1. allowing such a ridiculously broad question to be posted (i.e. no closing it themselves). Where to begin addressing it? Some claimants say there's non-specific "satanic ritual abuse" network, others say specific Hollywood personalities are pedophiles.

  2. not allowed its closure by the community (3 votes pending) by letting stand the usual rules-gaming with bounties.

  3. mods badgering answers that question the credibility of witnesses, when the whole question essentially relies on that, being a quasi-legal question.

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    For me, it was too confusing to parse, and I've been very busy the last 2 weeks, so I generally ignored it. I'm disappointed poopy and confusing questions can't get closed by the community without mod intervention. – fredsbend Sep 15 '20 at 22:42
  • I see three votes now, so I will decide in the next day whether to give the 4th or 5th to close it. – fredsbend Sep 15 '20 at 22:43
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    I've now removed the bounty. I did not know that close votes could not be submitted on bountied questions. Relevant FAQ on MSE – fredsbend Sep 15 '20 at 22:58
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    Originally the question was intended to be only about Ted Gunderson's claim, but Oddthinking closed the question right away as off-topic because there was no evidence that the claim was widely believed nowadays. Then I provided the best evidence I knew about to prove that the claim is still widely believed, but now the question is perceived as too broad. Any ideas on how to ask the question in a way that makes everyone happy? – user45736 Sep 15 '20 at 23:10
  • @xwb: yeah well, why not include the trolls doll too? Seriously, I mean Wikipedia has a pretty long page on SRA which alas doesn't address the fact whether Tom Hanks is a pedophile. – Fizz Sep 16 '20 at 0:55

I think I can defend my actions.

Let's get some opinion out of the way first. The accusations by the claimants are over-extended anti-semitic moral-panic conspiracy theories that obscure real and serious problems with child-sex trafficking and high-level corruption.

Like many conspiracy theories, it is going to be nigh impossible to convince proponents of the theories, because they will simply grow the conspiracy to include whatever people or organisation provides evidence against. Nonetheless, it is valuable to debunk them to help people who are initially being introduced to the theories and are "doing their own research", but haven't committed their ego to the issue who to find a rope-ladder out of the hole they have stumbled into.

So, should we have silly conspiracy theory questions on the site? Yes.

Is the question too broad? Yes, probably, but this has been a developing issue. The original claim was tighter, but the OP seems to be trying to fix that in good faith.

The edits are changing so quickly (and I can't bring myself to watch much of those videos) that it is difficult to pinpoint the problems. One seems to be a mixing of alleged witnesses making specific claims (I have only seen one) with more general claimants saying it is out there and a problem.

usual rules-gaming with bounties.

Usual? That's a new one on me. @Fredsbend has since removed the bounty. (Which is also new to me; I didn't know we could do that.)

mods badgering answers that question the credibility of witnesses, when the whole question essentially relies on that, being a quasi-legal question.

The term "badgering" is an emotive term. Yes, I posted comments explaining why I think the answer is terrible.

I don't accept the analogy of witness credibility. This is not a court of law. The readers are not a jury. Answerers are not advocates for the defence or prosecution.

I think part of the problem is a smearing together of people who claim to have directly been victims, and who can speak to individual acts (where maybe it makes sense to question their reliability) and claims like those of Gunderson who aren't direct witnesses but say that there is a systemic problem.

John Paul Rice is not claiming to be a direct witness or victim (at least in the parts of the video I could stand to watch - this guy isn't very good at constructing an argument). The OP described him as a "Hollywood producer and actor".

The answer attacked the OP's description of Rice as being from Hollywood (which is mentioned in the YouTube description.).

Even if true (His movie was filmed in Los Angeles so it is arguably at least partly false), it is more worthy of a comment or even a direct edit of the question to correct the description. Whether he isn't from Hollywood does not affect at all the evidence presented in his movie (which I have not watched, and have no plans to watch) about whether satanic rituals occurred.

The result is that the answer is an ad hominem fallacy. Everything in the answer may well be right, but we still don't know if the children are being sacrificed to Satan.

Let's get this question narrowed down. Then let's answer this question with links to FBI reports talking about the prevalence of child murder, social psychologists talking about moral panics, quotes from organisations that actually do fight child sex trafficking on how Satanists are/aren't an issue, and similar evidence.

  • The bounties item to me is also new, and I'm a 7 year SE veteran! I was under the impression that expected mod behavior is to not touch bountied questions. – fredsbend Sep 16 '20 at 2:53
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    @fredsbend Without a written policy of 'when bounties get censored' I am strictly against such an action. Out of principle. It is designed deeply into the system that 'bounties protect from community mod closure'. It takes a while before bounties can be offered. If Q isn't closed by then, it probably wasn't that bad. Lacking an agreed upon policy and still mod-removing bounties looks more like 'arbitrary' & 'abuse' than anyone using a bounty to temp-protect Qs with them. I've complained about this on MetaSE and PolSE. If it 'becomes necessary' to remove bounties, then we need a clear policy. – LangLаngС Sep 16 '20 at 9:11
  • Welcome to reality when it comes to such bounties. And while you're writing long theses on the matter, please explain how you think a good answer to such a broad conspiracy meta-theory should look like. (This is a q you sometimes ask of people posting q here.) One can quote some journalist or another belaboring this point in a para or two, but in essence that can be summarized as "there's no evidence". – Fizz Sep 16 '20 at 9:38
  • (And of course, people who post such things don't trust journalists, so such refutations aren't going to convince them anyway.) – Fizz Sep 16 '20 at 9:51
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    @LangLangC: We don't have a policy on this, but that we didn't even know was possible 24 hours ago so this is a new hole. Want a policy? Great! Ask a question on Meta.SE (as clear and NPOV as possible, please) about what the policy should be, and then write an (as opinionated as you like) answer on what you think the policy should be. I myself have given this zero thought and have no position yet, so I am very influenceable. – Oddthinking Sep 16 '20 at 12:56
  • @Fizz: My normal tactic (and I did it this time) is to ask the OP what a good answer might look like. I think this is useful to help them to improve the question to something answerable. My other tactic is to accept that some claims can only be answered in one direction (e.g. we could show the existence of a secret organisation, but we can't show the non-existence of one). Which means the question may or may not be answerable, depending on the answer, and hence may stay unanswered forever. – Oddthinking Sep 16 '20 at 13:01
  • On MetaSE? For that site I lost all hope and will probably not post anything. Looks like a lost cause. In general. // I did post here, as I hope-guess you meant our meta-site ;) – LangLаngС Sep 16 '20 at 13:42

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