My question has been downvoted twice after 10 views. None of the downvoters left a comment. Is that normal on PSE?

Edit. Now the question have been closed (by unknown people) as "off topic". One downvoter, Ted Wrigley, left two comments. In one of them he claimed that the question is a duplicate, difficult to understand, polemical and argumentative without giving any evidence. I asked for clarification, and got another comment consisting of pure insults. Again, is this normal on PSE?

Edit 2 Since my question has been deleted together with all comments here is a copy:

Simple arithmetic question

Let the number of people in the USA be x. Let B be the population of African-American people in the USA. Denote the number of people in B by b. Let k be the number of people in the USA who commit violent crime. Let m be the number of people from B who commit violent crime. Finally let a be the number of people in the USA killed by the police and c be the number of people from B who are killed by the police.

What is bigger, c/b or m/k? The answer which I am looking for is simple "less than", "greater than" or "impossible to tell" and of course I am looking for a justification of the answer.

And here is a comment I received, flagged and mentioned above:

That is a disingenuous comment. You wrote the question; you know what each number represents; you obviously went to some effort to obfuscate the point. I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt, but cheeky b__s tick me off, so now I am going to downvote. – Ted Wrigley

  • What was the question? Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 3:21
  • I deleted the question. I will undelete it, so you can see. You can also see the comments. Both commenters accused me that I already know the answer.
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 5:16
  • The question got 2 votes to delete so I have deleted it.
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 13:30
  • 3
    Just for another data point for OP, I minored in Math but still after 2 readings am not wholly confident I understand what value you are asking for. It is easy for me at least to see why others believe the question was not asked in good faith. See also this recent Meta question
    – user5155
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 14:16
  • 1
    @JeffLambert: I repeat. You claimed that you do not understand my question. What part of it is difficult for you to understand?
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 20:46
  • 3
    @MarkSapir Your question here is "Why is my question being downvoted." All I did was give you another perspective why. Instead of responding to community criticism and re-wording your question to be more clear about what you want to ask, you are picking fights in comments with people who respond to you. Have a great day!
    – user5155
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 20:50
  • 1
    For @davibisan who tried to vandalize this question by removing a part of it. You wrote "Rude or harassing comments should be flagged, not posted so everyone can see." As you can read in the OP, the comment you want removed has been flagged. Moreover, below I asked a moderator why nothing happened after it was flagged. The moderator has not answered. That is why I include the comment here.
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 23:25
  • FYI: data on "k", i.e. people who commit (violent) crime (as a opposed to being sentenced for it) is actually difficult to estimate, especially if you want it broken down by some criteria like race. See skeptics.stackexchange.com/a/43739/29579 Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 9:48
  • 1
    @SXwelcomesageistgossip: So you claim that k is hard to know. Other people here and on the main site claim that it is a common knowledge and the question is "disingenuous" because I already know the answer. That's a contradiction.
    – user33768
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


Let's start with the title.

Simple arithmetic question

The purpose of the title is to make a question recognizable. If someone else comes to the website with the exact same question, would they recognize that this is the question they are about to ask? No, because this title says absolutely nothing about the topic of the question. It could be about the GDP of the Republic of Congo, the majority in the Russian Duma, the social security budget in France or funding for the WHO. I could see people downvoting this question just because of the meaningless title itself.

Now about the content.

First, it is very hard to understand. It took me about 5 reads to understand what you are actually asking. Instead of just asking the straight-up question about what's the ratio between black vs. non-black crime rate and the death rate of blacks by police action, you are assigning arbitrary letter variables to quantities and then insert them into equations. You are even assigning letters to quantities like x, B and a which don't even appear in the equation or are required to explain any of the variables which come later, making it even more confusing.

Second, it's a question you should be able to answer yourself. These are all numbers which are very easy to come by. Which leads people to the impression that the reason you are asking this question is not to actually learn the answer, because you likely already know it. So why do people think you are asking this question? The most obvious conclusion many people will come to is that you want to make a point. You want to make people aware of some statistical factoid in order to convince them of a political view. You should know by now that people who come to Politics Stack Exchange to spread political talking points are not welcome. We are a platform for exchanging information about politics and political processes. We are not a platform for political activism, debate or opinion.

Third, it's not even a question about politics or political processes. It's a question about demographics and crime rate. This is information which might be relevant for making political decisions and which might be relevant to a current political debate in the United States, but almost every aspect of life can fall into that category. It's not a political question in itself. It's a sociology and criminology question.

  • 1
    You are the first person who complain about the title. The fact that you find the qestion hard to understand only says that you find it hard to understand. I cannot find these numbers from a reputable source. Moreover people tend to produce very different numbers. If you are so sure it is easy to find. produce the numbers (and your source).
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 13:31
  • 3
    @MarkSapir I forgot to mention a 3rd point: It's not even a political question.
    – Philipp Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 14:23
  • I agree that the title was meaningless and confusing, but that's grounds for an edit to give it a better title, not grounds for a downvote, at least IMO.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 14:53
  • 4
    There is no doubts the question is poliical. The whole BLM movement, defunding police movement, etc. are based on one of these inequalities.
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 16:34
  • 3
    And another question, since you seem to be a moderator of PSE. One of the comments by Ted Wrigley was full of insults and profanity, The comment was flagged. I mentioned it in my question here. Why nothing happened to the comment or to Ted Wrigley?
    – user33768
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 17:18
  • 3
    The alternative is a rather absurd mission creep which we did actually see earlier this year with Covid-19: at least a couple of users posting lots of "skeptical" (more appropriately, conspiracy theory) questions on the premise that they are connected to politics and political decisions. And the reason they were doing it here was also pretty apparent: their nonsense got shut down on the science SE sites really quickly. Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 3:33

There are people who have not downvoted but explained what they see wrong with the question.

Yes, commenting is optional when you cast your (down-)vote; you can't force people to explain themselves.

Yes, this is normal for Stack Exchange not to duplicate comments. Perhaps, other close-/down-voters simply agree to existing comment thread.

I too think that you know all numbers x,b,c,m,k in your question and can do the computation by yourself. Hence, the entire question seems to be an attempt to convey a statement in disguise of a question. That must be an answer to why it has been downvoted.


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