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I asked a now closed question about the military capability of the Indian Air Force.

The reason given for closing was "see the help center"

However, on looking at the help center, I see

Matters of Policy:

Central to the idea of this site are the nuts and bolts of policies introduced by governments, presumably for the welfare of their citizens.

How could it be possible that questions about the use of military power from one country against another country is not part of politics?

Is it possible that the Mods have not read Clausewitz on war i.e. "War is a continuation of politics"?

We see, therefore, that War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means. All beyond this which is strictly peculiar to War relates merely to the peculiar nature of the means which it uses. That the tendencies and views of policy shall not be incompatible with these means, the Art of War in general and the Commander in each particular case may demand, and this claim is truly not a trifling one. But however powerfully this may react on political views in particular cases, still it must always be regarded as only a modification of them; for the political view is the object, War is the means, and the means must always include the object in our conception.

Or there are the words from Sun Tzu about the political dimensions of war.

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    I'd just like to comment that I, personally would not have closed that question if I had come across it. It looks like you're fact checking an article that is about a political issue, which is not something I would go out of my way to close. – Sam I am Apr 4 at 23:02
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Per the close reason, it's not about governments, policies and political processes. However much you'd like to spin this into something political, the question is clearly off topic in my view and I agree with the consensus.

You're essentially asking the community to prove or disprove a piece of information that you're skeptical about. You might get luckier on the Skeptics Stack Exchange.

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I've only seen that question now for the first time. In my opinion it is too specific. You're skeptical about "1000 kg smart bombs". But you seem aware (from your own answer to another question) that they have 500 kg smart bombs.

General questions about military capability would be okay, but this seems too removed from politics. I fail to see how having 1000 kg smart bombs is all that different, politically, from having 500 kg ones...

And the fact that I had to go look into your other posts to figure out why you'd ask such a narrow question also didn't bode well: enough context should be included in the question. You've made people post answers to the more general question "does India have smart bombs?"... which might not have been a bad question, actually. But generally, a situation in which the question and answers talk past each other isn't terribly good.

Never mind emotional manipulations (somewhat faint in the question by mentioning propaganda), but far more obvious in your comment below.

  • I could say that local people would have little difference in their descriptions of the political force between 500 lb bombs, and 1000 pound bombs. However, their surviving children might have another opinion in 10 years....and that is politics. – Cascabel Apr 4 at 0:11
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    @Cascabel Please spare us those "Just think of the children" emotional manipulation attempts. When people get killed by bombs, then the exact model is pretty much irrelevant. It might be politically relevant when one model of bomb violates some international agreement while the other does not or if one bomb was supplied by another state while the other is a domestic product, but otherwise it's just military trivia. – Philipp Apr 4 at 8:55
  • If it's too specific, isn't it too specific regardless of whether the asker knew the answer beforehand? I suggest you focus on that, which is a valid point, rather than saying people wasted time by answering a broader question. I remember answering it and I did so not just to help the asker but also other people who visit the question. And the fact that I had to go look into your other posts to figure out seems like the real time waste. ;) – JJJ Apr 4 at 17:36
  • @JJJ: yea "wasted time" is probably the wrong word choice from a site-wise perspective since while they didn't answer the OP's question, the upvotes on answers reflect the fact that some people found the answers interesting. – Fizz Apr 4 at 17:41
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War is not synonymous with "everything the military does". A question like "why did Eastasia declare war on Oceania?" would certainly be on-topic, but a question about the military equipment would not be. In other words, questions about military policy are on-topic, whereas questions about more practical military matters are usually not.

I think the most important question when deciding "is this on-topic?" is not whether it could or could not be seen as an aspect of "politics" – however you might define that – but rather whether this is something the community has a significant level of expertise in. This site attracts people interested in politics. Some people might also have expertise on military matters, but I suspect the majority don't.


As an additional point, I generally personally consider "is this factoid true?" type of questions to be pretty low-quality, although I usually wouldn't close it for just that. This site is about explaining politics, and is not a fact checking service.

  • Some of those questions seem alright, especially when you don't judge as much by the questions but more by the answers it provides room for. – JJJ Apr 4 at 17:41
  • Yes, some question are okay @JJJ; the better ones are about complex policy claims (e.g. "is it true that lower taxes increase economical growth?"), not "factoids". If it can be answered with "yes" or "no", it's probably not a good question. – user11249 Apr 5 at 5:52

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