I know asking why getting downvotes is not a good idea, but still.

my question about Hawaii might not be "perfect or anything"

  • I made a real effort, and I really asked myself a question (it's not trolling or whatever). I might not have read entire books on the subject but I don't think it's necessary to ask questions.
  • -5 in 30 minutes
  • ZERO comments whatsoever about what is wrong

I can't help but feel it's people punishing me for whatever reason, instead of trying to downvote the quesiton because of an objective problem. Or the answer is obvious and I'm too ignorant.

  • 2
    Uh, you did get a comment.
    – Semaphore
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:40
  • @Semaphore Not at the time of writing this question.
    – Bregalad
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:06
  • 5
    Got me. I'm actually rather interested in at least some form of that question. Extreme Nationalism does have a tendency to take the form of "everywhere X people live is part of the X Nation and should be politically run by the X Nation." I'm kind of interested if Japan ever rose to that level of it.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Jul 12, 2018 at 13:45

3 Answers 3


I really don't like offering opinions on questions, but you've asked politely and clearly, and I want to oblige you. Please note that no disrespect is intended; I'm analyzing potential reasons for downvotes, not judging you as a person. Most of the following are what I call "fellow traveller" reasons - whether or not you intended the implication, these concepts are common among weak questions, and the association leads to downvotes. (In my neighborhood of the country, it is perfectly possible to be a nice person wearing a tie, if you wear a tie everyone will assume you are a complete waste of oxygen.)

  1. This is written as a "I think x amiright" (quoting from [help]); it is advancing an alternate theory of history. It is possible that if you were explicit about that you might avoid some downvotes.

  2. the phrase "I find it very hard to imagine" is, in my experience, associated with low quality questions. Imagination indicates that you're advancing an alternate theory of history, but it is strongly associated with questions where the author wants to substitute "imagine" for "research".

  3. You're asking two different questions - (a) Was Japan interested in the Japanese population? and (b) Are all prior historians wrong in assuming Japan attacked Hawaii for strategic reasons. I don't think either question is as strong as directly asking "Which analysis of Japan's motivation is more strongly supported by evidence?" - a question that can be researched.

  4. The question confuses propaganda with reality. Germany claimed to attack the Sudentenland to protect the Germany speaking population, but I think it is pretty clear that their objectives were world domination and genocide from the start. This leads the question to privilege the racial purity argument and to undercut the plausibility of the strategic objective. This makes it difficult to engage with the question directly & honestly.

  5. You're asking about Japan, but using Germany's actions to support your analysis; that's questionable at best. Japan and Germany were (at least to my reading) more partners of convenience than ideology. I think I've read something recently about internal German commentary on their view of the value of the Japanese alliance (which was pretty low).

Because I hate the feeling of providing only negative commentary, I'll provide my back of the envelope suggestions to improve the question.

  • Omit all mention of Germany, unless you can show some relationship between the motivations of the two countries.
  • Explicitly address why you are discarding all prior published analysis.
  • Explicitly state that you're examining two alternative theories of Japanese motivations.
  • show any research that you've done that would indicate that Japan was motivated by concerns for the Japanese population of Hawaii. Were the Japanese in danger? Was this strategic expansion (that kind of muddies the line between the two)
  • For your point 3) I really was asking question a) and not question b) which seems to be a wrong interpretation of my question. For point 4) I'm not confusing reality with propaganda, as I used quotes about words to show they're propaganda. (i.e. Germany wanted to "protect" their "presecuted" minority)
    – Bregalad
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:13
  • Also thanks for the suggetion but the SE system makes any question with less than -2 score impossible to salvage no matter how much effort is put into, as people won't retract their down voting, so it's not even worth bothering.
    – Bregalad
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:14
  • Also this is off topic, but your "why did you get a downvote" answers are full of jokes or something which are completely unintelligible for non-native English speakers like me.
    – Bregalad
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:15
  • Yeah, I've been slowly going through and removing the jokes - they don't make sense to many English speakers. They are there mostly to demonstrate that I'm talking about a principle, not an example. I'm so tired of people fighting about details in examples. If there are specific jokes that are difficult to understand, identify in comments to those answers, and I'll try to get to those first.
    – MCW Mod
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:20
  • If you revise, I will vote up...
    – MCW Mod
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:39
  • May I just suggest to not remove all jokes? If they impede understanding it's one matter that might be rectified by using a better or just more universal joke. Dulling down would not be an improvement. Jul 13, 2018 at 0:36
  • @MarkC.Wallace Wow against all expectations the question was at least somehow salvaged despite the SE system being against it. Thank you very much !!
    – Bregalad
    Jul 13, 2018 at 6:25

Obviously, I can only speculate, but one of the reasons suggested in Mark C. Wallace's excellent Meta post 'Why Did My Question Get a Downvote' is:

If you doubt the existing narrative, the burden is on you.

In this case, the attack on Hawaii targeted only military facilities, and there was no attempt at annexation that I am aware of. Your question doesn't include any new evidence to challenge the existing narrative.

As I said, I'm only speculating, but perhaps that may explain the downvotes?

  • That's what I tought too, the problem is that the existing narative *doesn't even mention at all that ca. 40% of Hawaii was japanese and that this didn't play a role", so I'm not challenging the existing narrative, I'm just seeing a hole in it, a subject that is not covered.
    – Bregalad
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:30
  • (Also most questions of the site, including very popular upvotes ones, would fit at least one of the category mentioned in Mark C Wallace's metapost. It looks like people's opinion does the rest)
    – Bregalad
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:32
  • 1
    Perhaps. I'm just not sure that others will have read the question in that way, particularly since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour targeted only military objectives and didn't actually include any attempt at annexation. Their long-term plans almost certainly included the possibility of annexing Hawaii, but - to me - that doesn't seem to be what your question is asking about. Jul 12, 2018 at 10:35
  • 1
    @Bregalad Like I commented on your question, it seems very obvious that the attack had nothing to do with Hawaii's demographics. What does the ethnicity of the locals have to do with bombing a naval base? Hence, it's hard to see why you think there's a problem with the general consensus. This is, to me anyway, the glaring issue that your question need to address first.
    – Semaphore
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:36
  • I'm not sure that I would agree that "most" would fall into one of those categories, but the rest of your sentence is a design feature, not a flaw - that is the essence of community moderation - to apply subjective judgement to a subjective problem.
    – MCW Mod
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:53

One thing worth noting is that the original form of the question prominently mentioned Nazis, which may well have invoked this site's extra scrutiny rule for heavily-trolled topics.

I would advise posters to avoid references to heavily-trolled topics (eg: Hitler, Nazis, The Holocaust) in questions unless they are absolutely central to the question, and you have triple-checked to verify there's nothing someone else might find problematic in there (including your spelling and grammar).

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