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I am not convinced that voting would not have taken care of this answer. Beyond that, providing a link to a XKCD comic rather than an SE meta struck me as bad form. The justification for the mod hammer was that a devil's advocate position is not a valid answer:

We don't need a devil's advocate. In formal debate lingo, the devil's advocate position "refers to when, for the sake of debate, a person presents a point of view that they don't necessarily agree with just to make another consider an opposing point of view." That's necessary for certain forms of formalised debate but we have no need of it here. If you seriously believe in this perspective, please expand on how it's worked out for you in real play, and don't hedge it as a devil's advocate response.

Really?

Sometimes, someone needs to speak up. Granted, the hive mind/group think of RPG.SE would likely attract a lot of down votes here, and some rage votes, and it's not the solution I would have presented (my answer was quite different) but it is an answer and it violated no SE policy. Is the problem that it didn't have enough support or wasn't long enough? If so, then make that the comment/criticism.

If there is in fact an SE policy against using a devils advocate approach, or deliberately posting what may be an unpopular answer, then link to that.

(PS, I've seen a few answers where the same person gave two different answers and let the votes take it from there ... but it's not that common).

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This answer was borderline — I would have left it to be beaten up by voters, but another mod would (did) choose to more actively act on it as the Very Low Quality post it was. Voted into oblivion or nuked by a mod: it's a choice of poisons that makes only a little difference in the end.

There's no policy against Devil's Advocate answers — but there is a mod prerogative to remove posts that do not benefit the site, and moreso those that may do ill to it. (Being an explicitly — and importantly, shallowly — Devil's Advocate answer just underlined its low quality by emphasizing that not even the author thought it was a good answer.)

As I said, I would have left it. But in leaving it, I was prepared to need to watch it and keep the comments from getting too heated. When I spoke with the other mod after the deletion, I noted that a benefit of their action was that the post wasn't going to consume/inflame community attention, which I felt was an additional benefit that supported the call.

In the end, these are marginal cases that will be called slightly differently by different people (mod or not). I didn't feel that any harm was done, so I said most of this post to the other mod and affirmed that their call was within the normal margins of moderation variation.

So was it necessary? No. Was it wrong to? I don't believe so.

(And though we don't have a policy against Devil's Advocate answers, I am reasonably sure we wouldn't benefit from encouraging trivial ones like this case.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed: "devil's advocate" is not a pass to ignore basic site expectations of supporting one's answer. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Jun 13 '17 at 7:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your second paragraph hits the nail on the head for why I removed it. I didn't see any benefit to waiting and leaving it be. I'll verify I am not under the impression there's a policy against devil's advocate positions, but it looked like it was being used as a free pass, like BESW described. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 13 '17 at 8:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ The answer, while reasonable, doesn't address part of my observation, which is why using snark like the XKCD link as a justification for shutting down an answer for a reason that we don't have a policy against, even though some mention was made about answer quality ... almost as an afterthought(?) ... in the comment. should I fold devil's advocate into the title of the question? Perhaps for future reference ... \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 13 '17 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Oh. I guess because I didn't detect any snark or justification. In that comment I only see explanation and perspective. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 13 '17 at 22:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ A diamond mod using "appeal to XKCD" rather than RPG.SE meta is bad form. Read It. We don't need a devil's advocate. In formal debate lingo, the devil's advocate position "refers to when, for the sake of debate, a person presents a point of view that they don't necessarily agree with just to make another consider an opposing point of view." That's necessary for certain forms of formalised debate but we have no need of it here. If you seriously believe in this perspective, please expand on how it's worked out for you in real play, and don't hedge it as a devil's advocate response Really? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 13 '17 at 22:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ The first sentence about "we don't need devil's advocate" linked to an XKCD comic, not anything SE. Snark. That's what got me off of top dead center to post a meta question, since I was pretty sure that we have NO policy against Devil's Advocate, although your points on that (uses and abuses) are taken on board. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 13 '17 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'm not detecting snark there myself, even with the XKCD link. What about it is snarky? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 14 '17 at 3:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ From where I sit, the matter is closed, and "where ya sit informs what ya see" may have played a part in this. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 14 '17 at 12:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I think that was most of what was going on. Stack Exchange hasn't yet figured out how to grant us telepathy, so we are still susceptible to ye olden textual communication misunderstandings. It's good we could resolve this fairly cleanly. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 14 '17 at 15:28
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Like SevenSidedDie said, I deleted it because it was a very, very low quality post that also had a major issue undermining its very presence.

Currently it provides no subjective experience per the Back It Up! principle. I was pretty confident the community would find that answer to be a terrible course of action — it was at –2, and like you, I suspect votes would communicate very strongly it's not a good answer. That's not the whole of why I deleted it though and if that was all I would've left it for voters to handle.

The quality issue was compounded by the devil's advocate thing. This suggested to me the author not only wrote a poor quality post proposing a terrible course of action, they did so insincerely because they thought we'd benefit from them proposing a terrible course of action to downvote. (Maybe that's not how they meant it, but that's how I read it.) We don't need people doing that. Would you want to see experienced posting deliberately crap answers around the place so we have something to downvote? I wouldn't, I'd rather they post great answers and advise against poor courses of action inside those if they feel it's helpful.

So I removed the post because my reading was it was deliberately nonsense out of a misplaced motivation to contribute. I left a comment pointing out this lack of need for a devil's advocate and requesting they add subjective experience per Back It Up! if they really meant it. I didn't feel the need to explain in detail the need to back up their post with actual experience, since I figured a long-term user would already be familiar with this principle and understand the need to include experience or citation. (Plus my comment was too close to its length limit to fit that in.)

The answer has been revised so I've undeleted it, and I've left a new comment focusing on the need for them to back up their post.


About the snark: I meant none. That XKCD comic is, to me, a concise way to convey the problem with someone proposing a devil's advocate position wholly unnecessarily. Maybe to some others it just comes across as snarky; I'll bear that in mind and be more careful with it in the future.

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    \$\begingroup\$ All understood, thanks for explaining the thought process. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 14 '17 at 11:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Cool, glad I could help clear things up. Thanks for reading. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 14 '17 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ You seem to really have something against devil's advocates. There is no way to tell whether or not someone is being a devil's advocate unless they admit to it, which really makes that position immaterial. You should criticize people based on what they say, not based on where they stand -- ie, not "your answer is bad because you're a devil's advocate" but rather "your answer is bad because of [this tangible reason]" \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jun 15 '17 at 3:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain I suggest you take a look at the first revision of that post. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 15 '17 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not saying it's a good answer, I'm saying it's not a bad answer just because it came from the perspective of a devil's advocate. It's a bad answer because it's suggesting to settle out-of-game disputes with in-game actions. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jun 15 '17 at 9:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain I actually agree with you about all of that. I removed it not for any one single factor but because it was a combination of three things: (1) a bad course of action we'd certainly downvote, (2) not backed up, (3) an explicitly-stated devil's advocate which implies the asker doesn't even think it's any good and that it was only posted so we'd have it there to visibly disagree with. Were it just one or two of these factors I would respond differently. I have a thing against devil's advocate being used improperly, but that's no basis alone on which I would take moderator action. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 15 '17 at 11:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Considering it is now just two of those factors, it's undeleted and I've responded according to those two — downvoted because I think it's a bad answere, and requested citation based on GSBS principles. It stands to get removed again if it adds no citation or explanation (as the "insufficient explanation" post notice currently attached to it explains), but that's standard protocol. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 15 '17 at 11:28

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