Before on Writing SE, I've asked questions about diversity, misogyny, and gay representation in writing. Most responses were positive, but occasionally I was trolled or outright told that my questions were not welcome on Writing SE because they were "political". While the subject matter of some of my questions may align with certain ideologies, I never cited my political leanings in-question.

However, I saw someone else make clear their political affiliations (particularly through bashing a differing ideology) and they had their question modified multiple times to remove the language before having it locked entirely.

The content of the question centered around misogyny and the rejection of femininity in order to be strong, and I have had questions centered around similar topics get upwards of 10k views and they never got locked or modified. However, the only difference was that this user explicitly made their political position known.

With this difference in mind, what is the line that we should not cross on Writing SE? Are questions that are controversial or could be controversial (without having a neon sign pointing to a particular end of the political spectrum) okay?

  • 4
    What is the standard to decide what is controversial? To be honest, weakdna, in my opinion your questions are far from being controversial. They may have some shock value for some users, but that's more telling of them than of your question.
    – NofP
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 10:08
  • 8
    @NofP I'd say weakdna's questions are sometimes about controversial subjects but they are not meant to stir up controversy. And that's the difference.
    – Cyn
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


Questions about writing are welcome here, even if they involve controversial or politically charged issues.

We in this community don't have to agree with each other (which is a good thing, because we surely won't), but we have to treat each other with respect. Posts that insult individuals or groups will get deleted.

Stating your position (if relevant) is okay to a degree, though it's usually less relevant than people think. It's how you state it and what you state or imply about people who disagree with you that are problematic.

If you come across a question, answer, or comment that you feel needs moderator attention, please flag it. If none of the stock choices for the flag work, or if you need to explain a bit more about the situation, use the "in need of moderator intervention" option and that will bring up a text box.

Moderators spend a fair bit of time on the site, looking at new questions and answers, but it's impossible to see everything. We rely on flags to help us out (and we see every flag).

There is no specific line on content, as long as it's suitable for users who might be as young as 13. But it needs to be relevant to the question, on topic, and not there for shock value. Apart from that, it's more about presentation than content.


It seems to me that it comes down to the intent of the question. If the intent of the question is to learn something about the craft of professional writing and publishing, and that the raising of certain political, ideological, or religious opinions is unavoidable in expressing or answering that question, then it is on topic.

But if the question is a rhetorical one designed more to advance a position or start and argument than to raise an issue in professional writing and publishing, then it is off topic.

But we can't avoid the basic fact of human nature that in every age there are opinions that are considered orthodox and opinions that are considered heretical. The casual expression of orthodox opinions tends to pervade the everyday speech of people who hold to the orthodox opinions, and no one tends to object to them being expressed.

Those who hold heretical opinions, on the other hand, know them to be heretical and expect to be attacked for expressing them. It tends to make them either shy away from expressing them at all, or to gird for battle when they do decide to express them. Then tends to produce a different tone, which the orthodox then react to, in addition to how they react to the heretical opinion itself.

In short, the expression of orthodox opinions often goes unnoticed, which the expression of heretical opinions is notices at once, and usually leads to vociferous objections. Thus no forum, no publication, is ever even handed in policing the expression of opinion. Orthodox opinions get free passage, by and large, and heretical opinions get slapped down. This effect is certain to be particularly pronounced in a community governed environment like SE.

While I have seen a degree of tolerance towards heretical opinion here, I can't personally recall anyone being shut down for expressing orthodox opinions, however blatantly expressed. That is simply not how the world works.

That said, it certainly should be the case that the promotion of orthodox opinions in questions and answers (outside of the context of a legitimate attempt to ask or answer an on topic question) should be controlled just as firmly as the expression of heretical opinions.

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