Can a moderator shed light on why two comments on the answer to the question Have there been other territories with a situation similar to Gaza in terms of occupation or control? were deleted? The comments were:

  • Yemen is not occupied by Saudi Arabia so the situations are incomparable. [From memory]
  • It does change the essence. A blockade is an act during war, a military occupation is the situation that commences when general hostilities has ended. [I added this after the answer's author replied because they seemed confused about what is meant by "occupation".]

I added them because the fact that Yemen is not occupied makes the situations for the territories dissimilar. I thought the point of commenting were to point out exactly these kind of errors? It gives the author - whose answer has received downvotes - a chance to fix the answer by arguing why Yemen is like Gaza despite not being occupied.

Answers on other questions about deleted comments does not answer my question:

The commenting guidelines says to use comments to "Leave constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post". I think I did. So I'm extremely confused here.

As an aside, are the moderators on this site implementing stricter rules? My feeling is that much more of what I contribute these days are deleted now than it used to.

  • 2
    A blockade can be considered an act of war but it doesn't have to be linked to a war at all. A quick example is the US blockading Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis and there was no war at that time. Also just because they are left to provide criticism on a post doesn't mean that they need to stay around forever if they have been addressed even if you don't agree with how it was done.
    – Joe W
    Jan 11 at 2:55
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    True (though the world was on the brink of war and the Soviets could have forced the blockade)! I agree that the comments should have been removed if the author had addressed the points raised. But so far they haven't. Jan 11 at 13:32
  • They are not required to respond to every comment if they don't plan on taking any action based on that comment. Just because you think something needs to happen doesn't mean that they agree or should be required to take action.
    – Joe W
    Jan 11 at 13:37
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    Sadly, I think it is true that your posts will be attracting downvotes and flags due to people's political causes rather than based on the content. The link you post below about organised campaigns to remove any content seen as pro-Palestinian is of course relevant. Unfortunately, given the state of the tech industry, I can't see much being done about it.
    – Ben Cohen
    Jan 12 at 9:12

1 Answer 1


The question was about "similar" situations. We live in a complex and nuanced world. You will never find two situations in the world that are exactly the same.

I removed that comment discussion on the ground that it was pointless bickering between two people about semantics. I stopped it because I knew if I wouldn't it would probably go on for another 20 comments.

Is it a "blockade" or an "occupation"? Is it an "ongoing war" or have "hostilities ended"? Are Israel and Gaza even separate countries that can be in a war? You know what difference these questions make for the people who actually live in these regions? None!

As an aside, are the moderators on this site implementing stricter rules? My feeling is that much more of what I contribute these days are deleted now than it used to.

Whenever stuff happens in Israel, there are a lot of people who get really, really passionate about this subject. Since the last flareup of the Israel/Palestine conflict in October, we moderators have to handle about 3 times as many flags a day as usual. Why? Because some people will do anything to push their preferred narrative about who are the "good" and who are the "bad" people in this conflict. And this black-and-white thinking is detrimental for a website that wants to approach politics from an objective and neutral point of view. So we delete it.

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    No IL scholar in their right mind would compare a blockade to an occupation. The amount of control and the obligations of an occupier is completely different from a blockader. Facts exist, words have meanings, politics.SE is about facts not postmodernism. Designating it as "semantics" means that you don't know enough about the subject. You conjecture that the comments would have spiraled out of control so why not wait until they did before removing constructive comments? Jan 11 at 13:26
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    Regarding flagging, I've been on this site for years. Are you saying that due to the conflict my content is now attracting three times as many flags as it used to and this causes moderators to remove more of it? If so, have you considered the organized campaigns to remove "pro-Palestinian" content? Jan 11 at 13:27
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    Your username is literally @StandwithGaza. Are you seriously trying to tell me you are not here to do any agenda pushing?
    – Philipp Mod
    Jan 11 at 14:34
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    Yes. Changing your username to be about a cause is a tradition on the Stack Exchange sites and I'm neither the first nor the last to do so. I don't think it is right of you to cast aspersions. Jan 11 at 15:40
  • But that is done only to support a specific political position. It is exactly pushing an agenda and merely stating the fact, is not casting aspersions. Whether ot is traditional and other people do it is irrelevant to what it is. The pertinent point is that you are already explicitly "on a side" in the dispute and can't reasonably claim that your objections are fully detached from it. To continue arguing the original point even after explanations received only reinforces the impression.
    – Nij
    Jan 12 at 2:26
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    My username is part of my digital identity in exactly the same way the clothes I wear is part of my real identity. I assure you it has nothing to do with "pushing an agenda". My objections are based on the fact that a blockade is not an occupation and confusing the two concepts does readers of the site a disservice. It has nothing to do with my user name. Jan 13 at 0:12
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    @StandwithGaza you may wish for your actions to be considered without regard to the context of your name, but you cannot demand it. You have chosen your byline. When it is relevant to the content of the post, it will be treated as a part of its context.
    – wrod
    Jan 16 at 23:24
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    @Philipp That seems to me a highly inappropriate allegation by a moderator. A username itself is not evidence of malfeasance. The only thing that should matter is the actual conduct. Jan 24 at 14:05

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