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I want to bring up Evan Carroll's answer on Do Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian kids?

His answer is using links to shocking videos and pictures. Linking to "Another disturbing video?" as he says in his answer. His answer features pictures of children being manhandled by military, as background for statistics.

His answer is committing the "Appeal to emotions" fallacy, through fear, and shock. His answer is not in good science, and is not staying neutral, and is using shocking pictures, and links to shocking videos, to try to make his answer appear stronger, painting a very negative picture of the opposing side.

It's also using anecdotal claims to try to further the point.

In comments he call other people Zionists, which by some people is used as a derogatory substitution-word. He uses the word as a slur.

He was once before warned about posting links to shocking pictures in the answer. Why was my answer on the Israel/Palestine question deleted?

I propose to have the answer permanently deleted. It's highly negatively voted, not written in neutral form.

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  • 1
    tl;dr: I started writing a post explaining why the answer isn’t deleted. But really, I can’t see the point any more. But I don’t think your accusation about his using “Zionist” as a slur is correct. People get thin-skinned but “Zionist” is the term most commonly used to defend the right of existence of the state of Israel, sometimes to extremes – his usage appears to be entirely in line with this. I mention this because I beliefe that accusations of name-calling are even more counter-productive than actual name-calling since they effectively try to gag the opposition. – Konrad Rudolph May 24 '13 at 18:16
  • He have been using it against people that disagree with him, as a negative word. He did it earlier as well. Sklivvz removed several comments "Removed useless name calling. Avoid.". In Larian LeQuella♦'s answer on the meta question I linked he said "Evan, first of all, I am atheist, so I find it difficult to comprehend how I could be viewed as Zionist, or having any respect for any particular religion". Evan have obviously been using the word as a negative word against other people than me before. – Wertilq May 24 '13 at 18:22
  • He does attempt, and while probably unsuccessful towards most people being regulars at skeptics, if he posted same answer on his facebook, things would be different... Only because he uses that type of tactics doesn't mean they succeed, and yes I also views his points lower because he TRIES that type of tactics. And I don't think shock-tactics have a place here at skeptics, and that's why I think it should be deleted. – Wertilq May 24 '13 at 19:13
  • I was just made aware of this. I'll post a response by the end of the night. – Evan Carroll May 29 '13 at 18:48
1

There are some more problems with Wertilq didn't write.

The answer has things which are lies:

a. The Picture depicting Muhammad A Dura depicts a very desputable claim, that he was killed by Israeli fire, while evan himself admits in the comments:

It would be more accurate to say that he was not proven to have been killed by Israeli gunfire

The same picture is part of the video that the OP sais is NSFW, yet Evan puts a picture from the same video, just for shock value.

b. The video that's described as:

Here a female activists attempts to prevent the Israelis from shooting kids (video).

Depicts soldiers firing Riot control (i.e. non lethal) weapons at a large crowd of young adults and adults which are shown throwing stones. Yet from his description one would think that we are seeing soldiers pointing lethal weapons at small children. (see end of answer for explanation)

This answer has been already edited 19 times, and every time that someone tries to edit it, Evan just rolls back to previous version.

Also, there is a reinforsment for Evan to leave the post, even though it has 3 times more down votes that upvotes, (5 vs. 15) he still gets a positive +20 reputation for that question, so even though the community clearly sais that it's a very bad question.

It is the 4th answer from the buttom with regards of score, and the second most downvoted answer in the site, and yet he gets +20 rep for it.

As discussed in the comments of Beofett's answer, there is only 1 non mod user who can vote to delete. For a site that is based on the actions of the community, in this case we don't really have a community to speak of.

I believe that considering the lies in the answer, added with the fact that the user doesn't seem to want to accept the community's edits, the poor reception of it and the lack of people who can vote to delete it, who are not mods. I think that that this answer deserve a deletion.


by the way, here is how to know if a gun fires "real" bullets, or rubber bullets. A gun firing rubber bullets, has an extension on its mussel that looks like this:

M16+rubber bullets

As can be seen in the video on every gun firing.

(source for the picture)

Rubber bullets together with tear gas (also seen in the movie) are used world wide against riots and violent demonstrations.

Wiki page for riot control

Wiki page for Non-lethal weapon

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  • "every time that someone tries to edit it, Evan just rolls back to previous version." While there were some rollbacks in the earliest revisions, that statement does not appear to be true. Evan has not rolled back any of the most recent revisions suggested by other users. – Beofett May 29 '13 at 13:24
  • @Beofett Actually Evan just rolled back an edit that put the pictures as links with warnings, and toned down the shock language. So what Ilya says is completely true, in that regard. – Wertilq May 29 '13 at 19:29
  • @Wertilq I saw that. However, the point is that there were several edits that weren't rolled back. And, conveniently enough, Evan's latest rollback pushed the answer into CW, so the issue of him "unfairly" earning reputation for a horrible answer has conveniently resolved itself :) – Beofett May 29 '13 at 19:44
  • -1: gun with muzzle extension is still capable of firing normal ammo, and Israeli "rubber bullets" contain steel core, making them lethal if victim is shot at close range or at longer range with a head-shot. The source of the picture states in the very first sentence, that these "rubber bullets" "kill and maim too often to be considered a safe method of crowd control." – vartec Jun 12 '13 at 13:41
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    @vartec, it isn't capable of firing normal ammo. Most non lethal weapons can kill and maim their victims if misused. Israel is not the only country that uses them. While it can't be argued that palestinian demonstrations are suppressed with excessive non-lethal force, this is not what the discussion is about. The video was labeled falsely and in a misleading way. There is a huge difference between a video showing "Israeli soldiers trying to shoot kids" and "Israeli soldiers use excessive force against a riot/violent demonstration". – SIMEL Jun 12 '13 at 13:58
  • @IlyaMelamed: "rubber bullets" for quite some time aren't called "non-lethal", but "less-lethal". In most civilized countries they are only used by riot police as last resort, and with very strict instructions how to shoot (basically anything above thigh level is off limits). And they normally use low velocity ones fired from 12-gauge shotguns and don't have steal core. The Israeli version is something fired from rifle-grenade attachment, which are designed not to prevent firing normal ammo. If you claim otherwise, source your claim. – vartec Jun 12 '13 at 14:17
  • @vartec, I don't argue with you that rubber bullets can be lethal, and that Israel might be using excessive force against Palestinian violent protests (I'm not agreeing with you either). I'm saying that the depiction of that particular video clip is misleading it shows soldiers firing "less-lethal" and "non-lethal" ammo at a violent riot (according to regulation, see next comment), they are not firing live ammo at a group of children, like the depiction claims, that is (was) my problem with the description of the video. – SIMEL Jun 12 '13 at 16:05
  • @vartec, as to the lethality of the rubber bullets. They are not the only riot control weapon that is potentially lethal. How ever, the IDF is aware of this, and put in place appropriate Open-Fire Regulations, rubber bullets are not to be used in less than 40 meters, shot above the legs, at children or from a moving vehicle and require special training source. So Israel has strict restriction on their use. Regarding the fire of live ammo, see next comment. – SIMEL Jun 12 '13 at 16:11
  • @vartec. Can live ammo be fired from a rifle firing rubber bullets? No, and not likely. First, regarding the rifle-grenade attachment is not what is depicted in the image in the answer, it's something else, which can be seen here, (artifact #1) it's a one time use attachment that completely blocks the muzzle, and a bullet trying to exit will hit the attachment and wont get out. Most probably, it'll hurt the operator. (See next comment for more details) – SIMEL Jun 12 '13 at 16:14
  • @vartec, the second type, depicted in the image in the answer, is an extension that sits on the muzzle of the rifle, and if the attachment doesn't have rubber bullets inside, there is a free way for a projectile to move. However, since the attachment is designed to use with blank bullets (no projectile, only powder) it isn't concerned with perfectly aligning itself with the rifle muzzle. So, if you do fire a bullet, it can (and most probably will) hit the attachment itself, so it's very unsafe for the operator, and IDF regulation forbid to fire fmj ammo with the attachment. – SIMEL Jun 12 '13 at 16:19
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The criteria for deletion is listed here, and Evan's answer doesn't meet any of these.

Answers 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!” responses
  • exact duplicates of other answers
  • barely more than a link to an external site
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question
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5

While one can like or not Evan's style, his conclusions are not very different from the other answers.

The correct response to a question that you think is based on poor evidence is downvoting.

If Evan and others engage in prolonged discussions, that's certainly not a good behavior, but it's hardly a good reason to remove the answer.

I suggest that, as skeptics, we leave speculation to what Evan's intentions are to him and we concentrate on something else.

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  • Yes he reaches a similar conclusion as the other ones, but the way he provides the answer is wrong. And links to shocking pictures/videos have no place in an answer, unless they are REQUIRED to provide the answer. In my opinion answers and questions should aim to stay political neutral. – Wertilq May 25 '13 at 15:00
3

The answer, even if bad (and I agree it is bad), is still an answer.

Moderators do not generally delete answers based strictly upon their quality, so long as the answers follow the rules of the site (skeptics is somewhat of an edge case, since one of the rules specific to this site, the requirement for references in all answers, is directly tied to quality).

The answer follows the site rules. It includes references, even if you feel they are in support of fallacious points. It directly addresses the claim.

Therefore, it is not a candidate for direct moderator intervention.

However...

Trusted Users have the ability to vote to delete answers with scores of -1 or lower. If the question really is so bad it should be deleted, it is the trusted users of the site who need to make that determination. That is part of the Theory of Moderation that StackExchange uses as their guidelines.

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  • The sites trusted users are mods though, except for 1 guy that I haven't really seen myself. And isn't the requirement 5 votes... and the site have 4 trusted user. 3 of them are mods. Also when I asked for the answer to be deleted I meant anyone, voting for deletion, or mod deletion. – Wertilq May 24 '13 at 19:54
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    Mod deletion is binding. Being the first to cast a binding deletion vote is indistinguishable from using moderator powers to intervene. You raise a good point about only 1 non-moderator being able to vote to delete. However, that doesn't change the fact that a decision to delete low-quality answers is one that should only be made by top-contributors, and not made as moderator fiat. If the one trusted user who isn't a mod were to cast their delete vote, then there'd be some argument in favor of a moderator stepping in and finishing it, but until then.... – Beofett May 24 '13 at 19:58
  • Can a mod cast a 'normal' delete vote then? And the last time the non-mod trusted user was online was like a month ago, and time before there is month before that. – Wertilq May 24 '13 at 20:13
  • No, all mod close, open, delete, and undelete votes are binding. – Beofett May 24 '13 at 20:18
  • I sometimes wish I had a non-binding vote I could place. – Jamiec May 25 '13 at 1:22
  • @Jamiec That's a popular request, actually. – Beofett May 25 '13 at 1:44
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The answer is deleted for now (as a time out, because we can restore it in the future). Right now people are simply abusing the comments section as well as edits on this answer, and we should all take some time to step back and evaluate the answer as well as our own actions.

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  • If you delete the answer how are people supposed to evaluate the answer? – Christian May 31 '13 at 13:03
  • It's temporary. – user5582 May 31 '13 at 15:34
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    If this is the reason, then it should be undeleted and locked @larian, not deleted. – Sklivvz Jun 1 '13 at 0:54
-3

In comments he call other people Zionists, which by some people is used as a derogatory substitution-word. He uses the word as a slur.

Your urban dictionary definition says that Zionist is a substitute for Jew.

Do you really think that the debate is more about religion than about the right of Israel to exist?

There are Jewish people that support Israel's right to exist. Their are others that don't. In a discussion about Israeli politics it's good to use words that describe political positions such as Zionist instead of using words that refer to religion such as "Jew".

When he calls other people in the comments Zionist, do you honestly think that he means to say "Jew"?

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    No I don't think he means jews. I do think he uses the word zionist negatively. I have seen people do that before. Zionist is a person that is pro-Isreal as a state pretty much, and some people finds that decpicable to the level that using the word is a derogatory by itself. Similar to situation in US with the word "communist". – Wertilq May 31 '13 at 13:41
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    This is off topic. The question is concerning the answer, not Evan's comments. – user5582 May 31 '13 at 15:35
  • @Sancho : I'm directly addressing a paragraph of Wrtilq question. If the paragraph I'm addressing doesn't belong here, why don't you edit it out? – Christian Jun 1 '13 at 15:15
  • @Wertilq : So you agree that the charge that he uses it as a substition word is wrong. No actual communist in the US has a problem with being called a communist. Progressives who aren't communists might have a problem with it. Forbidding accurate descriptions of other people's positions is bad. – Christian Jun 1 '13 at 15:19

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