I'm wondering whether I ought to complain about this answer ... whether there's anything useful to be learned from a complaint, or harm from not complaining.

I'm prompted by the OP's comment here:

Its a straightforward question, similar to Kamma & the Holocaust. It is EVIDENCE BASED rather than opinion based.

My complaints about it include the following.

It's an answer whose topic is history, not Buddhism

Perhaps it's trying to explain (historical origins of) the holocaust, but isn't trying to explain Buddhism. If it were more focussed on trying to explain Buddhism I think it might say instead, more briefly,

Buddhism teaches that there's "collective kamma" -- and the nazis attacked all jews because some individuals had historically been trade unionists, bankers, communists.

The only hint of Buddhism in the current answer is that it "occurred due to collective kamma".

Most of the answer lists (allegedly) historical facts (about jews), which are off-topic; I don't want to say that history-of-Buddhism is off-topic, or that Buddhists should be blind to history (nor blind to science for that matter), but this isn't the right SE site to teach history (which might be important for the same kinds of reason that posts about medicine should be off-topic). I don't want to complain about historical doctrine (i.e. what's being taught about history) because I think the subject of that complaint would be off-topic (i.e. I don't want to discuss that topic, history of the holocaust, on this site), OTOH I also don't want to allow unreviewed, inexpert posts about history to be posted without review; so I'm conflicted. Perhaps such a post shouldn't be allowed on this site (if you want to post it, perhaps post it History.SE where it could be reviewed by historians).

Apart from the fact there too much history (or pseudo-history) in it, is this answer an explanation "in Buddhist terms" as requested by the question? Does Buddhism teach "collective karma"? Would it be Buddhist to suspend the OP's account because some other guy of his ethnicity had previously been trolling?

Wasn't it because of the Nazis' actions, more than the Jews', that the holocaust "occurred"?

The author of the answer clearly felt it was right to post it. And it was open for 2 days before any moderator deleted it, and when it was eventually deleted that might have been because of the comments (i.e. the answer conformed to current rules as we understand them).

Is there some reason why that answer wasn't OK, some characteristic of it that a moderator ought to identify: off-topic, offensive, something else?

You could post a similar answer about any or every ethnic and/or religious group (to pick some at random -- Christians, Slavs, the French -- every group has included some bankers, trade unionists, communists): would those answers have been just as good, and/or is that "evidence" that the original answer is untrue or (more probably) incomplete, an insufficient (misleading) explanation?

I think we've been quite good at keeping anti-Christian, anti-Muslim (and anti-Buddhist) posts off the site, but I couldn't see a moderation rule for deleting this answer. Should there be one, should there be a rule, is there a rule which should, apply to this answer?

Or is it a "legal" answer to the question, but there's something wrong with the question?

2 Answers 2


Yes, in my opinion that answer was wrong, with its basis in confusion and aversion. The reason I did not delete it right away, and only downvoted it, is because I wanted OP to see how such answers provoke issues with many people, not just with moderators. I hope OP has learned something from posting it and receiving the comments he received.

Anyway, I think the rule for deleting similar posts should simply be "touching upon sensitive topics in clearly insensitive ways that lead to arguments and negative emotions on readers' end"

  • Counter-arguments to that could include: 1) You're a snowflake creating a safe space 2) You're an apologist, even a zionist, or a dupe, enforcing a one-sided view of history 3) The post isn't offensive, it would be the reader's fault for being offended (we had that with Krishnaraj's posts for a while) 4) It's moderators abusing their privilege and imposing their personal view of what's orthodox. -- Nevertheless we might do it (delete the post) and then eat the blame for doing so.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 18:15
  • @ChrisW Well, I mean...it's -2 atm, it could go even less if kept live -- so, the score, i.e., community, might kind of back up the mod action.
    – user382
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 1:05
  • @Thiago For that specific answer, yes that's so. I was wondering more generally whether to increase my sensitivity, decrease the threshold at which I intervene ... maybe that post is a symptom of moderation being a little too permissive at the moment.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 1:09
  • "I hope OP has learned something from posting it and receiving the comments he received." -- One can only hope for unwholesome states to decrease there.
    – user382
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 1:11
  • What do you think of the very end bit of this answer by the way? Would I be right to insist on deleting the last two lines from that answer, even after the user rolled back my edit? In context it might be an argument or discussion with Samana Johann on what's considered Right Speech. I'd like to accommodate him (i.e. "live and let live"), and it is just words, otoh I read those words as breaking the rules-as-written; and I don't want to let the OP be bullied in the classroom and to be made to think that it's wrong to step up and ask a question.
    – ChrisW Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 1:12
  • 2
    Yup, "too greedy and lazy" part is too much. The rest about Burma is okay in context.
    – Andriy Volkov Mod
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 1:41

I think it's off-topic. If it were 5 words about history and 300 words about Buddhism, then it would be on-topic; but it's currently 5 words about Buddhism and 300 words about history, therefore off-topic.

If it were 300 words about Buddhism (e.g. an explanation of the Buddhist doctrine of "collective karma") it would be on-topic -- and then we might hope that other users (the "community of experts") could assess whether or not the answer is a good explanation of Buddhist dharma.

Users on this site, however, cannot be expected to judge whether an answer is a good description of history ... which is a reason why "history" (except maybe Buddhist history) isn't on-topic.

The answer looks like it's on-topic, on the face of it, because the question asked, "How can you explain...?" -- so, "I explain it as being a result of this history" looks like it's an answer to the question. But that kind of question (where every answer is equally correct just because it's your answer) would be technically what we call "a polling question" and not permitted as a valid type of question. Instead the question must be asking about Buddhism, and answered accordingly.

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