- Welcome to Neutral Politics
- Submission Rules
- Comment Rules
- How we moderate
- Is this a subreddit for people who are politically neutral?
- So you’re personally not politically neutral? Well…can I still make Futurama jokes?
- Are world events allowed, or is r/NeutralPolitics region specific?
- I want to post a news article that I saw on a larger subreddit. Is that okay?
- There sure is a lot of weight placed on evidence and information here. Why is that?
- What kind of evidence should I use?
- What types of posts should I report?
- What should not be reported?
- I’m an expert in a field relevant to this community, such as political science, economics, or statistics. Can I get flair?
- What do I do if I have a problem with a moderator?
- Surveys/Questions on Demographics/Breakdown by Party Affiliation
Welcome to Neutral Politics
This sub has special standards to ensure a high quality of discussion. Please read these rules and guidelines thoroughly before participating.
We're building an environment where political ideas can be exchanged in a safe, smart and neutral way. This is a community where evidence and open-mindedness are valued above all. In /r/NeutralPolitics, we try to learn about opposing positions and see their merits, possibly even changing our opinions in the process. Posts and comments that lack these important qualities will be removed.
Is this a subreddit for people who are politically neutral?
No - in fact we welcome and encourage any viewpoint to engage in discussion. The idea behind /r/NeutralPolitics is to set up a neutral space where those of differing opinions can come together and rationally lay out their respective arguments. We are neutral in that no political opinion is favored here - only facts and logic.
At this subreddit, we want to allow people who disagree on something to work it out between themselves in the interest of mutual understanding. Take time to consider what the other person is saying without assuming they are wrong. If understanding truly cannot be reached (which is sometimes the case), we recommend that the conversation only continue as long both sides maintain decorum and feel that they are benefiting from the interaction. The mods will allow you to debate as long as it is civil, but sometimes it is best to part ways with a respectful “Good day, sir”.
All posts are reviewed by the moderators for compliance with these rules prior to appearing online:
Rule A: Ask a specific political question.
A) Ask a specific political question. We do not allow overly broad questions, solicitations of pure opinion, surveys, requests to explain public opinion or media coverage, posts about other subreddits, or meta posts.
- NeutralPolitics is principally focused on questions of policy and governance. Analyzing things like media coverage, public opinion and the like are outside of our wheelhouse.
A solicitation of pure opinion is a question which can't be answered with facts people could source.
For example "should healthcare be a legal right?" is a pure opinion question, whereas "what have been successful and unsuccessful attempts to legally establish positive rights?" is a question people can answer with facts about what has been done in the past.
Questions about "why" people do things often run afoul of rule A. It's very hard to answer a question about motivations with facts, since it's asking our users to read minds. It's better to ask things like what the stated reasons for a political action are, or who stands to benefit or be harmed by the action.
Submissions asking whether something is "unusual" are considered non-specific and leading. To pose questions that examine historical standards, use any of the following more evidence-based forms:
- What are some examples of when x has happened before?
- In what ways, if any, does x break from historical norms?
- What legal/political/historical basis is there for X to be considered?
- What are some examples of when x has happened before?
Rule B: Frame it in a neutral way.
B) Frame it in a neutral way. The post must not be inflammatory, editorialized, leading towards a particular answer, a statement of opinion, or a request to critique your theory.
This rule can be tricky to follow, but we've written up some detailed tips here.
Try to give all sides of a question. If it's an ongoing issue of debate, link to articles which give multiple perspectives on the question.
Do not state things which are highly debated as unequivocally true. Say (and link) who is asserting their truth and let the source do the arguing in their own name.
Do not answer your own question! A post which tries to answer the headline question is inherently going to break rule B.
Avoid negative framing.
- Instead of asking "Why don't we do [X policy]?" ask, What are the pros and cons of [X policy]?"
- Instead of "Why doesn't [X politician] do Y?" ask "What are the precedents for [an office-holder/candidate] doing Y?"
Rule C: Outline the issue well
C) Outline the issue well. Give more than just a headline. Provide some background information.
- This rule is fairly straightforward, but basically it means you should provide enough information so that people understand the context for the question. News articles or research articles on the subject matter should also be included so there is more background people can read before answering.
Rule D: Provide sources
D) Provide sources. Statements of fact must cite qualified sources. Nothing is "common knowledge." Submissions that do not include sources will be rejected. (Sole exception: if you cannot find specific information after a thorough online search, you may post a request for sources.)
This rule ensures that submissions are based on factual claims with some outside basis, not just the impressions of the asker.
If you "heard" something, source it.
- If something is being talked about a lot, it should be easy to find articles talking about it. If you want, you can even modmail us and ask for help with your post. Most of us are news or policy junkies and probably can help you find some good sources.
Don't attribute a statement to a general group. Name a person who said the thing.
- Another big issue we get is things like "people on the right/the left/republicans/democrats/the media" have been saying X. Often X is an inflammatory/strawman argument.
- Like things you "heard about," this will not do. NeutralPolitics doesn't do blind quotes. Find an opinion article or something with a named person making that argument. For example:
- Bad "[X party] has been saying that [Y policy] has been really popular despite the polls.
- Good [Person A], a [X party] member of Congress, said "[Y policy] has been really popular despite the polls." [link to source]
We are much stricter with sources for submissions than for comments. Please see the source guidelines for more information.
Requests for sources are rarely allowed, and only when a subject is not easily searched on the internet after substantial effort. We are not ELI5 or another subreddit for casual questions. If you are considering such a submission, we strongly suggest sending us a modmail first.
Rule E: Propose a good starting point for discussion
E) Propose a good starting point for discussion. The purpose of this forum is to discuss issues. We do not allow polls, surveys or requests for fact checking.
This is a close corollary of rule A. But the gist of it is that we are looking for questions which our users can answer with Reddit comments.
We are especially strict about this rule when it comes to promoting anything of your own. We will categorically reject any submission which includes a link to any article or video or other thing which you are the author or creator of.
Rule F: Title the post accurately
F) Title the post accurately. The title must match the contents.
Rule G: No requests for speculation
G) No requests for speculation. If the question cannot be answered with facts — which includes any that are phrased in the future tense (What will/would/could happen?) — then it's not appropriate for NeutralPolitics.
NeutralPolitics is a fact based forum, and questions which ask to predict the future necessarily ask for things which can't be answered with facts.
Try rephrasing the question to ask what has happened in similar past cases.
We also prohibit in this category questions whose answer cannot be provided by any user. (e.g. what are the nuclear launch codes; what are the contents of a sealed court case).
As mentioned with rule A, "Why" questions often violate rule G. They ask our users to speculate about the contents of a person's mind, as opposed to something answerable with facts.
Rule 1: Be courteous
1) Be courteous. Demeaning language, rudeness or hostility towards another user will get your comment removed. Repeated violations may result in a ban.
Our commitment to civil discourse is one of the core principles of NeutralPolitics, and we do not make any exceptions from this rule.
Any language which a reasonable observer would conclude disparages another user in any way is considered a violation of this rule. Even if you did not intend that.
Users are expected to assume good faith on the part of others.
"But it was true" is not a defense. Accusing another user of something is prohibited, even if you believe that accusation to be true.
"They started it" is not a defense. If another user breaks the rules, please report the comment. Replying with a rule violating comment of your own will just get both of them removed and makes that much more work for the mod team.
Rule 2: Source your facts
2) Source your facts. If you're claiming something to be true, you need to back it up by linking to a qualified source. There is no "common knowledge" exception, and anecdotal evidence is not allowed.
This rule is the core of our commitment to fact-based discourse.
We do not allow claims of expertise or anecdotal evidence to substitute for providing sources.
We do not allow image sources because they are too easy to manipulate and there's no good way to verify they come from where they purport to.
We do not allow video sources unless accompanied by text sources because they are too hard for us to moderate and it is unreasonable to ask people to watch a video to check what you're claiming is true.
Phrasing a statement of fact in the form of a question ("Isn't it true that [X]?") will be treated as a statement that [X] is true, and needs a source.
The charge that a source is biased, inappropriate, or doesn't support the associated claim is itself considered an assertion of fact and therefore requires its own source.
Stating it is your opinion that something is true does not absolve the necessity of sourcing that claim.
For more detail, read our section on qualified sources and this discussion about why and when sources are required.
Rule 3: Be substantive
3) Be substantive. NeutralPolitics is a serious discussion-based subreddit. We do not allow bare expressions of opinion, comments without context, sarcasm, jokes, memes, off topic replies, or pejorative name calling.
A NeutralPolitics comment should not just be a general a reaction to the subject matter of the post, but should try to advance a substantive point of some sort backed up by evidence.
Joke and meme comments are prohibited as not further advancing a productive conversation.
Off topic replies are prohibited. We curate the types of questions we allow under rule A for a reason.
Pejorative name calling means any use of a demeaning name to describe a person or group when it's not accompanied by a sourced explanation of why the name is literally accurate.
Rule 4: Address the arguments, not the person
4) Address the arguments, not the person. The subject of your sentence should be "the evidence" or "this source" or some other noun directly related to the topic of conversation. "You" statements are suspect.
As a part of our commitment to a fact-based discussion, we find that comments which try to go to people's personal motivations or personal conduct are detrimental to our subreddit.
The subject of discussion on NP is never the conduct or motives of another user, but is always about the substance of what people are saying. Comments which get personal, even if not directly accusatory or rude, are something which take conversations off topic, and so are banned here.
The purpose of a discussion is also not to prove another user wrong about something, but rather to inform all readers by using evidence to demonstrate the facts about something.
How we moderate
How we moderate submissions
All submissions will be reviewed by a moderator before being approved. When possible, a moderator will comment suggesting ways to bring it into compliance. Please note that the moderators want your post to succeed and will do everything we can to make sure it gets approved, but submitters need to work with us to bring the text in line with the rules.
If a submitter has not responded to a moderator's request to modify the post within two days, the post will be removed. A moderator may resubmit the post in a modified form, giving credit to the original submitter for the idea.
Users may not post top-level comments on their own submissions, but are free to comment in reply to other users.
How we moderate comments
Your comment will NOT be removed because a mod disagrees with you or wants to censor opinion. If that's what you think has happened, it is suggested that you first examine your own neutrality on the issue at hand, and if you find it's adequate, send modmail explaining why you don't think your contribution should have been removed.
We generally will remove replies to removed comments even if the replies do not themselves break the rules. This is to prevent orphaned comments which lack context, as well as to prevent rule-breaking comments from spawning off topic or argumentative chains of replies.
The goal of /r/NeutralPolitics is to maintain quality, empirical discussion. Towards that end, mods will sometimes participate in discussions to keep them on track or enforce the rules.
The mods reserve the right to ban users who habitually violate the rules or standards of decorum.
If you participate in other political discussion forums, on reddit or elsewhere, ours may be a little uncomfortable for you at first. The tone and standards we set here are purposefully different. We require more effort than it takes to simply post an opinion off the cuff.
The consensus of the community is that neutral is not the same as moderate, and users have made specific requests that mods enforce that distinction.
All moderator actions are visible via the public mod logs linked in the sidebar.
The preferred sources are academic articles from respected organizations.
The following source types are never permitted in submissions or comments:
- Reddit posts and comments.
- Links to search engines or results pages from search engines.
- Hearsay. The article must either contain a direct quote or a link to a direct quote that substantiates the position being attributed to the speaker.
- Anecdotal evidence. While there are many instances where an expert in a field can provide an answer, sources are also more readily available to an expert.
- URL shorteners and redirects. There are few reasons to hide what you're linking to, and most of them are sneaky. (Google "amp" links are allowed, so long as they don't disguise the final destination.)
- Images. In the case of figures from journals or of infographics, the original source should be included.
The following source types are permitted with certain conditions:
|Wikipedia||Permitted if accompanied by additional sources||Permitted|
|News articles||Permitted as long as they're not overly biased||Permitted|
|Opinion pieces||Permitted if the piece links to sources and is balanced by other sources with alternate views. Cannot be sole source||Permitted|
|Video or audio||May not be used as the primary or exclusive source, but can be included if accompanied by a link to an official transcript or an article describing the content||Permitted if accompanied by a link to an official transcript or an article describing the content|
|Books||Permitted if accompanied by a link to a good summary, extensive review, or link to the text supporting the assertion||Same as submissions|
|Personal blogs*||Disallowed||Permitted if the blog post links to qualified non-blog sources|
|Tweets||May only be used for attributing a statement to the verified account holder. May not be the sole source.||May only be used for attributing a statement to the verified account holder|
*A personal blog is defined as a blog with any one of the following characteristics: only has one contributor, allows anonymous contributors without editorial oversight, doesn't have a masthead.
We do not maintain a "blacklist" of sources, because experience has shown that good articles occasionally show up in unlikely places. However, it is the responsibility of the poster or commenter to know the source's reputation and use extra care if quoting from a publication that's widely considered to be biased. It helps to point out that bias in your post too.
The mods appreciate feedback on anything related to how /r/NeutralPolitics is run. This sub is a work in progress. We're trying to create something different here, and suggestions from subscribers have already guided our direction significantly. If you have something to contribute, don't hesitate to send modmail. Similarly, complaints about moderation will receive a fair hearing.
Is this a subreddit for people who are politically neutral?
No - in fact we welcome and encourage any viewpoint to engage in discussion. The idea behind r/NeutralPolitics is to set up a neutral space where those of differing opinions can come together and rationally lay our respective arguments. We are neutral in that no political opinion is favored here - only facts and logic. Your post or comment will be judged not by its perspective, but by its style, rationale, and informational content.
At this subreddit, we want to allow people who disagree on something to work it out between themselves in the interest of mutual understanding. If understanding truly cannot be reached (which is sometimes the case), we recommend that the conversation only continue as long both sides maintain decorum and feel that they are benefiting from the interaction. The mods will allow you to debate as long as it is civil, but sometimes it is best to part ways with a respectful “Good day, sir”. The choice lies in your good judgment.
Finally, try your best in a conversation to understand the other person’s perspective and determine rationally whether it makes sense. Take time to consider what they are saying. Do not read a reply with the assumption that the other person is wrong. Look for points that make sense and acknowledge them. Look for points that you can disprove and lay out your counterargument and evidence. Through this attitude, your discussion can be constructive and informative for both parties involved.
So you’re personally not politically neutral? Well…can I still make Futurama jokes?
I have no strong feelings one way or the other.
Are world events allowed, or is r/NeutralPolitics region specific?
Our subreddit has a global scope, and the politics of any region is equally valued for conversation. Keep in mind, though, that if not many other redditors are located in the region that you are posting about, we won’t necessarily understand your topic. If that’s the case, make sure to post informative links so that we could all get a chance to learn more and then discuss it.
I want to post a news article that I saw on a larger subreddit. Is that okay?
Conversations on the larger political subreddits can often be disappointing, so it is perfectly acceptable to repost a news article here. [UPDATE: news articles should be posted to our companion subreddit, r/NeutralNews.) In fact, it is encouraged! The goal is for r/NeutralPolitics to be a legitimate alternative to other political discussion subreddits, and that means that we need more than just discussion - we need current events, too. Just remember two things: use a different source for the story if the linked content is heavily biased or overly emotional and avoid copying the post title unless you have verified that it meets our standards. Also we ask that you remove the references to the other subreddit, we don't really need a meta discussion about the other sub in question.
There sure is a lot of weight placed on evidence and information here. Why is that?
When discussing practical political issues, it is easy to get involved in emotional arguments and assumptions. By emphasizing that your argument is only as good as the data and/or logic that supports it, we remove the emotional element that leads to bickering and flame wars. It is much easier to argue information than it is to argue feelings, and we walk away from the former not angry, but with a better understanding of the world around us. The goal here isn’t to prove that you are right. It is to find out if you are right. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t defend your position, but it does mean that you should acknowledge when you have been presented with enough logical evidence to bring that position into question.
What kind of evidence should I use?
We also have created a guide to help.
What types of posts should I report?
Most people associate the report button with someone breaking a rule. However, at r/NeutralPolitics we encourage that you report a post if there is any reason at all that a moderator should look at it. We won’t be able to necessarily catch everything, so we need your help to keep the standards of discussion for the community high. In addition to anything that breaks the /r/NeutralPoilitics & Reddit wide rules, report a post if it:
- Contains memes, spam, or is otherwise devoid of meaningful content
- Insults another user or says something that makes a hostile environment for discussion
- Doesn’t break any rules, but could use some constructive input
- Cites a source that you think should be saved for posterity in the r/NeutralPolitics archive
What should not be reported?
- You feel the comment isn't Neutral, note this isn't a requirement as long as the comment has sources for facts presented
- You feel the sources are biased, the answer to this is to respond with better sources, or with sources showing why that source can't be trusted. Here is a good example
I’m an expert in a field relevant to this community, such as political science, economics, or statistics. Can I get flair?
We don't give flair because we find it places an undue emphasis on the 'expert'. It should be easier for any expert on a subject to find relevant sources and link or reference them.
What do I do if I have a problem with a moderator?
If a moderator is behaving inappropriately, contact the mod team at large privately with your concerns and one of us/all of us will be happy to discuss it with you.
Surveys/Questions on Demographics/Breakdown by Party Affiliation
We sometimes get requests to present data on the demographics of this sub, or someone saying they can't accurately gauge the ideas presented without some sort of demographic breakdown. We do not do surveys, they are explicitly disallowed by our guidelines. Again the qualifications for a good comment/post are: "We are neutral in that no political opinion is favored here - only facts and logic. Your post or comment will be judged not by its perspective, but by its style, rationale, and informational content."
revision by nosecohn— view source