If a question asks about the official reason for doing something, is it also required or encouraged to challenge the truth of those claims the way a journalist would? This question asks how Georgia officials justify the "cup of water" ban. It seems a fine, limited, non-trolling Q. But answers with only the official statements are getting comments that they need to add whether those statements are true. Should they?

A reporter's job is to follow up: "we banned water because X was happening. "Do you have any evidence of X?" "yes ...", "you're aware that was investigated and found never to have happened", "well we have our own investigation" and so on. Clearly, for non-controversial topics, a better SE answer does that -- it includes fact-checking and background. But it seems a strength of SE:Politics is being able to slice controversial topics into purposely limited Q's.

  • Does it provide value for multiple answers to repeat back a press statement?
    – Joe W
    Apr 5, 2021 at 20:48
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    @JoeW One link to each statement would have been fine (in this case people dug up 3 different sources, and there were a few repeats. But that just happens on popular Q's as people can't be bothered to read every answer, warnings or not).. But my point is that they were dinged in comments for only providing the quotes and a little commentary, and not investigating whether the officials were lying. That seems odd to me. Apr 5, 2021 at 21:36
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    While the final paragraph of the question did ask about rationales, the previous paragraph includes "Is there evidence of political operatives seeking to sway elections by handing out water?" So at least some attempt to address the evidence behind the rationales seems warrented.
    – Jontia
    Apr 6, 2021 at 10:18
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    FYI: some disagree that such narrow-POV questions are even on-topic politics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4664/18373 ; politics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4402/18373 Apr 6, 2021 at 14:20
  • @Fizz Those seem more like Push Q's. In this case, and I think a broad range of possible Q's it's "walk me through the rationale for this already very well-publicized law". That seems like an honest, useful Q. Maybe I should change my title. Apr 6, 2021 at 15:40
  • This can also be interpreted as a push question, just as well. Any question that asks for a narrower POV can be so, if you disagree with that POV, and you only see the Q as an opportunity to "air it". (I'm not sure why you think it's not a genuine Q to ask how Limbaugh rationalized that Covid was a fake crisis, in his view.) Apr 6, 2021 at 15:42
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    I edited your title because it's not really clear from the sidebar what you mean by "acting as a journalist" Apr 7, 2021 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


There is a process to figure that out, and while it's far from perfect, it seems to do better than most alternatives: Votes.

By allowing answers to chose to include lots context, or to be laser focuses on the essentials, we get different insightful answers, most of which complement and add additional value to the already existing answers (and a couple answers that don't).

  • Sure, for a blue sky question, but this is a case where a Q has nicely asked for laser-focus on A, asking to avoid controversial B and C. Apr 8, 2021 at 5:14

I for one think it's reasonable that when a question asks for some details from a certain POV, in an answer that mainly focuses on actually answering the question as asked (i.e. mainly details the POV that was inquired about) to also mention if there is any controversy regarding any of those detailed/talking points, e.g. if opposing parties disagree on some of the underlying details.

Case in point here: Georgia GOP officials claimed among other things that Delaware's law also prohibits giving waters to voters in line. Some newspapers (fairly easy to guess which) disagreed with that kind of interpretation of DE law, etc.

Note that I said "mention" (if there are disagreements). If you use 90% of your answer as an opportunity to detail the counter-points on those issues... you're probably answering another (the "opposite") question.

  • Those newspapers also quoted the law in question which easily showed that the Georgia law called out giving water to voters in line while the other law did not.
    – Joe W
    Apr 6, 2021 at 15:51
  • Sure, you can add "this is disputed", but some people seem to think there's a duty to investigate. Like with the the "Delaware cup of water" there's no evidence that was their motivation, so it's a good thing to exclude from an answer to a nice narrow Q like that. Apr 7, 2021 at 2:10
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    I mean that i can't use the editor -- every key I hit seems to submit my 1/2-wruitten comment. Fixed now Apr 7, 2021 at 2:15
  • @OwenReynolds: you're welcome to DV such answers, if you think they're besides the point. But since "it's illegal in practically every state" was a large part of GOP the public defense on this... you're really reading their mind here as to their true motivation. (Or are you saying that only what goes into the law preamble counts, and whatever the GOP talking heads say to the press thereafter [as justification] doesn't count?) Apr 7, 2021 at 2:17
  • @Fizz Hmmm...My point is that "how did they defend it" is different from "why did they do it". I feel like you're saying my question is moot since there are no narrow questions -- answers and voters decide decide on the scope, regardless of what's in the Q. Apr 7, 2021 at 14:13
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    @OwenReynolds It doesn't provide any value to just parrot the talking points of the group in question. It isn't hard to find the reasons they claimed to do this for.
    – Joe W
    Apr 7, 2021 at 15:22

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