Proposal: Veganism and Vegetarianism

When I originally created the proposal I was advised to disallow ethical questions as the tend to be opinionated and subjective.

However, it's inevitable that questions relating to ethics are going to be asked - whether they come from a religious, spiritual or logical standpoint I can see questions being asked which do have legitimate, concrete answers.

As mentioned in a comment by @James Jenkins, there are multiple sites which feature an ethics tag (here, here etc.) and I'm starting to think that they should be allowed unless completely subjective.

So far I've thought of a few for and againsts for allowing Ethics:


  • Will potentially get more too-localised/opinion-related questions (e.g. "Is it wrong to keep my leather jacket after going Vegan?")
  • May make people feel less welcome/"bad" (I would like for it to be a place omnivores can find answers to interesting questions without leaving feeling angry/upset)


  • Wider scope of interesting questions
  • As mentioned, there are multiple other sites that have Ethical questions
  • There are value judgements that fall into the scope of Ethics (e.g. Why do Vegetarians not eat Fish?)
  • Ethics is one of three main areas of Veganism in particular along with Health and Environment, excluding it would be similar to Christianity excluding the Old Testament

What do people think?

up vote 19 down vote accepted

There are two parts to this, and neither is as hard as it sounds.

1. Questions About External Morality

As with any subject of Stack Exchange, it is generally assumed that the target community are those who purport to be following (or at least interested in learning about) veganism. So in that context, it is entirely defensible to close any question that swerves into the ethics/morality (for or against) veganism in general. I uphold this amongst all the communities where "religious wars" are common:

We are here to talk about the subject of {veganism} — Users do not expect to be challenged on their belief system, and questions challenging those tenets, or asked under false pretenses just to "make a point", will be closed as off topic.

Okay, so that spares us of the tired troll-debates like "why isn't eating meat moral?" "Are carnivores evil?" "Do vegans really care about the environment?"

But there's another aspect to this:

2. Questions About Internal Consistency

People are always going to ask, "Is {behavior x} considered to be Vegan?" But people choose to be vegan for a variety of health, environmental, and/or ethical reasons (yes, ethics), so that context may be important to properly answer a question. There may not be an authoritative 10 Commandments of Veganism, but you can't possibly hope to answer those questions without the author providing that context.

So… asking

Is {x} ethical?

is clearly outside the scope of this site. But asking

Is the way industry {x} works consistent with an ethical stance?

may be okay.

Upholding that distinction is up to the community, but you have to demand (and enforce) that questions (and answers!) provide enough context to be answered properly. Either that, or you'll have to take it upon yourself to answer the question comprehensively, from all points of view, or the question should be closed as too broad. But you have to enforce that premise.

Questions that (incorrectly) try to lump vegans into one giant, amorphous blob should be clarified to be more specific — there will be no infighting to vote the "wrong type" of vegans off the island — or this site will never work.

For me it would still be hard to answer "Is the way industry {x} works consistent with an ethical stance?" without knowing to which ethical theory asker subscribe. Regan followers may tolerate different things in {x} industry then Singer followers. Let alone Franscione. And that's ok because all of these philosophers approach animal suffering problem from different stance. – kukis Oct 9 '16 at 9:49

I agree with Robert Cartaino's answer but I think I would like to see questions about the reasons why people follow veg*n lifestyles. I think ethical positions can be explained without triggering endless, tiring, acrimonious discussions. So, while I hope it will be possible to close questions likely to do that, I also hope that ethics will not be considered off-topic by default...


Ethics is a big part of why I am a vegetarian. I think questions about Ethics should definitely be allowed.

"Is it wrong to keep my leather jacket/shoes after going Vegan?" is a great question, btw. I think the community is capable of answering this and much more nuanced questions . If it gets out of hand, there are several ways we can manage it.

As for people feeling welcome - if we drop a whole chunk of interesting questions, people will not feel welcome here because they won't be here at all.


I think Ethics is big part of being Vegetarian or Vegan so there should definitely be a place for it here.



You can't have a forum about Veganism without touching ethics and animal rights. Non vegans will invariably ask questions regarding animal rights in this sub and they should be well explained to show why caring for animals is important to many of us, what proof there is of they're sentience, etc.

Just because Vegetarianism is in the title, it cannot be used to filter out topics that are very relevant to veganism. Veganism is not simply about what you eat and wear.

I wish people would comment instead of just down voting. – ecc Dec 6 '16 at 12:57
(I didn't upvote/downvote.) I think the reason that most other answers are either downvoted or not receiving upvotes is because these other answers were written months after Robert Cartaino's answer, which already covers multiple viewpoints. – rwong Jan 25 at 14:11
I'm not sure how I feel about the amount of downvotes everywhere around this proposal. Hopefully people will not be bitching back and forth when the site graduates into beta. So for now, I have no problem with people downvoting me if they think I didn't bring anything relevant to the table. – ecc Jan 25 at 15:48
there are many viewpoints (I'm including both voluntary (1-6) and involuntary (7-8): (1) religion/asceticism (2) emotion/empathy/compassion (3) reason (ethics) (4) ecological/environmental/global-warming (5) personal health (6) activism/human-rights/land-rights/workers/anti-consumerism/a‌​nti-corporatism/anti‌​-mass-production (7) food allergy (8) being born into a culture, or not being given a choice. Thus, a StackExchange site can decide whether to be inclusive (to all factors), exclusive, or pay special sensitivity to certain groups e.g. some may forbid the questioning of dogma. – rwong Jan 25 at 22:19
I'm pretty sure it will be a rough ride the first couple months with each "faction" wanting to feather their own nest. We'll see. – ecc Jan 26 at 7:53

It's good to have Ethics in here because it's the only the Area this site ain't reached.


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