpose is to promote or discredit a political cause" is an indication of that. I may have an opinion about protecting the troops, but the purpose of this question is not an attempt to discredit anyone's political cause. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:47
  • > "It should not be a platform for discussions, …" if that is true, why does the platform support a badge for discussion? The platform also awards for "Socratic" questions. You really seem to be sending mixed messages at odds with those of the platform creators. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 18:33
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    @Burt_Harris Excuse me, but what is the badge that supporting discussion? Also, what is a "socratic" question? If you mean the socratic badge, it's awarded for "Ask a well-received question on 100 separate days, and maintain a positive question record" and unrelated to Socrates or his philosophy (otherwise it doesn't make sense on other SE sites).
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 2:33
  • @AndrewT. I may have been mistaken that "discussion" is a badge, it's a tag in meta. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 1:09
  • A Socratic question is part of the Socratic method (or method of elenchus). It means question that is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking. It should be capitalized as it absolutely relates to Socrates, and the Wikipeda article is very worthwhile. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 1:13
  • As to the Socratic badge, the fact it's only been awarded 6 times in politics.stackexchange.com shows how the Tone Policing has had negative effect on participation. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 1:21
  • Having grown up and worked in Washington DC, I'm well aware of the ways of politics at the federal level. It's really all about using cooperative argumentative dialog to address problems. What's missing today is the cooperative part, both in Washington and on this site. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 1:23
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    @Burt_Harris Looking at the votes on your original question, this meta-question and my answer to this meta-question, my opinion about how to moderate this site does not seem to be a minority opinion. I'm sorry that this is not the kind of website you would like it to be. If you are interested in a less "politically correct" and more "argumentative dialog"-based approach to discussing politics, I recommend you to do so on one of the websites I listed in the 4th paragraph of this answer.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 13:49

My impression regarding that question is that it is an "I am right, am I not?" kind of question, where the asker already has an answer in mind and will be dismissive and hostile to any answer that does not go according to the plan.

I am not sure if that is grounds for closing a question, or even for downvoting it (though I have had to actively resist the temptation), but it frankly makes it quite undeserving of earnest discussion.

  • It probably is grounds to close: we have a site-specific close reason for questions that appear to mainly promote a point of view i.e. "rant in disguise". A long, biased expose followed by a nearly rhetorical "am I right" basically qualifies. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 7:47

One possible solution is to set-up a separate politics-free area on stack exchange, perhaps government.SE.COM. If some members want only to discuss well settled matters like the US constitution's wording, questions on those topics might be somewhere other than politics.se.com.

On the other hand the existing law.SE.com might be appropriate for settled questions.

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