This answer was deleted by a moderator who stated that it was both a personal opinion and did not address the question.

I disagree. I first state that what constitutes terrorism is a problematic category usimg the example of the ANC. This has been pointed out innumerable times in the academic literature. This is not then, personal opinion.

I finally end by saying that some of these criticisms could be evaded by allowing the UN to engage in counter-terrorist actions.

Thus I have used facts and ended up with a conclusion that answers the question.

So why has my answer been deleted?

  • First I thought the answer was deleted because the Q was judged to be only about the Lebanon/Hezbollah situation, but then there's another (short) answer that only addresses the very generic title question, in an equally generic manner. And that one was not deleted. I guess the mod was displeased with you illustrating the generic question with what you think is terrorism and what should be done about it, but I'm not a mind reader, so I'll let Philipp explain himself in more detail. Commented Apr 7 at 1:25
  • Also, IIRC the same mod deleted some of your more divagating answers in the past, so I guess your were on short leash with him. Albeit the asker of this Q is also known to ask broad or even explicitly multi-pronged questions, so I guess you were in good company here, in that regard. Commented Apr 7 at 1:33
  • Reminder that we're not supposed to call out specific users. It's also unnecessary in this case - anyone with enough rep to see the deleted answer (and thus judge whether the deletion was correct) can see for themselves who deleted it.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 8 at 8:23
  • 3
    So @Philipp, can you please why you deleted that answer, but not this question, which is far more of a "push question"? I understand that moderators can't be everywhere, but I am afraid that we are seeing a pattern here.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Apr 8 at 10:31
  • @F1Krazy, in this case Philipp actually welcomes discussion of their moderation on meta. You can see there bio /blurb for proof of this. So it should be fine.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Apr 8 at 10:55
  • @BenCohen Pinging people doesn't work unless they've previously commented on the post. In any case, moderators are pinged automatically when Meta questions are posted, so I imagine Philipp is already aware of this - I can only speculate as to why he hasn't responded.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Apr 8 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


It's a bad answer, with lots of personal opinion and irrelevant content (Mandela isn't an obvious match to a cross-border aggression from a sovereign state, the UN should not lightly forsake its role as a neutral buffer force and Israel could rightly doubt the UN's efficacy in the Lebanon theatre).

The question, though phrased as such, isn't really about terrorism, it is about irregular forces operating from a sovereign state that, among other things, target civilians. So arguing fine points about what is a terrorist or not misses the main fact: defending against aggression from a neighbor.

But the community should have been left to downvote or delete it for its lack of merit. There was indeed limited need for a moderator insta-nuke. Especially when moderator interventions seem fewer in number concerning the other side's push BS.

  • 3
    The ANC was a so-called terrorist organisation by the USA and in fact, Mandela was on the terrorist watch list of the USA until 2008. This is more than 25 years after apartheid was dismantled in South Africa and Mandela declared as a secular saint. What it shows is that the USA certainly knows how to hold a grudge. Commented Apr 6 at 17:13
  • 2
    "The question, though phrased as such, isn't really about terrorism, it is about irregular forces operating from a sovereign state that, among other things, target civilians" - if you look up the definition of a terrorism in the Stanford Enc Philosophy, you'll see that this more or less matches the definition. Commented Apr 6 at 17:14
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    Whether Mandela or Hezbollah are terrorists matters not one whit. What matters is a state's right to defend itself from attacks from another state, something well recognized in international law. All your Stanford Philosophy verbiage is irrelevant, but be my guest if you want to want to appeal to intellectuals. Commented Apr 6 at 21:10
  • 2
    The verbiage is yours. The SEP is a standard resource - you are not. Given that the question is about terrorism then that Mandela and Hezbollah have been described as terrorists is important. A state has a right to defend itself. But also a people has a right to defend themselves against oppression. Therein lies a difference that you refuse yo acknowledge but the SEP does and so do many other philosophers. Commented Apr 7 at 18:54
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    @MoziburUllah The "Stanford Enc Philosophy" doesn't matter when it comes to international laws and a country justifying its actions.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 8 at 16:45
  • 2
    @joe W: I doubt any international actors actually look at the SEP. Nevertheless the distinctions they make are important in the discourse surrounding terrorism. And we are engaged in such discourse. Ergo, the SEP is relevant here. Commented Apr 8 at 20:14
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    @MoziburUllah Countries look at international law, not anything related to philosophy. No international body/court is going to use a philosophy encyclopedia to determine if something is international terrorism or an internal conflict.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 8 at 20:47
  • @JoeW: These these are interlinked. I expected that the justices on an international court will have been exposed to the philosophy of law. Commented Apr 14 at 4:29
  • @JoeW: Besides I was complaining that the OP was using the term 'terrorist' in his own idiosyncratic way not aligned with prevalent norms and since his handle reveals a liking of philosophy why not use the definition from philosophy? Can you pinpoint where I'm goimg wrong here - because I can't see it. Commented Apr 14 at 4:32
  • 1
    Because philosophy has nothing to do with international law?
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 14 at 6:12

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