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Once I read here that Sorry, but we don't care about your political opinions

But are we indeed so careless as to allow blatant political campaigning?

We witnessed a non-skeptical question on HNQ with

Is this picture of Trump, Bloomberg, and Clinton playing golf real?

An immediately, self-answered question – without any notability. And not only that. To really top it off the self-answer is also of quite dubious quality.

Is that an unlucky coincidence?

Moderator Oddthinking even caressed the concerns with:

We are looking for evidence that it is widely believed. If it is being shared on Facebook, it is nice to point to a public instance that has many likes or shares to demonstrate that. In this case, where it is a self-answered question about politicians, it triggers nervousness about people who have tried to use Skeptics.SE as a propaganda tool in the past

Requests in comments to 'please explain any notability for this' were greeted with a remark about my personal motivation first and then with

The skeptical assumption is that all pictures I find on social media are fake.

Well, brilliant. Still absolutely zero relevance for anything, but a nice job outlook for Skeptics: examining every single last picture posted on 'social' media? Whatever the cost may be. We shall check on the beaches, we check on loosing grounds, we shall check on the empty fields and in the mean streets, we shall check in the hills; we shall upvote any pretender?

So why is that picture relevant again, when OP doesn't answer any request for such?

It is quite an opaque picture of random people posing on a golf turf? No, it is implicitly dismissive of all people pictured, since there is this one person actually not in the picture!

(In case anyone needs it: Clinton, Bloomberg and Trump all get 'guilty by association' onto one trivial picture. That alone might be not that nice, but in any case of a perfidious logic.)

But that is 'naturally' compensated by that missing person being somehow mentioned in a dozen posts now bumped to the homepage by OP, thanks to a "Bernie Sanders" tag, description, excerpt and a lot of re-tagging, done again by OP of the subterranean question. Most of those are again uncomfortably close to overstepping the line from 'merely interested in some claims about a candidate' towards 'look at him, ain't he…'

To prove that point, and highlight the dubious quality of the answer:

The asnwer is claiming that the image 'originated' from an essentially random site. But one that itself being from 2019 clearly states that the image is from 2008, even linking to another article from 2016, also using it… If that example of poor quality Q&A should be allowed to stand here, Snopes did a much better job of 'analysing' the storm in a waterglass photo. Other were also 'utterly unimpressed at all. But they also note that 'Bernie Sanders shared the photo, meant to be damning' and 'important is: who is not there?')

The question that hit HNQ and is mentioned in the first quote here should have never been allowed onto that network list, not even allowed to stay on site. It is purely a political campaign post, almost astro-turfing around the golf theme pictured. It stayed open for too long, it got upvotes from Skeptics before it hit HNQ, it wasn't removed and is not deleted.

It was clear from the beginning, got ever more explicit with every comment and lack of clarification edits, and now has ample bumping proof that this is more campaigning than anything else.

There were zero clarification edits made. Zero improvement. Zero reason given for why anyone might doubt that the picture is not real.

  • Feb 17 at 22:05 Question posted
  • Feb 17 at 22:05 Answer posted. OP obviously has no doubt at all about that picture when posting
  • Feb 18 at 6:17 Became HNQ
  • Feb 18 at 0:12 comment by @Odd that there is not even a source whatsoever is given, yet SkepticsSE still votes this into HNQ?
  • Feb 18 at 13:01 comment still visible by @Odd questioning notability and warning about undesirability of political propaganda on this site, yet it remains on HNQ
  • Feb 19 at 20:50 Finally, question is closed and thus removed from HNQ after days of gathering tons of votes

+42-6 for that 'question', +69-3 for that 'answer'.

Just looking at these numbers: it is quite a poor performance for us. Since closing, it didn't receive any edits whatsoever. Hence it cannot have been improved. And yet it even has a re-open vote now? This needs delete votes and not much more.

So, I'd like to know from those who upvoted this, from those who allowed it to enter HNQ and those who allowed it to stay there, from those who did not vote to close this, or from those who now even allow this massively upvoted propaganda on site:

Why?

Why did you do that? Is Bernie indeed such a weak and hopeless candidate that he needs that much help from SkepticsSE that all principles of policy for this site are now disposable?


Now, if those downvoters here could also offer any rationale, however tiny it might be, for why analysing that picture would be notable and on-topic here, other than "twas on the net where all is fake", as OP argued (and only in comments, not in question text) it would be a start. But I guess they just cannot.

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    I am sorry, but I am traveling, so limited time to respond to this for the next week or so. – Oddthinking Feb 26 at 14:56
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    How is the question/answer political campaigning, propaganda, or related to Bernie Sanders? – Laurel Feb 28 at 22:56
  • @Laurel I tried to explain the obvious in this question, limited of course. But if you also follow the links in this Q you should see that OP failed to mention or disclose that the old pic's 'resurfacing now' originated from a campaign, was shared by a candidate, is meant to discredit Bloomberg in favour of Sanders. Posted here by a sympathiser, also not disclosed, but clear from past actions here & elsewhere. – LаngLаngС Feb 29 at 12:37
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    It's pretty benign in this instance if you ask me. Downvote, which I'm sure you did. HNQ gives the user undue points and credit, which is ironically inequitable. Maybe SE can put a stay on all HNQ for Skeptics until after the election? Or any tagged politics or trump/sanders/etc at least. – fredsbend Mar 10 at 22:22
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I care, but my flags are not followed up by actual close votes from non-peons.

I suggest that any question regarding the 2020 US presidential election and questions related to the respective parties primary elections should be off-topic by definition, until long after the election is over. Only then will it be possible to have all the data vetted by third parties, which can be referenced in an answer here.

It is more difficult to police the type of questions that looks like "Did [politician] really eat 100 babies?". Or "Did Trump really say [stupid trolling on twitter]". I've tried flagging them for lacking notability (aka "Who cares?").

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  • I tried that in 2016 and after Trump's election. The argument in reverse was that the gravity of the President's words are quite heavy by default, therefore of significant notability. It's valid reasoning, but not sound, since the President can say (and literally has said) nonsense. But how do we convince an obtuse reader that "covfefe" is obviously a late night typo and holds no significance, despite coming from the President? We have to change what notable means, or get enough of the regulars to close them anyway, because "Who cares?" – fredsbend Mar 10 at 22:16
  • Although I understand that waiting means that we can answer with more perspective, I don't agree with what's being advocated here, because it means that people can lie as much as they like with no scrutiny until it's too late. – Andrew Grimm Mar 13 at 10:09
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    @AndrewGrimm So let those people lie. Stack Exchange is not supposed to solve all the problem in the world and its format is not designed to do so. It's designed to create a long lasting repository of high quality answers to high quality questions and the current "Look what politician X said" masked as a question deters from that goal IMO. – pipe Mar 13 at 18:13

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