The linked question was closed as off-topic.

It simply asked what Trump said on twitter before the content was deleted.

Like it or not (for either reason) Donald Trump is for a few more days the President of the US. Everything he says, particularly on a platform that's been named a government business outlet by the courts, is politics. And "What did he say" doesn't require any speculation or opinion to answer.

While I understand not wishing to give these particular tweets a platform, they were after all removed from twitter for being inaccurate and likely to incite violence contravening their T&Cs. That by itself doesn't make them off-topic.

If as a site we want statements removed from other platforms for being false to be automatically off-topic here, that probably needs to be spelled out explicitly in the Help Centre, and it needs to be reacted to more strongly than with the close mechanisms that leave the content available via a simple link.

Without concerning ourselves on meta with the actual content of these tweets, should content removed from other sites by hosting companies be automatically considered off-topic for Politics Stack Exchange?

  • 2
    +1 for raising this here because I want to hear answers (more opinions) on this. Somewhat related politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4661/… but your q applies more broadly, e.g. would it be ok to ask what Hitler said about topic X? When does that cross into enabling propaganda? Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 19:50
  • 1
    Perhaps more closely related to the topic at hand here politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4398/… especially the 2nd answer there. I have to say that that mq was more complicated as it involved both the issue of source and that of the message. In general, few would would probably claim that what Trump says (at least while he's president) is not notable. So it's the issue of message that's more central here. Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 20:01
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    I certainly appreciated being able to find the video transcript, since it doesn't seem to be published in totality anywhere.
    – user2578
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 1:28

2 Answers 2


Without concerning ourselves on meta with the actual content of these tweets, should content removed from other sites by hosting companies be automatically considered off-topic for Politics Stack Exchange?

While I agree with your self-answer in general, I think it's more of a gradual slope where questions can become off-topic. Specifically, I think there two considerations:

  • Political relevance of the actor and the statement

  • Content of the quote

In your example, the President of the United States is certainly an important political actor. On the other hand, a political commentator is also a political actor, even though one such commentator plays a much smaller role in politics (compared to the highest ranking officials of a country). As the actor who made the statement is less politically relevant, I'd say the question tilts more toward being off-topic in the on-topic vs off-topic spectrum.

The other point is the content of the quote. Of course, we have our own code of conduct which applies to any contributions on the site. I agree that there is some leeway to consider academically the statements made by political actors, even if they are controversial. That said, there may be cases where the controversy surrounding the statement outweighs its relevancy for our site.

What I'm getting at here is that we don't want to create a loophole where any political statement made by someone who is a political actor becomes on-topic automatically. Suppose you want to make an abusive statement that's not allowed by our code of conduct, then finding some pundit who said it on TV just to spread some abusive message isn't the way to go.

In the end, it all comes down to good judgement by the community. The principle still applies, but that shouldn't prevent genuine askers from statements made by political actors.

  • The follow up question is then obviously what action should be taken if a statement falls outside the code-of-conduct and good faith boundaries. I commented on the question itself, but a simple close is not enough. The question/answer still exists and is quite easy to find, hard delete removing any trace of the question is the only way to actually prevent the message being spread. This likely to be relevant because there's a 50/50 chance Trump stays political after this, and without the Presidential protection is likely to get a lot more tweets deleted.
    – Jontia
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 11:30
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    @Jontia I think the linked question is allowed, so a hard delete or even a close vote aren't necessary (in my opinion). As for other remedies, I don't know if spoiler quotes >! or a 'controversial quotes' notice would help. I'm not including those unilaterally, but if the community thinks that's the way to go then we could go for that. There is no 'controversial' quote notice on our site yet, but if we want, I think such a request will be honored seeing that other sites have them too.
    – JJJ Mod
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 12:15

I guess I should self answer.

No, a "what did they say" question cannot be off-topic unless the person in the question and what they're talking about is clearly not political.

The linked existing meta about Fox New commentators makes clear that the statements of political actors are on topic. And there isn't really a much bigger political actor than Trump at the moment.

A good answer can and should highlight why the content was removed, as StackExchange isn't a platform for simply bypassing other site's content regulation.

Related; Reaction to events - On Topic?

  • +1 but does "cannot be off-topic" need a few more words, like "...for that reason" or "should not be automatically off-topic"?
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 0:44
  • @uhoh I want to try to take the extreme position with this answer. Any caveats I leave to others.
    – Jontia
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 7:02

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