First response to my newly posted question What are the problems related to Trump administration’s targeting of Huawei affecting US/UK relationship? is this comment (now deleted):

Likely just Fake News by the NYT. You shouldn't trust anything they write about Trump.

along with a down vote at roughly the same time.

Every SE site has a different culture and set of norms, so I'm not sure if this is par for the course and an acceptable comment, or if this is considered unproductive and something I should consider flagging as unnecessary.

The question is about a direct quote from "Thomas Wright, an expert on Europe at the Washington-based Brookings Institution" and so I don't see how it is really a comment in any way about the question itself.

  • 4
    @LangLangC I've tried to implement what I think you are suggesting but using my own words. This is as far as I'm going to go. However if someone else then complains I'm going to roll back. Once again "I think a reasonable person would understand that a concise question title will often simply paraphrase the actual question. (emphasis added) Jun 3, 2019 at 10:09
  • No. I did & I'll do the same. But please, I hope you still ponder/consider also to making this a bit more of the type generic/example… ;) Jun 3, 2019 at 14:14
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    @LangLangC the problem is that I am not a frequent user of this site and so I don't have enough familiarity with how things go here to ask more broadly. My question is specific by design. Why don't you simply ask a new question, link to this one, and state that you are looking for a more generic prescription, rather than try ask through someone else by proxy? I think it's a great idea but I'm not up to it. Jun 3, 2019 at 14:21
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    Don't let them get you down. I've often had people attack the sources I've quoted (and I actively avoid the ranty ones). It's just another way to undermine anything you've said.
    – Machavity
    Jun 3, 2019 at 19:32

2 Answers 2



Politics is a bit on the chatty side, compared to other Stack Exchange sites. You will often stumble upon idle discussion in comments. However, we do follow the same general guidelines. If a comment doesn't do much to clarify or otherwise improve a post, it doesn't really belong here.

If people wish to challenge the veracity of a source, they are free to attempt to do so in an answer.

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    It seems to me that challenging the veracity of a source is tantamount to seeking clarification of the post in which the source is used.
    – phoog
    Jun 11, 2019 at 16:47
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    @phoog when it's done in good faith, yes. The specific comment in question strikes me as a drive-by attempt at pushing a narrative rather than actual engagement. Jun 13, 2019 at 12:28
  • @JaredSmith fair enough, but then shouldn't the challenge to the comment be based on that rather than the (questionable) claim that comments are not to be used for challenging the veracity of a source?
    – phoog
    Jun 13, 2019 at 16:17
  • @phoog no argument there. Jun 13, 2019 at 18:19

If one claims that a source is untrustworthy, they need to provide some reason for that. Just calling them "fake news" is an ad-hominem argument and therefore of little weight.

If someone uses a source you consider untrustworthy (in general or when it comes to a specific area of expertise), then you might want to use this as an opportunity to find a more reliable source which either confirms or disputes that fact and reply with that. But if you can't find anything like that (or don't have time to do research on your own), then please don't just dispute the statement solely on your opinion about the source.

  • @Sjoerd On Fox News and on the NYT. And I guess you have similar pages on many other news outlets. It's a good way to get specifics rather than the very general untrustworthy.
    – JJJ Mod
    Jun 4, 2019 at 21:09
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    @Sjoerd When a source makes people less educated than those who consume no news... there does seem like a reasonable basis for prejudice against that source.
    – user8398
    Jun 5, 2019 at 14:53
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    @Philipp "You have to provide some reason for that." When is a reason good enough? Is a link to some internet site that supports one's claim good enough (like the commenter above me thinks it is)?
    – Sjoerd
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:02
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    @Sjoerd Yes, 'some' external ref is better than none. But you are the quality control manager for what you link to. If that external source is again generally viewed as 'low quality' it doesn't help much. It may be even detrimental. And the generalised bit "NYT is fake' is much harder to prove as 'here, NYT made a mistake'. With ref you do not stand alone, but if your ref is poor, then we have two too poor sources. Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. 'Some twitter feed is fake' doesn't need much, I'd guess, but sth between judging/labeling/smearing NYT would? Jun 5, 2019 at 18:23
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    @LangLangC Note that I didn't write "NYT cannot be trusted," despite you putting quotes around it. I wrote "NYT cannot be trusted on Trump." Leaving out the context is harmful.
    – Sjoerd
    Jun 5, 2019 at 19:33
  • @Sjoerd most NYT controversies (per my previous link) related to Trump seem to be about cartoons or leaks of 'classified' images. You could argue the cartoons are disrespectful or even show bias. The image leak wasn't bad reporting about Trump, indeed UK authorities moved to stop sharing intel. The Fox News one doesn't show a lot of Trump bias either (mostly the Hannity connection). I only did a CTRL-F search on 'trump', no in-depth reading.
    – JJJ Mod
    Jun 6, 2019 at 10:45
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    @Sjoerd so in that sense, I think it's still on you making the comment to provide a reason why the NYT, which we agree is a good source in general, to argue why the NYT would not be a good source on Trump-related news.
    – JJJ Mod
    Jun 6, 2019 at 10:47
  • @inappropriateCode foxnews.com/opinion/the-truth-about-fox-news-viewers
    – user76284
    Dec 23, 2021 at 3:39

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