11

I'm referring to this one: What is the fundamental difference between catching whales and hunting other animals?

This question, comments and answers are all happily out of control, and the entire stuff is really low quality.

The initial post from the OP was a straight rant with nothing to do with politics: this is the kind of question that should be closed for being OT, if not outright deleted.

User lazarusL has instead decided 10 minutes later to take ownership of the question and to completely change it, justifying with "Hard edit to save the question from being classified as a rant". Wrong: if you have a question create your own one, do not hijack someone else's by completely changing its meaning and purpouse. You can suggest in a comment the OP to do so, but that's all of it.

As a result now we have:

  • 36 revisions of the question, including the question being closed and reopened
  • The OP officially asking for the question to be deleted, and being completely ignored
  • OP ranting in comments everywhere
  • Other users complaining with the OP for constantly rewording the question, which is perfectly fine instead if you consider OP never asked the question
  • An accepted answer with a total of -8 downvotes, which I feel has very good chances to be the most downvoted accepted answer of the network
  • A list of other answers which are not answering the question at all in the new version because, quote:

I'm looking for the stated reasons from environmental groups and governments that have signed the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

and none of the answers quote anything like that. All answers are clearly opinion based.

So now there is a rant posted from a user, with the entire content replaced by another user, with the accepted answer reflecting the original rant, and a lot of bad stuff going on. My 2c:

  1. Delete all
  2. Not hijaking someone else post is one of the basic rules of the SE network. Why has this been allowed in first place?
  • 6
    You are forgetting 2 things. I as the OP allowed the "hijacking" ( which was deleted as one of the comments ). I repeatedly asked for the data number of times on the premise that the "revised" question is OK to me myself. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 0:49
  • 3
    The timeline is a little wrong. I edited the post and very politely said something like "I'm sorry I had to make some hard edits to this question to help make it objective and appropriate for this site. <link to how to ask objective questions>. Please let me know and edit if I distorted your original meaning." That's when I added the "stated reasons from environmental groups and governments." This was almost immediately after the question was posted and before there were any answers. The OP thanked me for my edits, then the question went hot network and got a ton of attention. – lazarusL Jul 10 at 12:55
  • 1
    Sadly moderators deleted this context from the comments. – lazarusL Jul 10 at 12:55
  • 4
    Neither myself nor the OP thought I "hijacked" the question. – lazarusL Jul 10 at 12:57
  • 2
    @lazarusL Absolutely. I happily welcomed your "rewording" not "hijacking" and I did nothing for more than about 3 days after your edit. Even I thanked you for the "rewording". I hope that the question be deleted for the good reason now that Sjoerd now deleted his own answer ( whose intention is unknown ) which was accepted by me. Thanks you guys. I don't want any more headaches thinking about whaling because Japan resumed whaling on ignorable volume so that even in the supermarkets near my house there is no whale cans available.How can I eat them? Haha. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 13:24
  • I shouldn't have laughed. Sorry for ranting, – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 13:38
  • 2
    @KentaroTomono I didn't delete my answer. Apparently 3 users voted to delete it. Meta topic incoming when I get home... – Sjoerd Jul 10 at 15:34
  • @Sjoerd I think this question should be closed for that reason only. There are only mad people left. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 16:19
  • 2
    Related meta question about the accepted answer that was deleted by three users: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3951/8912 – Sjoerd Jul 10 at 19:32
13

I disagree that the basic problem with the question is that it wanted to know what people thought. The basic problem is that it wanted to promote an agenda. The poster wanted to say that people were hypocritical for criticizing Japan for whaling while eating other forms of meat.

People gave reasons why whaling is treated differently:

  1. Whales overall are endangered.
  2. Whales have higher intelligence than cows and other meat animals.
  3. Method of killing was inhumane.
  4. Whaling is done in waters that other countries feel should be theirs (even if technically in international waters).

I could add another, that people criticizing Japanese whaling don't necessarily eat meat. Sure, some may. But many may be against eating meat in general.

But the poster did not want to know those reasons. Instead, the poster

  1. Modified the question to argue these points.
  2. Added an answer to argue these points.
  3. Accepted an answer that reiterated the original claim rather than answering the question.

This is a classic rant question, boiling down to "AmIright?" And not accepting any response but "Yes, you are right."

And after all this, with multiple edits to try to make a constructive question, the original poster remains frustrated. Because what the poster wanted was a discussion and in particular a discussion where the poster won. But Stack Exchange is not the place for discussion. And if it were, it's not about automatic wins for the asker.

It would have been nicer and more polite if we had closed the question in the first place. It was a bad fit for the site. And each time we fixed it, the original poster found a way to corrupt it again. Because the fixed versions weren't accomplishing his goal of promoting his agenda.

People have argued that we should be more welcoming. But the problem here is that the goal of the post was fundamentally antithetical to the purpose of the site. It was not a question seeking answers. It was a rant seeking validation.

A lot of people (including the original poster) acted with good intentions. They just wanted to fix the question. He just wanted to promote his agenda. But the result was horrible because they were essentially operating at cross purposes.

If Stack Exchange wants to welcome these kinds of posts, it should create a Soapbox.SE where people can post rants without fear of hijack edits or deletion.

  • He was also arguing, especially later on, that people are hypocritical for criticising Japan when other countries do the same thing. – F1Krazy Jul 12 at 18:56
  • I like your answer, but you haven't said what should be done with it now .. – Time4Tea Jul 17 at 17:42
  • 1
    Imo, the question as it is stated now seems fine. The problem seems to be that the OP has accepted an answer that is very unpopular. – Time4Tea Jul 17 at 17:43
  • 1
    @Time4Tea I disagree that the problem with the answer is that it is unpopular. The problem with that answer is that accepting it is part of the same corruption as the question (as written by the poster). It is attempting to promote the poster's agenda (that it is unfair to Japan to criticize whaling) rather than answering the question (why should whaling be regarded differently than other kinds of hunting/fishing/husbandry). I don't have a strong opinion on whether the question should be closed or just kept from being edited back into a bad form. – Brythan Jul 17 at 17:52
  • @F1Krazy: Perhaps I have misunderstood you, and if so I apologize, but the merits of the original poster's arguments are not relevant to this discussion. An "Am I right?" question is off-topic regardless of the particular arguments that the asker raises. – Kevin Jul 21 at 5:42
  • By the way, fundamentally speaking, and even the "hijacker" agrees, what was hijacked by who? You are completely forgetting this within 10 seconds incident and after the "hijacking" I did nothing at all. I even thanked the "hijacker" for the rewording. So what was hijacked by who? – Kentaro Tomono Jul 22 at 14:41
  • And what exactly did I do to this >And each time we fixed it, the original poster found a way to corrupt it again. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 22 at 14:44
  • >It would have been nicer and more polite if we had closed the question in the first place. Not if the first place, you can delete mine anytime you like. I personally asked the deletion multiple times. ( which was completely ignored ) as the OP says. Why didn't you ask for the deletion when it is too late? You could have done anytime as I would like it to be too. Thank you! – Kentaro Tomono Jul 22 at 14:46
  • 1
    Thanks Brythan, I rollbacked it to the original state. Well, let's go busted! – Kentaro Tomono Jul 23 at 12:54
10

I don't think I ever saw this question in its original state, which to save anyone else having to dig it out was;

I read this article and I came to a conclusion how hypocritical non Japanese are.

You are bashing us for whale fishing.

So what's your favorite cuisine such rabbits, cows, trouts ( they are categorically as fishes ), pigs, chickens, reindeers ( such as the food for Canadian natives ) or waluruses for Siberians so on?

I'm tired of our country so criticized about this.

Which isn't even a question at all in terms of what the Site is about. As is reasonably common however, the title itself is a simple and straightforward question;

Why whale hunting treated differently from hunting other animals?

The basic problem with this as a question, is that it wants to know what "people" think. Not an individual, not a government or NGO that can be quoted and sourced, but large groups of people. This leads to answers that are can be categorised as opinion based because they are essentially "As everyone knows..."

Unless questions about people as a group, or members of groups that explicitly ignores leaders such as "Libertarians" or "Europeans" are all considered off-topic than general opinion based answers to such broad questions have to be OK.

The best approach to this would have been to kill it early. Ignore the fact that the title is a reasonable question, deal with the fact that the content is a rant by closing the question. Instead of saving the question, create a new one with a neutral content that brings out the same information.

In addition to this we probably need a clear policy on what opinion based actually means, and if that label can be applied to answers about large groups. Opinions on future outcomes or why person X did Y are clearly off topic as they should be sourced. Unless we only allow group belief answers based on polling data then the Opinion based answers need to be valid for this type of question.

In regards to the accepted and down voted answer, there are plenty of comments on there explaining why it's down voted, which seems reasonable. I think it's ok for a "correct" answer to be low rated as long as the comments remain to help new viewers understand.

  • Don't you think "As everyone knows" is the problem? Instead, "Not anyone knows" the truth at all ( all the answerers do not know the catch limits Japan set ( under 1.0% )), which would not be "as everyone knows"? – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 1:33
  • Yes absolutely "as everyone knows" is the problem because it comes from the sum of the individual's personal experience. The reality of this particular question is "everyone knows" the best number of whales to catch is zero. Which is why the opinion based restrictions become an issue, this is all part of the general background against which people live their lives. – Jontia Jul 10 at 5:57
  • >Yes absolutely "as everyone knows" is the problem because it comes from the sum of the individual's personal experience. The reality of this particular question is "everyone knows" the best number of whales to catch is zero. Which is why the opinion based restrictions become an issue, this is all part of the general background against which people live their lives. Well, you are telling me the "best number of whales to catch is zero". Your opinion here crystal clearly to me is biased by Western idea let alone Norway and Iceland. Japan and other minorities in the Western countries – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 6:57
  • do not think so. Thank you. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 6:58
  • 4
    I am sorry you feel this is any way a nationalist issue. Let me assure you I personally want whaling stopped in Iceland and Norway as much as by Japan. Japan's recent change from Scientific to Commercial Whaling is actually welcome as it is at least significantly more honest. The whaling by isolated communities is the most difficult to reconcile, but commercial whaling does not present any such ambiguities. And Japan is not as fully in support of Whaling as you present it. japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/03/16/voices/… – Jontia Jul 10 at 7:45
  • I actually talked with a person, who is rich enough and many experience of tours, and who also went to Iceland said. She says, "Well, if you have been to Iceland, there are virtually only seafood stuff available for Icelanders, not only whales, but rather seals too and ( I forgot : )). You are right, This is the problem of culture, not the ideology thing. And I asked this situation I almost personally nearly went mad myself, she told me I'd better stop it entirely or not at all. Your "confession" is O.K, but setting to zero would not be able to "reconcile" whose main staple food – Kentaro Tomono Jul 12 at 13:42
  • is near their territory at their sea. And most Japanese do not eat whales anyway. But ideas such including zero or all would cause the perfectly ideological conflict. Sorry(m_m). But it looks like I started to get involved with this issue again, my heartbeat started increasing, so I am sorry I will literally "have to" go. Thank you anyway. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 12 at 13:43
  • 1
    Your friend is sadly mis-informed. Less than 3% of people in Iceland eat whale regularly (defined as 6 times a year). Only 1.5% of people eat whale once a month. grapevine.is/news/2015/10/27/… theculturetrip.com/europe/iceland/articles/… When so few people are doing it, why continue the practice at all? – Jontia Jul 12 at 13:49
  • @Jonita Thanks for enlightenment. She must be wrong. However, I will go now when I look at Sjoerd's answer was deleted again. I am sorry Sjoerd, I am not young enough to sustain myself anymore from looking at this ugly push and pushback. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 12 at 14:00
7

Jonita answered with:

The best approach to this would have been to kill it early. Ignore the fact that the title is a reasonable question, deal with the fact that the content is a rant by closing the question. Instead of saving the question, create a new one with a neutral content that brings out the same information.

I disagree with this. I think there's an interesting point to the question (which is why I decided to answer, and people seemed to like that seeing the up votes).

So yes, it could have been killed early, then the asker would have learned nothing and the useful answers that there are now, albeit to a slightly different question, wouldn't have been there either.

In the end, I think we're better off as it is, with the question slightly different (or as I'd prefer to say: optimised to suit this site).


In your question, you mention:

Not hijaking someone else post is one of the basic rules of the SE network. Why has this been allowed in first place?

Indeed, that's a bit of a trade-off. Sometimes, it's suggested to closed the bad question and ask it yourself (as a more experienced user) if you're interested.

I don't think that's very welcoming. Indeed, the original asker came up with the novel (at least on this site) idea for a question and then some other user decides it's not good enough and gets the credit for it.

Ideally, the question is edited with a comment to the original author that it's better that way. They still get credit and the question is better, hopefully allowing them to learn and become more involved with the site by coming up with more questions.


In this case, I recognise that there have been some unfortunate edits by the original author that didn't improve the question. Seeing that the question was good at some point, I think that's the ideal place to stop editing. Edits should only be made to improve a question and I would support a moderator fixing it if edits are contested or an edit war is happening.

In this case, that could have been done, but now it seems the edits have stopped and the current version seems good (to me at least). As such, the end result is good, but the way there was a bit bumpy. Not ideal, but we're better off than not having the question (and more importantly the answers that followed) at all.


Now, for some of your points, I'll also provide a reply.

The OP officially asking for the question to be deleted, and being completely ignored

This isn't really a problem. The OP and the editors have licence their content with Stack Exchange. It's now available licensed as CC-BY-SA and that means that you as author can't prevent others from presenting the content under the terms of that licence. In particular, it means you cannot force Stack Exchange to remove your content. The best you can do is ask for account disassociation, so the author will change to something like user1235866468454684.

OP ranting in comments everywhere

These can just be flagged. There is no exceptional position here allowing anyone to do that. If you think it's inappropriate, flag it accordingly.

Other users complaining with the OP for constantly rewording the question, which is perfectly fine instead if you consider OP never asked the question

This can be a bit tedious indeed. Eventually, it's best to ask on Meta to get consensus in the community. In that regard, you did an excellent job listing all the points that bothered you (and others).

A list of other answers which are not answering the question at all in the new version because, quote: <> and none of the answers quote anything like that. All answers are clearly opinion based.

I think this was in some of the older versions as well. It's not necessarily a problem because a whole bunch of countries signed that. For example, my answer provides a reason from Vietnam officials (Vietnam is a party to the convention) and the WWF (an environmental group). And some other answers mention Australia, New Zealand, PETA and the IWC (which is aimed at conservation to have sustainable whaling). So I don't really agree with this assessment. Not everything in all the answers is well referenced, but many arguments, even many referenced ones, are useful.

  • I admire your neutrality even though I didn't pick yours as the best. But Sjoerd surpassed you on this issue when for the first time he criticized me "It should be easy to check this answer against reality: Japan announced to start commercial whaling recently, but limit this to its own territorial waters." when I picked llam's first time when I realized that how much ignorant I am by myself. Thank you for your answer anyhow. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 10 at 7:01
  • I agree that the question we've ended up with is interesting. What isn't is the edit war of the content. Which could have been avoided by closing and re-posting as a neutral. The biggest problem I have with that as a method is it isn't very welcoming. – Jontia Jul 12 at 10:21
  • @Jontia yea, a better solution would be to lock it (by a mod) and have edits done via discussion on meta. That can be a bit tedious, of course, but in most cases it's probably not needed. In this case it could've helped when you made the comment to rollback to version 25, which the OP eventually did (in revision 35). In the end, I think it's because the OP is new here and not as familiar with the ways of SE as more veteran users. – JJJ Jul 12 at 10:36
  • 2
    @JJJ The poster has been here for a couple years (Meta from 2017). He's not that new. And he has consistently misused the site despite feedback both in comments and on Meta. While it's nice to try to see the best in people, I think that you are being overly optimistic in this case. He seems unlikely to change. The problem doesn't seem to be familiarity. He fundamentally wants to use the site in ways that don't fit the Stack Exchange model. – Brythan Jul 12 at 20:58
  • @Brythan Yes. Whatever the original motive is, through the process of being reworded ( which I completely approved ( people forgot )) or being closed or the accepted answer being closed or undeleted, I realized I come to know now that there are much of, ( literally much of ) more insane people than me who I personally I have thought so far that I might be the only crazy and unique Japanese outside the U.S when whaling thing is concerned. – Kentaro Tomono Jul 13 at 3:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .