To my surprise, this question I asked was closed as "primarily opinion based", when I asked for evidence of Soviet strategy. I has assumed, perhaps naively, that it would be obvious that an answer would require references to official documentation from the era.

So I don't know how that would be opinion based. Whether the USSR in the aftermath of the second world war was keen or able to invade western Europe would surely have been written down somewhere, and further that we would see evidence of plans changing before and after Soviet leadership became aware of the existence and threat of American nuclear weapons.

How could I have better phrased the question? Is it just that it was too ambiguous, and I needed to lay out the need for policy to be referenced to support an answer? Documents which supported/countered that their leadership concluded they were:

1 Able to invade 2 Willing to invade and 3 Threatened by American nuclear weapons

1 Answer 1


I do see one thing right off the bat you could do. Its something that's bit me quite recently too. A lot of people make their decisions on answers and OT-ness almost solely based on the question title. We recently had a very badly-phrased question that I edited to be on-topic I was sure, but it mysteriously still kept getting close votes. At 4 I finally realized I hadn't fixed the title too. Doing that nearly saved it (it took a long time before it picked up close vote 5).

It probably should not be that way, but it is. Heck, I (embarrassingly) do it too sometimes.

If you look at the question's current title, it is

Did nuclear weapons prevent the Soviet invasion of Europe?

Now if that was the entirety of the question, knowing our users I'd expect it to get closed. That question is undoubtedly asking for an opinion, and arguably an opinion on something that might have happened in an alternate universe (one where the US never invented nuclear weapons. Which raises more questions. Eg: How did the Pacific War end in this alternate universe? How would a US that lost a million extra men in WWII feel about fronting Europe with extra ground forces. More likely? Less likely?) We have multiple users here who call such questions "counterfactuals", and will merrily VTC them.

Again, I'm not saying your question is wrong. Quite likely your are completely right that it should be considered on-topic. I'm just advising that when you carefully craft the verbiage of a question to keep it on-topic, you should try to put just as much care into the title. More actually, because titles have to be short too.

An alternate that might be better (no guarantees with this crowd) would be something like:

Do we have any information on whether nuclear weapons deterred the Soviets from invading Europe?

There's probably some way to say that shorter and more elegantly...

  • I think you're on to something here! I did a question on world building; crux of which being: if global temperatures were inverted, and poles were hot and equator cold, would there be any unexpected climatic effects that can't be accounted for flipping the climate models we have? And I got lots of answers about planetary tilt - which I thought was obvious I didn't care about, I want effect not cause, right? I then realised even though I'd edited the question extensively (with bold) to clarify, the question header hadn't changed. So changed wording to specify climate... helped a bit.
    – user17846
    Apr 13, 2017 at 16:10
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    Basically, questions are hard to phrase well, and some people don't even read them.
    – user17846
    Apr 13, 2017 at 16:11

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