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Sometimes users post rants as questions or answers, some posts seem to be more about broadcasting a certain world view than actual contructive posts. These posts tend to be controversial at best and just plain offensive at worst.

Handling those on the main site is pretty straight-forward, questions get closed as not constructive and depending on how bad the posts are they'll get deleted rather sooner than later, or even sometimes immediately.

The aspect I'd like some input on is how meta posts about such incidents should be handled. I've encountered this a few times now and sometimes the meta post is as bad as the original one it is about. A certain amount of quoting from the original post may be necessary to be able to discuss the post, but allowing users to use meta as another venue to publish content that was deemed non-constructive or offensive by the community seems like a very bad idea.

I've always considered the meta sites to have somewhat more relaxed rules than the main site, one purpose of them is to let the users criticize the actions of the community and the moderators. Closing or deleting posts related to such criticism contains a significant conflict of interest, and I tend to let even barely constructive posts slide.

How much should I intervene as a moderator in such cases? Is completely deleting quotes from posts deleted due to being rants or offensive warranted, leaving only 10k user with the full text? Where should the line be drawn on users defending their posts, when the defense essentially continues their rant that has been deleted?

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There's a little leeway on Meta for ranting, but there's still a line to draw. Meta discussions are meant to draw relevant important discussion from the community.

If it's clear that the purpose of a meta post is purely personal, e.g. attacking a specific moderator or user rather than making a discussion about how this sort of situation should be handled, it's not a "good" rant. Generally these should be closed in my opinion. If you can't imagine ever pointing back to a meta question in the future because it's content is useful, then that meta post is garbage, just like main site questions. Meta posts can still be "too localized".

As far as deleting quotes from posts, that's a bit trickier than "WHY ARE MODS SO DUMB AND SMELL BAD AND I HATE THEM". I would generally leave quotes from posts intact, provided the question doesn't otherwise meet my above criteria. The only exception would be if the quotes really are deliberately and significantly offensive in nature. You don't need to allow someone to quote their racist rant or post their naked pictures just because it's Meta either. But if it's just the text of a closed question I don't see why you'd need to censor it at all.

Basically, is the post an imminent trainwreck, posted explicitly for the purpose of becoming a trainwreck and/or pissing people off? If so, sure, close it. Meta questions need to be constructive too.

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