It seems like the Controversial Topic notice could be worded a little better. I know I'm not the first person to question whether the word "controversial" was the best choice, and I'm pretty sure I won't be the last.

When the notice is applied to some questions it may give the OP and future readers the somewhat unpleasant impression that the subject matter is inherently, well... "controversial" and it's kinda easy to be offended by that implication.

In my case it was applied to a question asking about communicating with family about my sexuality, and correcting their language missteps when they talk about LGBT+ issues. Of course people who are generally unsettled by the topic felt the need to chime in, and eventually the notice was added to keep things civil and on topic. I have no problem with the post notice in this case apart from the wording. People were doing what they usually do with these sorts of questions, and the post notice slowed them down a little.

What bothers me about the wording of the post notice is that it seems to imply that being queer and talking about it openly is somehow controversial. Or that being queer and asking to be treated with the same respect and kindness that you would extend to any other culture or group is somehow controversial. Or that just being queer is somehow controversial.

I hate to have to put it like this, but none of the things above should be controversial. The issue isn't that the topic is controversial, the issue is that some people feel it's ok to break the be nice policy and say some pretty unpleasant things to people and/or use a comment or answer as a soapbox to preach their personal point of view.

Now I'm sure some will say that the topic is controversial simply because someone wants to argue about it... That's not a great argument. There are still people that argue that the Earth is flat, but most of us probably wouldn't say that the issue is somehow controversial or even up for serious debate.

So, could we please try to think up a better word than "controversial" for the shiny new post notice?

For those that are interested I decided to take this up the chain and posted this question on Meta Stack Exchange: Could we please rename the Controversial Topic Post Notice?

  • 4
    How about "here be dragons"? ;)
    – ArtOfCode
    Nov 19, 2017 at 1:03
  • @ArtOfCode That would be an improvement.
    – apaul
    Nov 19, 2017 at 1:04
  • 3
    Or the "Keep it focused!" notice, since that is what the notice is actually telling people to do.
    – user8960
    Nov 19, 2017 at 2:27
  • @Hamlet that would actually make for a pretty good answer...
    – apaul
    Nov 19, 2017 at 6:16
  • I believe we should seriously think about rewording the 'controversial topic' notice, because it's attracting quite a bit of controversy. But at the moment, I don't really have any good suggestions as to what it might better read.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Nov 19, 2017 at 14:13
  • 1
    In a somewhat similar context I have seen "sensitive topic" which perhaps here would explain why things need to stay focused (going off the rails will upset people) without implying anything untoward.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 19, 2017 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


If you read the post notice, it has nothing to with the topic being controversial. It's about the fact that people are getting into side conversations and writing answers that have nothing to do with the actual question:

You may use comments ONLY to suggest improvements. You may use answers ONLY to provide a solution to the specific question asked above. Moderators will remove debates, arguments or opinions without notice.

I recommend renaming it to something like "Keep it focused!" post notice.

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