This question has been put on hold for being opinion based.

However, it's an interesting and important subject, would be good to discuss it.

How can we improve it to be a more objective question?

  • Good question, it's always good to see people going the extra mile to improve
    – user5305
    Jan 29, 2014 at 10:51

2 Answers 2


"Is it okay to play office politics?" is not a good question for the site because it doesn't explain:

  1. The reason for asking (the problem/goal)
  2. What is considered 'office politics'?

If those are explained, then it can be a great question that is appropriate for the site.

What is your problem/goal?

I wrote a comment saying:

The best questions here ask "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face". Right now your question doesn't explain what your problem is. Are you suffering right now by not playing politics? Is there some issue that you are having that makes you ask this question? Without something specific to provide an answer on, it is very difficult to know what you're looking for.

If you are happy not playing politics, and you aren't suffering from any issues from not playing them, what does it matter? How are we supposed to answer without just saying, "I think you should/shouldn't for these reasons"? That is going to be opinion-based regardless.

We need to know what the goal is, which means we need to know what the specific problem is that the asker is trying to overcome.

What do you consider office politics?

'Office Politics' does not have some specific fixed meaning. For some people, office politics could mean gaining visibility in the workplace, for others it could be throwing someone in front of a bus to get a promotion. What is considered 'orthodox' or 'ethical' is greatly dependent on what the person considers office politics. Asking in general means that we will all have to opine on what we think office politics means. That won't be too helpful, as it adds another layer of opinion to any answer.

Rephrasing the question

Here is a good question about office politics:

My office has a lot of internal politics, and promotions are highly tied to how you get along with the various factions in the office. I prefer to play Switzerland and have my value show through my work with minimal headaches.

Recently I was put up for a promotion to team lead by my boss. I don't want to turn down the promotion, but I have heard through the grapevine that my coworker Alice who is more active at politics is also being considered for the same position.

I know that if I tell my boss about a mistake Alice hid from him on a project last year, I would almost be guaranteed the position. I don't feel right about doing it, but at the same time I feel I deserve the promotion.

How can I get a deserved promotion without being involved in office politics?

This makes clear:

  1. Why the question is being asked (I want a promotion but don't want to be involved in politics)
  2. What I consider office politics (letting my boss know about deficiencies in someone else's work who is being considered for a promotion)

Open-ended questions are bad for Stack Exchange sites. "Is it ethical?" or "Is it professional?" or "Is it normal?" are just inviting discussion, not the solving of an actual problem people face. The main focus may be on the ethics of playing politics in the office, but at those answers would be forced to address the stance the asker is taking and speak to the current problem specifically.


This is one of the "Is X unethical?" questions that mainly bring up opinions. Paired with "Should I make allies?" and "Do I have to play along?" which might fall into the category we can't tell you what skills to learn.

Maybe it's besides what the OP intended the question to be but I think this could be turned into a valuable, objective question by listing the things OP saw/experienced and then asking for how to survive this environment without playing along/politicising.

  • 2
    We have actually had the objective version of this question before looking to see If I can find it Jan 28, 2014 at 22:07
  • Well, even better!
    – CMW
    Jan 28, 2014 at 22:39

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