Regarding the tag information for ,

Corruption is where a government official acts in their own interests, often over the interests of their position or country. Use to discuss confirmed corruption. If the corruption is unproven, or merely alleged, use the [scandal] tag as well.

This is contradictory. Either "confirmed" needs to be removed or "as well" needs to be replaced by "instead." Or, perhaps both changes.

The tag information does not suggest corruption as a necessity. This leads me to believe that "as well" should be replaced by "instead."

A scandal is an event that causes political embarrassment and/or intense press coverage of the event. Some political scandals end political careers, while others have little or no effect. Use this tag with the country, political body and/or any applicable politician tags.

Only one question: Has Johnson's spokesman explained why he believes the Arcuri investigation was “a waste of police time”?, uses both tags. This question could do without the [corruption] tag, as it appears to "unconfirmed."

The question that triggered my investigation and this inquiry is: Why do politicians make so much money? [closed], which was suggesting that such compensation is corruption. As such, it did not meet the criteria for either [corruption] or [scandal], but could meet the criteria for [corruption], if "confirmed" were removed.

A cursory review of questions tagged suggests others may be using the tag to question whether an act is corruption, rather than using the tag for "confirmed corruption."

This leads me to believe that "confirmed" should be removed from the tag information, or the tag needs to removed from those questions.

What, if anything, should be done with the corruption tag information and questions?

4 Answers 4


Insofar as someone might use the 'corruption' tag to essentially try to make an end-run around proving someone guilty of corruption (which seems to be why the guidance says to use 'scandal' instead), I would hope that the question would get moderated into oblivion. Having a tag require that querents police their own questions seems needlessly redundant. In many cases you're going to find people referring to a 'scandal' but asking if/how/why the allegations (if true) represent corruption.

Moreover, since this is a place to ask questions, requiring a burden of proof before a question can be asked seems counterproductive.


Nothing in the definition of the word scandal implies that an event is only alleged or unconfirmed nor does corruption require confirmation before the word can be used in regular conversation. A corruption investigation being a case in point. So it seems poor use of English to distinguish between verified events and unconfirmed events using two words that don't have that meaning.

That being the case I would recommend combining both tags. Corruption can and should be used for alleged or under investigation events subject to notoriety limitations and the existing rules for good faith.

The Scandal tag then looks to be lacking a purpose and I would suggest removing entirely.


Regarding changes to the tag information, I reviewed various definitions for political corruption (shown below and added to the tag information) and did a more in-depth review of existing questions with that tag. During the in-depth review, I found only one question wherein a [corruption] tag needed to be removed. Because there was no reference, in the question, to corruption, the use of tag could be seen as "discrediting."

Limiting the tag to "confirmed corruption," when strictly enforced, prevents questions about measures to reduce perceived corruption, for example. There were a few questions in that vein.

I found no necessary connection between [corruption] and [scandal], per se, though a "corruption scandal" could occur.

After removing two sentences and adding the aforementioned definitions, the tag information reads,

Corruption is where a government official acts in their own interests, often over the interests of their position or country.

Various definitions for political corruption

Political corruption (accessed April 23, 2021)

Political corruption ... is the use of powers by government officials or their network contacts for illegitimate private gain.

Forms of corruption vary, but can include bribery, lobbying, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though it is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption.[citation needed]

Political Corruption (accessed April 23, 2021)

Political corruption, otherwise known as government corruption, has been defined in numerous ways. Aristotle, the third-century Greek philosopher, defined it as the practice of leaders who rule with a view to their private advantage rather than the pursuit of the public interest. More recently, it has also been defined as behavior by government officials that violates publicly sanctioned moral standards. In the early twenty-first century the definition most commonly used among social scientists is that devised by Joseph S. Nye—the abuse of public office for personal enrichment. Such abuse occurs in many forms. The most common include bribery, extortion, embezzlement of government resources, violation of campaign laws, and electoral fraud.

Political Corruption Law and Legal Definition (accessed April 23, 2021), primarily US

Political corruption means the abuse of political power by the government leaders to extract and accumulate for private enrichment, and to use politically corrupt means to maintain their hold on power. However, abuse of political power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Political corruption takes place at the highest levels of the political system, and hence it can be differentiated from administrative or bureaucratic corruption.

Political Corruption: An Introduction to the Issues (accessed April 23, 2021), international

Political corruption is the manipulation of the political institutions and the rules of procedure, and therefore it influences the institutions of government and the political system, and it frequently leads to institutional decay. Political corruption is therefore something more than a deviation from formal and written legal norms, from professional codes of ethics and court rulings. Political corruption is when laws and regulations are more or less systematically abused by the rulers, side-stepped, ignored, or even tailored to fit their interests. Political corruption is a deviation from the rational-legal values and principles of the modern state, and the basic problem is the weak accountability between the governors and the governed. In particular in authoritarian countries, the legal bases, against which corrupt practices are usually evaluated and judged, are weak and furthermore subject to downright encroachment by the rulers.


"Scandal" is technically broader, but I'm unsure we want such a tag because (1) it seems a bit too broad and (2) veers too much in the direction of being opinion-based. Nowadays anything can be a "scandal" if one side hypes it up enough. FWTW, this is the Wikipedia def:

In politics, a political scandal is an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage. Politicians, government officials, party officials and lobbyists can be accused of various illegal, corrupt, unethical or sexual practices. Scandalized politicians are more likely to retire or get lower vote shares.

Leaving aside the last sentence which is somewhat amusingly phased, it's not too clear what would clear the bar for "general public outrage" in age of Twitter etc., although Wikipedia has plenty of per-country lists of political scandals, e.g. Benalla affair or the Dominic Cummings scandal (this refers to his Covid-19 infection). For the US all impeachments are listed as such, as is the storming of the Capitol etc. IMHO, the "scandal" tag would a bit too broad to be useful if it were really applied Wikipedia-style here. Tags like "ethics", "corruption", "riot", "impeachment" etc. probably have a more reasonable scope. (I see there isn't actually a tag for "riot". There is one for "protests" though.)

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