I believe "denying a past violent event" is one of criteria for reporting harassment on Twitter. I can certainly understand that sentiment.

But it's borderline. If there is clear and widely-accepted evidence of a mass-casualty event caused by deliberate human actions, it is certainly traumatic to treat it in a cavalier manner (as in "did it really happen?"). On the other hand, if there is a healthy amount of doubt about the nature of the event, it having taken place can be admitted while, at the same time, discussing the underlying causes and the details of the event.

It's a tough one right now for me. I don't know how to treat people who may genuinely believe that the genuine atrocities committed by RF's troops in Ukraine do not amount to atrocities. Certainly rapes of children, summary executions of civilians at point-blank range, and tortures should not be treated as a norm by the civilized society.

But what if people denying them are truly in denial? What if they are not motivated by fervor and animosity of war (ginned by propaganda)? Should that matter? Should "polite" (as in politely-stated) denial of deliberate human-induced mass-casualty events still be covered under the rude and abusive flag?

Or is it too subjective and should be left to the subjective measures of voting? Voting is really not meant to judge the validity of the content (unless it's outrageous). It's fairly easy to create an answer which meets all the guidelines (has a few references and states the content in a neutral tone) which, nevertheless, does not reflect reality. And the neutrality of the tone and the references will probably be enough for the answer to gain a number of upvotes.

But with enough care, this allows for demagoguery of the kind that normalizes genocide denial and full historical revisionism. I don't think the votes alone can be relied-upon to always handle demagoguery.

Again, I myself am genuinely split on which side of the line this should fall. So I am hoping for some insight, supported with detailed reasons, rather than just endorsement or opposition to the view that it falls under the "rude" flag.

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    Do you have a specific example of this happening on Politics.SE? If so, have you tried raising a rude/abusive flag? I imagine that would get you your answer, one way or the other, and then you can always ask another Meta question if you disagree with the outcome.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 20:19
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    "Denying a violent event" is only rude and abusive when it is absolutely clear that the violent event did occur. Ongoing events that haven't been investigated shouldn't be covered. Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 14:57
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    @DJClayworth "..it is absolutely clear.." Just for clarity, how do you define "absolutely clear"? Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 11:43
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    Somewhere between "The Holocaust" (absolutely clear) and "Russian War Crimes in Ukraine" (still unclear). Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 12:58
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    @DJClayworth I, and I hope you realize many others as well, have no doubts that Russia is engaging in more than just war crimes in Ukraine. 7 countries have now declared the actions of the RF in Ukraine to be a genocide. I fully accept that the sources of information which you consume regularly may present a different viewpoint. Which is what makes this question difficult.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 18:19
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    @wrod There are some examples, where claims made by the West and acepted as true there have turned to be false later.
    – convert
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 21:47
  • This is a perfect example of why it's risky to define where the line is, because one person may say "it's obvious and everyone agrees" and another person may not. It's not like holocaust denial which is, for the most part, relegated towards the extreme end of conspiracy theories. Some people "have no doubts". Others do. It's controversial for a reason.
    – forest
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 21:58
  • @forest yes, and that reason is that one of the sides is using a known strategy of creating controversy to escape blame for the responsibility.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 22:06
  • @wrod Sure. I don't doubt that there are people who are abusing the ambiguity to sway people towards one side or the other.
    – forest
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 22:08

2 Answers 2



The "rude and abusive" flag exists for content that is overtly rude and abusive, and no other reason.

However there is a significant problem with the claims you've made:

I don't know how to treat people who may genuinely believe that the genuine atrocities committed by RF's troops in Ukraine do not amount to atrocities. Certainly rapes of children, summary executions of civilians at point-blank range, and tortures should not be treated as a norm by the civilized society.

There are numerous sources, some more trustworthy than others, who have produced evidence that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine, but as of the time of this answer no accredited and impartial body has made formal findings of guilt by said forces.

(Note that I do not count Ukraine's prosecutions of Russian servicemen for war crimes as verified findings of guilt, as there is obviously a strong conflict of interest there likely to preclude an impartial trial. Similarly, I have little faith in any findings that Russia may make about Ukrainian soldiers.)

While the body of evidence of Russian guilt in this regard appears to be overwhelming, and I personally very strongly believe that Russian forces are guilty, it does not change the fact that apparent evidence of wrongdoing is not necessarily proof of wrongdoing.

You are making the mistake of interpreting said evidence as proof, treating that interpretation as truth, and then comparing denial of your "truth" to denial of verified historical atrocities such as the Holocaust. That's an easy mistake to make, but it's still a mistake.

There is an issue with someone denying that the Holocaust occurred.
There is an issue with someone denying that there is evidence that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.
But, there is no issue with someone denying that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, until or unless those allegations have been proven or disproven.

  • Governments of 7 countries have deemed actions of the Russian Federation to be a genocide. If you claim that 7 governments are not "accredited bodies," I am forced to conclude that you are arguing Russia's point.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 21:59
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    Genocide is a legally-defined term under the Geneva Convention that requires extremely strong proof because of its seriousness. Governments are made up of politicians, not war crimes investigators. The governments who have made these claims have done so in solidarity with Ukraine, not because there is conclusive evidence of genocide. By claiming genocide without conclusive evidence, those governments are actively diluting the meaning of the term (much as it has become commonplace to call extreme right-wingers "Nazis"), which is far more harmful than helpful in the long run.
    – Ian Kemp
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 8:18
  • if you are looking to convince me (personally) that it's not a genocide, that will be a steep hill to climb. I am the one who wrote this answer. But just to address your comment, it's not the Geneva Convention that defines the term, but the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (aka "Genocide Convention"). It doesn't dilute the term to call out genocide in an early stage. Stated intent is the key and it is present.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 11:38
  • @IanKemb It's legal definition comes from the Convention for Prevention of Genocide. And it's actually quite broad. My guess is that it is left broad specifically because it's designed to help with prevention, more than with prosecution, of Genocide or even attempted Genocide events.
    – wrod
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 13:51

I'm not not sure about the best way to flag individual comments, but fact of the matter is that people who have repeatedly denied such events (at least those directed against Israel) have been long-term suspended from P.SE. (And those who made similar comments in re Xinjiang events have received shorter suspensions.) I know this because they've volunteered here some screenshots from exchanges with moderators.

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