The guidance on What topics can I ask about here? reads:

Politics Stack Exchange is for objective questions about governments, policies and political processes.

It is not a place to advance opinions or debate, but rather for exchanging objective information about the policies, processes, and personalities that comprise the political arena. If you can't back it up, it's subjective.

Based on the above, questions such as

are and can only attract answers which are clearly opinion-based. None of the questions above can ever be addressed by providing an objective, fact-based or policy-based answer.

Yet they are answered and allowed.

Some other questions, however, are closed down.

Barring a double-standard bias being applied to Politics SE, what other reason is there for this discrepancy?

  • Regarding your mainsite q, which probably motivated this "comparison". If someone asked if (instead of corporations) how can we tell if some (specific) politician is "truly racist" or some such... that would have gone down in flames. And I'm not speaking hypothetically. politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3848/… Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 1:52
  • @Fizz answers to my question were opinion-based: it should have been closed. I just want to understand whether the rules are clear and apply to everyone.
    – Vance
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 9:03
  • 3
    By the way, three of those four question actually were closed by community votes, but then got reopened by votes of different community members. You can see that in the history timeline. So these questions were not as uncontroversial as implied here.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


For the questions in your post:

Why is President Trump making such a big deal about fake news, and specifically targeting reputable organizations like The New York Times and CNN?

While the wording here is leading, the question is answerable and good answers were given, with sources, from different perspectives (and, honestly, the truth is probably a combination of them.)

Why do BLM protestors continue after all four police involved in the killing of George Floyd are facing charges?

This is a completely answerable question that can be (and has been) answered with statements from the people involved why they were still protesting. There are literally millions of people who can objectively answer this question themselves or who can be objectively quoted in an answer. It's quite answerable without opinion.

Why are states purportedly performing assassinations with chemical and radioactive weapons?

Spycraft is a rather well-studied topic and heavily related to politics. I see no reason to think objective answers wouldn't be possible here and, indeed, the question has been well-answered.

How does Donald Trump Jr. benefit from releasing the e-mails he released?

As the top-voted answer points out, Trump Jr. literally stated himself why he did it. That certainly seems objective enough for an answer of at least the benefit that he perceived. Even without that, though, expert analysis could be objectively cited in an answer if Trump Jr. hadn't essentially answered the question himself.


I suspect a large part of what you're speaking about is because at Stack Exchange, moderation is people. Rules are in the eye of the beholder (or user that votes to close / reopen / delete / etc). Questions that are interesting and borderline are more likely to remain open then the ones who are borderline and maybe don't interest the majority here.

  • 2
    It wasn't me who downvoted but, referring your answer back to the guidance "Politics SE is for objective questions about governments, policies and political processes. It is not a place to advance opinions": none of the questions in the OP can be considered borderline.
    – Vance
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 9:37
  • 4
    @Vance I kind of beg to differ. The question about performing assassinations asks "Is there a specific reason these weapons are used, as opposed to a more commonly available weapon?" which could be answer "Cus I like them" or "Cus they're sexy" which to me is a sign of a bad question. The BLM question is also poorly worded, so I was ready to downvote answers along the lines of "because they're (stupid)" but would be prepared to upvote any that gave quotes from BLM leaders. It really should have been rewritten to "why do BLM leaders say they are continuing the struggle...." that is not
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 23:39
  • 1
    opinion by us, but a quote of the leaders of the movement.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 23:39
  • @CGCampbell that's exactly what I am asking: if they are indeed bad/unsuitable/poorly worded questions according to Politics SE's own guidance, why are they allowed to stand as they are but others are not?
    – Vance
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 7:30

It's important to note that there's both good and bad subjective

If we can avoid conversations that are — and this is the really tricky part — too subjective, we can maintain the ideals of great Q&A in the face of completely subjective topics. We can avoid falling into the predictable destructive patterns of random discussion, debate, and opinion that turn a site from a learning experience into a glorified cheap-thrills gossip rag.

For our purposes here, I will borrow the two rules he mentions that are applicable

  1. Something you can back up with a reference

    As long as we're not running afoul of good faith and you can cite something to support your answer. The more things you can cite, the better. This answer does a good job of citing things to support the answer's conclusion.

  2. Great subjective questions tend to have long, not short, answers

    Note that most of the answers in the linked questions are all long to very long. We're not getting one-liners like

    They just don't like [politician]!

Sometimes good answers offset a bad question

Once in a while, a bad question that should have been closed on its own gets such a good answer, closure would be a disservice. It's far from ideal, but we want good answers to remain if at all possible.

  • 1
    Supporting the first half quite strongly (massive under-appreciation), the second half really means the system is setup the wrong way, looks arbitrary, and might need reformulation. If a really bad Q gets closed or not depends on answer being there, then we have an unaccounted for in rules reason. Are old closed Qs re-opened because A was posted (which should be avoided as per rules) & 'is good' or even when such A 'borderline OK' but was then edited to 'quite good'? I find this way too messy to apologise for & defend the status quo on that. Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 13:09
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    @LаngLаngС Questions usually get closed because we have the impression that it won't be possible to post any good answers to them. When someone does post a good answer, then that proves us wrong. But just because we are wrong in some cases does not mean we are wrong in every case.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 14:59

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