This question about fascism and President Trump was closed and deleted because "answers will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise".

This determination was made before any answers were even submitted.

So, even though fascism has well-established dictionary definitions and encyclopedic references, some people decided that there was no way to provide answers based on facts and references.

But this site has many questions that are receptive to answers that "will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise".

Except these posts remain active on the platform.

Why the double standard?

More broadly, why are we even closing / deleting questions for being susceptible to opinion on a Q&A site about politics, which is highly subjective by its very nature?

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    I have the impression you asked the same question a while back, and that was deleted too... Related: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3848/… – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 7:58
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    @SurpriseDog, I agree with everything in your comment, except the part about my question being absurd. Many prominent people, including a former POTUS, are saying that President Trump is a fascist. Why can't a question be asked about that? At a minimum, why should such a question be closed and deleted? – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 16:29
  • In your comment you seem to be standing up for free speech and against de-platforming. I'm with you entirely. But then why are you supporting efforts on this site to close and delete my posts? Consider casting an up or down vote for my question or my answer. Thanks. – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 16:31

What was your goal in asking the question? (really think about this one)

What do you think an acceptable answer to this question should include?

Do you already have you mind made up about the question you're asking?

IMO, that question stank of being rhetorical as soon as I saw it.

Edit; In future, look out for accidentally putting skub (or anti-skub) in your questions or answers. Oftentimes you might not even notice you did it.

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    I have answers to all your questions. But, honestly, it's irrelevant and none of your business. There's nothing wrong with the question in terms of the guidelines. The problem is that some people are interpreting the question through their own personal biases, as opposed to just taking it at face value. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:22
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    Repeatedly closing and deleting this question stinks of censorship and abuse of privilege, not to mention disrespect of fellow community members who would like to see or contribute answers. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:23
  • Lastly, consider this: You know nothing about me personally, or who I support or oppose politically, so maybe you yourself should just take the question at face value. At a minimum, allow answers (such as the one I was preparing) to get posted to see if your presumptions are correct. Maybe your impressions of the question are misguided. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:23
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    @Michael_B At face value, I don't think that question was asked correctly. I'd double check, but it's been deleted. What are you trying to convince me of in these comments? – bobsburner Feb 25 '20 at 14:35
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    That there was no reason to close or delete the question. It was technically fine, and posted in good faith. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:43

To quote you a comment [I echo/endorse] from under your (new) question, before it was deleted:

Yes there are definitions, but which one to use? The opinion comes in to play when arguing whether any single act counts as "proof of fascism." To some putting kids in cages is absolutely an act of Fascism, to others it is simply following the law.

– Jeff Lambert 14 hours ago

Also, like your previous question on Trump being a racist, this one was pretty long too, so ...

Is this a question or an essay? – SurpriseDog 14 hours ago

FIY, a more amusing [perhaps] sub-topic of this theme, “drenare la palude” has a 1,500-word article of Politifact. It's not reasonable to try to compress that level of detail for an even broader question in a SE-style question, IMO. I.e., besides the other issues, the question is probably too broad because even if we use Italian fascism as basis of comparison, there are many aspects to consider...

After reading Peter's answer, I posted an answer to the question itself along the lines he suggested, which while quoting an academic paper happens to be not much more than an elaborate version of Jeff's comment above...

I should also mention here that the question was deleted and undeleted twice, and likewise closed twice.

The reason I had a change of heart and I posted an answer to this question (despite my rather negative take on how the question was formulated is that there is a lot of serious-enough material that was written about Trump and fascism.

Does this open us to a slippery slope of related questions about any radom politician being called a fascist? I think the answer is no, because we can always close such questions with the usual "primary purpose appears to promote or discredit a political cause" iff there's no credible evidence that the issue of politician X being fascist is being seriously considered in enough sources that aren't just rags.

The Trump-fascism question has now been deleted by mod Phillip presumably based on the consensus developed here and the parallel/dupe question that is debating the same issue. Philipp has not posted an answer here, but he has on the other question.

FWIW, my answer to the Trump-fascism question got +15 / -0 votes before it was deleted. Philipp's meta answer has +11 / -5 right now. (Also the question did not get HNQ'd.) So I still think it was not unreasonable to answer it, despite what the majority of meta-regulars think...

Also, I'm voicing here my general displeasure at how some regulars on this site downvote practically any question that discusses terminology, in an applied manner or not, even if the question asks if some statement is true for some [plausible] definition of some term but for not another [definition], even when the statement is theoretical and not applied to some particular politician. The usual reason stated is along the lines of "there are many definitions for this". Yes, that's often true, but no definition in social science is set in stone. If we can't even have decent theoretical discussions about terminology, only "what does politician X say about Y" kind of questions (or the horribly vague but popular "why is X happening")... then this site has much less appeal for me personally.

  • Jeff Lambert's opinion is fine. I'm fine with it. You're fine with it. BUT, his comment should not be the basis for removing a post from the platform, because none of us know the answers that may be contributed. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:42
  • To your point about my question being too long. First, Politics SE permits up to 30,000 characters per post. My question came in at less than 5,000. That's just 1/6 of the allowable limit. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:44
  • Second, I prefer to post questions and answers that are highly detailed and filled with facts and references. They often tend to be longer than most posts. What's wrong with that? – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:45
  • It appears that the problem some people have with the length of my questions and/or answers is that they're simply not accustomed to it. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 14:52
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    @Michael_B: while you found the need to put 20+ links to people calling Trump a fascist, you could have linked a handful of articles discussing the matter more substantively. A google search for Trump & fascism actually tends to return those first. There are NYT, WaPo, Vox etc. articles discussing the issue in a more balanced manner. Your question style just comes across as unnecessarily flashy and abrasive. – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 15:12
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    @Michael_B: Also Obama has refrained from calling Trump a fascist in public. That's why the revelation about 2016 was newsworthy, even if Obama has not confirmed it. In fact, the articles you linked to emphasized this point, unlike your question. – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 15:15
  • So you don't like my style. Okay, you can have that. But because you don't like my style, my question can't exist on the platform? Are you even realizing your tendency for censorship? – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 15:16
  • You wrote: "Your question style just comes across as unnecessarily flashy and abrasive." So, therefore, it must be closed and deleted. (The irony of this question being about fascism is becoming apparent.) – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 15:17
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    @Michael_B: Like I said in my answer, I think the question is too broad and the answers are likely going to be primarily opinion-based depending on what they choose to emphasize. Thus I think this isn't a terribly good question even if we gloss over question-style issues. – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 15:18
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    Jesus @Fizz. You just keep digging a deeper hole for yourself. "… and answers are likely going to be primarily opinion-based..." You don't even know this for sure, but are censoring other people's posts. With every comment you make, you're securing your reputation as a powerful censor on this site. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 15:21
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    @Michael_B You realise that there's a difference between a Q asking for opinions (system shall prevent that) and a Q judged as "answers are likely to be POB"? Case1 is OPQ makes a mistake that needs correction. Case2 is *answer writers cannot behave themselves and thus we must punish the asker? Since this arbitrariness is wanted, and attempts to fix it greeted with contempt, the dysfunctionality is held as descended from Mount Sinai. The 'good subjective' was to be allowed even on coding sites here, but a special audience here has strong opinions and heed calls for extermination if no-likey. – LаngLаngС Feb 28 '20 at 11:30

So, even though fascism has well-established dictionary definitions and encyclopedic references, some people decided that there was no way to provide answers based on facts and references.

Not quite. Fascism is a hard thing to define because it means different things to different people. As such, it winds up being more of a Rorschach test. If you dislike Trump, he's a fascist. If you like Trump, maybe not so much. Worse, leaving this up would mean that we could ask other similar questions

  • Is Donald Trump clinically fit for office?
  • Is Donald Trump a white supremacist?
  • Is Donald Trump a Nazi sympathizer?

I could ask those using the exact same methodology you used (I have no doubt I could dredge up lots of people arguing for each one of those points), but the problem is I would get lots of answers in both directions but there's no real benefit to the question except to stir up political dissension. That's why we have the good faith reasoning. Particularly this part

Bad faith is when you aren't trying to give the kind of detached factual view that makes this site work, but instead are just clearly trying to make someone you disagree with look bad with a partisan attack. People can't help but answer a partisan attack in the comments and it can quickly spiral into a toxic environment.

Why is Donald Trump so popular? manages to avoid being partisan by simply asking a pure question. There are objective ways to answer it. There's no way to objectively answer if Trump is a Fascist/Nazi/white-supremacist.

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    This reads as if you either special plead for Trump, 'knowing' a (non-)answer, or you construct a category of implausibility. "Was Mussolini a fascist?" (insert any name if you like) isn't answerable? It's a real plight of this site that too many users are simply unable to write either a nice analysis with references or a 'good subjective' answer. A concept at the core of SO even before when it came up with a close reason that was tailored to coding. On Politics we see this squirming around an obvious flaw: that we need other categories than HowCodeThis. You criticise mainQ, not this meta. – LаngLаngС Feb 25 '20 at 20:20
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    @LаngLаngС You're setting up a straw man. Mussolini was a Fascist because he directly told us that was what he was. Without a consistent definition of what a modern fascist is, we're leaving it up to people to bring and argue their own biases. If we allow this, then we should openly allow questions about "Is [politician] a [some negative political term]?" As such, no question trying to associate modern politicians with negative terms can be off-topic – Machavity Feb 25 '20 at 20:38
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    On the contrary. The crux is that you yourself employ the Dorothy companion here: "without a definition" is what I lament all along. On SE that lowest quality will fly as long as it is popular enough, even without a 'proper definition', sources or references. Why shouldn't it be allowed to take either an expert opinion on 'Trump is fascist', or take a def, then check it point by point? Those definitions exist and using them gives you yes or no and depends. If you continue to uphold the definition above please flag >90% Qs on 'China', 'NorthKorea' or 'Russia', there is not one w/o biasses? – LаngLаngС Feb 25 '20 at 23:59
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    @LаngLаngС You do realize people are making up their own definitions and using that to give an answer, right? In fact, all of the answers are struggling to find a definition, so they simply set their own up. As such, this is now opinion based, and is breaking down exactly how I predicted: people who don't like Trump are finding he is a fascist and people who might not care either way are finding he is not. – Machavity Feb 26 '20 at 13:41
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    @LаngLаngС The resolution is not to allow the answer to pick its definition of choice, as that leads to exactly the situation Machavity points out is already happening here: people make up the definition that suits their agenda, and then push that agenda under the guise of a legitimate factual discourse. But it's not, and it pollutes actual attempts at such. If there is a resolution, it's in requiring the OP to pick a specific, concise, analyzable definition. Though that still has problems as it won't much dissuade naysayers, and OPs can still pick agenda-pushing definitions. – zibadawa timmy Feb 26 '20 at 20:15

But this site has many questions that are receptive to answers that "will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise".

Why is Donald Trump so popular?
Why are so many Americans against Obamacare?
Why is populism seen as being negative or bad?
Why is President Trump making such a big deal about fake news, and specifically targeting reputable organizations like The New York Times and CNN?
Why is the climate change debate so often framed in terms of whether or not it's due to human activity?

Except these posts remain active on the platform.

Why the double standard?

Call it the ability to only select one close reason when voting. I agree that some of the questions you list (though not all) could also attract opinion based answers. I agree that yours could probably be answered reasonably factually. Where they differ is that yours comes across extremely strongly as a profession of an anti-trump viewpoint behind the thin disguise of a question mark. It's like in Parliament when an MP of one colour asks whichever Minister is at the despatch box "Don't you agree with me that those of the other party are a bunch of loons?". There's not really a question there, you're just using the platform to express your point of view.

Had you framed your question more like this one - I'd guess it would have remained open. Clear definition of the label (populism) that we're asked to asses, and a neutral starting point. Your question had neither.

More broadly, why are we even closing / deleting questions for being susceptible to opinion on a Q&A site about politics, which is highly subjective by its very nature?

You're mistaken about the intended scope of questions. Questions that are on topic on this site are those questions about politics which are not subjective. "Is it better to vote democrat than republican?" is a question about politics that is subjective, and should be closed. "What is the process through which a candidate becomes the Republican Party nominee for presidential elections?" is a question that is not subjective, and so would be answered.

  • I think you've made some good points. But there is one glaring deficiency in your answer: "Where they differ is that yours comes across extremely strongly as a profession of an anti-trump viewpoint behind the thin disguise of a question mark." Please note, that's how it comes across to you. You know nothing about me personally, or who I support or oppose politically, so your statement amounts to nothing more than speculation and personal bias. If you voted to close or delete the question, based on this impression, then you acted unfairly and made a mistake. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 15:06
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    @Michael_B That's how it came across to a good number of people, given the close votes and downvotes you've been garnering. You say we don't know anything about you...but we're only listening to what you are directly telling us through your post. Perhaps we are mistaken in our impression; but in that case the fault lies with your phraseology - if you did not intend to convey an anti-trump viewpoint then you have written exceptionally badly. I neither downvoted nor close voted, but I would have done had I found your question earlier and those that did so certainly did not make a mistake. – Dan Scally Feb 25 '20 at 15:31
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    Long story short; if you write in a way that convinces so many people that you're making an anti-trump rant rather posting a good-faith question, then that's on you, not us. Finally, the implication that we should make some other consideration than how a post appears to us is obviously silly. The point of community moderation is that a consensus emerges through the expression of people's views by voting. Nothing that's happened here is unusual, inappropriate, or in any way indicative of an error that I can detect. – Dan Scally Feb 25 '20 at 15:33
  • Your points are entirely valid. And, of course, you're entitled to your opinions. All I'm saying is, we shouldn't be closing or deleting questions based on impressions or opinions, because those impressions and opinions could be wrong. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 16:36
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    @Michael_B following that argument leads to no question ever being closed, which is very clearly unworkable – Dan Scally Feb 25 '20 at 19:33
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    Not true. Questions that are clearly vulgar, disrespectful, hateful and threatening can and should be closed. Questions that are irrelevant to politics should be closed. Questions where people's opinions and impressions clash, should not be closed. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 19:35
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    @Michael_B I'm afraid I don't agree. – Dan Scally Feb 25 '20 at 20:32

First and foremost: We are a factual Q&A site with a subject matter basis of politics. We are not a political forum. The Q&A's (and comments) are not for engaging in politics. They are for posing and answering fact-oriented questions that admit fact-based answers.

There's a bit of wiggle room because the line between "facts about politics" and "politics itself" is not always clear. And sometimes an answer finds a way to provide a particularly insightful response that effectively converts a "politics itself" situation into a "facts about politics" one. But the guiding principle is clear: we are not a site about opinions, or guesses, or political spin and dogma, or for word game tricks; we are a site about facts. So your view that "it's about politics, therefore all opinion-based answers and topics should be valid" is fundamentally flawed.

As all SE sites are, Politics.SE is moderated (almost) entirely by the users themselves. As a high-reputation user, your easiest recourse for trying to resolve questions you feel have been inappropriately closed is to cast a vote to re-open. If four other people agree, it's open again. Similarly, a question that's been left (inappropriately) open in your opinion is best resolved by casting a vote to close. Here, again, if four other people agree with you, then it's closed. In principle a question can be opened and closed several times. But each user can only ever vote once on a question. So to close, re-open, and close again would take 10 distinct users casting close votes.

If you have reason to believe that one or more users are abusing vote/close privileges, you may raise a flag for moderator attention, mentioning your concerns. If a problem is found, they will deal with it. Keep in mind that simply because you do not agree with a close or re-open vote doesn't mean that someone is abusing the privilege.

It's worth pointing out that bringing the matter before meta, as you have done, is a suitable next step if the normal SE voting procedures leaves you feeling the site has problematically fallen short of its goals and guidelines.

And most if not all of your list of questions admit satisfactorily factual answers. References to (non-partisan) opinion polls and and research are the simplest ways to factually answer things such as "Why is X popular/unpopular?" On the other end, asking why someone or some party did something is toeing a line. It is imminently possible, and frequently the case, that factual answers can be obtained: public statements may be made by relevant people, documentation that covers the development of policies and talking points may be found, etc. But in the absence of these things, it is purely speculation and opinion and so off topic. The passage of time may change that situation and provide factual answers, however.

And be wary of judging a question by the title alone. Those are space constrained attention grabbers, and may not reflect the actual body of the question.

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    "If four other people agree, it's open again." unfortunately that's not what happens. Questions about Trump's fascism, corruption or racism usually get closed, then deleted by with prejudice, before 4 people can vote to reopen. And I'm not talking leading questions. I'm talking questions that would be perfectly acceptable on this site if "Trump" was replaced with "Orban" or "Modi", or "Putin". – Peter Feb 25 '20 at 14:59
  • You wrote: "And most if not all of your list of questions admit satisfactorily factual answers." Maybe you would be able to say the same thing about my question, were it allowed to receive answers. – Michael Benjamin Feb 25 '20 at 15:11
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    @Michael_B I did not go into details about what's wrong with your question because that's practically an entire answer of its own. Others have been mentioning it in their own answers and comments, with the short of the matter being: "tl;dr reads like a rant, not a real question"; we just don't have exactly that close reason. Such questions are routinely closed or even deleted because we are not a site for rants; rants encourage bickering and politics itself, both of which are undesired and off-topic here. Clean up your presentation and you may find such questions better received. – zibadawa timmy Feb 25 '20 at 20:05
  • And you seem to be thinking "tend to be" means "absolutely and with objective certainty will be". It does not. – zibadawa timmy Feb 25 '20 at 20:06
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    @Peter That sort of claim gets raised a lot. On the one hand, yes, as a highly incendiary, divisive, and prominent (both globally and in the US, where I think most of our users hail from, especially after Trump's election) politician, any topic involving Trump attracts incendiary and divisive reactions and votes. On the other, this complaint mostly arises when this is already present in the question itself, and it is entirely valid to close or even delete in this situation (asking the OP to edit or accept edits to resolve this is better, but most quickly reveal they are unwilling). – zibadawa timmy Feb 25 '20 at 20:49

Vote to close and delete.

If this site flags, and has closed, numerous questions that are opinion-based, such as the recurring Socialism vs Communism ones, why should it tolerate one that is no less likely to be opinion-based in its answers AND seems to be construed to denigrate the person it is aimed at?

Putting a +500 bounty just means it technically can't be closed, nothing else.

note that there are definitions of fascism. See the dictionaries and encyclopedias.

There are definitions for Communism and Socialism as well and that doesn't preclude questions about their comparison from being stringently vetted and often closed.

This question, with debatable value to be expected from its answers, is unlikely to promote goodwill in the SE.Po community. And as such, it ought to be treated much as the SE.History has long learned to keep a close eye on even well-meaning questions concerning Nazis.

Not that I believe this question to be well-meaning.

For anyone in the 45-55% who voted for Trump - leaving an intentional spread there - this is basically a direct attack of their political views, dressed up as a question.

And, no, this is is not me as a sympathizer of Trump, quite the opposite. I don't mind fact-driven questions concerning his integrity or his competence.

Edit, in response to comments

The attempt at linking SE's moderation mechanism to censorship is rather weak:

Definition of censor (Entry 1 of 2) 1: a person who supervises conduct and morals: such as a: an official who examines materials (such as publications or films) for objectionable matter

The key part that most people on this site will agree that a government ought not to suppress free speech. That's not in debate.

However, when you join this site you are expected to adhere to its code of conduct, and follow guidelines on the quality of what you post here. That's where moderation kicks in, and unlike government censorship, it is community-driven.

In the past, I've had some of my SE posts deleted. For the most part, I did not object, recognizing either objectionable or low quality content. The one exception, where I was really frustrated a question was closed as duplicate, I attributed to (technical) incompetence, rather than malice. Even when I thought I was right, I was able to understand someone else holding the viewpoint that the site was better off without my post.

A new contributor may struggle with this distinction, but not a veteran user.

If the OP's question remains open, so be it. Again, this is a community decision and I have no problem with it, although I remain strongly opposed to both this question and its apparent intent.

But to deny the standing (borrowed from legal terminology) of attempts at shutting it down, via the normal community moderation mechanism, on ground of censorship, rather than arguing on the merits of the question, boils down to saying SE should not moderate.

  • "If this site flags, and has closed, numerous questions that are opinion-based, such as the recurring Socialism vs Communism ones, why should it tolerate one that is no less likely to be opinion-based in its answers?" Because the reverse is also true. Many questions have been kept open, although the same opinion-based standard applies. That's my point. We shouldn't be closing questions based on speculation and personal opinion. Up and down votes should be used instead. – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 17:49
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    "... AND seems to be construed to denigrate the person it is aimed at?" This is just your personal impression, as you admit. Why should anybody's question be closed because you think it's aiming to denigrate somebody. You don't know anybody's motivations on this site. And in this particular case, your guess is completely wrong.*" – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 17:50
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    "Putting a +500 bounty just means it technically can't be closed, nothing else." That's just a flat out lie. First, I didn't even know that a question with a bounty couldn't be closed. And second, I posted the bounty as soon as it became eligible, for reasons described in my bounty note. – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 17:51
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    "SE.History has long learned to keep a close eye on even well-meaning questions concerning Nazis." Who gets to decide "well-meaning"? You? Your answer shows that you're prone to censorship. How is that beneficial to the community? – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 17:52
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    Lastly, the hypocrisy: You claim to "support Monica", who was shut down and de-platformed by Stack execs. Yet by trying to shut me down and de-platform my posts, you are doing the exact same thing. – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 17:54
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    @Michael_B Do you really have to react to every answer, comment, or other remark? All it does is to reinforce the notion that you are pushing a POV and not asking a question. – Sjoerd Feb 26 '20 at 18:55
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    That's 46% of people who voted that voted for Trump, which is only 25.6% of the US population, or about 1% of the world's population (this site isn't just for people in the US). – Batman Feb 26 '20 at 19:01
  • @Sjoerd, I estimate I've reacted to maybe 40-50% of the comments and answers. LOL. I felt I wasn't responding enough. If people are responding to a question or comment I posted, I shouldn't say anything? – Michael Benjamin Feb 26 '20 at 19:05

Michael_B - I've rewritten your question below to be less controversial and (probably) more acceptable to the users here.

Many people in the news media (CNN, Slate, New York Times, Daily Beast, Washington Post, Salon) on late night talk shows (The Daily Show), in Congress, in Hollywood, in Silicon Valley, on college campuses (Harvard, Yale, Georgetown University) and in many other quarters of society have called President Trump a fascist.

Then there are the various groups that have sprung up since Trump's election to challenge his alleged fascism. Among the most prominent is RefuseFascism.org.

There's also Antifa (a portmanteau of "ANTI-FAscist"), a de-centralized cluster of groups that have been around for a long time, but have gained new awareness since Trump's election in 2016, fighting those they consider fascist.

Senator Tim Kaine even claimed in the documentary Hillary that former President Obama referred to Donald Trump as a fascist on a phone call. (ref)

Is there a standard definition of fascism which can be used to determine if Trump is actually fascist, or is this all hyperbole and opinion?

Some things to note about this rewrite:

  1. It does not open with the giant headline of Obama reportedly calling Trump a racist.
  2. It does not try to overwhelm with quotes and references - the question is about the fact that people have called him fascist, the specific wording is irrelevant.
  3. It asks an objective question ("Does such a definition exist?") instead of a subjective one ("Is he?").
  4. It's much shorter, and thus much easier to read and consume.

Normally, I'd go just make this edit directly on the question, but it's a drastic enough change that I don't want to start an edit war or automatically invalidate existing answers. Feel free to lift it as-is into your question, though, and I'll retract my close vote (and/or vote to reopen).

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    Political note: There's less evidence of Obama calling Trump a fascist on Kaine's phone call than there is of Trump's supposed quid-pro-quo with President Volodymyr. That is not to say that either one did or didn't happen, but one person speaking in a documentary is less evidence than multiple people testifying under oath. – Bobson Feb 26 '20 at 19:52
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    Asking for a definition of Fascism under which Trump qualifies is no different to the existing question, just worded differently. Providing a definition and aski g whether Trump meets it would be a better approach. – Dan Scally Feb 26 '20 at 21:45
  • @DanScally - I may have worded it poorly. The intent was "Does a [single/true/primary/official] definition of fascism exist?" (answer: no), not "Does a definition of fascism which meets this criteria exist?" (answer: probably). Any suggestions for clarifying that? – Bobson Feb 26 '20 at 22:03
  • @DanScally - I updated it to try and address that point. – Bobson Feb 26 '20 at 23:53
  • Let's try it out with one small change: replacing "Trump" with "Obama." It shouldn't be hard to find links claiming that version. Let's try out how long that question survives. – Sjoerd Feb 27 '20 at 0:52
  • @Sjoerd - If you have references for Obama being called a fascist, I'm up for that experiment. I'd certainly vote for it if it followed this format about anyone. But I'm not going to post a question about Obama with a bunch of "Trump is fascist" links, and I don't have the time or inclination to go find some about Obama. – Bobson Feb 27 '20 at 0:55
  • @Bobson LMGTFY: thenewamerican.com/culture/history/item/… . Took me less than 1 minute. – Sjoerd Feb 27 '20 at 0:56
  • @Sjoerd - Works for me. I'll post a question in this format based on that once I have the time. If it gets downvoted and closed, then I'll agree that even this format isn't objective enough and Michael_B's question is beyond saving. – Bobson Feb 27 '20 at 1:06
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    @Sjoerd - Per this meta discussion, which appears to have a strong lean towards banning those questions, I'm not going to conduct this experiment. I'm still curious what the response would have been if I'd actually been free to compose it yesterday, but I'm not going to flout the new policy. – Bobson Feb 27 '20 at 22:22
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    @Bobson Agreed. – Sjoerd Feb 27 '20 at 23:38

I fully agree with the OP. Ironically, the claim that answers to "Is Trump fascist" are opinion based implies, very strongly:

  • There are valid interpretations that Trump is fascist.
  • There are valid interpretations that Trump is not fascist.

Which is a perfectly acceptable answer to the question, and not at all opinion based. If it spells out what these interpretations are and why they differ, it could even be a great answer.

Unfortunately, it's a policy on this site to treat questions whose answers might make Trump look bad very differently from questions about other policicians. For details and reasoning see: https://politics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3849/5215

Personally, I think that's wrong, and even worse, by protecting one specific politician from discussions about their perceived corruption, racism, fascism, etc, the site is taking a side. Depending on the facts and evidence (which would have to be presented in the answers) the site is either preventing Trump from being exonerated, or shielding him from legitimate criticism. It doesn't matter which it is, it's partisan either way

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    In the spirit of of Philipp said, I can see "Is Sanders a populist?" as the next question. Note that one can ask substantive sub-questions related to that without getting so polemical. In fact, I did so already... (Well, it was about Warren, now that I look back at it but still my point remains.) Not my downvote (on your answer), by the way. – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 15:41
  • @Fizz Our disagreement stems from the fact that I also don't see a problem with the question "Is X a populist?". – Peter Feb 25 '20 at 15:42
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    I'm not saying it's not a valid question in theory, in fact a quick google search finds plenty of takes on it, it's just that any substantive take can't be short... – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 15:52
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    We aren't protecting Trump in particular. We are protecting any politician from questions which just seek to roast or praise them. Because this website is not a discussion forum or a platform for political activism. If you see any questions like this about other politicians, please vote to close as "promotes or discredits a political cause". – Philipp Feb 25 '20 at 16:42
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    I've actually used my undelete vote and quickly posted an answer... (before the question gets closed again) along those lines you suggest. We'll see how it goes... – Fizz Feb 25 '20 at 18:22
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    False dichotomy. It at best implies "there are interpretations he is/isn't facist". Validity need not hold or be determinable for either situation. – zibadawa timmy Feb 25 '20 at 20:31
  • @zibadawatimmy If only interpretations that result in one of the conclusions are valid, instead of both, that makes it even easier to write an answer that isn't opinion based. – Peter Feb 25 '20 at 20:47

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