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I've made several contributions lately where moderators are becoming involved in arbitrating the political correctness of the contribution.

I've just had a positively-voted answer deleted which explained the grounds on which China claims to be a democracy.

It was said this answer didn't answer the question, but I argue that it clearly did answer the question by relating the Chinese system to the criteria of a democratic system.

The same moderator also remarked on the political content of another upvoted and accepted answer.

In a previous recent case, a different moderator became engaged in the political debate within a chat, at the same time as deleting the remarks they were replying to, which left their own reply devoid of context.

On what grounds are these interventions being made lately?

In my view this is is not an appropriate use of those moderator powers. It seems like plain censorship of content moderators don't like for their own political reasons.

EDIT:

Link to today's deleted answer: https://politics.stackexchange.com/a/80131/26824

Link to associated question: Are there other countries that subscribe to the same definition of democracy as China?

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  • Unless you provide some examples of what is happening it will be a lot harder for anyone to help you.
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 14:52
  • @JoeW, how can I provide examples of things deleted?
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 14:58
  • 1
    You have the ability to see your own deleted content for a while after it has been deleted so you can get back to it. You can also provide links to the questions that had answers on them deleted that you think shouldn't have been. If you do that users who have the privilege to see deleted questions/answers can add that content as needed to the your question.
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:05
  • @JoeW, links provided.
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:11
  • Note that the other answer to the linked question is accepted, and I don't believe that accepted answers can be deleted, even by moderators.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:24
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    @F1Krazy, perhaps that's why that answer wasn't deleted, given the same moderator's remarks about that answer: "This answer provides some apologism and whataboutism to justify China calling itself democratic, but it doesn't actually answer the question that was asked"
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:33
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    When I look at your answer it seems just to describe China and compare it to "Western liberalism" and doesn't actually attempt to answer the question of other countries that might follow the China style
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:43
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    @JoeW, the OP remarked in his question: "It seems odd that China consider itself to be democratic". My answer explained how it considers itself democratic by the same general definition of democracy employed in the West - that the people exert political control. My point is not to litigate that point though - my point is to ask on what basis moderators are flouncing around deleting answers unilaterally and without warning, because they happen not to accept the political content of them?
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 16:18
  • That is a comment in the question but it isn't the question itself. The question in the title and in the body is about other countries that use the same definition for democracy as China.
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 16:41
  • @JoeW, yes and I showed how China conforms to the usual definition. As an answerer I don't have to accept the premise of the questioner that China is fundamentally different - I can instead address and rebut that assumption.
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 17:07
  • And others disagree with you on what you posted answering the quesiton.
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 17:10
  • @JoeW, which is fine, but are you saying it's legitimate for a moderator to simply strike out a net-positive answer because they alone disagree? Isn't that usurping the democratic voting process in which members are supposed to express whether they think an answer was useful or not?
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 17:12
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    I am saying the moderator ruled that it wasn't an answer to the question which is why they deleted it. You just don't happen to agree with that ruling. I also don't see it as an answer and I would have flagged it as such.
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 17:16
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    Yes, if they feel that something is not an answer they are able to do it. Regular users are also able to flag things that they see as not an answer and if 3 of them with the proper privileges agree it will be deleted just as if a moderator did it. Your question might be better if you ask why your answer was not considered an answer instead of trying to accuse the moderators of deleting it because of politics.
    – Joe W
    Jul 14, 2023 at 17:28
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    @JoeW, on both occasions (remember, I'm referring also to previous behaviour in a chat), the agenda clearly is political - as shown by the remarks on the other answer about "apologism" and "whataboutism". Perhaps the moderation may be better if a moderator explained why they think a net-positive answer ought to be immediately deleted?
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 18:34

1 Answer 1

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Only one of your answers was deleted by a moderator, the one you linked in your question here.

The reason for the deletion was given in a comment by the moderator who deleted it, it said:

This does not answer the question being asked: "Are there other countries that subscribe to the same definition of democracy as China?"

The question is asking for countries other than China who agree with China's view on this subject. Your answer only discusses China's position without giving examples of other countries which agree with China's view. As such, it doesn't answer the question.

In your question here, you say:

It was said this answer didn't answer the question, but I argue that it clearly did answer the question by relating the Chinese system to the criteria of a democratic system.

It just doesn't. Your answer is commentary related to the subject but it doesn't provide a full (or partial) answer to the question asked. This is a fundamental part of the site, with even our tour saying:

Ask questions, get answers, no distractions

and

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.

Deleting answers that don't actually answer the question is common practice, see this help center article entitled Why and how are some answers deleted? :

Answer posts that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are:

  • commentary on the question or other answers
  • asking another, different question
  • "thanks!" or "me too!"-type responses
  • exact duplicates of other answers
  • barely more than a link to an external site (i.e. the actual answer is not included in the post)
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

As for moderators taking that action as opposed to the community, that's because the community cannot vote to deleted positively scored posts. From the same same help center article:

Answers can also be deleted by the community. Moderators can delete any answer, and trusted community members can vote to delete answers that have a score of -1 or lower (3 votes will result in deletion).

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  • "Only one of your answers was deleted by a moderator, the one you linked in your question here." - yes but there was also a chat in recent weeks, where a moderator weighed in similarly to enforce their own politics.
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 20:33
  • As for "It just doesn't." - isn't that a pretty pathetic justification? We accept my answer concerns China, it concerns democracy, and we accept the question included claims like "It seems odd that China consider itself to be democratic". You don't seem to be able to distinguish what you consider a poor answer, from a non-answer that is logically unrelated to the question put. My answer clearly concerns the question, including the full body of the question put.
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 20:37
  • "The question is asking for countries other than China who agree with China's view on this subject." - it's broadly accepted in the English-speaking world that democracy means people control politics. My answer to the question explains how China has that. You're adding additional criteria that don't exist in the original question. The OP himself accepted another answer, which the same moderator criticised as "apologism" and "whataboutism".
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2023 at 20:41
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    @Steve Can you explain which question you were answering? That is, put in a sentence or two. The only other party you mention is the West, though that's not one that subscribes to China's view (which is what the question asked). The other answer does mention another party which they argue would have agreed with China's view: Ancient Greece. That's why that other answer does make an attempt at answering the question while yours doesn't (in my view).
    – JJJ Mod
    Jul 14, 2023 at 21:43
  • I've already quoted from the question I was answering, and explained in detail how my answer was related to it. The other answer referred to Ancient Greece as part of explaining what the definition of democracy is, not as part of adducing a country that "subscribes to China's view" (as you put it). The question asked are there countries that "agree with China's definition of democracy", and my answer is that China's definition of "democracy' is not different in the first place. There isn't any more detailed definition in West, except that imposed by a liberal political minority.
    – Steve
    Jul 15, 2023 at 3:12
  • After reading the question, I do get the sense that the author's primary curiosity has to do with how can China possibly call itself a democracy despite being so totalitarian. And this answer has a paragraph that covers that. It's kinda like if, on SO, someone provides an answer for X on an XY question without addressing Y. Aug 28, 2023 at 18:29

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