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This answer to " Have prior U.S. Presidents used executive actions to change immigration policy " contains two halves:

  1. Analysis of prior executive actions on immigration policy (full disclosure: I disagree with the poster's conclusion, but it's a quality answer listing a valid set of facts)

  2. A second half, which states:

    I think the heart of the question lies in, as you so elegantly and colloquially stated: Should we all just Chill Out?

    And proceedes stating an un-backed-up personal opinion that "we should all just chill out, yes".

    This seems to be one of two cases:

    • Either the question's heart is indeed "Should we all just Chill Out?", which IMHO is 100% unanswerable using scientific scepticism, and can ONLY be answered using subjective opinion, which is what the answerer did (including 100% irrelevant questions from pundits that have ZERO impact on Obama's statement in the question, which was about prior Executive actions and precedent).

      If that's the case, the question itself should be closed as subjective AND offtopic.

    • Or, that's NOT the heart of the question (and the heart is, IMHO, "Was Obama accurate in stating that 'the actions I’ve taken are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every Republican President and every Democratic President for the past half century'".

      If that's the case, the "chill out?" part is just a subjective add-on, which should be edited out of both the question AND the answer.

  • Basically, my personal inclination is to edit out the subjective part of BOTH the question and the answer, but I'd rather make sure it's a valid edit in line with site rules on objective answers. – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 2:07
  • I did edit out some verbiage. – Larian LeQuella Nov 23 '14 at 2:26
  • @LarianLeQuella - sorry, totally superficial edit. The meat of my issue remains - you posted your personal opinion ("Due to the numerous precedence, calling for actions such as impeachment or a government shut down are partisan bickering and not at all called for") - when the calls for impeachment were SPECIFICALLY over what wasn't precedented, doing executive action that contradicts the will of congress. And separately, you picked some random unrelated questions from talking heads which had ZERO to do with either the question that was asked, OR Obama's statement being questioned. – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 2:36
  • Basically, if this site wasn't so heavily pro-Obama (there were prior poor quality answers heavily upvoted for making Obama seem good), your answer would be downvoted to hell. I can prove it by posting a mirror image of your answer's second half, picking my own random pundit points and my own conclusion on impeachment, and getting instant downvote machine. Hell my answer that WAS facts based was downvoted instantly. – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 2:39
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    Reality is a vast liberal conspiracy? – Larian LeQuella Nov 23 '14 at 2:43
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    @LarianLeQuella Per DVK's answer his biggest objection isn't the size (number of people affected), but rather that it's done without the support of House+Senate i.e. that it's "changing" existing law and not just closing loop-holes, speeding up legislation already in progress, tidying up loose ends. – ChrisW Nov 23 '14 at 2:55
  • @DVK: Just wanted to say that my downvote on your anwer wasn't because of pro-obama or anti-obama or anything like that... I don't even care about America all that much. All I did was read the question as it was given, read up on the relevant historical information available and draw conclusions. All I can say is that Larian's answer addressed the question in my opinion far more directly and neutrally then you did. Your answer read to me like an aggressive political advert and the same points could probably have been made by someone else without me giving it a downvote~ – David Mulder Nov 23 '14 at 3:35
  • @DavidMulder - Larian's answer was 50% personal unsubstantiated opinion, agreeing with Obama and not even relevant to what was being asked. I'm glad it's my answer that was a "political advert". – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 4:16
  • @LarianLeQuella - wanna bet that if I take your second half of an answer, it will immediately get flagged and deleted (or at best downvoted) if I simply switch around political sides while keeping the same level of "factualness" you provided? – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 4:18
  • @DavidMulder - Larian's answer completely ignored the context of both the statement itself that was being asked about by OP, AND the context of why that statement was being made. It may seem "direct and neutral" to you, but that's because it cherry-picked the facts without bothering to inform of whether those facts are relevant to context. – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 4:21
  • @LarianLeQuella - no, not reality. Just Skeptics.SE when it comes to any questions that have political context. Not really unanticipated, having had vast experience with Slashdot before. – user5341 Nov 23 '14 at 4:22
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    @DVK Hey, you can attack me for what kind of impressions your answer made on me, or you can consider rereading your answer and figuring out why it created those impressions. And if I can give any tips, your way of using bold texts definitely was a first red flag. Since the edit (just saw it) it has become a lot better so that's definitely something :) . – David Mulder Nov 23 '14 at 5:27
  • What's up with these polarized debates in America either way... like I myself am extremely liberal when it comes to mid-level markets, quite socialist when it comes to minimum care, conservative in a rare view specific topics (though semi liberal reasons often) etc. ... and that's pretty typical on this side of the pond. Yet I have been made out to be everything possible on the internet... though always only by Americans... oh well, just a thought~ – David Mulder Nov 23 '14 at 5:33
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I meant that as part of Obama's claim. He wouldn't have said it if he wasn't saying to convince people watching him that what he was doing was not worth them getting riled up about.

I can edit the question if needs be, but I don't see why is need to if you're satisfied with this clarification.

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If (only if) an answer is valid because it meets the rules (e.g. because it answers the question, provides references, draws justifiable conclusions from those references), then it's conventional on this site to also allow the author to add some personal opinion, "on the side" as it were, provided that:

  • It's a minor part (not the majority) of the question
  • It's clearly opinion (not masquerading as objective)
  • The author is willing to accept downvotes from people who don't like that opinion

I expect it's common to see an answer like,

(a well-referenced answer)

In conclusion, I think that ...

or like,

(a well-referenced answer)

As an aside, an IMO amusing but partially irrelevant observation which occurred to me while I was writing this is ...


As an aside, there is IMO an extremist tendency in American politics.

Maybe you're trolling each other.

Maybe you're 'pushing the boundaries' to try to redefine where the 'middle' is.

In any case, it's difficult to say what's "neutral" in politics, i.e. the location of "neutral" might be disputable. Still it is observable (fact) that people on this forum downvote answers which don't seem neutral:

All I can say is that Larian's answer addressed the question in my opinion far more directly and neutrally then you did.

A lack of "neutrality" by the author will cause them to over-reach; or, even, to use TOO MUCH BOLD TEXT!

I think it's possible for an answer that's 80% correct to get downvoted because it's 20% incorrect.

IMO a better answer (than a partisan answer that's 20% incorrect) is a neutral or dispassionate answer that's 0% incorrect.

For example you wanted me to include in this answer an explanation of why Lincoln's order was unlike Obama's. I didn't want to do that because that would be disagreeable argument that would weaken the integrity of the answer about Lincoln's order. The question as it was phrased was narrow and didn't require that opinion so I didn't supply it. I suspect that the question couldn't have been phrased to require that opinion, partly because Pelosi didn't make a claim that Obama's order was like Lincoln's: except to say that they were both orders, and to wish that "People have to understand how presidents have made change in our country." A question which asked, "Was Pelosi being misleading, or apposite, when she mentioned Lincoln's order in the same paragraph as Obama's?" wouldn't be on-topic at Skeptics (it might, I don't know, be on-topic at History.SE or Politics.SE) and if that question isn't on-topic then that's not a topic that I'd want to try to answer (because the reason why it's not on-topic is that it isn't answerable).

If you think that "competing answers" break the rules by being unreferenced and opinionated and illogical it might be hard to refrain from doing the same, to avoid letting them have some unfair advantage over yours.

Even so I think that "truth will out" if you let it; that "just the facts, ma'am" help people to see more clearly because they are "turned off" if they decide there's prejudice; there was a saying that lawyers "serve without passion and without prejudice" that I find somewhat admirable.

Ideally we ought to hope to do justice to each question, no more or less, instead of viewing it through a pro-Obama or anti-Obama lens.

I agree that "should we chill out?" isn't strictly-phrased but at least it is parenthetical. Better (stricter) wording for the question might have quoted from the notable claim, for example:

Are the following statements true?

  • The actions I’ve taken are lawful
  • The actions I’ve taken are the kinds of actions taken by every Republican President and every Democratic President for the past half century.
  • Ronald Reagan took action to keep families together.
  • The first President Bush took action to shield about 40 percent of undocumented immigrants at the time.

If you wanted to introduce an anti-Obama bias into the topic a good way to do that might be to reference (as a subject for the question) an anti-Obama speech. It wouldn't surprise me if everything that Obama says is at least half-true.

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I'd rather make sure it's a valid edit in line with site rules on objective answers

One of the site rules might be to avoid editing questions in a way that would invalidate an existing answer. That's certainly a rule on some other sites: if you want to edit a question you should do that before it's answered. That's a reason why low-quality questions are closed: so that hey can be improved before they're answered.

This question isn't perfect, but clearly people thought that it was 'good enough' to answer. I suggest that you allow the question to be edited, if-and-only-if the authors of both existing answers agree to the edit (and/or if the existing answers are not invalidated by the edit).

Another rule, I'd think, is to avoid 'hostile' edits. You can edit Larian's answer if you think it's an edit he would agree with, an edit that he would have liked to make himself. If you don't think he'd agree with your edit then your alternatives include:

  • Post a comment suggesting an edit for him to make
  • Downvote
  • Flag for moderator attention
  • Post a competing answer
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I reformatted Larian's answer just by just adding some section titles to it.

I hope this helps to clarify that:

  • The so-called "second half" about chilling is opinion
  • Larian's opinion is that it's unanswerable; stating that opinion doesn't/cannot require corresponding references; and that opinion agrees with your meta-opinion stated your OP here, so perhaps that's more OK now
  • There's a third bit saying "no" at the end which you might not have noticed before and which now (because it has its own section title) is more visible, has some weight.

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