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Yesterday, I asked this:

Could Nixon have retained his presidency?

It was almost immediately modhammered closed as please do my work for me. I asked for more details on what was missing, but got nothing (I should have @'d the moderator, but unfortunately I was on mobile at the time, which doesn't autocomplete, and manually typing Unicode characters is a pain).

I thought I had given a number of specific details about the kind of scenario I was thinking of (the bulleted list). Frankly, I don't understand what my question lacks that (to pick on an HNQ from yesterday) this question has.

I suppose I could write an entire short story about how Nixon avoided getting thrown out of office, and then put it up for review, but then I wouldn't really need this site in the first place. The reason I'm asking at all is because I didn't grow up in this time period. I don't know the zeitgeist of the time, and I would not have the ability to predict how Congress or the public would have reacted to an altered version of Watergate.

In other words, I don't think of Nixon as "the guy who was President a few decades ago." I think of Nixon as "one of the Presidents I read about in history class." While I realize Watergate is still a political issue for many people, for me it is nothing more than an historical event. It happened and now it's over.

What details should I add to my question to narrow it and make it appropriate for this site?

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    $\begingroup$ Try putting your question in the Sandbox, to know how to do that you could go here ans ask chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/17213/the-factory-floor and you could ask questions in a more chat format with less interpretation/restrictions but you need to consider the question your asking is going to be hard to avoid .... some issues. $\endgroup$ – Enigma Maitreya May 21 '17 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ First: you did not get mod-slammed. You have one close vote and some comments. Hardly a "slam". Second, the best way to format questions — in my not very humble opinion — is as such: Premise, Problem, Query. Ok, you are an author and you are authoring a world (this is worldbuilding, nota bene). So in order for us to answer we need to know the relevant details about your world. This is the Premise. But then you as an author has gotten stuck on something that makes it so that you cannot proceed. There is some issue that prevents you from authoring and further. This is the Problem. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK May 22 '17 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ So therefore you post the Query. The Query is that which — you get it answered — allows you to proceed in your authoring. The first issue with your question is that you do not really have a Premise... you have a Conclusion. But all right, you assume that that Nixon has made it; he did not get impeached and did not resign. A kind of reverse premise but we can work with that. The second issue then is that you do not really have a problem per se. You are not stuck. You have not run your head into the wall and banged it against it for some time while before giving up and coming here for help. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK May 22 '17 at 9:10
  • $\begingroup$ If this issue that you have... that you are in need of an alternate sequence of events that leads to your "Reverse Premise" / desired conclusion... is such that you are stuck without asking us... then I am wondering why you are putting so much effort onto it. Clearly it is not really important to the story. You just want to keep Nixon in office for your story. Do not overthink it. You do not need to be elaborate here. Just postulate the following to your readers: "What 'Watergate Scandal'? There was no such thing...". And then the issue is resolved. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK May 22 '17 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelK Just a quick comment on your disregard of the word "slam": the question was initially closed by JD alone. After the OP talked with JD in this Meta Post and changed the question JD reopened it. What you saw when seeing one close vote was the second iteration. This Meta Post wasn't changed after the reopening. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus May 24 '17 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus Ah, then it was indeed a mod-slam. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK May 24 '17 at 7:53
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Brainstorming ideas of what the time period was like is not a good format for this site. Chat would work better, but you have to come when people are around. You might try poking around the History SE as well, to learn more about the period.

Good show trying to categorize what you want to learn, but it still boils down to wanting to understand the culture and political climate of the period, which is not a simple answer to a simple question.

As for “getting nothing” via comments, you were around at a dead time. Practically nobody was around reading and answering. The lack of recent activity is why I worked the close flags more agressively; no activity means nobody handling the review queues.

You still have the problem in that you are asking about the actions and outcome of one specific character. “What would Joe do?” is “What would Richard do?” in this instance.

You don’t need to repost in the sandbox, as this meta post serves the same job. Hopefully you'll get some good feedback if you wait until Monday mid-day when things start to pick up around here.

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  • $\begingroup$ But I'm not asking what Nixon would do! I'm asking what Congress would do. Should I clarify that in the question? $\endgroup$ – Kevin May 21 '17 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. <<If Nixon had avoided these and other mistakes, could he have remained President?>> sounds like it’s his actions being followed here. Also, <<how would the scandal have unfolded?>> appears to fall into the POB trap, so the question should not only give needed details (“they were different” is not a detail) but carefully avoid sounding like the POB questions. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 21 '17 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking what would congress do if certain specific things were changed in history? But you're not giving specifics. So are you really asking what specifically could Nixon have done differently so that congress would have behaved in the way you want? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 21 '17 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I thought my question was clear, but I guess I should rewrite it. I'm asking what Congress and the public would do if Nixon had avoided the things on the bulleted list (and other stuff like the things on the list). While the phrasing of that sentence does make Nixon the subject, it's not his action being followed because whether he retains the presidency isn't up to him. $\endgroup$ – Kevin May 21 '17 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's a much better phrasing. Mention the intended actor as the subject of the sentence! $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 21 '17 at 22:46

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