It seems to me there are a lot of low-quality questions being asked about the trio of topics above.

I'm not referring to holocaust denial questions, which should obviously be killed with fire. I mean questions like this one. This user asked, apparently in good faith, whether Jews in Nazi Germany got electricity.

With no disrespect intended to the asker, this is a silly question. It doesn't take account of

1) the fact that electricity was used by relatively few people before the postwar era

2) the fact that Jews in camps or ghettoes obviously did not have electronic doodads, nor was that a major concern for them, given that they were being murdered in one way or another.

Someone who knows enough about history to know what the holocaust is ought to know both of the above things. It seems like asking a question about the Nazis for the sake of asking a question.

I feel we should discourage questions of this kind, and the current rules and sanctions aren't adequate for the task. I'm not sure what the solution is.

Am I imagining this problem? If I'm not, what's the solution?

Edit: Here is another example of an extremely weak question about the Nazis...

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    It kind of seems like we are already doing that unofficially. It looks to me like Holocaust/Nazi questions have a higher bar to clear to not get closed. Of course new posters may not realize this until they've tried and failed a few times... – T.E.D. Mod Jun 13 '17 at 12:59
  • Good question, it's like taking a walk in a sewer when I see some of the questions and answers here; or maybe a bath. – Mozibur Ullah Jun 25 '17 at 5:33
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    I thought that radios and fridges became popular during the 1920s economic boom. Related graph for the USA: researchgate.net/figure/… – Andrew Grimm Jul 5 '17 at 12:10
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    Radios, yes. But even rich people didn't have fridges in Europe till the 50s – Ne Mo Jul 5 '17 at 13:56
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    "electricity was used by relatively few people" -- cite? – Aaron Brick Jul 7 '17 at 0:49
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    Hmm when you said it was "a silly question" I thought that was because the answer was "obviously, yes they did" but you're saying they don't. Seems like a fair question to me. I have to say, I think that electricity was entirely widespread by this point in history... not used by few people. Lights, phones, radios, electric shavers, kitchen appliances, all were widespread. Few people had television at that point, but even that was already out, you know. – Hack-R Jul 7 '17 at 3:42
  • But the question wasn't 'did people have electricity', it was whether Jews specifically were denied it. There was never any good reason to think that. In Europe coal gas and solid fuels were used a lot. The main determining factor was whether you could afford electricity, which most people couldn't. – Ne Mo Jul 7 '17 at 7:58
  • Does it make worse history question because it's about Jews? I don't think so. – Probably Jul 13 '17 at 10:44
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    The OP ultimately conceded it wasn't a good question, the community closed it. However, we can disagree on that specific question. My point was that questions about the topics I mentioned tend to be poorer overall. – Ne Mo Jul 13 '17 at 13:45

I'm the author of one of the questions that you linked in this meta post.

I completely realize that it was a silly question after doing some more research, and that's why I deleted the question.

Someone who knows enough about history to know what the holocaust is ought to know both of the above things. It seems like asking a question about the Nazis for the sake of asking a question.

I'm actually a middle school student who certainly doesn't know enough about history and we were learning about the Holocaust (since school ended).

We got a project to do about writing a diary entry from a ordinary German citizen's point of view, and my character was classified as a Jew. Even though it wasn't necessary, I still wanted to get as many factual and accurate historical scenarios into the diary entry, and while writing I stumbled upon the question of how much assets did a Jew in Nazi Germany get, especially electricity. Of course I could have went to Google and/or ask my teacher, but I automatically went to History SE without thinking probably because of the higher support rate here.

I certainly realize that I did not put enough details in my question, leaving it vague and unclear.

the fact that Jews in camps or ghettoes obviously did not have electronic doodads, nor was that a major concern for them, given that they were being mudered in one way or another.

I didn't specify, but for the sake of this answer I'll just say that my character was classified as a Jew but not in a camp.

I just decided to assume that electricity was accessible and continued writing.


Don't mind me, just a newbie here on History SE passing by.

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    Like I said, there was no disrespect intended, and I want new users to be guided, not immediately stung. I hope you haven't been discouraged from participating here... and you get good marks in your assignment! – Ne Mo Jun 24 '17 at 16:25
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    @NeMo No disrespect inflicted, and no discouragement. Thanks, I got 20/20 :) – Mingle Li Jun 24 '17 at 17:51
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    @Mingle Li: You are a pretty articulate middle school student. Keep studying and don't be afraid to ask questions. – Jeff Jun 25 '17 at 7:09
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    @Jeff Thanks, will do – Mingle Li Jun 25 '17 at 12:46
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    You were pretty quick to play the "alleged middle school student" card. While I believe your question was valid, I want to say that I don't think that our standards or rules varies by one's alleged age or educational level. – Hack-R Jul 7 '17 at 3:47
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    @Hack-R Yep I know and understand, and I completely agree with you. I played the "middle student card" because of OP's statement: Someone who knows enough about history to know what the holocaust is ought to know both of the above things. At that time I didn't know enough about the Holocaust (as I was learning about it). – Mingle Li Jul 7 '17 at 15:44
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    @Hack-R And yes, the standards shouldn't vary by one's age or educational level, but certainly the questions asked do. – Mingle Li Jul 7 '17 at 15:46
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    @Hack-R I have to fairly strongly disagree with your view "that I don't think that our standards or rules varies (sic) by one's alleged age or educational level." I personally try to be more helpful if a questioner appears to be school-age or, indeed, at the beginning of their studies of a particular topic. First, because its kind: second, because newbies may become valued members of the community,if we don't scare them off first. Standards are one thing: intellectual snobbery is quite another. – TheHonRose Jun 6 '18 at 2:46

As someone who doesn't participate in close votes, its been my observation that this site is already doing this unofficially*. Questions on Nazis, Hitler, Jews, and the Holocaust seem to have a higher bar to clear in order to not get closed. My personal theory for this is that longtime users of this site have had to put up with so much illogical nonsense and cynical propaganda on these subjects from various stripes of racist and supremacist (and usually new) users, that they don't feel they can afford to be as forgiving of slop on them.

So if you were posting this question because you want to be harder on these questions than on most others and thought that might not be kosher (pun intended), don't worry. You don't appear to be alone.

For example, of the two questions you linked, one got closed in a bit less than half a day, and the other was self-deleted the next day with 3 close votes gathered.

However, this is sort of an unofficial (perhaps not even conscious) moderation policy on the part of individual users. So there's admittedly no warning about this to new posters. This means they have to figure it out by getting their fingers burned.**

Perhaps it might be worth editing the tag wikis for those topics to mention the raised standards for these questions?

* - I can say for a fact that using your first posts on this site to post racist material is a really great way to get your account destroyed. I'm one of those called upon to do the destruction, and few things I do here bring me more enjoyment...

** - Honestly not sure if this is a problem or not, considering who usually falls afoul of this.

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    Moved from a comment to an answer, when the tag-wiki possibility occurred to me. – T.E.D. Mod Jun 15 '17 at 20:07
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    Good idea. I don't like it when new users immediately get slapped down, maybe this will make some of them think twice. – Ne Mo Jun 15 '17 at 22:25
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    @NeMo - While I enthusiastically agree, I could see the argument that any new user we get who came here specifically to post something problematic about Hitler is not someone we should shy away from slapping down. – T.E.D. Mod Jun 16 '17 at 0:57
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    I'm sure you'd agree that we should treat denialism differently from a genuine but stupid question. Both the examples I gave are in the latter category. I feel this place has a much-too-steep learning curve, as well as some rules inappropriately transplanted from a programming q and a site. – Ne Mo Jun 16 '17 at 7:09
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    Contrariwise, I have no problem giving denialists a sting the first time around. – Ne Mo Jun 16 '17 at 7:10
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    Endorse the notion of editing the tag wiki. I doubt that most new users check the tag wiki, but it enables us to refer to a specific source for rescuing a question, - we would be able to comment that "Questions like this generate lots of debate; we recommend you do the following things 1)...." – MCW Mod Jun 18 '17 at 17:47
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    The text in the parenthesis of the first * is a bit awkward - at first read it seems like you're one of the people who uses first posts to post racist material. (Abusive socking is bad, people - don't do it!) – wizzwizz4 Jul 13 '17 at 21:18
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    @wizzwizz4 - Oooooh! I see. Well, it wasn't an important parenthetical, so I just removed it. – T.E.D. Mod Jul 13 '17 at 21:56

As long as a question is not a clear attempt at holocaust denial or blaming the Jews for what the Germans (and the Soviets, but that's another story) did to them I don't think it should be treated any differently than questions about say the Japanese treatment of Europeans in the Dutch East Indies and Malacca, or the treatment of Ukrainians by the Soviets under Stalin.

All are valid questions, but can easily drift into shouting matches, so tread carefully and watch with an eagle eye.

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