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Policy "Alternate history" vs. "Current politics" - Printable Version

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"Alternate history" vs. "Current politics" - Kyng - 01-14-2021

When discussing history, it's often tempting to consider alternate what-if scenarios; for example: "What if the Axis won World War I?", "What if FDR lost the 1932 election?", or "What if Denmark never existed?". I'd certainly encourage people to give these a go - because, when done well, they're both intellectually stimulating and good fun :D .

However, it should be remembered that this part of the board is, first and foremost, a history forum - and therefore, I'd like us to avoid current politics (or events recent enough to still be relevant to current politics). Of course, the line between 'historic events' and 'current/recent events' is often blurred and hard to define; however, I do need to draw it somewhere :P . Therefore, I'm going to draw it somewhere that I hope will be fairly simple and easy to understand, while still separating most of the current politics from most of the alternate history:

  1. If your 'what-if' scenario is about a politician who has held or campaigned for a national office within the last 10 years, then the topic goes in Current Events and Politics. 'National offices' include (but are not limited to): monarchs, presidents, vice-presidents, prime ministers, national legislative leadership (e.g. speakers), cabinet members, and supreme court justices. (However, this does not include senators, MPs, or equivalent, unless they have simultaneously held or campaigned for a 'national' office)

    Note that this guideline applies even if the events are from more than 10 years ago. For example, "What if Joe Biden was elected in 1988?" would go in Current Events and Politics, because he's been active in national US politics within the past 10 years.

  2. If your 'what-if' scenario concerns a world event from the past 20 years, then the topic goes in Current Events and Politics. 20 years seems like quite a long cut-off - but that's because a timeline that starts in the not-too-distant past (e.g. 10 or 15 years ago) will quickly move on to events which are still current, or still within recent memory (which will naturally lead to current politics being discussed in these threads).

  3. If your scenario is about a world event from over 20 years ago (and it isn't about a national politician of the last 10 years), then it goes in History and Civilizations. These timelines typically don't get close to the 21st century - and, even if they do, the 'alternate' 21st century usually looks very different from the 'real' 21st century. (In fact, if you're going to do a very long-term what-if, e.g. one starting in World War II, and running to the present day, then it's best to exclude current politicians altogether. Your timeline is likely to change so much that these politicians probably won't have made it into office - or possibly won't even have been born!)

  4. If the thread is about something else, then it goes in the appropriate forum or sub-forum. For example, sporting what-ifs belong in Sports and Physical Activities, and prehistoric what-ifs belong in the appropriate part of Science and Nature (for example, "What if the dinosaurs never died out?" would go in the Flora, Fauna and Fungi sub-forum).

  5. All cut-offs are taken from when the thread is started. For example, if somebody starts a Barack Obama alternate history today, then it'll go in Current Events and Politics - but I'm not going to move it into History and Civilizations once he's been out of office for 10 years.

If anybody has any questions, then please ask away - but otherwise, enjoy the alternate history :) !