Recently, a question about Kinder Surprise eggs was asked that features a child holding an assault rifle (it is unclear if it is an AR-15 or M16 variant). This image seems to be touching a couple raw nerves given the current political climate in the United States right now.

There do appear to be other info graphics out there, such as the following, that would be appropriate to the question and not be quite as political. Perhaps this is something that we should swap out given that the gun control debate really doesn't' seem relevant to the question asked.?

Kinder Surprise graphic which says it is banned in the USA

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    Hmm. I kind of agree but I find it a pity because I think that the original picture makes an excellent point; it highlights something that all people except (some) Americans themselves see as a deep flaw in the American system. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 19 '13 at 21:38
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    @KonradRudolph Whether or not a photo makes a good point is irrelevant when considering its appropriateness for inclusion in the question body. When they're included in a question, they should be for the purpose of illustrating a claim. – user5582 Apr 19 '13 at 22:12
  • @RobZ, I agree, the question of gun control is irrelevant to the question asked, so it need not be addressed in the answers. However, see my answer below for why I still think the photo is appropriate. – user5582 Apr 19 '13 at 22:14
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    @Sancho Hence a comment, not an answer. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 19 '13 at 23:03
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    @KonradRudolph - I completely agree it should be much easier for children to choke on toys embedded in their candy and less easy for a person to defend themselves. – Chad Apr 22 '13 at 17:54
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    @Chad I shouldn’t. But I’ll bite. How many children do you think choke to death on Kinder Surprise toy every year worldwide? And how many children do you think die of firearm-related incidents directly due to easy accessibility in the US alone? – Konrad Rudolph Apr 22 '13 at 19:38
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    @KonradRudolph - Not nearly enough! We should kill off more children with cheap and dangerous toys inserted in their food. The problem is we are protecting our children from stupidity... let darwin claim his due! – Chad Apr 22 '13 at 19:40
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    @Chad Americans don’t believe in Darwin, they gave that job to the NRA. /out. – Konrad Rudolph Apr 22 '13 at 20:02

The original picture is advertising intended to make a point. Advertising is known for pushing boundaries, and exaggerating things. Why? Because advertising is increasingly ignored due to desensitization; we are burdened with hundreds of advertising images every day.

A comparison between a novelty toy and an automatic weapon is obviously unnecessary because many things are dangerous without being that dangerous. But the advertiser obviously chose that because of current affairs. It gets noticed and that's the whole point.

The goal of the advertiser is to get people to notice. It does not necessarily have anything to do with gun control, but it's riding the coattails of that issue to become noticed.

If people are objecting to the image simply because it's a hot political issue, then I would tell them to deal with it, lest they want to go down the censorship road.


To better address the question of whether the image should be kept or removed: If it properly shows evidence of a claim (the source of the question) it should be kept. I would remove it if:

  • It did not show evidence of the claim, or
  • Was not original material from the company making said claim

In other words, if the image was a second-generation, or third-party image made by someone other than the company or individual making the claim, it could potentially misrepresent the claim or impart a different meaning than the original owner intended.

If this candy vs. gun image is from the source of the claim, then it is best suited to represent the claim in dispute.

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    Is a misrepresentation of a claim not just a different claim? – user5582 Apr 20 '13 at 0:48
  • @Sancho images can't be sources of claims, since in order to have a claim from an image we need to subjectively interpret it (meta discussion). – Sklivvz Apr 21 '13 at 18:39
  • @Sklivvz What that meta answer said is that "picture" cannot imply a claim. But it doesn't say that an image that contains words can't be a source of a claim, especially when the claim is explicitly stated in those words. – user5582 Apr 21 '13 at 23:14
  • @Sancho of course you are correct. – Sklivvz Apr 22 '13 at 2:18

We have a precedent: "Not Safe For Work" images shouldn't be censored, however, they should not be included as an image. Instead, a link should be provided to the image, marked as NSFW or trigger warning, so people can choose whether to view it (and to ensure that others don't accidentally get exposed to it).

In this case, it didn't occur to me that this image would be considered NSFW/offensive. It is an image I had already been exposed to via Facebook, and I didn't see complaints there either. If there is are people who are genuinely upset by it, or a real risk of people getting into trouble for accidentally exposing their coworkers to it, let's put it behind a warning link. But, is there?

  • I think the problem is that the topic of the photo distracts from the actual question. IE It is easy to get guns but hard to get candy. And this candy is more dangerous to children than easy access to guns. But the question is about not being about to get the candy. – Chad Apr 22 '13 at 18:00

Yes, it's appropriate. The asker gets to state the claim they wish to have examined, and they get to use whatever quote, link, image, or other source that they happen to believe shows evidence of the claim's notability.


I actually used that Image out of sheer flippancy. I'm not American so I guess I'm a bit removed from the political debate on gun control, and I appeciated the juxtaposition of the assault rifle alongside the kinder surprise. My initial thought was "Could it possibly be true that Kinder Eggs are banned where Assault rifles are (for the most part) not so".

In that respect, my question should probably have included the question as to whether the gun in the image was not banned.

In any case, the image proposed in this question is IMO bad - it is clearly not one making much of a claim - there is no reference, no author and therefore no significant claim. Who is it that is stating that Kinder Surprise is "banned"?

Sorry if it offended anyone. There was no malicous intent there. I'll remove/link to the image if that is deemed to be appropriate.

  • Well, my biggest concern with the image is two parts: one being that that fire arm actually is banned in some states and two being that the current political climate makes it likely that it could be banned in all of them again. Also, I'm not sure if that is an AR-15 or an M16 variant in which case it would be outright banned in all of the states. Opening up on the question to address both parts might actually be an interesting approach and could also guard against if and when both are banned. – rjzii Apr 20 '13 at 13:33

We often deal with claims that offend at least some people, that is not something we can avoid. If questions would have to avoid offending anyone, then we could never debunk e.g. racist claims.

The only case where we remove images and only link them is if they are NSFW, e.g. containing graphic violence.

The question clearly stated that it is about the Kinder Surprise part of the image, the weapon was not even mentioned in the text. So anyone starting a discussion about gun control is off-topic anyway, and we can just nuke those comments. If someone really wants to deal with the issue whether the gun in the image is actually banned in the US, they can open a second question about that.

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    The gun control part of the image might be off topic for the question, but it is somewhat like asking people to "ignore the man behind the curtain" people want to address that part of the image and it is entirely possible that the "correctness" of that image could be invalid in a couple months to years. – rjzii Apr 20 '13 at 13:19

If "Moms Demand Action" are a major promoter of this claim, and the claim was relatively unknown beforehand, then mentioning this in the question may be helpful, as an answerer may try researching if someone else has tried debunking this meme and mentioned the group "Moms Demand Action" in their debunking post.

  • Actually, most people in the United States are at least passing familiar with the Kinder Surprise ban. – rjzii Apr 20 '13 at 13:16

Yes and No.

It is much more shocking the one in the question, than the one here in the meta question. It is more controversial, and stirs up more discussion. I prefer it of that reason.

On the other hand if that picture is used, then it DOES bring up a secondary discussion. I really liked RedGrittyBricks original answer of that reason. Because it did answer the secondary question which the picture brings up as well, he did it calmly, neutrally with some statistics.

IF the picture in the question is used, it SHOULD also take care of the secondary discussion it generates, not just pretend it is not there.

IF you want to avoid that discussion because it feels off-topic, then it's more appropriate to use a less controversial picture.

Take the consequences of the choice of picture, that is what I think.


To follow on to what Oddthinking said with regards to the NSFW or offensive, I don't think the image is offensive or NSFW; however, it is intentionally shocking in such a way to make a point about the fire arms and that overall debate in the United States. While it is a good graphic to create a dialog about that, I'm concerned that it distracts from the question as it pertains specifically to the Kinder Surprise eggs.

Furthermore, the image itself is also a bit misleading since some states have banned the weapon that the child is holding. So from that standpoint the image is also slightly distracting because in the future some well meaning users of the site might try to post a response to both parts of the image.

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