Yesterday, there was a question of rather gruesome content. OP asked on how to make female-on-male rape a torture practice. No surprise this question got disliked a lot simply for its content - not most peoples favorite topic.

While I did read some of the comments and people discussing their disgust of the topic, there was no discussion regarding closing or deleting the question. At least not when I saw it.

Did OP delete the question themselves? Or was it deleted by the community or a moderator?
If it was one of the latter: why?
While I totally get the disliking of gruesome content like that, I was not aware that generally brutality was off limits. After all there are very popular questions including mass murder, turning the streets red with blood, etc..

EDIT: Although the possible duplicate question is coming from the same place, I wanted to figure out in details why the content got deleted. This is why I consider this not to be a duplicate at all.


Final comment:
I think I should have made it clearer in this post that I was just wanted to know the reasoning and did not presume the mods were unjustified in deleting it. The Question in question (yes, I am aware of my eloquence.) felt off, but I did not see a reason that felt legitimate to flag it. I know better now.

In HDE226868's answer to this question you can read the statement of the mods about this. (other mods agreed to it in the comments)

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The question was deleted by a moderator. Here is a link for users that have more than 10k reputation and can therefore see deleted posts. It was deleted because it crossed a line. Yes, we have question about murder/torture/... occasionally and most of the time these try to be somewhat civil about it - not so in this case.

HDE 226868 commented about the closure as off-topic of the question (someone else had voted to close before):

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's an extraordinarily gratuitous question about a topic that should not be condoned. We have questions here about poison and weapon design, but this is asking how to brutally rape people. There's a line to be drawn.

Afterwards the question, at -11/+0, was deleted by Monica Cellio.

Just because there are questions on the site that deal with murder doesn't mean we should be accepting every topic and every way you phrase the question. This question definitely crossed a line and it's not a loss to the community that we are not advocating strategies to make rape even more brutal than it already is.

Important reading: Should questions about painfully killing people be welcomed on this site? For example the accepted answer states (emphasis mine):

In general, I don't have a problem with them since most of the time, those questions are posed in a clinical voice, much like a doctor might describe injuries from a horrific automobile accident. Yes, people died or were severely injured but there's not glorification of their injuries/deaths. There's no judgement call of whether their deaths were a good, bad, glorious, inglorious thing to happen. It just happened.

I'd have considerable problems with a question that wasn't in that clinical voice and just downvote them or ignore the question. But I don't think there should be a blanket ban on violent questions. (If there were, a great many of the best questions (IMO) would be removed from the site.)

I disagree that we should ignore the questions that are not posed in a clinical voice in such a case. Having it stick on the site sends the message that we want more such questions.

You might also want to look at Monica's response to the linked meta discussion about painfully killing people, some of which I see here again (emphasis mine):

To me that reads as the OP treating the subject lightly.

In general brutality is not off-limits. But that doesn't mean that we don't have any limits.

  • 1
    Thanks! I just wanted to find out the official reasoning behind the decision. – ArtificialSoul Aug 14 at 12:12
  • 3
    The clinical voice thing bothers me though: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness."-Matthew 23 – Mephistopheles Aug 18 at 13:29

Secespitus got most of the main points correct; I'll add on a couple things from the moderator discussion behind the scenes.

I know that us potentially being on a government watchlist thanks to some of our questions here has become something of a meme in chat, and we've had a number of meta discussions about whether we should allow questions on distasteful or dangerous subjects (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). On balance, the consensus is that we should allow such questions, and with the exception of torture, I agree with this consensus.

Why? Well, these subjects are often extremely important in a narrative or world - yes, knowing how a poison works or how a rebel soldier lost an eye can be crucial to a story. Therefore, we allow them, because even though they may be off-putting, they're a key part of the universes many people build.

But we draw a line. The relevant question was about how to make rape more terrifying. And that's absolutely, positively, gratuitous.

One thing that bothered me was that though the community had made a number of comments indicating that they didn't particular like the content, there hadn't been any flags, except on comments (and one auto-flag). That gave me pause; I also felt like this implies that the community condoned keeping the question. But nobody had really said "Yeah, this shouldn't be deleted", and, after all, mods are exception handlers. This felt like a heck of an exception to me.

Going forward, I'm definitely going to be reluctant to allow questions about dangerous topics across the board. We need to know when that line's been crossed, and when a question seems like it's being asked for the sake of sadism. I don't know where the line lies, and I don't know where to draw it just yet. But it's something we may want to talk about for the future.

For what it's worth - just to add some clarification - having me close the question and then Monica delete it is a common practice for mod teams, in my experience, when possible. It stops people from thinking that it's a rogue mod going AWOL, and lets folks know that more members of the mod team support the action. Ideally, this reduces the possibility of pushbacks on meta and accusations of a mod being biased. A closure and quick deletion from a mod is, I would guess, unusual, and only used in cases where rapid action is needed.

  • Yeah, that makes sense. I have barely ever seen a question be downvoted that quickly, so the community did show their disliking a lot. Though I found the phrasing of the question questionable and the expressed idea even more, I was not sure where the line is. Because structure-wise this question fits the site, but I was unsure whether the content is off-limits for the expressed reason that there are some other gruesome ideas that are not off-limits. This is why I did not flag. I will in the future, though. Especially given the reasoning you guys presented. Thanks! – ArtificialSoul Aug 14 at 13:53
  • 3
    @ArtificialSoul When in doubt, flag. The occasional declined flag is much better than inappropriate content staying on the site. Really, please use those flags! – Michael Kjörling Aug 14 at 13:57
  • 1
    @MichaelKjörling Personally, I have a rather strong aversion against flagging, which is why I am hesitant to do so. Looking at platforms like youtube who have a history of rather crippling creators than looking at everything on a case-to-case basis. And on other sites flags, deletions and bans are also often used to silence unpopular opinions or avoid certain topics. I will try to get over this for worldbuilding. – ArtificialSoul Aug 14 at 14:05
  • 4
    @ArtificialSoul On Stack Exchange in general, not just on Worldbuilding, there is virtually always additional humans "in the loop" when flagging. There are a few exceptions, mostly for comments where in some cases a single flag from a regular user takes effect immediately, but other than that, to take effect flags require multiple users flagging the same content or a moderator seeing the content (possibly in response to a flag) and taking action. In either of those latter cases, there are other humans involved. And of course, very little such damage cannot be repaired if itself flagged. – Michael Kjörling Aug 14 at 14:11
  • 6
    To add: I came to the same conclusion as HDE about the inappropriateness of this particular question, and we then discussed it. (I already knew that I'm less comfortable with torture than the community at large, which is why I consulted another moderator.) Having one of us close and the other delete was intentional, to show that two moderators felt this content does not belong on our site. We reviewed the past meta discussions as part of deciding on this question. While it's hard to exactly describe where the line is, to both of us this post was clearly on the wrong side of it. – Monica Cellio Aug 14 at 15:35
  • 7
    For what it's worth I was in agreement and not willing to visit the question from my work computer...so I hadn't read it yet to be sure it should be gone. I agree it should. – James Aug 14 at 18:30
  • 5
    Count a forth agreeing mod with me – L.Dutch Aug 15 at 19:47
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio "Having one of us close and the other delete was intentional, to show that two moderators felt this content does not belong on our site." The intention is good, but it made it seem like HDE didn't want to delete the question, if he closed the question on his own but did not do more than that. We trust the judgement of the mods - such a coordinated action should not be needed for cases like this. The question could be deleted sooner. – Renan Aug 16 at 16:48
  • 5
    @Renan thanks for the show of confidence. In this case we were both in chat at the time, so it was deleted almost immediately after closure. – Monica Cellio Aug 16 at 17:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .