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Forgive me for being intentionally obtuse. I don't want to give offense to anyone here and I'm being very careful in that regard.

Today I read a question which I found frankly tasteless.

I would like to ask the community if the action being discussed in the question and answers is ethical.

For example lets say that a user asked: "What is the most efficient way to destroy a widget?" I would like to ask: "Is it ethical to destroy a widget in this way?" But if I do so, the original poster will almost certainly notice the correlation.

Here then finally is my question: Is it OK to ask whether or not a particular action is ethical if the question can be easily correlated to an open question?

I'm concerned that asking the question might be considered synonymous with naming and shaming, as I would obviously want to link to the original question.

In avoiding mention of the question I am referring to I fear I may have made this question difficult to understand. If that is indeed the case, please accept my apologies. I'll be happy to answer any questions I can to clarify.

  • If you post a question that says, "How can I _____" and I post a question that says "Is it ethical to ______" is that OK? – Lumberjack Dec 21 '16 at 21:13
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    Whoever asked that ethics question will correlate and wonder if you asked this question specifically targeting that question. Hence, I would like to ask, "Is it ethical to ask about the ethics of asking about ethics?" – Masked Man Dec 22 '16 at 6:27
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    @MaskedMan Point well taken, but I have to wonder whether or not it is ethical to make such an observation. – Lumberjack Dec 22 '16 at 17:17
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Ethics, unless it's so obvious that it doesn't need discussing, is almost the quintessence of "opinion-based" and thus pretty far outside our remit. Note that "should I" is also generally out of scope. "How can I" is in scope but asking how to do something clearly unethical will generally be downvoted to death as a Bad Question, and/or rewritten into an ethically acceptable form.

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    Going right for the reducto ad absurdium here, but many if not most ethical questions are not opinion based. "Would it be ethical to push my colleague down the stairs" is a silly example, but a valid one nonetheless. It's not opinion based at all, it's a clear legal and ethical one. Similarly, questions about accepting gifts, et cetera are ethical questions, but are clear and answerable given enough context. – Richard U Dec 30 '16 at 14:12
  • Agreed, @richardu – keshlam Dec 30 '16 at 15:44
  • Would you care to edit your answer then? Whether ethical questions have objective or subjective answer is a hot topic in the field of meta-ethics. But at the same time many people studying this subject would strongly disagree that any questions about ethics are a "quntessence of "opinion-based"" – kukis Jul 17 at 11:43

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