I asked this question: https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/10176/were-the-drills-on-9-11-used-to-stage-the-attack . I know it is on a controversial topic.

I would like to ask for this site to allow a certain degree of academic freedom to investigate ideas, as this is very important for getting at historical truth. The Tuskeegee experiment, the progressive achievements of the reconstruction governments, the history of Native Americans in the US, these were all buried by historians who used political methods to shut their opposition up.

There is no need for this on the internet. Honest debate by sincere people is enough to get at what's what very quickly, with no need for censorship. Still, I think this question will get deleted quickly, as a predecessor with less details did earlier this week.

Is this site going to do history, or censorship? What's up?

  • 4
    No reason to copy paste the text of your question here, the link to it suffices. And in case it gets deleted, trying to circumvent the community's decision by re-posting the whole text here is... tacky.
    – yannis
    Sep 14, 2013 at 17:09
  • 2
    Controversial topics are not censored. You can see many controversial topics discussed. Your question is not controversial, it is off topic, as having nothing to do with history, or even reality. Sep 14, 2013 at 19:00
  • 7
    I would upvote this question if it was about the question in the topic "Are controversial views going to be censored". But that's not what the body of the question is about, it is instead just an attempt to play victim, and imply that your wild theories are being suppressed. You are right there is no need for censorship on the internet, there is plenty of space. You can post your theories somewhere else. Sep 14, 2013 at 19:03
  • I sincerely think this question itself should remain open (though I think the question referred in the question should remain closed). Why do I think so? This particular question (after @LennartRegebro's edits) is a valid question about the site and what it allows. And there are many healthy replies on this post that can serve useful in the future.
    – Apoorv
    Sep 16, 2013 at 12:02
  • Although it's actually @YannisRizos edits, really. ;-) Sep 16, 2013 at 12:51

4 Answers 4


Controversial or not, the problem isn't the topic of the question. The problem is that History.SE is not a place to investigate ideas, "do history", or debate (honestly or not). Academic freedom doesn't apply, the site is not an academic institute, a debate society, or any kind of forum.

Our goal is simple: To build a library of expert answers to questions about history. That's it, plain and simple (and perhaps a bit boring). Original research and debate belong on academic institutes, not in libraries.

  • The issue is when you have a question where there is politics around it, suppressing honest information. That's what these internet things are for, to answer questions honestly, where there is something preventing the answer from appearing elsewhere. Otherwise, you are just reinforcing old media, and not doing anything useful.
    – Ron Maimon
    Sep 14, 2013 at 21:46

I have deleted the question since there were many flags on it indicating that it was not welcome by this community. If this were the first time you'd asked the question, I might give you the benefit of the doubt. But it's not. As you said:

I am annoyed by a history site which suppresses sincere historical information. A previous version of this was deleted. I am asking if this scenario is what happened, at the moment I am pretty sure the answer is "yup", except for perhaps a few stupid details I got wrong. I'd like to fix the details using the available documents and testimonies.

But this is disingenuous. The reason for closing and deleting the question was explained:

@RonMaimon - You are right. This isn't skeptics, so the standards are different here. However, that doesn't mean we don't have any standards at all. I suggest you check our on-topic page. It specifically lists conspiracy theories, such as this one, as off-topic. – T.E.D.♦ Sep 10 at 15:54

I'm not going to argue whether or not the question was based on historical information or if it's a conspiracy theory. The fact is the community has overwhelming voted that it is not a question that is welcome for this site. I'm asking that you respect the community's wishes and refrain from posting this sort of question in the future.

On a personal note, I find some of your answers on other sites worth reading and intriguing. I often disagree with you, but you make me think... in your answers. Your questions, however, universally strike me as insincere. I don't mean that you aren't passionate about the topic—far from it. Rather, I suspect that you have no interest in any answer that disagrees with your view of the matter. Such questions are what I call stump-the-chump questions and they are problematic on several levels.

I'm sorry that you find this community and several others unreceptive to your questions. Perhaps you make take solace in a phrase from the Bard:

at the length truth will out.


There is no censorship on this site. But there are requirements for what is "in bounds". They don't have to do with content per-se: You are free to discuss 9/11 or The Tuskegee experiment or any other "politically incorrect" question.

The requirements? It must be Solid History: You must document and explain your claims, whether in questions or in answers - back them up with solid historical evidence: Peer reviewed journals; respected journalists and authors with credentials proving they know what they're talking about; clear, incisive analysis of authenticated primary sources; clearly documented forensic evidence; well based statistical analysis; etc. etc. Wikipedia? Only a starting point.

Your own private notions, or undocumented claims, or rumors, hearsay and plain old speculation are not within the bounds of History here. This is not a public opinion blog or fun and games blog or a place to "get out your message", as you have explicitely stated to be your intent in your comments on this answer - not the HuffPost or the DailyBeast or WND.com or MediaMatters or Facebook or Yahoo or whatever - it is a serious site for serious academic work.

Yannis says that perhaps it's boring. I don't think it's boring, but it is challenging. I post only after a good deal of analysis and research which I try to present in my questions and answers, and I am careful to stick to subjects in which I feel fairly well grounded. Still, not everything is so well received. Doing a quick google and/or pulling up something from Wikipedia on the spur of the moment is not enough here.

I have scholarly credentials and extensive background in writing and research - but I am not a historian. To be a contributor on this site if you are not professional historian is challenging work, not necessarily fun. If you're looking for that, this is not the place.

Regarding your 9/11 question:

It can be a valid question, but it must be submitted based on the above mentioned guidelines: You cannot simple cobble together a bunch of rumors and personal theories and expect it to float here. Document your question: Show that it has substance; that is a topic worthy of discussion by serious historians who are not simply interested in "getting off" on a juicy story about some government plot to take over the Middle East or the World or whatever.

  • @RonMaimon - "If you were the dictator, I would do so". No, I would not help your cause. I saw your additions. Improvements, but not enough. Suggestion: You are taking on a HUGE and HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC. Biting off more than you can chew for this site. A book would be needed for you to make a solid historical case for the whole theory. So perhaps just focus on one aspect at at time. The engine found on Murray St. for example: "Is the engine found on Murry Street really from an airliner" - delve into the subject in detail - just analysis, a hypothesis and a question.
    – user2590
    Sep 15, 2013 at 4:06
  • 2
    @RonMaimon -Clean up your language: Sound serious: "...this dark big-nosed right-handed beefy guy is skinny left handed long-nosed pale Osama"-that's water cooler talk; Look at some of the questions and answers here on analysis of images and see how it's done; Use tags and other features of the markup: to make citations neat and discreet (there is always help at your side); Organize: See the question and answers on the Samaritans for some examples.
    – user2590
    Sep 15, 2013 at 4:19
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    @RonMaimon - As you like it. But this site is not the place for such activities as "helping the 9/11 business get sorted out", and so your question will again soon be deleted. Find a different site for your missionary work.
    – user2590
    Sep 15, 2013 at 18:52

It is important to explain this to people, I already did enough research to know it holds up.

If the goal is to "explain this to people", then it isn't a question, it is an argument. If you have already done the research, then you don't need SE. SE is a Q&A site, not a discussion site.

The internet provides a plethora of mechanisms to get the message out, to explain facts to people and to publish research. SE doesn't "censor" anything; we collectively curate the site to improve the value of the site. Questions and answers that don't contribute to the ultimate value of H:SE will be downvoted and/or closed. In my opinion questions that "explain..." should be downvoted and closed; they may be appropriate for other sites, but they're not a good fit for SE.

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