Wikipedia defines Politics as:

Politics (from Greek politikos "of, for, or relating to citizens") as a term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society

Are questions that are not government-related on-topic? For example:

  • How does the decision structure in action group X work?
  • Are cooperatives democracies?
  • How are leaders in the orthodox church appointed/elected?

Should such questions be considered on-topic?

3 Answers 3


At this point in time, I would say no. Specifically, I think things on topic here should be primarily of a ruling body based off of where a person lives, and the interaction between such entities. This would include district, city, county, state, country (And the synonyms for such outside of the US), as well as managing between them. I might even say that HOAs (Home Owner's Associations) would be on topic. But I don't think that anywhere the term "Politics" is used would be on topic.


I don't think it's practical to restrict questions to government bodies. Apart from anything else, we would then have to define what a government body is; would that include, for example, the Palestinian National Authority? What about Hezbollah (which runs both hospitals and schools, and can certainly lay claim to a monopoly of violence in some areas)?

The restriction would also make it difficult if not impossible to raise questions about important political organisations like the Suffragettes, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, or the Movimiento Sin Tierra, all of which are obviously within scope for a Q&A site on politics.

  • 1
    All of those would still be in scope, under my proposal, because the are either quasi governments or seek to influence such governments, or both. ... This is different from the politics of, say, who does what, in the bake sale. Dec 7, 2012 at 6:29
  • Right, a group like Hezbollah, ISIS, or Hamas operates in a similar manner to a government, albeit without international recognition. They have internal power structures, law enforcement, militaries, public works, social services, court systems, etc. @Brock appears to be asking about groups that neither have a goal of civil governance nor control any territory, like, for example, how the Boy Scouts of America handles sexual harassment allegations against adult leaders, the process for becoming a bishop in the Episcopal Church USA, or meeting etiquette at IBM headquarters. Dec 4, 2018 at 11:00

Good question. Technically, "Politics" can apply to: Families, Businesses, Religious organizations, Clubs, etc. -- as well as to governing organizations.

But the stakes and methods are not all the same. Government imposes its will with (the threat of) sanctioned violence, that is, "The force of Law".

Also, for all the other organizations, their political aspects might be adequately covered on other sites -- like Cognitive Sciences (psychology), The business sites, or some of the "Life" sites.


  1. In order to keep the site focused, we allow questions pertaining to organizations that have the force of law. Note that this includes questions about groups that are trying to influence or usurp such governing bodies, such as parties, lobbyists, PAC's, multinational organizations, etc.
  2. We refer questions about other aspects to one of the other sites, as appropriate.
  3. We amend the FAQ to state as much.
  • 2
    In my opinion, it's too narrow to limit it to the force of law. That would exclude any multi-national entity (such as EU or UN) without an army. It would also exclude political parties and sub-national entities that don't have control over the police.
    – gerrit
    Dec 7, 2012 at 9:49
  • 1
    @gerrit, it doesn't exclude those groups at all. Because, even if they have no direct power of law, they strive mightily to influence the people that do. Dec 7, 2012 at 10:49

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