Leader of a small, public project. Hired employee and later discovered that he supports a widely despised public figure

While I tried to clean it up, I think the questions and answers have too much political content to remain. Thus I think this question should be deleted.

If we start allowing political discussion and name-calling, it will never end. Let's not go there.

  • I'm somewhat torn. On one hand there is a possibility for some non-political analysis, like how the target audience of the project (If it's indeed some charity work) could react very badly to finding out, but what it's turned into (especially with the now deleted answer) is mud slinging and people discussing the merits of donald trump, which is very far off topic for this site and essentially only strife and drama can come from that. – user308386 Jun 20 '17 at 11:07
  • Are you referring to any mention of politics or specifically to the fact that this question is clearly about a certain political figure, which was evident even before the (now-removed) edit by the OP? The close is correct because this would need to be drastically rewritten but the core question is answerable and could be useful if it's completely anonymised. As long as a question is about "talk of politics is affecting our workplace" and not about actual politics then it seems appropriate here. – Lilienthal Jun 20 '17 at 12:04
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    @Lilienthal - I am suggesting that The Workplace avoid political discussions and opinions. This is not the right forum, and if we allow one set of political questions, we'd need to allow all of them. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 12:06
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    @JoeStrazzere Sure, I agree. But it seems to me that what you're referring to is a side-effect of people abusing the comment system and answers being about the politics rather than the workplace issue. You'll find that those have all been removed. I think the site should be capable of addressing questions that concern how generic, unspecified politics are affecting a workplace. "An employee is publicly supporting political ideals that our counter to our non-profit mission / corporate culture, how can we mitigate the impact this could have on us?" ... – Lilienthal Jun 20 '17 at 12:21
  • ...is in my view answerable without going into the details of the politics and companies involved. I gave two absurd liberal examples in my comment on the question but this can equally cover religious organisations who have an employee that's championing antitheism or the IRA hiring someone who turns out to be anti-gun but who took the job for the paycheck. It's only a problem if questions mention those specifics because we'd then indeed get endless discussions about the political details. – Lilienthal Jun 20 '17 at 12:21
  • @Lilienthal - I agree it's "answerable", I just see bad things happening. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic here, and certainly the moderators will bear the brunt of the cleanup work. I think this is a rat hole best avoided. I guess we'll see. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 12:25
  • @JoeStrazzere True. I looked into editing this so as to avoid any real details but it's ultimately an unworkable question because some details are missing: nature of the project and company, nature of the work, likelihood of an association actually being discovered let alone it being a noteworthy association. The political details aren't relevant but the employment details are. – Lilienthal Jun 20 '17 at 13:05
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    I made a followup edit to your great edits earlier today and cleaned up comments. I think the core question is on topic but I share concern with you that it will devolve into an opinion fest and discussion. I guess we can see... – enderland Jun 20 '17 at 13:55
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    I'm all for healthy political discussion, and have strong opinions about the particulars in this question, but please not in The Workplace! This is where I come to avoid politics! – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 13:58
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    Political discussion !== Name-calling – Jim G. Jun 20 '17 at 17:58
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    @JimG. - lately political discussion seems to devolve quickly into name calling. The question started out badly, and went south from there. Fortunately, enderland's heroic editing saved it from the trash heap. Hopefully, it will stay that way. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 18:09
  • In the end, this post wound up generating a lot of discussion that wasn't political, itself, and was as much about mixing politics and work, so great job by everyone who edited it into something that would be more objectively discussed. – PoloHoleSet Jun 30 '17 at 13:48

IMO, posts like that are in the very least flame-bait. The question itself was a thinly veiled political hit piece.

I don't know if this was a deliberate troll, but it's going to have the same effect regardless.

In a more broad sense, allowing political posts is only going to stir up a hornets nest of flaming and trolling. You're going to get voting not by quality of question, but political opinion, which really defeats the purpose of SE as questions and answers are supposed to be voted on quality not subject matter.

It's already happening with some of the more controversial topics with political undertones, which is the Camel's nose in the tent. Letting politicized posts, IMO, is letting in the rest of the Camel.

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    I also wondered if this was a trolling. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 12:35

This answer addresses the broader question you asked about questions with political entanglement. The question you linked to has other issues unrelated to politics; I'm only addressing the "politics" part.

Most people don't routinely look at edit histories and can't see deleted posts. The current version of the question is not about specific political positions, only the existence of a political difference. Any answers that have already gotten into the specific political issues (and aren't deleted) can be edited; any new answers (or comments) that go there are escalating and should be dealt with appropriately.

In the workplace (and The Workplace) we sometimes have to deal with sensitive issues. The answer isn't to bar all such questions; it's to make sure they stay focused on the workplace problem, not the political or religious or gender or... issue.

Questions related to religious apparel, mental disabilities, gender fluidity or transition, charity fund-raising, political campaigning, etc are welcome if about the workplace and not about the religion, illness, gender, charity, political position, etc. These are hot-button topics for many; in the interests of maintaining a polite and professional site, people who have seen comments, answers, and edits that are no longer present should strive to set that knowledge aside and focus on the question as it stands. And if you see people trying to go there (again), don't take the bait -- flag, defuse if you think you can, and move on.

  • I was actually a good boy on this one. I surprised myself. But in all seriousness, this is great advice we should all remember. – Old_Lamplighter Jun 20 '17 at 18:57
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    This is not about navigating the workplace though. Its about making business decisions.... those are off topic If the question was we have decided to remove this person from the project team, what is the best way to communicate that with him, it would be on topic. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 21 '17 at 20:08
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings I answered the broader meta question. The specific main-site question might have other issues, but we should be clear about when we're talking policy and when we're talking specific cases. – Monica Cellio Jun 21 '17 at 20:27
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    I wish you would make that clear in this answer... I can see it being pointed out as saying see this is ok. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 21 '17 at 20:55
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings done. – Monica Cellio Jun 21 '17 at 21:01

This question boils down to "What Business decision should we make" - That is off topic even if it did not contain any controversial stuff.

This SE is about navigating the workplace not about doing business. If there was a Business SE then it may be on topic there. But it is not.

See this meta discussion!

We are not hurting for content and this is not a personal thing. This is about keeping the workplace a valuable resource for people that need help with the complexities of employment, and the workplace. Every time we go off scope and allow it we damage that mission.


While I tried to clean it up, I think the questions and answers have too much political content to remain. Thus I think this question should be deleted.

I think the problem is that it's incredibly hard to stay impassionate and on topic when discussing this. There is a legitimate question in OP's formulations, and there is a real problem for them. Depending on their target audience, this could be a much bigger deal then the comments make it look, and there's probably some interesting advice to be had on how to mitigate that.

Now, the problem is that the cat is out of the bag now and the comments and answers have pretty much focused around that since then. One of the (now deleted by abusive flags) answers was very rude and inconsiderate. I expect more of these (or comments to the same effect) to come in since the subject of this is so politically charged.

The question is do we want to prohibit and/or delete questions because the situation is politically charged? I'm unsure of that and lean towards no, but open for any arguments.

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    "I expect more of these (or comments to the same effect) to come in since the subject of this is so politically charged." - I think it's inevitable, and why politics should be considered off-topic. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 12:02
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    @JoeStrazzere I disagree that we should delete the questions because some people might post garbage answers. There are real and OK answers to that question, and it's generally in scope. In and of itself the question isn't political, but it's about what happens when politics disturbs a workplace. – user308386 Jun 20 '17 at 12:11
  • The original question had only a few adjectives that made it objectionable. But it inevitably devolved into yet another highly-charged political discussion. I see no way to avoid it other than quickly closing such questions. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 12:20
  • @JoeStrazzere I think we should deal with it as it comes, remove / edit problematic answers and comments – user308386 Jun 20 '17 at 12:22
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    Hopefully, these will be dealt with quickly, before visitors decide this is a great place to vent their political spleen, and that becomes the norm. I've seen other forums devolve that way. – Joe Strazzere Jun 20 '17 at 12:27

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