Note: this is not really a question but considering some of the recent debates on History SE I wanted a place to put this. So here it is on Meta. If it gets removed so be it, but it may help to have a place for people to note their opinions rather than in the comments and on questions that are raising off topic discussions.

Considering a few of the current questions have sparked debates of views of politics and/or philosophy, which always are heated, I would like to just note to people that this is a Community Site. While it may be easy to say that these questions are flame bait it has to be remembered that this is a public forum with a global audience, each person is coming here from the views and beliefs of their home country. It is often easier to dismiss certain points of view, and I know I do this sometimes, and its harder to have an open mind but again as a public forum on the Stack Exchange platform if a question is not agreeable, and there is no answer or comment to offer to enhance the question then vote the question down and comment as to why. It is the voting and comments to improve questions that help the site, nasty comments and personal attacks don't enhance the questions and/or answers.

History is very interpretive, looking at each incident means having an open mind and thinking of the events that led there. Each person will also have their own unique view on events and incidents, if you do not agree and you can't find a way to enhance the question then leave it. Of course if a question needs improvement then feel free to vote down and comment why you think the question needs improvement, the comments help everyone.

Keep an open mind as more people with different viewpoints and different experiences will come here, its a place to learn not to attack. If you have a way to improve questions that isn't apparent, feel free to suggest them.


  • I think it is very true that ones interpretation of history leads directly to one's political beliefs. Which is all the more reason to do one's best to keep an open mind and be respectful of each other's interpretations. So far, even the questions I have come across that are "flame-baity" (?) in nature seem to maintain a decent level of mutual respect. I hope this continues. Commented Apr 9, 2012 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


I don't think intention really matters. If the question is flame-bait, then the responses aren't likely to end up very productive. Having a nice database of history questions with good useful answers is the point, is it not? Whether the person started an unhelpful flamewar out of ignorance or malice doesn't change anything.

In many (most?) circumstances the bit that is flame-bait could be removed (or even ignored) without harming the question. Perhaps even addressed reasonably in a good answer. But if the question is something like Steven Colbert's "George W Bush: Great President, or The Greatest President?", where poltical flame-bait is built into a basic assumption the entire question relies on, there is no saving it. If left on the site, nothing good is going to come from it.

  • If a question obviously IS flame-bait it has typically been closed. What I am referring to, and you are missing, are those questions which like in the grey area of people not really making their point or the question needs work but people immediately claim flame-bait. As always feel free to vote, or ask to close, after all this is a community site. Yes, the goal is to have high quality answers but we've already seen high quality answers on questions people have asked to be closed.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 15:53
  • @MichaelF - Hmmm. Don't think I missed that point, as I addressed it the first two sentences of the second paragraph of my answer. We may be finding ourselves in "violent agreement" here.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 15:43
  • We may be but looking at it from different perspectives. What I have seen, and am noting, are people calling fire when there is none but more from they disagree entirely with the subject. Funny its taken me this long to realize I missed that point...can't blame coffee I guess.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 19:45
  • @MichaelF - Funny, but rereading this years later as a mod, I think I did in fact miss your point. Shame. Almost wish I could vote my own answer down. :-)
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 15:17
  • 1
    Yeah, I had the perspective then as one of the original Mods of the HistorySE, luckily I could see it coming. The disagreements on this were one of the reasons I quit. It's like they say, you have to walk some distance in someone's shoes to see it, sadly I still see this in many other SE's I still frequent, but I just let it slide more now. Congrats on maintaining it so long.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:25
  • ...and no worries man, all water under the bridge now.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:29

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