A question I asked about an hour ago - What effect has the death of Osama bin Laden had on Islamism? - has since had its score go up and down like a yo-yo, and is steadily attracting close votes.

When I saw the first close vote I must admit I assumed it was a knee-jerk "al-Qaeda bad! Grr!" reaction, but thankfully it seems that's not the case, and instead people are concerned that the question is over-broad.

I've since edited the question in an attempt to clarify what I'm asking, but it does seem to me that the question is by its nature a broad one, and simply dividing it into a set of smaller "what have been the effects in Kuala Lumpur ..." questions would be silly.

I'd appreciate any advice on what I can do to further improve the question. Any thoughts?

  • One problem is that "islamism" is a very controversial (and potentially offensive to a large group of people) term, and grouping various distinct movements under it is... argh... controversial?
    – yannis
    Dec 7, 2012 at 4:36
  • @YannisRizos Hmm. Do you know of a less provocative term that has the same broadly-accepted meaning (i.e. the conviction that all the political institutions of the world should be organized in accordance with the precepts of Sharia, as defined by the movement in question's adherents)? The only near-synonym that doesn't include the letters I, s, l, a and m that I can think of is Qutbism, and, well, I can imagine that word causing a lot of people to scratch their heads in confusion.
    – user97
    Dec 7, 2012 at 4:50
  • @YannisRizos- Islamism is not really controversial if used correctly. It's possibly ill-defined, true. But at large, it's an ideology/political movement based on governing on the basis of Sharia and elimination of "western" influences.
    – user4012
    Dec 12, 2012 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


Currently, that question has 4 close-votes1. Three of them are for "Off Topic" and one is for "Not a real Question".

So the steps to improving this question seem clear:

  1. Make it clear that the question is about the political aspects of "Islamism". I would guess that many in the West (rightly or wrongly) see Islam as a religious issue (only). In fact, one commenter even said as much: "Are you referring to terrorist groups? Or the Islamic religion?".

  2. Narrow the focus. The original question seemed broad enough to require a series of books to answer. The edited one is still a bit "encompassing".

Perhaps a title more like: "Has the death of Osama bin Laden changed the tactics and/or frequency of attacks by Islamo-terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad?"

1 I haven't voted to close it, yet, but may in the future.

  • On #1: the question is not about the political aspects of Islam, but about the popularity and tactics of Islamism, a political movement opposed by many (most, in my experience) muslims. I tried to correct any misahepprehension about this distinction in my response to the comment you mention. On #2: I still don't see how to narrow the question except in an absurdly artificial manner. I would appreciate advice on how to do so sensibly, rather than suggestions about whether to do so. Your proposed title may be that of an interesting question, but it is not the one I intended to ask.
    – user97
    Dec 7, 2012 at 7:09
  • That was a simple typo. I pointed out problems, and at least 4 other people seem to agree. So in, addition, the question is not clear. And the question stated, "reappraisal of goals, tactics etc. within such movements". My proposed title was fully in line with what the question text asked. (We can't read minds.) Dec 7, 2012 at 7:14
  • Frankly, anyone who is so ignorant of the world that they don't know that "Islamism" is precisely an ideology dealing with establishing political order based on Islam (and not "referring to Islamic religion" only, which is "Islamic", not "Islamist") doesn't belong posting, or especially voting on, questions on the topic. That's like closing a question on StackOverflow because someone posted "When you ask about functional languages, do you also mean C because it has functions?"
    – user4012
    Dec 12, 2012 at 13:03

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