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My question seeks to understand the logic behind urban irrigation policies recently proposed in California. Inherent in this question is the fact that certain aspects of the policies don't seem to make sense. So my question by necessity must point out these apparent problems. And when people come back and repeat illogical things (like say, replacing a lawn with something of similar economic value but less water intensive is as easy as buying rice from another state) I have to help them. So it seems impossible to ask the question without somewhat discrediting the policy under question.

Furthermore, the notion that I'm "not trying in good faith to learn" is preposterous. I cultivated a healthy, civil discussion, and learned 3 main points from the discussion comments, which I posted at the bottom of the question (since answers are not possible once the question is closed).

Should the question be closed for "discrediting a specific political cause", given that some amount of discreditation seems unavoidable?

Update

The question now addresses basic water thus:

The value of this water for human consumption is much higher than that, it's a tiny fraction of the water supply by volume, and the state essentially buys basic water (including washing water too) for everyone for free anyway.

And then, regarding lost revenues if lawns are banned:

Ironically, these lost revenues would actually make basic water more expensive. In much the same way as flying Economy would be much more expensive if First Class were banned.

I'm not sure what all the fuss is though. I already addressed Basic water extensively in the comments. My concerns about the policy don't really depend on what fraction of water is considered "basic". It's less than the overall 10% bucket for indoor urban usage. My point is that there's lots of current Non-Basic usage, and it's mostly less valuable than lawns. And the policy seems to serve to make it even more so.

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  • The problems with the question have nothing to do with artificial lawns being able to be imported, lawns being considered a luxury (which they are not) and water being needed for food (it is needed for many things besides food). Looking at the comments closer and you seem to keep harping on the idea that lawns are critical to the California and that it will suffer if people can't water them which has been pointed out is not true at all. The more I revisit that question the more it seems you have an agenda and want a specific answer.
    – Joe W
    Sep 3, 2022 at 1:25
  • @Joe I'm going based on the information in the blue box. Importing food vs. lawns (actually food uses 80% of the water, so it doesn't much matter what else there is) is just one example of how questioning certain tenets of the policy discredits the policy. Which was one of the things in the blue box. Sep 3, 2022 at 1:34
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    Comments deleted. Please note that Politics Meta Stack Exchange is about debating topics which pertain to the Politics Stack Exchange site. It's not a place to debate water usage in California. Arguing about the subject matter of the question brings us nowhere in our effort to improve the site.
    – Philipp Mod
    Sep 5, 2022 at 8:52
  • Try to use language like what are the upsides and downsides of ...?, on the one hand..., on the other hand... - in other words, try to pretend that you are totally ignorant about the issue, and do not have enough information to form an opinion about it. Now, it is worth adding that sometimes people just criticize the question without offering particular suggestions for improving it, even if the subject matter is legitimate.
    – Roger V.
    Sep 12, 2022 at 12:44
  • @Roger Probably the latter, since my question opens with "What is the upside that could make up for the obvious downsides of water waste and lost revenues?" Sep 20, 2022 at 17:26

2 Answers 2

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Politics Stack Exchange is not a discussion forum.

It is, as the help center says:

for objective questions about governments, policies and political processes.

It is not a place to advance opinions or debate, but rather for exchanging objective information about the policies, processes, and personalities that comprise the political arena.

However, the way you phrased the question, it is an invitation to a debate.

The question starts with asking about the upsides of a proposed political policy. And then it continues to spend several paragraphs to explain your arguments against this policy. These paragraphs include several rhetorical questions ("But wouldn't the people...?", "wouldn't the addition of restrictions risk...?"). And then you end with "I'm curious about what good could possibly come of them".

This is not a question, this is a discussion prompt. You say "Here is my opinion. Here are my arguments. Do you agree or do you have any counter-arguments?". But that's not what we do here on Politics Stack Exchange. We are not here to have debates about specific political issues. There are more than enough sites for that, like for example Reddit, Twitter or Quora. We are here to learn and teach how politics and political processes work.


OK, so let's assume that you do not want to have a discussion. You want to actually understand what goes on in the heads of the politicians who made this proposal. How could you do that?

  1. Do some more research and find out who the politicians are who drive this proposal
  2. Find out what reasons they presented to justify that proposal
  3. If the reasons are political in nature (and not grounded in earth science, gardening or economics), find out if those reasons are sound according to political theory.

You could enlist the help of Politics Stack Exchange at any of these stages. So you could ask any of these questions:

  • "Which politicians drive this proposal?"
  • "How does [politician] justify their stance on [issue]?" (Answers would provide first-hand or second-hand quotes)
  • "Does [government agency] have the authority to [regulate thing]"? (A question that can be answered by looking at constitutions and laws).
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  • "I'm curious about what good could possibly come of them" is not a rhetorical question unless it can't be answered by a proponent of the policy. Unfortunately I have to ask it that way because there are so many illogical arguments tossed around that have to be filtered out. Sep 5, 2022 at 16:12
  • Thank you for elaborating this for me. I understand (sigh) that SE sites work better for questions that don't tend to lead to much discussion. I will try to phrase my next question in a way that is more targeted to understanding a specific aspect of the proposal that I am questioning. Having said that, it does not seem that politics SE uniformly enforces these guidelines. For example, here's a question that starts with talking about the downsides of food waste, promoting the theory that food waste causes world hunger. Sep 5, 2022 at 16:15
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In this case, the dictionary is actually a decent guide.

question (verb)

  1. : to ask a question of or about
  2. : to interrogate intensively : cross-examine
  3. (a) : doubt, dispute (b) : to subject to analysis : examine

The aim of the site is for questioning in the sense expressed by the definition (1). If the question sounds like its aim is (3a), then this is not the type of questioning that the site tries to encourage.

If it looks like you are trying to challenge some convention with a "gotcha" question, then answers can quickly devolve into a debate in the comments, or worse into a flame war.

If you find yourself on the receiving side of snide remarks, it's best to find a way to stipulate the convention (this shows that you have done your research) and to narrow your question to something that doesn't challenge the convention, but refines the understanding of some of its specific points.

If you want to find a way to challenge conventional thinking, you can do that, but such questioning is not what this site is for.

And as is sometimes said here, the site is here for information on what is, not what should be.

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  • No, I am not "challenging conventional thinking". To the contrary, the proposed lawn bans that I'm questioning seem quite unconventional (very few places in the world actually have them). How is it my fault if the proposed bans might have flaming supporters? Sep 20, 2022 at 17:09
  • Yes, I'm asking what is, not what should be. So the question should not be closed. Sep 20, 2022 at 17:13
  • Furthermore, my assertion that lawn bans will reduce water district revenues, leading to price increases, is the conventional view of water districts around the state. So, once we get past all the distractions, the question is, who really benefits from the lawn bans. Could be agriculture (since they use the leftover water - 80% of the harvested water) but how does a war with urban districts benefit them in the end. Or could be environmental. So there's a real question there, just how do we prevent the noise from interfering in the process? Sep 20, 2022 at 17:17
  • @personal_cloud "convention" in my answer refers to the Overton window on this site. The Overton windows on economics.SE may be different. If you want to frame the question as a political horn locking between the farmers and the suburbs, you can try re-writing it that way. It certainly isn't written that way now (even if it alludes to it). Paying lip service to a certain framing is not the same as adopting or emphasizing that framing.
    – wrod
    Sep 20, 2022 at 18:32

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