This answer was just deleted by a moderator, despite being highly upvoted: https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/48474/10350

The moderator who did the deletion has "Reinstate Monica" in their display name, and it sure feels like the deletion is retaliation for this: Are excessively long display names for political messaging allowed on SE sites?

Yes, as the mod wrote, the answer was flagged many times by people who don't like it for political reasons. There is nothing in the answer that is hostile or against site rules. Repeated flagging because of disagreement is not supposed to get answers deleted.


This answer is more of a comment on Sam I Am's answer and their reasoning for deleting the answer, since I think it's safe to discount the idea that it's some sort of Monica-related retribution.

I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I do think the answer raised an important and useful point; on the other hand I also think we need to be strict about shutting down overly partisan and/or inflammatory answers in the name of keeping this site from turning into a chaotic troll-fest; but on the third hand, politics is messy, and sometimes politicians and parties do act out of malice, racism, or other bad-faith motives – we shouldn't make a rule that requires us to assume that all politicians are honest and faithful civil servants.

So, how do we resolve this? My incomplete thinking on this is that we should have a standard that the more extreme, inflammatory or "bad-faith" an answer is, the more it needs to be supported and the more effort needs to be taken to maintain a neutral point of view and to focus any disapproval specifically on the people who deserve it.

By this standard, the original answer (without a citation) is unacceptable. The revised version, though, includes a direct quote from Nixon's policy chief saying "Yes, we did this". That's pretty good evidence, and I don't think we should delete it just because it paints Nixon in a bad light. The answer, though, spreads the blame wider than is supported by the evidence by attributing this generally to "right wing parties", and attributes additional negative motives. Since this claim is so inflammatory, the answer should be edited to be as neutrally-written, specific, and limited as possible while still getting across the main point.

So, to start, this answer should state that this is just one contributing motive; it should attribute this to Nixon and the Republican party in the 60's and 70's, not right-wing people in general; and it should highlight how this was part of a larger culture war, not just a specific act of right-wing malice.

An answer saying "Liberals want to destroy families" or "Liberals hate christians" is obviously not acceptable, but as bytebuster points out in their comment, if a specific politician did say they that they pushed a policy in order to hurt Christians (and they actually said that – it's not just something taken out of context), then that is a legitimate thing to report on. We can't just hide it because it makes someone look bad. I would have very high standards for that answer: they would have to provide good citations, keep the answer focused on the person who said it, rather than all liberals, and adopt a neural voice; but I don't think we can say that that answer should be off-limits.

So, after all that rambling, what's my position on this answer? I think it should be undeleted eventually, but it needs serious edits first. It should limit its claims to only those that can be supported by the quotes adopt a tone of monk-like neutrality in order to dial down the inflammatory nature of the answer. A more acceptable main point would be something more like "disrupting the political organization of African-Americans and the Left was a motivating factor in the Nixon administration's push for strict drug laws"

  • 1
    I'm willing to accept this kind of criticism, especially pointing out whatever specific parts are deemed too "inflammatory", and would be amenable to editing the answer with more citations and different wording. I believe a mod acting appropriately would have done just that before unilaterally deleting a highly-upvoted (despite a huge number of downvotes!) good-faith answer. The comments from Sam I Am on the reason for deletion come across as highly partisan, overly defensive of right-wing ideology, and (in context of my meta question), retaliatory. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 10 '19 at 19:15
  • And I truely do, in good faith, believe that the motivation for such parties, is pretty much as described in my answer - drug policy is a means to holding on to power in a world where their political goals will never be in the best interest of a majority of the people. That doesn't mean that every one who supports the party believes the same thing or harbors malice for the people affected by such policies. But political parties do what makes sense in order for them to gain and hold onto power. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 10 '19 at 19:23
  • 2
    @R.. If you do want to challenge this, I advise you to edit your answer and try as hard as you can to make it less partisan and more acceptable. Once you've got it to a place where you think it's really beyond reproach (not just good enough), flag it for moderator attention and request undeletion. I wouldn't malign Sam I am, though. They are definitely not a radical partisan, and upvotes do not and should not protect an inappropriate post – divibisan Dec 10 '19 at 19:23
  • Thanks. I forgot that you can edit answers while they're in deleted state. I'll try that. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 10 '19 at 19:24
  • @R.. Do take the criticism of your question seriously. Machavity's answer here makes good points that you should address. We don't want to accept rants here, even if they're correct – divibisan Dec 10 '19 at 20:53
  • I've made edits. Please let me know what you think. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 10 '19 at 20:54
  • 6
    @R.. Vast improvement. Admits where the argument is weak and makes certain to not paint everyone with a broad brush. I would support an undelete based on Revision 3 – Machavity Dec 11 '19 at 13:31
  • What do I need to do to get mods to actually give feedback on the changes? – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 15 '19 at 16:41
  • @R.. Mod flag the answer and note that you made edits based on this Meta. Only a moderator can undelete it – Machavity Dec 17 '19 at 21:41
  • @Machavity: I thought I did that. I'll try again. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 17 '19 at 23:16

We definitely have rules against bad faith, and your answer seems to fit that fairly well. This is your original answer

Right-wing parties thrive on rules with harsh penalties that forbid things large portions of the population are doing, that can be selectively enforced against members of groups they want to keep disempowered, including even members of "their own" who step out of line. It facilitates disinfranchisement of groups likely to vote against them, and tacit knowledge that "their own" elite are exempt from the rules, by virtue of getting off with a slap on the wrist or having networks of power/privilege cover up their "crimes", builds a feeling of unity and desire to belong to said elite.

This reads as a rant. Not only does it not give any supporting evidence, most of it relies on bigotry against "right-wing parties". Your edit to add evidence was even worse. It supposedly quotes a Nixon official but fails to note something else CNN reported in the same article

"The 1994 alleged 'quote' we saw repeated in social media for the first time today does not square with what we know of our father. And collectively, that spans over 185 years of time with him," the Ehrlichman family wrote. "We do not subscribe to the alleged racist point of view that this writer now implies 22 years following the so-called interview of John and 16 years following our father's death, when dad can no longer respond. None of us have raised our kids that way, and that's because we were not raised that way."

It's fine to quote hearsay as long as we're being honest that it's questionable. Failing to caveat the quote as the article did is clear bad faith.

  • 6
    It's not fine to rely on hearsay alone, but 'disputing' it with even more questionable character testimonial from very biased parties? aei.org/carpe-diem/… & vox.com/2016/3/22/11278760/war-on-drugs-racism-nixon Did you know that Heydrick was a fine father and husband? I knew, and I stiil think we shouldn't rewrite history because of such testimonials. The part quoted from CNN is false equivalency and poor style. – LаngLаngС Dec 10 '19 at 20:18
  • 2
    @LаngLаngС The man is deceased so he cannot defend himself, or confirm the quote's authenticity, so including a quote from his family disputing them is good journalism. It's strange he felt he could talk to a reporter about this but not his own family for 25 years afterward. Your comparison to the Nazi is invalid because we know definitively what the Nazis and SS did. There is no evidence supporting the claims that Nixon knowingly started the war on drugs to target blacks. Interestingly enough, your single comment is better written and more informative than the answer in question. – Machavity Dec 10 '19 at 20:37
  • 3
    Comparison is about wholesale character testimonials and obvious denial. His colleagues said 'unlikely he did', but speculated he might as well have, being very sarcastic/cynical. And they had at least some insight into his professional 'deeds', unlike family members. The quote may not be entirely genuine, but it matches what critics of the policy said all a long and what the factual effects were. JE perhaps arguing post-hoc? It was good enough info, widely believed and made it into a HRes933(115). Are HR guilty as OP? – LаngLаngС Dec 11 '19 at 10:18

Because that answer unfairly attributes malice to what is actually a notably large percentage of the country, and also a large percentage of our user-base. In fact, 2 people here flagged it as offensive.

It's akin to saying that liberals want something in order to destroy family values

  • 3
    It does not and you know it. It attributes to strategy. And it's really suspicious timing that you did that just a few hours after I posted on meta about the "Reinstate Monica in display names" crowd. I think you should recuse yourself from this, undelete, and let other mods handle it. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 10 '19 at 4:31
  • 9
    @R.. I just looked at your post on meta after you left this comment. It was posted a whole 10 hours ago. It's not very visible because of how down-voted it is. You can hardly call that a coincidence let alone assume some sort of secret motivation based on it. By the way, I'm not going to recuse myself just because you at one point in time made some post about the Monica names. There are a lot of moderators that mention Monica in their name. You're not going to avoid being moderated by such a large number of moderators so easily. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '19 at 4:39
  • I think there's a word missing or something in the last sentence. – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Dec 10 '19 at 4:50
  • 12
    -1: the post was backed by direct speech of a top-ranking US government official, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. I imagine that many people would feel offended by what a top-ranking US official says (then in interview or now in Twitter). It's a shame if true. But the fact is, John Ehrlichman indeed said these words. The entire idea of Stack Exchange is for factual answers. R.'s answer was totally factual and their conclusion seem justified. Facts can't be offensive. – bytebuster Dec 10 '19 at 6:26
  • 11
    -1 The CoC isn't about removing all content that some people find "offensive". If it were, we could delete a majority of questions and answers here. It is about 1) put-downs of other users: doesn't apply here 2) personal attacks against other users: doesn't apply here 3) no bigotry: doesn't apply here; "right wing parties" are not a protected group as per CoC. Under that logic "The Nazi party committed countless atrocities" would be grounds for removal because it's offensive to Nazis. 4) harassment: doesn't apply – tim Dec 10 '19 at 9:02
  • @tim On the one thing I'd agree totally: "the entire Confederacy was a racist enterprise" or "1940s Germans were fascists" are factually true and shouldn't lead to any deletions here (& even in my opinion wouldn't need backup…). For this particular A. I also see why flagged, but fail to see why it was granted. But, you seem to wishfully ignore how broken the CoC factually is. Sam is right within that framework to delete A. "Any language" from CoC and "the offended" as prime arbiter of truth are the problem here. Universalist 'truths' are out. Can't agree with that, but it's law now. – LаngLаngС Dec 10 '19 at 10:18
  • 3
    @LаngLаngС "any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion". The intention of the CoC is IMHO pretty clear, and the recent clarifications ('yes, this also includes trans people') doesn't change that. The past and current CoC do not apply to this situation. But I'm not going to MSE with this, because it's a toxic atmosphere atm and I expect heavy downvotes for supporting the CoC as-is. – tim Dec 10 '19 at 10:29
  • 1
    @LangLangC I'd like to remind you that this answer wasn't about Nazis. It was about people on the right who want to keep marijuana illegal. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '19 at 15:32
  • 1
    Judging by the downvotes on this question, does this mean you want "liberals want to destroy family values" answers to stand too? If not, then you have a serious double-standard. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '19 at 15:41
  • 5
    @SamIamsaysReinstateMonica, if a certain person (John Smith) who calls herself a liberal would say, "I/we want to destroy family values, here's how we do/did it" then YES, a statement "this liberal John Smith / some liberals / etc wants to destroy family values" holds true, regardless of my/your position on liberals or family values. Again, we are here to learn by knowing facts. If John Smith dares to say such things, we need to know that. Opponents of John need this to address their criticism; proponents — to reconsider their support of John anymore. – bytebuster Dec 10 '19 at 16:26
  • 1
    @bytebuster The evidence he linked isn't quite as compelling as you think it is. It you have a look at the article, this is one Nixon advisor who died 20 years ago. That hardly compelling evidence that the whole party has a particular motivation. Not only that, but the account itself is disputed, according to the article. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '19 at 16:46
  • 4
  • 2
    @SamIam, quite. But posting a highly partisan (or even totally factually wrong!) answer is a completely different problem. That's what downvotes are for. We can't stop people from referencing sources, even such highly controversial/disputed/biased as you given. I would be happy if we only make fellow StackExchangers always back their posts with whatever evidence they have; many of us usually don't bother to do so at all. – bytebuster Dec 10 '19 at 17:06
  • 4
    @SamIamsaysReinstateMonica The post was flagged as rude or abusive, and you gave that as (some) of your reasoning to delete the post. But no reasonable reading of the CoC applies to this answer. And if the standard for mod deletion now is "the post contains negative facts/opinions about political parties/groups/ideologies", then there are a lot of posts that can or should be deleted by mods. IMHO, this doesn't lead anywhere good; this is what downvotes are for, not mod deletion. – tim Dec 10 '19 at 21:06
  • 4
    Just in this question, the answer by Peter accuses " right-wing profiteers" of "inhumane incarceration"; Shadow1024 accuses the "religious right" of not understanding drugs but considering them a "demonic-like force"; DrMcCleod indirectly accuses non-conservatives of not focusing on preventing behaviors that cause harm; Rich accuses right wing parties of only promoting the interests of the wealthy and othering groups based on race; Andrew accuses right-wingers of only doing things for money. And those are really really mild compared to what some users post regularly here. – tim Dec 10 '19 at 21:06

You must log in to answer this question.

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