I fully figure and support a swastika flag would be off limit. We know what goes with that.

We also have flag identification tags, flags are on topic.

The Confederate flag would seem off limit, unless it was about the flag itself.

What about a number of Confederate flags, or generally relevant-to-question flags? How is this modified when the flag/symbol is offensive - there is no point to this question if it isn't.

p.s. I asked because this question asked about the reason for the obscurity of the alternate Confederacy flags. I think showing the flags would have informative, but...

  • 2
    How do you mean that? The Swastika flag isn' OK' to be shown (a thing WP does without quarrels) while a 'Dixie-flag' isn't as well, unless that one is the subject of the post? AFAIU: the subject of a question must be allowed to be displayed, always. Why make any exceptions? Or is this for showing 'bad flags' willy-nilly, without relation to the subject? Aug 6, 2021 at 11:39
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    It seems like we had a similar issue come up years ago with nudity. I can't find it in meta on a quick search though.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Aug 6, 2021 at 12:49
  • Frankly, I can't imagine a scenario where it would add anything to a question to have such imagery, even if it is the direct subject of the question. Unless it's an obscure variant of the standard flags that the question wants to ask about.
    – Semaphore
    Aug 7, 2021 at 13:51
  • @Semaphore I asked because this question asked about the reason for the obscurity of the alternate Confederacy flags ;-) I think showing the flags would have informative, but... Hence this question. Aug 7, 2021 at 15:49
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica I think it is informative if the post is contrasting the Battle Flag with other flags the Confederacy used - for example, in the answer TED gave, illustrating the various alternative flags would be informative.
    – Semaphore
    Aug 8, 2021 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


According to our FAQ, questions about Nazism are subject to additional scrutiny. The bar for flagging or closing content touching Nazis, the Holocaust, Hitler, etc. is intentionally lower than for other topics. This does not mean that Nazism is off-topic, but that the realities of dealing with trolling and propaganda requires us to view content on these topics with extra suspicion. It seems reasonable to apply this rule mutatis mutandis to other politically controversial movements, symbols, and personalities. At the same time, we recognize that all of these movements, etc. are on-topic.

So, I propose the following rule on political symbols:

  • Political symbols such as flags, coats of arms, party emblems, anthems, battle insignia, etc. should only be included when discussing the specifics of such symbols or how they were displayed and where seeing the symbol is necessary to fully understand the content or topic under discussion. Questions that simply reference a symbol and ask a general question about it or the movement behind it should not include a copy of the symbol.

This definition sidesteps the question of how controversial a symbol is. Showing a Confederate Stars-and-Bars battle flag in a question about the history of Virginia politics is as inappropriate as posting a Dutch flag in a question about the history of regulation of EU fisheries. If you see such a flag, edit it out. If a user continues to add unnecessary flags to posts, raise a moderator flag on one of the posts so we can deal with it. Don't engage in an edit war.

So, here are some concrete examples:

  • "What reasons did the Virginia General Assembly give for formally supporting the Confederacy?" - No flag required. If a flag is included, edit it out as fluff.
  • "Was a Confederate flag ever officially flown at Fauquier County, Virginia public schools?" - No flag required. If a flag is included, edit it out as fluff.
  • "I bought this Virginia Volunteer Militia uniform from an estate auction in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I noticed that the Stars-and-Bars cap insignia is copper rather than brass as I have seen in local museums. Does this have a particular military or political meaning or is it just due to using whatever metals were available at the time of manufacture?" - It would be appropriate to add a picture of the cap, including the flag insignia.
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    What would be the reasoning for aggressively editing out a Dutch flag? I could see many cases where it wouldn't be necessary to have one, and some where it would be bad, but I don't see how generalization here is useful. Aug 7, 2021 at 15:53
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    @Ital it removes the need for adjudication on offensiveness. If the flag isn't relevant to the post, it can be removed without first agreeing on whether it is offensive.
    – Robert Columbia Mod
    Aug 7, 2021 at 17:40
  • 2
    How can bullet 2 be generalized? The Q prompting this shows that there is some confusion over which flag is which, what do people mean when saying 'that flag'. Unless the Q already specifies quite directly 'version Y of the so-called X-flag' an answer of that type might benefit from including a picture (a highly voted A on this on main currently suffers from lack of definitions/pictures…). Generally I'd add: no flag whatsoever would qualify as 'offensive' for me, and I still agree that all pictures should serve a directly useful purpose in a post—so I'd only ask: why is this in there? Aug 7, 2021 at 18:16

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