Recently, we had an answer on a particularly popular question that had a lot of answers from laypeople. The top answer argued that the wage gap outright did not exist. I saw a lot of flags over it when I woke up today (Monday) to look at the site. After some time after writing my own answer and providing my own comments on the top answer, I looked back at the edit history of the answer and talked to the other moderators about the post as a whole. I ultimately decided to delete the answer.

Normally I wouldn't bother explaining the whole decision out unless the user asked me, but since this was a popular thread and people will notice, I figured I'd head things off at the pass and mention briefly why I removed the post.

  • An answer being wrong is not enough for deletion.

The guidelines in the Meta StackExchange tell us that posts should not be removed just for being wrong. Some sites do end up expanding the criterion for deletion beyond the existing ones, but that is a whole other conversation.

  • Exceedingly rude or offensive material can be flagged and deleted.

The flag for rude or abusive answers is usually for hate speech, obscenity, etc. I don't necessarily think the post was trying to be hate speech. I disapproved of such language as "inferiority of negotiation skills in women" (and other parts) as discriminating language. I disapproved much more strongly than some of the other mods. Other parts of the economics profession may very well tolerate such language (and even the publishing of more outrageous language), but it will not be tolerated by me. This leads into the next point:

  • The universal rule across StackExchange is to be civil.

Sexism, however politely it is edited, is not considered civility here, no matter how many people agree or upvote the conclusions of it. I understand this creates some friction when discussing sensitive subjects like gender discrimination. Who determines what is sexism? Ignoring decades of economic research, in an economic forum, in order to claim that there is absolutely no pay gap is something that counts, at least for me. Users of this economic site must make a serious attempt to engage with the economic literature, especially when discussing sensitive topics like wage discrimination.

  • Low quality answers can be deleted.

There were two articles posted as citations in the top answer. One was an editorial piece with no economic citations, all ancillary citations from other fields, primarily with the purpose to comment on what was an ongoing gender discrimination lawsuit that was dismissed. The last paragraph then discussed the need for "serious research" and asking "the right questions" which is a ridiculous statement for anyone who has bothered to look into the labor economics literature in the last 30, 40 years. The second citation was an actual study, but with the main conclusion misconstrued to fit the answer's conclusion.

Questions like these will attract laypeople, which is good and fine. You are encouraged to read the rules and guidelines for answers on this site and understand how it works. This is not Reddit or another casual forum, but you are participating in serious academic discussion.

I am not happy deleting a highly rated answer. I'd much rather leave the voting system to its own devices and not interfere with it--even if people are upvoting what I think is a wrong answer. Frankly, I would close the question (I am surprised that it did not get enough close votes, as it seems very blatantly too broad) but now it has gotten exceedingly large, and I'm not interested in censoring the topic. This case was a very borderline case for me, which is why I will put a few questions out there.

  1. Should there be more detailed guidelines for post deletion?
  2. Should the site be more or less stringent about posting guidelines (e.g. question quality, citations, etc.)? Particularly, was I too strict here?
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    $\begingroup$ I was very sad (but not suprised) to see that that was the most upvoted answer, and I strongly support your difficult decision. <3 $\endgroup$ – Giskard Mar 16 at 6:33
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    $\begingroup$ "I disapproved of such language as "inferiority of negotiation skills in women"" Was it language or the idea? Do you believe that it's impossible for women, on average, to indeed be worse at negotating their wages? If yes, why? If the language is the real problem, then how can the same idea be expressed more appropriately? $\endgroup$ – user161005 Mar 16 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ I should add, I personally don't see anything sexist in possibility that women can be worse at negotiating wages. It can be explained by difference in learning of gender roles, by different cultural expectations (like maybe men are more pressured by society to have high wages. Or maybe women, as girls, were taught not to be too stubborn and confrontational) $\endgroup$ – user161005 Mar 16 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ Also, maybe it would be a good idea to include text of the answer (and maybe comments under it) to your post, to provide more context for users that haven't seen the answer (or want to double check it). $\endgroup$ – user161005 Mar 16 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ If someone wants to talk about stereotypes of an entire group of people, they better 1.) pose it as the possible existence of it and 2.) provide appropriate economic literature, so at least there can be a basis for debating the stereotype. Simply stating the stereotype as fact is not appropriate for this site. It may be acceptable grounds for starting conversation elsewhere, but not here. Even now below the user is talking about how the literature is on his side while providing no appropriate evidence. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Mar 16 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ At the end of the day, the criterion for what is acceptable evidence in the economics profession probably is much more different than what a regular person would expect in normal conversation. So I think the rules will have to lay it out much more explicitly. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Mar 16 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ Finally, I am a Christian, and I do believe that there do seem to be gender roles for people. That itself is not a problem. In my own answer I provide a paper on the household production model and how it seems men and women, for one reason or another, do seem to have preferences for different kinds of work. But that is not evidence of one group being wholly "inferior" ("on average") at something subjective like negotiating. There are a lot of endogeneity problems with trying to measure skill at negotiation, and the topic must be treated as the complicated topic that it is. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Mar 16 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ I have a lot more things I could say, but basically it's not so much about whether I agree or disagree with someone. It's that I think it's wrong (and breaks the rules) to needlessly antagonize any group of people on this site, especially while presenting one's unjustified opinion as fact. Don't care if people think I'm biased for that or if the opinion was popular. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Mar 16 at 14:25

Should there be more detailed guidelines for post deletion?

Yes! In my personal opinion the moderation on this site should be more strict. We are far less strict than other science stacks such as Bilogy.SE or History.SE or Physics.SE (see discussion in second half of this E:SE meta answer).

While I firmly believe that even controversial topics should not be shunned (see this meta answer), conversation about any controversial topic should be strictly technical and we should make sure people avoid inflammatory and provocative language and prefer a softer tone.

Should the site be more or less stringent about posting guidelines (e.g. question quality, citations, etc.)?

Yes! Thousand times yes! On History.SE questions answers that get post notice on requiring citations from reputable sources are deleted if they do not provide it after some time. We are currently not doing that as of now but I think we should.

I think we should also have more explicit standards/requirements for citation. Currently, I try to always err on the side of caution when applying the lack of credible sources post notice and I won't apply it when I see that a person made at least some effort to make reference to some reputable medium (e.g. at least to something like NY times, Newsweek, the Economist, Forbs etc), but I think going forward we should require higher standards.

I do not think we should completely exclude any non-academic source but we should not count op-ed pieces or blogs not written by professional economists.

In addition, I think that if a user discovers that answer blatantly misrepresents cited source (e.g. claiming there is no wage gap when the source itself mentions there is some) that should be enough grounds for flagging the answer as low quality deletion of the answer by mods in the future.

Particularly, was I too strict here?

I do not think so although there are few caveats I have to offer:

I was personally against deletion of the post for the following reasons:

  • in the past we always tolerated incorrect answers, and even though I personally disliked that I felt it is not my place to go beyond my current moderation mandate without meta discussion (I planned even before your deletion to address that post on meta).
  • Even though post got flagged by rude or abusive by many users for me it did not clear the criteria of hate speech as suggested by this SE meta.
  • I felt this should also be first consulted with the community.

However, let me make it crystal clear that despite my doubts and caveats, I support your decision and stand behind your judgement. Also, some things that people who would like to criticize Kitsune should keep in mind:

  • the post already had 5 rude & abusive flags. 6 flags even from regular users means automatic deletion by the system. While mod flags are typically more powerful (i.e. one mod flag means automatic deletion right away), in this marginal case the mod flag had the same weight as a user flag. I believe in such marginal cases even us mods should feel free to exercise more discretion than usual.

  • The user was warned about improving the post by moderators before. While the post was edited and was considerably improved relative to the original post, the edits still did not take into account all suggestions that were made when the user was contacted privately by the mod team.

This being said, going forward we should set clear, and preferably as objective as possible (even if some degree of subjectivity is inevitable), criteria on when we delete these posts. I think having such criteria would prevent from this situation occurring in the first place as very low quality answers could be removed before they start attracting attention from outside the site where nonexperts vote more likely based on their feelings rather than critical examination of arguments of the answer.

In the previous section of this answer I already proposed some criteria, however I am looking forward for more proposals from the members of our community.

  • $\begingroup$ From the revision history of the deleted answer, it appears that the "Community" removed the notice you had posted and reversed the lock status you had placed. Do you know how these "community actions" happened? Was it that your decisions to post notice and lock the answer got appealed and other users voted to reverse them? I thought there are rep thresholds for users to be able to vote on such review tasks (or maybe the thresholds are just not high enough). $\endgroup$ – Herr K. Mar 16 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ @HerrK. I first put post notice on the post that was later removed by edits. Later I locked comments when people willfully disrespected the fact that comments were moved to chat and were recreating there long discussions - but I only locked the ability to comment all other actions were left unlocked. I know that if moderator flags a post it will get deleted by community (to protect moderators identity) and it also locks the post (in case of rude or abusive flag) but I can’t explain why the post is mentioned to be locked 4 times (maybe that somehow captures the fact other posts there were $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 2:26
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    $\begingroup$ Locked as well). I don’t have time to investigate it further as in the morning I teach some classes at uni but I will try to look into it once I clear all the zoom classes and other academic duties. Hopefully, I will have some answer for you by tomorrow evening. $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks and no worries. This can wait. $\endgroup$ – Herr K. Mar 16 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ So you think the site should be stricter, KitsuneCavalry was not too strict in this case, but personally you were against deletion? $\endgroup$ – Giskard Mar 16 at 6:27
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    $\begingroup$ IMO, you and @KitsuneCavalry are both doing great here. Re: strictness guidelines, my suggestions is to not count citations to newspapers, etc, as proof of quality. Even among reputable sources like NYTimes, the quality of economic discourse can be quite low. Also, too much room for debate about bias. My preference is to restrict it to peer-reviewed journals. Sure, you can always include references to newspapers, but if you want to clear the bar you need at least cite one peer-reviewed article. I really like the criteria we formulated here: economics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2098/59 $\endgroup$ – jmbejara Mar 16 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Giskard I was against doing this without first asking for a mandate from community. Let me give you an analogy, a night watchman might think society should be more strict on people disturbing peace by shouting but unless laws change to make that an offence it is not night watchman prerogative to fine people for it. In this case I felt that (going by the past mod decisions (even before I became mod)) we did not have mandate for doing so and I advocated making first meta post, making stricter rules and then getting rid of it (unless community would reject that). $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ however, even given my reservation above, I support what Kitsune did, I might disagree on the method (e.g. like night watchman might disagree with Batman vigilante justice) but I think he explained his decision superbly to the community, and that he had good reasons. This was case that was right there on the line, which means that it is hard to say ultimately whether my arguments for going first to the community were right or wrong. I appreciate that this was difficult decision and stand behind my comod regardless of what my thoughts were on it before decision was passed. $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 7:58
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    $\begingroup$ Existing guidelines seem to cover this. Watchmen sometimes have to make judgement calls without first running to the public. (Batman analogy is unfair.) Moderators have the mandate to do this as they were elected to this exact role. Bad decisions can be overturned, inaction leads to harm. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Mar 16 at 9:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Giskard those are valid points, but we are also required to be consistent and impartial when applying the rules. In addition, note there was action being taken - issuing waring (which is strike 1 and can lead to harsher penalties for same offenses in the future). Regarding the existing guidelines I dont think it clears the criteria set up by SE for hate speech even though it is half-way there in that direction. However, as mentioned before, I still support the decision after it was made. $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ Also you are right bad decisions can be overruled but both action and inaction leads to harm... if you act too much in inconsistent way it can undermine trust in the institution of moderators and cause harm as well. E.g. see the whole Monica Cello debacle (although I am not implying that this is the same case since Monica did not do anything wrong while here there were issues). Some people might prefer to err on the side of inaction some on the side of action, I don't think it is easy to decide in borderline cases like this. I prefer having clear community approved criteria and exercising $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ light discretion since that is what the theory of moderation suggests mods should do. I am in favor of tightening those rules (my past E:SE meta posts gradually make proposals for strengthening the rules) but I think it is important that it is also done in consistent way not just when one bad post becomes too prominent. (PS: note I am also always willing to concede that perhaps I am wrong, I for sure don't have all the answers, I was actually the one who alerted Kitsune and EconJohn to this post precisely because I was questioning if I am doing enough) $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ @HerrK. ok, the lock was removed because that was time lock, I only applied the lock for 24h since that is meant to stop people ignoring chat option and not be permanent, so once 24 h passed community automatically unlocked it. Regarding the post notice I am not sure why community removed post notice even after search on SE meta but I think it was because there was edit and it was approved by other user. the 2 last lock happened because mod rude/abusive flag automatically deletes and locks the post $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 16 at 20:27
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    $\begingroup$ I think we should not have too mechanical a notion of credible source. Sometimes, the NYT or WaPo do actual empirical data gathering, and there is no substitute. More importantly, stories can illustrate mechanisms that raise doubts about, say, some identification strategy even without telling us how strong the effect is. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Mar 17 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker that’s a good point, but we also need some litmus test maybe we can add or sources that contain data. Also note you can always add anecdotes to answer or link to them in sources, but answer should not rely just on the anecdote itself I think $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 17 at 19:52

Particularly, was I too strict here?

Yes. I believe moderators---thanks precisely to their special privileges in the SE system---should refrain from intervening in borderline cases to avoid any apparent or actual conflict of interest. The resolution of such cases should be left to the community as whole. This situation would have been much less controversial if the answer were voted for deletion by community members. If, as @1muflon1 suggested, that answer were but one vote/flag away from deletion, surely that last vote would come before too long. But now that that last vote was from a moderator who admitted the borderline nature of the case, it changes the taste of this whole thing.

It doesn't help that some of the language in your meta post explaining the decision appeared to suggest that your decision was at least (a tiny bit) partially based on personal views on the topic being discussed in that question. Specifically, I am referring to the phrases like: "I disapproved of ...", "more strongly than [...] the other mods", "not be tolerated by me", "at least for me". Maybe I'm just reading too much between the lines, or maybe my own personal bias---I personally don't find the deleted answer particularly offensive---clouded my judgment. Anyway, I just don't think that mod intervention in this case (of deleting the then highest voted answer) was necessary, nor was it necessarily wise to do so.

Don't get me wrong though. I too disapproved of that deleted answer (I was actually among the first few people to downvote it). However, the reason for my disapproval was that the answer lacked sufficient support for its bold claims, and this ran against the community's recently adopted higher standards on citations. Also for this very same reason, I plan to award your answer to that question with a 100-rep bounty so that it gets bumped above the other answers for higher visibility (somehow a bounty must be posted for 24 hours before it can be awarded, hence the delay). You could have had a little more faith in the impact of your own answer, which is an exemplary way to show how a scientific and civil discourse on Econ.SE should look like.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your feedback. I agree the decision would have been much less controversial if I just chose not to say anything and let it show as it being closed by the community. But as well as being a mod, I am also a member of the community, and in this particular case, my vote had no more power than a regular user (normally a moderator's flag for rude/abusive immediately counts as 6). As for when I say "disapproved by me" that is me being honest about what my specific opinion is, but the emphasis in my explanation is on why I felt the post broke the rules. At least I hope that comes across. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Mar 16 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ Again, thanks for your criticism. I will keep it in mind in the future. Lately I have been very hands off about moderating (muflon has done a lot of work), so I hope I may be forgiven for moving strongly in the other direction this time. I am trying to be as transparent about my decision as possible. I'm hoping we'll soon make a mod post about more explicit rules for closure/deletion, so that these sort of cases are much clearer. $\endgroup$ – Kitsune Cavalry Mar 16 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ (-1) Downvote by me. I think maintaining civil discourse sometimes requires moderator action. I think to most scientists this has a taste of lèse-majesté, and hence they tend to err towards inaction. Leaving it up to the community is a nice idea, but this answer has been up for 68 hours. (Timeline) Most of the people who visited the question probably saw it as the most upvoted answer. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Mar 16 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Giskard: I actually agree with you that "maintaining civil discourse sometimes requires moderator action". I just don't think that, in this specific case, the deleted answer was particularly uncivil or egregious. Sure, if enough users were bothered by it and voted for its deletion, so be it. But a mod's direct involvement in catalyzing that outcome just muddled the water, unnecessarily. $\endgroup$ – Herr K. Mar 16 at 20:31

My first answer was response to Kitsune's question, this answer is response to the answer by @nick012000 as it would not fit in comment section.

I wont address all the points you raised but some here are responses to some:

I believe that this was a clear abuse of SE moderator powers to silence your political opponents. Another mod said that it received five "rude and abusive" flags, but all that means is that five people wanted to censor wrongthink and that they realized that that was the best way to do so.

You seem to have misunderstanding of what Economics is. Economics is science, and there is no place for political opinions when discussing scientific matters. This is especially true for positive economics, which was both subject matter of the question, and which is also economics that deals with empirical matters.

Next, as our help center makes crystal clear, questions by extension answers should asked/answered based on/using facts, studies, economic theory and reasoning - not moral/political/religious/philosophical values.

Previously, I just thought that your answer is a nonexpert attempt at trying to explain the empirical literature behind gender wage gap. If you now say that it was intended to make political point then it without any doubt does not belong on Economics.SE.

For political questions/answers there is Politics.SE and for moral questions answers there is Philosphy.SE.

If I got a group of five friends to go around raising "rude and abusive" flags on all answers that promote Marxist economics, Austrian trickle-down economics, or [insert politically-charged economic theory here] to censor people I disapprove of for political reasons, would that be acceptable as well?

This actually excellently shows the misunderstanding about economics you seem to have here.

There is no economic theory called "trickle-down" economics, the same way as there is no economic theory called "soak the rich" (see more detailed explanation by Mankiw).

"Trickle down" is a pejorative used by left, and "soak the rich" is pejorative used by right but they are not economic theories. They are strawmen of different economic theories on macroeconomics, optimal taxations etc (or even worse, they are strawmen of layman understanding of these theories - they are strawmen of strawmen). If you see these pejoratives used on this site you should flag them, moderator team will definitely have a look!

This does not mean that heterodox economic theories are not welcome. You should feel free to post answers based on actual Marxian or Austrian economics or any other heterodox field.

For example (acceptable topics):

  • Austrian theory of business cycle or economic development that based on some theory/models shows light taxation and non-intervention is optimal is completely on topic

  • Marxian theory of business cycle or Marxian theories of economic development also completely on topic

(unacceptable topics):

  • Saying "taxes are evil" or "private property is evil" etc is not on topic on this site.

As a matter of fact when it comes to economics it completely possible for a person to be strict adherent to the heterodox Austrian school of economics but be politically left wing and advocate for high taxes, high level of redistribution etc. regardless of what Austrian economic theory says would be efficient, as it is completely possible for strict adherent to Marxian school of economics to politically support minimum taxes on rich, lowering deficit and so on regardless of what Marxist theory implies is efficient.

Yes many economics topics are sadly politicized in real world, but that does not mean politics belongs into the economics, and at Economics.SE we kindly ask users (through our help center) to check their political/moral/religious/philosophical values at the entry. We do not disparage your personal political/moral/religious/philosophical values but there is place and time for everything and Economics.SE is not place for these.

Furthermore, I do believe that I did take into account all suggestions that were made to me by the moderator team;

No, you got 2 suggestions:

  1. To use on average to avoid generalizations since even if research shows that lets say women have on average smaller lung capacity than men there are women who have higher lung capacity than some men.

  2. You were cautioned against use of strong value-laden language like "inferior". You were literary warned that; "Using strong value laden language like "inferior" and implicitly assuming all women have inferior negotiation skills sounds quite strong and might offend some".

When discussing any topic but especially when discussing controversial topics it is always better to use less strong words.

For example, suppose you want to refer to literature showing women tend to have less muscle mass than men. Here are some examples how you can approach this topic:

  • Non-problematic: "Miller et al (1993) show that in experiments that women are only approximately 52% and 66% as strong as the men, on average, in the upper and lower body respectively."

  • Fine: "Studies show that women tend to have on average lower strength than men (see here)."

  • Problematic/Borderline Offensive/Offensive "Women are inferior in body strength to males".

  • Unacceptable/Clearly Very Offensive: "Women are inferior".

How you say things matter. The stack exchange explicitly asks you in the code of conduct be inclusive and respectful. and:

No bigotry. We don’t tolerate any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion — and those are just a few examples. Use stated pronouns (when known). When in doubt, don't use language that might offend or alienate.

The line between bigotry and making factual claims can often be thin. Humans are sexually dimorphic species so there are bound to be differences between the sexes in various aspects. You can of course reference those differences where relevant, but you should do that using appropriate language.

The difference between using appropriate and inappropriate language can be very thin and hard to see especially for non-native speaker. There is always subjective element involved. It is always best to try to err on the side of caution. If mod teams contacts you in these matters try to take into account all suggestions. Also, different moderators might be more/les sensitive to these issues. If you want to avoid these issues always err on the side of politeness. If you, purposefully or unwittingly, walk on the precipice you risk falling over.

Finally, you claimed that I was being sexist by ignoring "decades of economic research". I was not. The research is on my side: there is no pay gap, or if there is, it is too small to properly measure.

So which is it? Science is not a la carte. Is there no pay gap or is it too small? The Forbs article you linked to explicitly states:

When comparing two people in the same profession, with the same seniority, working the same number of hours, and so forth, women earn \$0.98 for every dollar that a man earns.

This is reasonable and in line with what most research shows, the gender pay gap for same professions and backgrounds differs by countries and places and it is just about 0.8-5%, but it does not show that there is no pay gap, or that it is 'hard to measure'.

When discussing this with layman maybe sweeping statements like "gender pay is myth" would be fine, but don't be surprised if on Economics.SE Q&A for those who study, teach, research and apply economics and econometrics such statements will ruffle some fetters.

If you would post on Astronomy.SE, Earth and Venus are almost same size so there is no difference in gravity between the two, you would likely not make many friends even if Venus's gravity is more than 90% of the Earths one and for laymen discussion saying they are the same would be fine.

Note even ignoring 5 rude or abusive flags, your post got several low quality or fill in comment complaining about low quality as well. Some of those flags were from new users and might be just due to anger/emotional response to your question, but there were few also from high reputation users. Even though in past we did not outright deleted low quality answers (which is actually common on many science stacks) we were considering to start doing that for some time now and your post happened to be the proverbial last straw.

As mentioned in my other answer, I was advocating for not deleting the answer like this, but this has far less to do with people disliking your politics rather than us catching with other science stacks in terms of moderation of content quality.

Lastly, even though the post was deleted you were not issued suspension. You can post new answer/edit your old one. I can't speak for Kitsune but it is possible that if he sees improvement he will reverse his decision. But you should remember to follow code of conduct and guidelines set in help center. You can also take inspiration from answers of high rep users such as Alecos Papadopoulos or other high rep users to see what sort of answers we encourage on this site.

Even if you are non-economist you are welcome to participate here, but if you are not up to date on literature try to avoid very strong statements. It is very easy to experience the Dunning–Kruger effect if you just casually read blogs on some topic, so it is always best to go for softer tone if you are not expert on certain topic. As mentioned above it is likely that going forward we will do more moderation regarding the quality of answers, if you want to be safe use sources from peer reviewed literature directly or technical books/handbooks/textbooks. Make sure source you cite actually support the claims you make in your answer.

  • $\begingroup$ "Economics is science, and there is no place for political opinions when discussing scientific matters" - opponents of your view would contend that this claim, that economics is non-political, is itself a political claim. And that the matter inherently becomes political precisely because there is not universal agreement that it is non-political and there are appreciable bodies of polarised opinion on the matter. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mar 19 at 23:06

Stack Exchange moderation powers should not be abused to silence political opponents.

As the author of the post in question, I am very unhappy with how this was treated. I had earned hundreds of points of Reputation, and now not only has that been removed, but because it was deleted as "abusive", I've lost a hundred Reputation on top of that, almost completely removing all privileges i had on this SE site that experienced SE users take for granted, like commenting or reporting posts. In fact, I even used one of powers that has now been taken away from me to assist the moderators by flagging a comment to my answer that began a discussion in its comment section (after a previous discussion in the comments had been sent to chat), since the purpose of the comment section is to suggest improvements to the answer, and discussions and debates contravene this purpose. This resulted in the comments of my answer being closed, which was regrettable but obviously necessary, and a moderation decision i wholeheartedly supported.

I believe that this was a clear abuse of SE moderator powers to silence your political opponents. Another mod said that it received five "rude and abusive" flags, but all that means is that five people wanted to censor wrongthink and that they realized that that was the best way to do so. If I got a group of five friends to go around raising "rude and abusive" flags on all answers that promote Marxist economics, Austrian trickle-down economics, or [insert politically-charged economic theory here] to censor people I disapprove of for political reasons, would that be acceptable as well?

Let's face it: economics is a politically charged topic, and answers shouldn't be deleted based on the political ideology of the answerer, nor should we allow the "rude and abusive" flag be abused to censor people who disagree with us. I'd be very surprised if the Politics SE site doesn't have a policy for dealing with this, for instance.

Furthermore, I do believe that I did take into account all suggestions that were made to me by the moderator team; the only suggestion you made was that stating that women had inferior negotiation skills was overly strong, so I edited my post to say "on average" even though that was redundant since I was already talking about women as an aggregate group rather than as individuals. If you made any other specific recommendations, I do not recall them, and I would be willing to implement them if it were to get my Answer undeleted. Additionally, when I responded to your communications with me over the private message you sent me to indicate my compliance with your only explicit request, you did not respond, so I took that as indicating that you were satisfied with my response to your moderator requests. If you had responded with "no, that isn't sufficient, we also want you to change A, B, and C", I would have complied with those requests as well, unless you were to ask me to change the fundamental thesis of my answer - which I now understand to be the core of your disagreement with me, hence my accusations of political censorship.

As for sources, I will state that I repeatedly stated that I was open to having my post edited to include additional sources. After all, the fundamental reason why the edit button exists, and is available to all users with a certain minimum level of Reputation, is so that if you believe an answer can be improved, you can be empowered to improve it by suggesting edits. If any user believes that any of my posts on any SE site could use more sources, I wholeheartedly encourage them to edit those posts to include them! That is, after all, what the edit button is for. In fact, one of the members of the moderation team did so, adding the third source to my post - and leaving aside the possibility of antagonising the mod team by rejecting the edit and removing it, I do believe that unlike what the OP says, it did support my main point.

As for the other two sources, I cited first a Huffington Post article disproving the issue in question, as I believed that such a strongly Left-biased source speaking out against a feminist talking point would be sufficient to prove my case - if even the HuffPo is saying feminists were wrong, then it must be true since their bias would be to say that they are correct, instead. When I was informed in the comments to my answer that biased sources weren't considered suitable for this SE site, I edited my answer to include a link to Forbes instead, as they are generally considered well-respected and politically neutral. In both cases, the authors of the articles cited a number of scientific papers, and distilled their results down into an easily readable article.

Finally, you claimed that I was being sexist by ignoring "decades of economic research". I was not. The research is on my side: there is no pay gap, or if there is, it is too small to properly measure. The raw wage gap is the result of individual choices, which are in turn the results of biological differences between the genders, both as a result of reproductive differences directly (women taking time off for work to have children, women choosing more flexible hours over higher pay to raise their children, etc), as well as how our reproduction caused evolution to alter our psychology (e.g. men have a higher tolerance for risk and a broader IQ curve because we're more expendable, men are more system-focused while women are more person-focused because the roles our ancestors played in hunter-gather societies, etc); I didn't go into these facts in the post because root causes are a bit irrelevant when asked "does thing exist" and the answer is "no". Also, again, talking about men and women as aggregate groups, and there are always outliers and exceptions whenever you're talking about statistics. Once you control for occupational differences, the wage gap vanishes to an insignificant amount that can be attributed to women's inferior negotiation skills (again, on average, because were talking about women as an aggregate group) due to their higher agreeableness, or to imperfect bucketing systems for the process of controlling for differences in occupation that might compare doctors to nurses, or doctors in higher-paid specialities to doctors in lower-paid specialities.

  • $\begingroup$ Please see a response to your post that's too long to fit into the comment box: economics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2102/42 $\endgroup$ – Herr K. Mar 16 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ Bro, what political opponents are you talking about? This isn't a political forum for political questions. You can post whatever you want, just back that up with citations from the endless supply of peer reviewed journals on this topic, instead of a news article and you'll be fine. $\endgroup$ – BB King Mar 16 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ @BBKing "Bro, what political opponents are you talking about?" Left-wing people who censor anti-feminist ideas, in this case. "This isn't a political forum for political questions." Yes, it is. Economics is a heavily politicized discipline, ranging from Marxist economics on one side to Austrian trickle-down economics and ancap libertarianism on the other. It is heavily tied to the official positions of political parties and is the defining issue of the most common political spectrum. $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Mar 17 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ you seem to have misconception about what economics is. Even austrian or marxian economics is not political no matter what some pundits without economic degree say. There is actually even whole field of feminist economics, which is also heterodox economics (but again nothing to do with political feminism) but the Kitsune answer was firmly within the mainstream economics (e.g. economics as thought at top universities - which consist of theories from various schools that survive extensive empirical testing), showing that he is not adherent to that heterodox field but regular economist. $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 17 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ in addition, as explained in my answer there is no 'trickle down economics' the same way as there is no 'soak the rich' economics. 'Trickle down' or 'soak the rich' are pejoratives used by left/right they do not belong on economics any respectable economics site, by using pejoratives you are not endearing yourself to the community, please stop. $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 17 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 "Even austrian or marxian economics is not political no matter what some pundits without economic degree say." They are, though. "Take from the wealthy and give to the poor", says the Left-wing politician, who stands to benefit from the votes of the poor. "Take from noone, and allow the Invisible Hand to decide who wins", says the Right-wing politician who stands to benefit from the donations of the wealthy. In both cases, they're using economics to make their arguments. Economics is, fundamentally, a machine for generating excuses for politicians to do what gives them power. $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Mar 17 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 I'm simplifying a bit, but you understand what I'm saying, right? Politics and economics are fundamentally intertwined on a root level. If you have a political position, you have an economic position. If you have an economic position, you have a political position. That's what the "left/right" political spectrum is. $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Mar 17 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @nick012000 this is fallacy, politics and economics are not intertwined at root level, economics is a science. That would be like saying politics and physics are intertwined because some politicians want more fossil fuels and some politicians want renewables and well these work of physical processes and our understanding of fossil fuels and renewables comes from physics. Just because politicians 'weaponize' physics, economics, biology etc that does not mean those fields are intertwined - politics corrupts and weaponizes everything it touches and that is precisely why scientists avoid it $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 17 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 Climate "science" is also inherently political, yes. It's just a vehicle for politicians to funnel money to their friends. Additionally, economics is worse, because it's about money directly, to the extent it even exists independently from politics at all (if it even does). $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Mar 17 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ @nick012000 no it is not, politicians might want to politicize for their fights but climate science (CS) as published in peer review journals, handbooks, textbooks is not political. For example, in the Europe there are many countries where left is the one who is denying climate change and right which is for renewables, this just shows you that politicians from either party will try to politicize anything as it suits them but the CS is not right or left, in eastern europe where left traditionally supported coal they also came to adopt denial about CS the same way as right in other places $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 17 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 "climate science (CS) as published in peer review journals ... is not political" It is, though. The scientists are bought and paid for by the grants they're given, and once you've gotten a critical mass of corrupt scientists, you can have them drive out the uncorrupt scientists out by taking control of the peer-review process of the journals and preventing their papers from being published, and then you use claims of "scientific consensus" to destroy the careers of those who disagree. $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Mar 17 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000 that's a fairly contentious statement on scientists, can you back that one up? $\endgroup$ – Jeroen Mar 17 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ @nick012000 with all the respect that sound like a conspiracy theory. 1. Many grants especially in the US are founded not via taxpayers but from donations, some of them through businesses, especially at private universities, or they are paid from endowments of those universities. The top universities tend to be private (Harvard, U of Chicago etc). 2. Scientists can also always publish and get citations from pre-prints like arXiv.org. Even if peer review process would get corrupted (which is not) there is nothing stopping disseminating good research $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 17 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ @1muflon1 Grants from businesses and private benefactors are just as likely to come with expectations as grants from government are, and can be just as big a force for corruption. Publish something they don't like, watch the money dry up. $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Mar 17 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000, it's a shame to hear of the censorship you have sustained. I too think moderation powers are being abused here to silence political opponents, and it is not proper for the moderators to usurp the voting system in order to express their own view on the correctness of an answer from the perspective of the economics profession. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mar 19 at 22:58

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