I saw multiple questions closed as off-topic, I would like to ask what are the exact criteria of that behavior and what does the moderator team to prevent abuses in that sense?

Among multiple examples of that kind of 'moderation selectivity' I would cite:

What arguments do Russia-critics offer to support their view that Russia is committing genocide? enter image description here

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For the fist two examples, they were giving some factual information, and asked concrete questions (should it be genocide arguments against Russian point of view, or some examples of completely different attitude versus similar events based on what country is the main actor).

For the last question, closing argument was that is "speculative", but please show me a question in this Q&A of "Politics" where the answerer did not speculate? When the very meaning of politics is speculation.

So, please, be objective, give clear rules, and respect all the participants on the same level. If not, you could add one more argument of double standards versus the users of this Politics site.

  • "...where the answerer did not speculate.." This is probably an oversimplification. Probably some answerers speculate a lot (and wildly without much basis) while others may speculate only a little bit and cite relevant sources instead. Ideally I think that nobody here should speculate, but only cite quotes of other (relevant) politicians doing the speculation. There is a difference between a discussion forum about politics (which this site isn't one) and a Q&A about politics. We do not discuss ourselves, we only summarize discussions from elsewhere. Nov 19, 2022 at 13:01
  • 1
    If you believe that "... the very meaning of politics is speculation" I must strongly recommend getting a better dictionary. Otherwise, what exactly is this meant to suggest?
    – Nij
    Nov 20, 2022 at 1:29

3 Answers 3


My first action yesterday was to vote to close, and then vote to delete, a question discrediting Russia. My comment on closure started out: You really really need to learn how to write a non-pushy question..

You can also look at a Q in meta here re. specifically this conflict: What measures are taken to protect the site from propaganda posts during the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine? - Politics Meta Stack Exchange

Point is, we have many subjects here that tend to attract controversy when answers and questions are not written very carefully:

  • Israel/Palestine
  • Trump
  • India/Pakistan
  • Russia/Ukraine

There is a fairly high amount of closure/downvotes, etc... when posts happen in that space. People are both a) quite defensive about what others post and b) quite liable to post unreasonable answers/questions themselves.

Even on high quality questions/answers, whenever the post goes against the generally accepted community sentiment, sometimes more downvotes and closures happen than strictly warranted.

Everyone can decide for themselves whether your question was of high quality or not.

To me, and the reason I downvoted the original question - I haven't downvoted this one on meta - it seems it engaged in a rhetorical trick that is fairly frequent here and usually frowned upon: Why is "Whataboutism" often criticized?.

You can of course disagree with my opinion, but this is the feedback I am giving to your meta question.

  • my question was not how much do YOU like Russia or not, but rather to have CLEAR CRITERIA of what is OFF-TOPIC and what is not. Actually that question is to the merci of administrators own personal opinion. There is any clear rule. What does mean we should not "discredit" West, then question is closed, but when to discredit Russia, moderators are happy? where are the rules and the respect of these ones?
    – serge
    Nov 22, 2022 at 13:50
  • You put it in bold, like should I thank you that you deigned to block some Russophobic posts? That is sine qua non as for me. where there are obscure rules, there is moderator lawlessness.
    – serge
    Nov 22, 2022 at 14:04

It might help to understand how closure works when done by the community. We have a limited number of choices when it comes to closing questions that are not a good match for this site. One of those choices is a custom closure, where the user voting to close writes a description of why that user thinks the question should be closed. All of the other reasons are canned choices. Once five people vote to close, the automated machinery picks the reason with the plurality of votes as the reason to close.

Suppose there have been three distinct votes to close a question plus two more votes with a common vote to close reason. The question would be closed, with the common reason as the reason the question was closed. That's just how the automated software works.

The only way to provide more specific input as to why a question has been closed is to use the custom closure reason. Most users who want a question closed tend to choose one of the canned reasons, even if that canned reason does not quite match why they think the question should be closed.

The first question in question was closed because

The primary purpose of this question appears to be to promote or discredit a specific political cause, group or politician. It does not appear to be a good-faith effort to learn more about governments, policies and political processes as defined in the help center.

That's one of the canned choices. Push questions are not appreciated at this site. (For example, "Democracy is better than totalitarian. Am I right or am I right?" is a push question.) We also don't like whataboutism. The first referenced question displayed aspects of both and was closed for the given canned reason. That canned choice comes closest to rejecting a question for being a push question or for using whataboutism.

The second referenced question was closed for another canned reason,

Questions asking for the internal motivations of people, how specific individuals would behave in hypothetical situations or predictions for future events are off-topic, because answers would be based on speculation and their correctness could not be verified with sources available to the public.

This site, along with most other StackExchange sites, is a Q&A site where questions should be clear, bias-free, and allow a definitive answer. Questions at this site should avoid asking for discussion or speculation, which the second question definitely did do.

  • "Whataboutism" didn't work with my parents. "What about Tom? He's 16 and his parents let him drink!" That didn't work. ("What about Tim? His parents are letting him go cliff diving!" did however work.) Whataboutism similarly does not work at this site. Speculation is what Worldbuilding.SE is all about, but not this site. Skeptics.SE readily accepts push questions, but not this site. Nov 19, 2022 at 14:33
  • @serge That's a bit biased on your part, thinking that only Russophobes vote to close questions pertaining to Russia. As Italian Philosophers 4 Monica mentioned in their answer, one of the first things that user did a few days ago was to vote to close and then to delete a question that discredited Russia. We do not like "push questions" at this site, questions that push an agenda. It doesn't matter what the agenda is. Questions should be unbiased and agenda-free. We also do not like "whataboutism" questions. That tactic didn't work with your parents and it doesn't work here. Nov 22, 2022 at 14:39
  • @serge Anyone with 500 reputation points or more at this site can vote to close a question or vote to reopen a previously closed question. We have over 1000 members who have earned this privilege. That's the "community" with regard to closing or reopening a question. Some of them are Russophobes, others, Russophiles. Most are in between, and even most of the Russophobes & Russophiles try to check their biases in at the door. "Checking our biases in at the door" is what experienced users know they are supposed to do when it comes to voting. Nov 22, 2022 at 15:04
  • Aside: The term "check your X in at the door" originates from high-end restaurants, opera houses, and the like (i.e., fancy places), where male & female patrons are expected to check their coats or jackets in with the person who manages the front door (and males are expected to check their hats in as well). For example, in technical reviews of some subject, one is expected to check one's ego in at the door (lest it be torn to shreds during the review). Nov 22, 2022 at 15:09

This meta question falls in the category of "but isn't this inherently part of politics?" type of question. This comes up fairly regularly on the meta site.

Rather than saying that this is due to a "confusion," I'll say that it's due to a false impression based on the site's name.

Despite the name, the topic of the site is not "anything and everything that has to do with politics." It's more narrow. One way to describe what this site deals with is "questions about how governments are formed and how governments function." But it's even more narrow than that. It has to be something that is about existing governments. Asking about the Roman Senate (for example) would probably get the question moved to history.SE.

And as the guidance to the questions suggest, the exact topics of what is appropriate for the site are covered in the on-topic page.

So no, the answers should not be based on speculations or opinions. They should be based either on references or on facts which are considered widely-known (although in the latter case there will often be a debate about whether a fact is or isn't widely known).

Having said that, I think at least 1 of the questions you mentioned deserves to be re-opened. But that's what voting is for. Human factor is an inherent part of the design of the site.

  • what do you mean "government", "politics" is rather about parliaments, and parties. Governments are executive branches of the administrative power. Politics, is rather for me are about relation between states, peoples, the administration and the people.
    – serge
    Nov 22, 2022 at 13:57
  • @serge "government" in the US sense of the word. It includes all governing institutions. That includes courts, executive branches and legislatures. Maybe "public administration" is another way to describe them? Not to be confused with "public servants." It includes both political appointees and public servants. Calling the executive branch of a government "government" is a Britishism.
    – wrod
    Nov 23, 2022 at 3:39

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