This discussion was triggered by the comment below, but actually it's something I've wanted to talk about for a while, so I'm not picking on (established member of the community).

Many people believe cats and kittens should be tortured to death, too. Do we need to be nonjudgemental about that too? – (established member of the community)

Sometimes, I see questions that make me want to reach through the screen and slap the OP, or worse. For example, when someone says they've been hitting their pet, or want to abandon it, it's tempting to respond with a rant.

However, I try to remember that my goal is to help the animal. If I alienate the person who asks the question, they'll just ignore what I have to say. That's not going to help the animal at all. So I try to answer as nonjudgementally as I can. Difficult though it may be, I try to understand how the OP sees the situation and give them better options for dealing with it.

So yes, I think that even when someone asks a question we find offensive, we need to respond with calm and reason. It doesn't mean that I condone what an OP might have done or might be considering. But I think that's the best way to help the animal.

2 Answers 2


Along with this, I think it's important to remember that voting on questions is about whether or not the question is good for this site, and not about our opinion of the asker.

Questions like "Could letting a cat take a very short spin in the clothes dryer be a good way to prevent later incident?" are good questions, but because it is such an offensive idea, people tend to answer with downvotes, rather than an actual answer.

Like you said, our goal is to help the animal, and alienating people who need help is doing the exact opposite. The fact that they're asking means they're trying.

  • How is it a good question? That's like someone asking if its okay to toss a toddler into a pool just so he learns not to go near the pool....
    – Just Do It
    Jan 8, 2016 at 16:50
  • @JustDoIt It's asking if negative reinforcement would be an effective way of making the cat avoid the clothes dryer. Their suggested method wasn't the best, but the problem is one that could stand to be answered.
    – Spidercat
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:09
  • My point is that everyone is reading the part about putting a cat into a running clothes dryer, and not the actual question of "How can I keep my cat out of the clothes dryer?".
    – Spidercat
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:11
  • Then the question should be formulated as such, title makes users become biased even before reading the question. I dv that question cause the question was formulated in such way that made it seem like OP was really considering the idea. The hidden question is indeed "How can I keep my cat out of the dryer?" but it wasn't formulated as such
    – Just Do It
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:23
  • @JustDoIt My position is that people should answer the question and include why the asker's suggested solution wouldn't work. If the asker mentioned it then I doubt they would be the only person to think of it. I don't consider it a bad question just because his suggested solution was bad.
    – Spidercat
    Jan 8, 2016 at 18:29

First; I looked for the statement above as attributed, and didn't find it, so I assume it has been deleted. If not, we should do so.

Second; There will always be something the offends you, some of it significantly. For myself, being a mod on Pets.SE means my vote equals up to 5 community votes. Also, the diamond next to my name when I post comments, occasionally means to readers that my opinion has more value then others (which it does not).

Re: Second; If I find something particularly offensive and it is pushing my buttons as a person, I ping one of the other moderators or I post something for the community. I try to be aware and only use mod "powers" when I am reflecting previous community decision. For non-moderators, use all the buttons at your discretion: flag, down vote, comment (appropriately), close vote. We have a good community here, and we have been working well to keep this a wonderful site. Occasionally, we all do stupid things and I think we all respond well if it is pointed out to us in a non-offensive way.

Third; I try to always assume good faith. The OP is trying to do the best they can with the tools they have acquired through their lives. I agree with your statement "we need to respond with calm and reason". If we can't, we need to ask someone else who can to step in.

Lastly; If you really need to vent about a post, comments on the post are not the best place. Go to the Litter Box and tell Ceiling Cat what you think about the post.

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