Are we allowed to post, uncritically, links to Holocaust denying material?

Just asking. Because it looks like it’s come up. If the answer is yes (and the response from ECG seems to be a yes)… I may have to rethink some things about this board. I mean, I’m all for fighting ignorance, but… yeah. No. Not gonna fight ignorance when it takes the form of Holocaust denying dog whistles, posted knowingly or otherwise.

I’m not comfortable with the links to that site. But my wife and kids are Jewish, so I might be prejudiced about Nazi supporting whataboutism.

This is the thread in question:

I would prefer to break the links at very least. I feel like this is supporting what is an inherently evil website.

Fighting ignorance is one thing, but linking to that site doesn’t seem to be on mission.

I’m going to break the links and knock this up to the modloop.

An important distinction here was that the OP was not promoting Holocaust denial. The OP posted links to a site and asked for what the truth was.

They also asked what our opinions were of the site.

I do not believe that the OP was doing so to promote Holocaust denial. That sort of thing would be closed around here fairly quickly. The even clarified in a later post that they thought the site could be all CT nonsense and wanted to know if there was any truth to what was said. They were looking for the truth, if there was any, behind the site’s claims.

The thread itself was actually progressing very factually, showing the errors in the site and presenting the true information, and this despite the thread being in IMHO and not FQ. Being in IMHO, folks are certainly welcome to give their opinion that the site was a disgusting Holocaust denial site and should be avoided and not taken seriously. But most chose to address the actual facts (or rather the misrepresentations and omissions) from the site in question. Instead of just giving their opinion of why the site was a horrible reference, they chose to explain exactly what was wrong with the information on the site.

That’s what we are here for, to fight ignorance. It seemed to me that the thread was doing a good job at exactly that.

If we are going to close threads like this, it means that we can’t discuss the Holocaust at all, not even to clarify what really happened, and I disagree with that. People need to know the truth. Ignorance needs to be fought, not silenced.

I think permitting an OP like that to stand opens the door for all manner of “Just Asking Questions” type behavior for what are otherwise supposed to be (I thought, at least) impermissible topics (right up there with 9/11 trutherism and scientific racism). Or does that only apply to GD?

Because asking, “Hey guys, I’m not sure about this site, can you all please check it out and let me know what you think?” (my paraphrase, not an exact quote) is a common tactic in directing people to… *sources like what the thread in question directed people to, thus drawing in a wider audience and platforming such views while maintaining plausible deniability. I don’t know nightshadea’s deeply held beliefs, but I do know that if you start allowing people to “just ask questions” about sources that coincide with holocaust denial, scientific racism, 9/11 trutherism, etc., you have effectively declared those open topics for discussion on this board.

I will fight ignorance, but holocaust denial goes beyond mere ignorance in my book. Whether or not nightshadea personally picked up on the dog whistles or not, or how they happened upon that particular source, I cannot say. But any rule that requires first discerning the OP’s true intentions (rather than their impact or the content itself) is bound to be unenforceable, because most bad actors are clever enough at least to obscure their intent by, say, just asking questions.

*ETA: Think of it as like directing people down a rabbit hole. The first link is some dubious interpretations of history that seem awfully generous to history as a Nazi might want it told, and then the link within the link (the banner prominently displayed at the end) is to straight up holocaust denying material.

You cannot debate Holocaust denial in GD. You are correct that it is one of the “tired topics”.

You are permitted to ask factual questions about the Holocaust in other forums.

But can you ask factual questions that amount to endorsing or referencing uncritically to holocaust denial? Is “Hey, did the holocaust really happen?” for instance, fair game for FQ? After all, it’s a factual question (to which the answer is of course yes, but then why is the question even being asked?). Is discussion of material that either outright denies the holocaust happened or is consistent with holocaust denial (to the point of being a dog whistle for holocaust denial) really a permissible topic of discussion as long as it’s not in GD?

And I suppose I should clarify, my principle objection to the thread at issue is not so much the discussion it provoked of Germany’s role in causing WWI or the impact of WWII upon Germany, but specifically of the discussion being grounded in those links to Holocaust denial dog whistle material (which itself links prominently to a site that actually does deny the Holocaust, lest there be any doubt).

How is this a question? The (German) Holocaust is a historical fact. Not only are their direct witnesses to the effort but there are explicit government records and testimony from those involved. Denying this is literally dissembling bullshit. It doesn’t belong in General Questions, or Great Debates, or anywhere outside of the Pit if there and only to ridicule people who are in utter denial.


I can’t imagine that an established user would post “Did the Holocaust really happen?” in FQ. And if a newbie posted that, it would be extremely suspicious (and if an established user asked that it would be even more suspicious).

As can be seen in the thread in question, Holocaust deniers often take real facts and truths and distort them or take them out of context. If someone wants to ask what the truth is behind these distorted facts, I think that’s an acceptable question, and I think that it is important that we allow questions like that to be asked.

If you ask a question in such a way that it actually endorses Holocaust denial, that is not acceptable. We are here to fight ignorance, not spread it.

I think that asking questions about facts should be allowed, but that links to sites like that one should not.

If a person wants to ask those types of questions, I think it should be incumbent on them to rephrase the question in its entirety here, rather than us driving up clicks for fascists.


I can totally see discussion of sexuality, but cannot see how a PornHub link would contribute to that discussion.

100% agree.

I think if @nightshadea had linked directly to the website of the British Nazi that is full of holocaust denial, anti-semitism, misogyny and a number of other bad things, that should not be allowed period and should be subject to moderation, because no one could look at that site and question what it is.

Where this is a little weird is they linked instead to a different site that contains tons of pages of German history, some of it going back to Frederick the Great. It all has a very strong pro-German bias, but on very quick glance, I think someone not well informed of the history would plausibly be confused about the site. I was not at all surprised that when someone did the work of digging through the various articles, they turned up attempts to minimize the Holocaust, paint Germany as victims etc, I read about half a page about the WWI propaganda on the site and then stopped simply because it was obvious this was some person’s passion project with no cited facts. I simply have no reason to read something like that when I have in my possession may professional histories of Germany. My advice to OP was to not use sites like this and to read real histories of Germany.

Another poster dug deeper and found disgusting Holocaust arguments, which absolutely at that point meant we needed to sever any links to the site. That same poster also noticed a banner link at the very bottom of the site’s main page that linked to the website of an infamous British Neo-Nazi (which I did not notice in my brief glance at the page originally.)

I also note nightshadea has been a member it seems like since 2001, so I doubt they have been lying in wait all this time to link to a somewhat confusing to someone not versed in history site about German history in the hopes we’d get exposed to the nestled in there Holocaust denialism, or find the banner link to a Neo-Nazi website.

I think such things probably ought to be judged contextually–if someone posted something like this a 2nd time any claim of genuine good faith would be significantly diminished. If someone had linked to the British Neo-Nazi site which is far more brazen and open in its Nazism, that also would not be possible in good faith. But someone who otherwise has behaved as a poster posting the link this person did, I think shouldn’t be punished but instead afforded benefit of the doubt. And like I said, if someone posts something like that again the benefit of the doubt wouldn’t be there.

see i never clicked on symbols at the bottom of the page… and according to the part where it discusses why the site was started allegedly the original creator was doing some family tree type of thing and apparently tracked it back to the era where Germany was broken up into all those tiny kingdoms and decided that there was some world mission to destroy Germany and keep it fractured … and i did notice no mention of the holocaust part …

If a poster has questions about WWI or WWII Allied propaganda, which are legitimate subjects for discussion, there are legit sites to link to. And if one links to a site with a sleazeball agenda, at least link to the section(s) making specific claims about propaganda and not the site as a whole.

I’m not in the least surprised that the site in question supports Holocaust denial, something we should debunk whenever it rears its nasty little head.

I don’t believe the author of this site is a “good actor”, but a malevolent, Nazi supporter.

That being said, good propagandists and charlatans often mix in true elements in their overall narrative.

non ATMB post

Germany had indeed been fractured politically into many small independent States (at its peak several hundred), the consolidation, and overlordship, over those States was a big element of European power politics and the subject of many wars for hundreds of years. It is absolutely true that some European powers wanted to keep the states fragmented and more easily influenced.

It is also generally true that after the Franco-Prussian War, the balance of power in Europe shifted such that over the next 20 years, the powers of Britain, France and Russia became very worried about the growth of German aggression and military capability. This was the basis for the Third Entente being formed, which in many ways set the strategic diplomatic situation that was still in place at the outbreak of WWI. Essentially a powerful group of European states had become concerned that Germany was just becoming too powerful on the continent. This isolation led Germany to get ever-closer to Austria-Hungary, which locked the Germans into a number of problematic intractable conflicts with other powers (specifically AH had significant conflicts over territorial disputes with Russia.) A linchpin of Otto von Bismarck’s diplomatic successes leading up to the Franco-Prussian War was a long standing alliance between Prussia and Russia, and a general success in isolating France diplomatically.

After the Franco-Prussian War, German unification, the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, and general growth of German industry and military capacity now made it so instead of being able to isolate any rivals, powerful potential rivals to Germany moved towards a strong united front against Germany.

A very pro-German view (like one held by say, the Kaiser) would view this an injustice designed to “keep Germany down.” The Entente powers would say it was to deter German aggression and expansionism.

There is also some truth that after WWII, with the formation of NATO, it was quipped that the purpose of NATO was to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.” The WW2 Allies obviously went in different directions on Germany (which is why the Soviet sector became East Germany and the Western sector was unified into West Germany); but there was general agreement after the end of the war that there would be no third round–it was intentional and very publicly stated that there was going to be deliberate steps taken to essentially neuter Germany’s capacity to wage such wars ever again.

Again, a very pro-German view could view this as a conspiracy to keep Germany down. A more nuanced view is “this country had been significantly responsible for the First World War, was almost entirely responsible for the second–during which it conquered many neighboring countries and committed many war crimes, the victorious powers wanted to assure such bad behavior could not be repeated.”

Due to Cold War concerns however both sides ended up helping the two Germanies fairly significantly rearm, albeit with limitations to exactly the scope and powers of their militaries, and both the US and USSR through their alliance systems (and more direct Soviet control of East Germany) made sure to structure the militaries of the two countries so they weren’t really set up for independent action.

Modding: Excellent post, but doesn’t belong in this thread. This is ATMB.

So please no responses in this thread.
I also collapsed the posts into a Detail style spoiler.

Heh, I had responded to that based on a Discourse notification, and didn’t even notice it was the ATMB thread :sweat_smile:

i.e. all of Germany’s damn history before 1871.

I’m a little ambivalent. My kneejerk reaction is to say that there’s no functional difference between “what do you think of this garbage website?” and “what do you think about this garbage conspiracy theory?”

But, as always, context and moderator discretion is important. Nightshadea clearly is not a troll and was asking specific questions. I would hope best practice here would be:

  1. Break the links. (this was done)
  2. Put a mod note at the top of the page stating that any discussion should be very narrowly kept to debunking the garbage from that particular website, and that this board has zero tolerance for the wrong side of the HD ‘debate.’
  3. Police the thread with extra attention and shut it down with prejudice if it begins to stray
  4. Lock the thread when the discussion is complete so as to not attract conspiracy theorists months or years later