I noticed that there's been sort of a back and forth on this answer.

  1. OP posts answer.
  2. (Shortly after) OP adds Saudi Arabia to answer.
  3. User A removes Saudi Arabia from answer.
  4. User B re-adds Saudi Arabia to answer.
  5. User A re-removes Saudi Arabia from answer.
  6. Update: User C re-adds Saudi Arabia to answer
  7. OP makes (possibly) unrelated edit to answer, keeping Saudi Arabia in it.

I have no opinion as to whether or not Saudi Arabia should be included in the answer or not.

But isn't that OPs business though? Shouldn't we just let OP decide on whether or not Saudi Arabia should be included?

I'm not so much interested in whether or not Saudi Arabia should be included or not. I'm interested in whether it's useful for other users to try and influence it. I'm thinking, OP is the one who will be getting the effects of the votes, etc. In the end, isn't OP the one responsible for the answer?

It doesn't seem like a big deal (actually, I found it sort of amusing), but I'm just curious.

  • 18
    It's petty and against SE policy to change the intent of an answer. If one disagrees with it, you downvote it, or flag it. I've locked the answer until people have finished hashing it out in the chat or in this meta post.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 13:44
  • 1
    @MarkMayo Maybe you could make this comment an answer?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 14:28
  • @MarkMayo BTW, the notice on the answer says that the post is locked until the issue is resolved. What would count as the issue being resolved? Everyone agreeing not to mess with the SA part?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 21:12
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    It's a default text. I was just locking it as it generally lets people cool off for a while and have a chance to have their say in the meta.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 9:19
  • @MarkMayo Alright, I see. Maybe it's worth trying now/
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 9:22
  • it'll unlock after a set period of time :)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 9:23
  • 1
    @MarkMayo Alright, thanks for clarifying.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 9:40
  • OPs are not really owners of questions on SE, they are just the original posters. The ideal is that questions be improved over time to be the best questions they can be. In practice this is not so easy so yeah often the OP is kinda the owner by de facto. Anyway I just wanted to clear that up. I'm not saying the back and forth in this case is a good or bad thing. I haven't analysed it yet ... Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:33
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    @hippietrail This is about an answer, though, not a question.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:39
  • 1
    @Fiksdal: Oh in that case then it does seem very much that the OP of an answer is pretty much also its owner. Sorry for my misunderstanding. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:48
  • @hippietrail No problem :)
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:49

5 Answers 5


OP here. I have not participated in the edit war and do not intend to, but I do stand by my opinion that Saudi Arabia is a "tinpot dictatorship" (well, perhaps more of a gold-pot one). I also understand that Saudi residents such as User A may not like this characterization, but perhaps they should go argue with the authors of the Economist Intelligence Unit, instead of engaging in an edit war or calling people who disagree "racists" (seriously?).

On a broader level, I could also swear that we've had a variant of this exact discussion before, but I can't find it for the life of me...

Update for clarity: I don't edit the content in other people's answers, I don't believe others should be editing mine, and I thus find edits like this to be completely out of line. Easy-lah. As it happens, this is Stack Exchange policy as well.

  • I do not recall engaging in such a discussion before. Not about Saudi Arabia. I just hope you take a step and remove "saudi" from your answer, I will consider that as a sign of great respect. Your opinion is fine with me, but the answers are not about opinions, and this specific opinion has nothing to do with the original question. Thank you. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 10:56
  • @jpatokal You're saying that you take no interest in the edit war. Does that mean you'll let the community decide for you? I'm thinking like, it's your answer and you should be the one deciding on it You are the one who will be getting the effects of the votes, etc. In the end, aren't you the one responsible for the answer?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:03
  • 5
    @Fiksdal Basically, yeah. It's a community site, I trust they'll do the right thing. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:05
  • @jpatokal Fair enough.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:08
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    Just a thought, why not say "repressive" instead of "tinpot", then it's just factual and not an opinion? Seems more accurate too since tinpot dictators are usually the incompetent type who strut about in fake military uniforms, awarding themselves thousands of medals, organising big military parades to disguise grinding poverty, etc etc - more Idi Amin than King Salman Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 9:03
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    To be a racist you should display hostility of a type that could be interpreted as racism to all Arabs. But xenophobia is one of those words not everybody knows. It's also one of those words ending in -phobia where don't always refer to fear. Anyway back to our scheduled debate ... Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:36
  • @user568458 Because that would be dull writing, and it is my opinion. Also, salman-alsaud.com/about/?lang=en. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 2:03
  • 3
    There is some merit to dull writing, especially on a site with readers from all over the world...
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 19:07

I'm not going to directly comment on this dispute (I'd be too biased), but I'd like to point out as background that jptokal is reasonably familiar with Saudi Arabia, just like the person he was in conflict with.

Looking at a selection of posts by jptokal mentioning Saudi Arabia, we can see:

  • This answer (partially about another Gulf state): +39, -0.
  • This answer, which the conflicter is in agreement with on the answer, and is more pro-Saudi than people commenting on the answer: +34, -0.
  • This answer: +29, -0.
  • I'll skip this answer, because it's giving Saudi Arabia as an answer to a factoids question.
  • This answer about a Muslim girl wanting to visit Saudi Arabia: +17, -0.
  • This answer mentioning passport issues and Saudi Arabia: +11, -0.
  • 4
    "This" is one of the worst link anchors. The answer will be better if you get rid of the repeated text and make the link the descriptions of the answers. Sorry for trying to change the topic (-; Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:39
  • 1
    @hippietrail Why don't you go ahead and edit it yourself, and see if I revert it? :) Putting the question titles in would make it harder to scan the list for information. :)
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 23:28
  • @AndrewGrimm: I might. I was super tired and sore and dehydrated last night, but now that I'm actually travelling again I was driven by my TSE addiction to try to help make things better. Even if that at times makes me appear a bit anal and stuff (-: Hovering over most of the URLs I just see meaningless numbers. If I hover for more than two seconds the browser shows more of the links to include a version of the question titles. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 5:13
  • @hippietrail Just in case you didn't notice, I was being ironic, as the question was about the editing of a post. :)
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 3:27
  • 1
    I was too travel weary to detect irony effectively (-: Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 5:21

If the edit "war" ends here and nobody, (other than OP) tries to add (or remove) Saudi Arabia again, I guess it's alright. (Since, and only since, OP has said in a comment that he/she is fine with it.)

But if the back and forth continues somehow, then I think there comes a point where OP needs to take a stand and decide for himself/herself in order to end the "edit-war".

Edit: It has now continued. I therefore believe it would be better if OP took a stand. After OP has decided, I believe other users should respect OPs decision and refrain from editing that part of the answer further. If they really, really feel strongly one way or the other, they can express that by comments and/or votes

  • 1
    I've updated my answer for clarity. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 12:44
  • We need a contributor from each of the other countries in this infamous list, just for balance. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:40
  • @hippietrail lol :) I wonder if SE is available in North Korea?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:50
  • @Fiksdal: I could potentially be available to dozens of people. We may not be promoting ourselves effectively there though. Or perhaps they're pissed off at us and boycotting. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 16:55
  • @hippietrail i thought NK only had a nationwide intranet? I thought the Internet was basically banned there, except for a few allowed sites.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 17:00
  • @Fiksdal: Hmm I thought it was restricted as to who can access it but I think I'm wrong and you're right (-: Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 17:05
  • 1
    @hippietrail I honestly am not sure. But high ranking party officials, etc, might have special access or satellite connections or something.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 17:07
  • 1
    At Bureau 121 and the University of Automation, Pyonyang they have open (yet monitored) use of the internet at large. After all, you can't hack a target if you can't reach it. From memory Kim Il Song University's computer labs have limited internet access. I wouldn't discount some other sites having access either, however I can't say if Stack Overflow is on the whitelist or not. Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 7:07
  • @TheWanderingCoder Very interesting, thanks.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 3:51

My opinion is that if someone is offended by an answer, for whatever reason, the right course of action is to

  • flag the answer
  • provide an explanation of why they find the answer offensive.

A moderator can then step in, and if necessary, work with all the interested parties to come to a compromise.

In this case, the right compromise could be something as simple as changing the word dictatorship to autocracy. I feel that dictatorship doesn't exactly apply to Saudi Arabia; whereas the word autocracy might just capture the sense of what the OP wanted to write, while being acceptable to the person who edited it. Or it might not, I don't know.

To edit the content of someone else's answer in cases such as this is really not acceptable (although I must confess, I'm guilty of doing this myself on Stack Overflow, when offended by a respondent's language).


The answer is wrong, calling a country "worse" because of the visa policy is way too much, US has a worse visa process yet it is not included in that answer.

Some interesting parts of the answer which shows the lack of knowledge:

not because they're particularly concerned about Norwegians stealing their jobs, but because they're afraid that they're actually disguised CIA spies/journalists

One more thing, saudi has a high HDI, the question was generally about HDI, yet jpatokal managed to insert it in the answer, imo it's 100% irrelevant.

This is totally wrong, at least in the case of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia had (has?) US military bases, and has a lot of US citizens working there. No one ever said that they think they are "spies", not Saudis, I am saying this as a local. This is a totally made up nonsense, that's why I removed "saudi arabia" from the answer. Not because it's my country, I myself wrote a few answers that looks against Saudi Arabia when the information is true. So no one can argue I am just doing that for no reason.

I still hope that jpatoka removes saudi from the answer himself. You can't just generalize a whole "country" because of the visa process. That's silly.

  • 14
    The question is about why citizens of countries with high HDIs need visas, not the HDI of the destination countries. Anyway, I've made two clarifications: 1) my problem is with the Saudi regime, not the country as a whole, and 2) I've made the generic nature of the grouping clearer, as I agree it's not terribly likely that Saudi Arabia specifically is concerned with CIA spies specifically. (I am pretty sure they don't want journalists or Christian proselytizers!) Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:02
  • Thank you for your understanding, that is indeed better, yet, the part about stealing secrets and really sci-fi, not reality. I know i might be biased, but not in this point. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:05
  • @jpatokal all saudi military equipment is bought from the US or the EU, all officers are trained there as well :) what secrets are you talking about :) Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:14
  • @jpatokal steal their women? the regime's women? or the people's women? so are we back about the country and it's people? seriously man :) some respect and stop the fiction.. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:18
  • 8
    The US has a much more relaxed visa regime - it's actually possible to get a tourist visa for the US, not so for Saudi. Also, the question asks why some countries require a visa for high HDI nationals (which Saudi Arabia does). Neither the question nor the answer makes any reference to the countries with restrictive regimes necessarily having a low HDI. You're complaining about a claim that was never made.
    – CMaster
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 12:41
  • @CMaster sure, as you say boss.. stealing women, CIA spies, etc. is 100% on topic? whatever, I know i am losing this argument, let's not forget you all are basically one race :) ... have a great day. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 12:46
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    @NeanDerThal If you have a problem with the elements of the answer you say you do (the phrase "worst", the references you mention) then you should be downvoting/commenting to disagree with the whole answer, not just removing one given example.
    – CMaster
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 12:48
  • 11
    Politics/wording aside, if an answer is wrong, you downvote it. That's how stackexchange works. If the other answers are right, you upvote them.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 13:45
  • @NeanDerThal Actually, Saudi government officials probably do have some (likely legitimate) concerns over CIA (and other foreign intelligence) spying, though I doubt this affects the visa process there much (certainly not to the same level as, say, North Korea.) Basically all nations that have the means spy on each other, even among allies. For better or for worse, almost every country's government wants to know what other countries' governments are up to. Also, the answer actually did mention the U.S. (at the end of the paragraph that mentioned Saudi.)
    – reirab
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 20:29
  • 1
    Why are people down voting this? It's an honest view put forward by a Saudi national. He is attempting to convey sentiment from that view point and as such it's valuable to the community. An up vote in meta is tipped "This answer is useful". It is useful. Please do not down vote out of spite!
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 8:19
  • 3
    @GayotFow People disagree with Nean Der Thal's answer so they downvote it, thats how it works.
    – JS Lavertu
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:40

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