I'm posting about the closing of https://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/19686/which-movie-kills-the-most-nazis on the main site.

Part of the justification was that the question is 'trivia' - but it seems entirely unlike the easily-answered-by-IMDB questions cited in Should movie trivia questions be closed? - it's definitely taking research to solve as there's no canonical source (some movie death toll sites contribute, but they focus on big hits and also don't differentiate/rank by the Nazi death criterion). It also seems, frankly, like a less trivial question than about half of those on the main page right now that ask "what movie was a talking donkey in" or "what movie was a one-armed kung fu guy in." This is identical in nature to this question as best as I can tell - all are looking for one specific movie that meets the stated criteria. So that seems like a dodge and the justification for closing (mentioned more prominently in the comments on the question, as well) is really the latter two issues cited in comments.

Part of the justification seems to be "ick, violence in a movie, who could be interested in that. Enjoyment? Of killing in war movies? How declasse." Unless this is really Froofy Indie Cinema Stack Exchange, a lot of movies are made to appeal to those who want sex, violence, action, or other exploitation cinema. Unless I missed something, these haven't been put off topic. Whether people are just posing as Internet-PC-police or what, I'm not sure, but it's pretty obvious that's a major part of cinema and why there's a dozen war movies playing on the TV right this moment. This isn't a legit close reason.

Part of the justification is that "this might offend..." The commenters aren't clear. Nazis? Germans? (All the Germans I have ever known would never stick up for the Nazis). First of all, if discussing any movie in which any group gets killed/etc is out of bounds then this SE is in trouble. Second of all - Nazis, for God's sake. Except for a couple old gaffers who are unlikely to be Internetting it up, all the real Nazis are dead and we just have some variant neo-kinds in the countries that don't outlaw hate groups up front. Is the alien lobby going to complain over us talking about aliens getting killed in science fiction movies? And plus - they were evil a-holes. The reason that movies and video games let you kill zombies, demons, and Nazis is that those are, in popular culture, the holy trinity of things you can kill and not feel too bad about it. (Robots and aliens rank in there too, but actually robots and aliens are usually portrayed as more sympathetic that those three in practice.) Is asking a question about war movies killing Nazis really off topic because "Nazis might get offended?" That's somewhat on the preposterous side, isn't it?

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    @NapoleonWilson. Likewise - I think the original question was neither simple IMDB trivia, nor inherently offensive - but did stray into bad taste territory. mxyzplk - you might consider a change of title for this, you seem to want to provoke the people who closed your question.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:08
  • The title is humorous and designed to provoke both attention (there's not a lot of traffic here) and thoughtfulness via its reductio ad absurdum - really, we're sticking up for Nazis? I stand by it.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:09
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    For being a mod on another SE site, you certainly taking a "You peed in my cornflakes" approach to this.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:13
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    I'm not mad, but as a mod I know it's important to discuss the site rules and not always stand by unthinking mob action... Are you against discussing this? It shouldn't be threatening, if you have a reasoned argument.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:18
  • No, you know me. I like a good discussion. I just find it amusing.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:21
  • Me too.........
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:22
  • @mxyzplk Rest assured, discussing why you think a question was invalidly closed and getting some possible consensus about certain rules or not is a very good thing. Meta activity is never bad for the site.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:33
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    "Why was this question about war movies that kill Nazis closed?" Why did you ignore my question in comments? I did not vote to close, but if I'd had the rep. I would have done so. It strongly seems you are more interested in stirring than finding facts. Commented May 27, 2014 at 4:10
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    The difference between Nazis and non–Nazis — or any such group, really — should be a respect for human life. If someone says that they “respect life — unless it's a Nazi”, then how much do you really differ? Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 21:59

4 Answers 4


I downvoted your original post as being trivia. In fact, looking at the post now, I was the first person to downvote it for that reason. I have one major issue with the post. It's pointless trivia.

Now the reason given - closing as we're not trying to duplicate IMDB - isn't quite accurate. Effectively, any question which can be labelled as trivia, but which doen't lend to a greater understanding of the movie/tv series tends to be shut. An example from a few months back was: "Which Friends character had the most lines?".

Whilst this question might be of interest to one or two people, it's something we (at the time at least) weren't particularly interested in discussing. It involves a lot of research to get a single arbitrary answer which won't in anyway improve people's understanding of Friends. Of course, the community's opinions might have changed on this issue and if so, a meta discussion is certainly the place to address it - but effectively any unusual trivia questions like that tend to be shut down here.

Now, that is definitely the main reason the question was closed. However, as is clear from your meta post and responses to your original question, some people took umbridge at your phraseology. As both your posts show, you do like a bit of fun. I'm fine with that, as will most others be. However the phrasing of your original post was this:

For Memorial Day itself tomorrow I was thinking it would be great to watch the movie in which the most Nazis get wasted. That's the main point of most of those movies anyway, may as well be honest about it. I don't want to spend 3 hours watching something talky, I want to see some stormtroopers get lit up.

I don't think there's any doubt some people will feel uneasy about the wording of this. It's not about Nazi sympathizing - just your rather maniacal desire to see as much Nazi death as possible. Similar to if I ask which movie had the best rape scene because I fancied seeing it, or which film best showed American troops dying because I hated their foreign policies. When I watched Saving Private Ryan, or Platoon, or Apocalypse Now, I'm not cheering everytime a soldier gets blown to bits. The way you phrase your question really does make it sound like you are.

Now, whilst Nazism is obviously condemned the world over, the phrasing of the question was rather... psychotic shall we say, to some people - which is why they commented as such. Still, each to their own I suppose - but just you were honest in your reasoning, I'm being honest in mine.

However, I think you're trying to make far too much of a discussion about it. The real reason the question was closed was, as I said, because it was a trivia question that we just don't answer here.

Of course, if this meta discussion leads to a change in rules so be it. But ultimately, that's the real reason your question was closed and given the response to questions like this in the past, I think it's far more likely the site's definition of trivia will be updated than questions like this will be allowed.

  • It just seems to me like #1 is an excuse based on the phraseology (and the comments on the question seem to bear that out). How is this question more trivia than half of the other questions on the front page? Which movie has a talking donkey, or a guy who lost his arm? As opposed to "kills the most Nazis?" It's the same in nature as all those others, just everyone wants to play "oh so mean to want to see Nazis killed in a movie" and so they color it with that. The definition of too trivial that is on this site, in this Meta, allows these questions.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:49
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    @mxyzplk: I've already given you a different examples (the Friends example) of a question that was closed for a different reason. You're a new user here and you're clearly annoyed about your question being closed - but you keep referring to the Nazi element of it, whilst I'm trying to explain that it's simply because most of the serious users on this site just don't care about these questions. Of COURSE if the community feels different we'll change our rules, or our definitions. But this Nazi element you are rather keen to bring into it doesn't exist. It's simply an uninteresting question. Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:52
  • @mxyzplk your question have 5 close-votes, 4 close reason are for being it trivia and the remaining one is for being offensive. So majority thinks its more trivia then offensive. So discussion should also be like in the same direction.
    – Ankit Sharma Mod
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:52
  • @AnkitSharma yeah, but most of these answers start with "well it's trivia..." but rather than proceeding to really prove that it's trivia as the bar is set on this site, go straight to the content. So I think it's disingenuous to pretend they can be treated in isolation, as people are spending way more post-time on the latter than the former so far.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:13
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    @mxyzplk: The wording of your question means people are directed to the Nazi issue, as they're trying to defend the site and their reasons for closure. If you had asked "why was this closed for trivia", you would get different responses (I wouldn't have even bothered mentioning the Nazi aspect). Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:14
  • The majority of the comments on the post as closed objected to the content not the trivial aspect, so it would seem odd to not mention that. Why would someone not? There's one comment saying "trivia" and three objecting to the content in one way or another.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:17
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    @mxyzplk: People comment on the Nazi aspect as it's unusual. People don't need to comment on the trivia aspect as there's a flag built-in to handle that. They simply vote to close (like I did) and forget about it. I hadn't even read the question in detail before I closed. I simply realised what you were asking and realised that, given our history, it was off-topic here. Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:24
  • Shrug. As it's mentioned prominently I don't think it's unreasonable that I mention it in this meta Q, and several of the answers here (not yours) still count the content as their largest concern. So sure, it wasn't "your" concern, but saying it's not a concern and not relevant to t his discussion is disingenuous.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:25
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    @mxyzplk: Perhaps - yet regardless of what was commented, the reason your question was closed was due to its trivia aspect. I know we disagree on this, so we're largely going back and forth in our comments without any real outcome. Effectively, given the initial response to this question, it appears likely things will stay as they are. You do raise a good point about the "identify-this" questions, but a quick look at the meta site will show that these have been and continue to be debated very hotly. Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:27

I'm not of the "ick, violence" crowd. I downvoted and VTC as being unimportant trivia. How does knowing that movie X killed 25 more bad guys (of any classification) than movie Y contribute to the understanding or the impact of the movie? More bodies = higher ratings?

Second, I think the objections come from the statement "For Memorial Day itself tomorrow I was thinking it would be great to watch the movie in which the most Nazis get wasted. That's the main point of most of those movies anyway".

That is certainly not the reason that I watch a war movie. I will spare you the recitation of what I did in the service (Far after WWII), but suffice to say that I watch them to remind me of the heroism and the willingness of people of any nationality to stand up and fight for what they believe in, whether I agree with what they are fighting for or not.

But in any case, knowing that a movie killed X more people than Y may contribute to your own visceral satisfaction, but that would be another reason to VTC as being too personal/localized.

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    None of this is logical. What does knowing what actor was in a movie "contribute to understanding or impact?" It's an aspect of the movie... And you watch movies for your reasons, but I think watching movies for visceral thrills is not some weird issue I personally have and thus "too localized" - you have to be really, really out of touch with society and culture to not understand that is frankly the majority practice.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:13
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    I don't think "what actor was in Y movie" are really on topic, even though I've posted one recently. And your statement explicitly makes it a personal visceral thrill, "YEAH! NAZI DEATH BAYBEE, BRING IT ON!"
    – JohnP
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:17
  • Everyone posts their problem on SEs, that's how it's supposed to work, see the Help Center for more.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:20
  • "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face."
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:36
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    "I wanna kill lots of orcs, which module has the most orc killing?". You think that would stand on RPG? Or you could expand it slightly "Which gaming system has the most orc killing" and get the same effect.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:37
  • You should probably not make this discussion about me personally, or other SE's rules and practices. If you have legitimate points based on this site's rules, make them.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:39
  • I am. You're just refusing to see it.
    – JohnP
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:42
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    Besides your off topic ad hominems, your two points in this answer are "I think it's trivia" and "That's not what I watch movies for." The latter is irrelevant and I think it's pretty clear that the former is not true based on this SE's definition of trivia.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:43

So, here's my side.

I agree, the question is pointless, in fact I think that entire tag is worthless

is what I'm referring to here.

I have problems with some of the content on this site and anyone who sticks with me in chat knows my absolute contempt for ID. I feel this treads in that territory of "oh it might be interesting so we needz to keep it obvz for teh viewz!!!!"

Considering we're allowed to reveal now that we are indeed graduating I think we can throw that viewpoint out the window and focus on pruning the site a bit more and gaining a better focus going forward on quality over quantity.

I, like the other mods, do not have the power to make things go away just because I don't like them, sadly. (well that's not entirely true, the delete button feels so nice sometimes).

Regardless of the "taste" of this question and others like it, I think we should nip this in the bud and burninate the entire tag...right now.

But that's just me.

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    So get site consensus on that, or have the mods just declare they're all off topic regardless of the community opinion. But in this case one question of this type is being closed while another one isn't, which is not IMO a good way to run a site.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:51
  • Definitely definitely definitely +1. How that tag can exist whilst we decry "pointless trivia" is beyond me. Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:51
  • @mxyzplk: We'll definitely work on the former. Site consensus is definitely good. The latter is certainly not a good option. Community opinion must be valid. Can you, to help me at least out, give some examples of the questions which are remaining open that you're unhappy about? Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:54
  • @mxyzplk Believe me I'm trying to convert everyone to my evil ways >:)
    – Tablemaker
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:57
  • @AndrewMartin I'm not unhappy with anything that's open. I'm saying that given what questions are new and open on this site, which appears to be "whatever, as long as it's not trivially answered in IMDB," this question is like unto them. See every question on the front page that asks "which movie does X happen in?" Content aside, it's identical (and frankly is better written and has more detail than most).
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 15:15

First of all, I certainly don't want to come across as the political correctness police I am definitely not and I wasn't too deeply offended by this question (which is why I have not close-voted it either). The following arguments are to express things I, and I believe others, took a disliking in, but I can certainly understand your viewpoint, too.

First of all, the trivia argument:

While I am personally not a big fan of first-appearance and most-appearances questions (because I udnerstand them as trivia, too), we already have quite some many of those and they seem perfectly on-topic here. It is true that the question of "how many Nazis get wasted" might seem more trivial than things like "which story got remade the most", but I would still not disregard it as trivia compared to other existing questions of this kind, like e.g. "which movie has the most f--ks", and would rather concentrate on the more content-wise problem I saw with the question.

Next, the violence aspect:

I agree that many of a movie's enjoyment may come from more straight-forward thrills and this may surely be an aspect of modern culture (and you have yourself pointed out the common and loved body and damage count lists for ye good old action movies). But a particular disliking I took in the question came from the fact, that you mixed those things with a context (Memorial Day) where it doesn't seem too appropriate. I haven't much personal non-Wiki experience with what Memorial Day is and how it is celebrated, so correct me if I'm wrong. But I am not quite sure the most appropriate way to celebrate Memorial Day, and ultimately your fallen comrades/ancestors, is to watch the movie where "the most Nazis get wasted" and I would not agree that "that's the main point of most of those movies anyway", especially if considering the more realistic takes like Saving Private Ryan (as that came up as a possible answer). I'm not sure what would happen if I asked a question like,

I'd like to celebrate my granpa's service in Stalingrad by watching the movie where the most Russians get wasted.

Which brings us right into the next point.

Finally, why Movies & TV loves Nazis:

(Of course this title is to be understood as tongue-in-cheek as yours, though that has been disarmed already.) "this might offend..." not Nazis, indeed, but Germans. And that is probably because "all the Germans I have ever known would never stick up for the Nazis". Well first of all, as has been pointed out in a comment,

..are you confusing 'Nazis' with German combatants in general? There were plenty of German troops present in the bloodiest parts of the war (and supposedly, films depicting those parts), but few Nazis.

Now I certainly don't want to say every German outside the NSDAP was a good man forced to play along (and neither do I want to engage into a more thorough historical/political discussion about the intricacies of this), but suffice to say that most German soldiers were first and foremost exactly that, German soldiers fighting in an army against a different country, and that is also the way how most more realistically-anchored movies are treating them, too. Neither do I want to say that this is a reason to "love" them, not to oppose them in war or not to root for the heroes posing against them. Nothing stops us from being against the bad-guys of a movie, but you were certainly mixing things up and statements like

Nazis, for God's sake. Except for a couple old gaffers who are unlikely to be Internetting it up, all the real Nazis are dead and we just have some variant neo-kinds in the countries that don't outlaw hate groups up front.

might not have convinced me that this distinction was actually known (though, in favour of you, I'd assume this was because of the next paragraph and not because of miseducation).

But I also understand your arguments in the sense that the stereotypical term of "Nazi" is a common and often employed image of bad-guys par excellence, which we certainly don't "love". Like you said

The reason that movies and video games let you kill zombies, demons, and Nazis is that those are, in popular culture, the holy trinity of things you can kill and not feel too bad about it.

And I also accept that the term might be employed much more freely in societies that might not be burdened with too thorough a distinction. And this stereotypical picture is for certain understandable and enjoyable in modern culture, played to great humorous and thrilling effect. The problem arises where things get mixed and where movies that play on the rather stereotypical depiction and killing for the fun of it get mixed with realistic war movies where this approach would be rather tasteless. While you were surely targetting the former viewpoint, which isn't in any way a bad thing, the whole Memorial Day connection and the equalization of movies like Inglourious Basterds with things like Saving Private Ryan (both of which are excellent movies with entirely different approaches) gave this whole post a bit of a questionable, and yeah, offensive by-taste.

And while I wouldn't attibute this confusion as badly-intentioned from your side and didn't interpret it as too offensive to accept (being used to a somewhat laxer terminology in this regard from many people), it was likely a factor why people (including me) might have taken a dislike in this question.

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