Recently a question was asked and quickly deleted because it asked about killing and eating a pet.

But death is a part of life and part of raising animals will eventually involve the end of life and what to do with the animal. But the question could have been reworded easily enough. But people were offended by the thought of it.

I am not arguing that the content was in not poor taste, or that any one was wrong to feel offended by it. But the near immediate deletion by a mod was overkill in my opinion. If we are going to have a no offensive content policy what topics do we want to declare Taboo?

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    Can you link to the question? I'm speculating, but I can see if the question wasn't primarily about "pet care", it may be deemed off topic for this site. Tangential questions that just happen to mention "pets" are not always as on topic as they seem. "How do dogs taste?" (for example) isn't excactly the purview of a pet expert. Nov 21 '13 at 17:20
  • pets.stackexchange.com/q/1444/24 - For the record the question needs to be fixed so it doesnt have the attitude projected (which was not indended i do not think). But it was deleted before it could be
    – user9
    Nov 21 '13 at 17:22
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    Chad: Yeah, I would have closed that in a second. It's simply is not part and parcel of the expertise behind a "pets" site. Assuming it was asked in good faith, the expertise behind that question might lie in our Cooking forum, asking if there are any culinary concerns about preparing domestically-raised rabbits. But the expertise about food preparation does not lie here. Nov 21 '13 at 17:25
  • @RobertCartaino - The problem is there are specific mental health effects that have been documented from eating a pet... there is a pets specific answer to this. The content was deleted because it was offensive. I do not have an objection to it being put on hold for revision.
    – user9
    Nov 21 '13 at 17:29
  • Again, not really the subject of this forum though. The fact that this food preparation just happens to be former pet is largely parenthetical to the question. This is a "favorite soft drink of programmers" problem. Nov 21 '13 at 17:35
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    @robertCartaino - Well Off topic questions dont usually get deleted. They are given a chance to be corrected. Offensive questions get deleted and that is the reason this one was deleted... The deletion is what I have a problem with not the closing.
    – user9
    Nov 21 '13 at 18:52
  • There was also that one response from a user (banned soon after) to PT regarding the chickens and how to best handle them. PT didn't appreciate the inference that the chicken be consumed.
    – JoshDM
    Nov 21 '13 at 19:43
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    @Chad Ah, I see what you're getting at. I agree it was off topic (closeable), but not entirely on board with it being summarily deleted outside the community process. But it's a judgement call I'll leave to this discussion thread. Nov 21 '13 at 19:48
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    @RobertCartaino - I based that on the tone of the question and a chat conversation I read shortly after closing. I commented in chat that a less provocative question on the subject would not have triggered that. There was extenuating circumstances in this case.
    – Joanne C
    Nov 21 '13 at 19:56
  • @JoshDM - I remember that response. It's the only time I've ever flagged anything for moderator attention.
    – Kate Paulk
    Nov 22 '13 at 18:29
  • @Chad you I believe you have sufficient rep to edit and vote to reopen the question. I personally would support a reopening of the edited question. I did not see the chat, so if something else is going on, you could ask the question freshly, though if you would prefer I can ask it. Nov 26 '13 at 12:22
  • Actually, the deleted question is species specific, and a replacement question should be cross species, the physical and mental health issues are the same regardless of species. Nov 26 '13 at 12:43
  • kind of off-topic, but in the first days I said in chat that someday we would come to a situation where the correct treatment would be "This question should be moved to cooking.se". Didn't knew it would really come... sigh Dec 12 '13 at 13:29
  • @woliveirajr - It was not a question of how to cook or prepare the animal. But rather a question on potential issues with the process besides the cooking.
    – user9
    Dec 12 '13 at 14:55
  • @Chad I didn't see that question... was just a remark on how some jokes, in the beggining of the private beta, can come true after sometime. Dec 12 '13 at 15:18

I think one of the biggest problems with a blanket "no offensive content" policy is that it is, as we have discovered, a very personal issue.

What I find offensive may not offend you, and what offends you might not offend me.

Also, making policies like this are generally just going to create argument as people disagree on the offense level of one question over another, moreso as motive is perceived or assumed.

At the end of the day, we are all here because we ostensibly care about pets, and this is why we have a site dealing with issues relating to the care and keeping of them. There are going to be times where we need to tackle sensitive content (sexual/mating matters, death and illness, etc), and we need to all be prepared and open to those possibilities, as they are natural questions that can come up as part of owning pets.

While people may have issues with, say, sexual content, for a variety of reasons (personal, moral, not safe for work, etc), I think that we can work to make an environment where people can ask reasonable questions on those sorts of topics without it becoming a giant NSFW-fest where people are getting uncomfortable left and right.

We want to become a good resource for pets and pet-related issues, which means that sometimes, questions are going to come up about things people need to deal with that might not be entirely comfortable for others. Remember, you always have the ability to ignore tags and the like to customize your experience.

In the end, I think these things need to be judged case by case on their merit as an actual pet-related question.

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    Bingo. Everyone has different views on what offensive is, and in this case, what for me is an emotionally neutral topic is apparently quite the sensitive topic for others (ie offensive)
    – enderland
    Nov 21 '13 at 19:12

Do we want to have a no offensive content policy?

We have one already. Every stackexchange community has one. It's built right into the system.

From the flag options:

it is offensive, abusive, or hate speech This question contains content that a reasonable person would deem inappropriate for respectful discourse.

The trick is determining what is and is not "content that a reasonable person would deem inappropriate for respectful discourse".

I think it would be a mistake to try and define a comprehensive policy as to what does and does not fit that definition. Rather, posts should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

With that in mind...

You stated "Recently a question was asked and quickly deleted because it asked about killing and eating a pet.".

That statement is a bit misleading.

The actual reason the question was deleted was because a combination of the tone, language, and background conversations that an investigating moderator uncovered made a compelling case for the post being unnecessarily inflammatory.

I strongly believe that under different circumstances, with different wording, a question about killing and eating a pet might not be immediately deleted.

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    Yes. Handling of offensive posts is always going to be somewhat case-by-case, and that's why SE has offensive flags -- if enough community members come to the same conclusion about a post it will be automatically removed, and it's important that community members use that tool when necessary. (For this particular question I would have cast that flag in an instant; this wasn't one hyper-sensitive mod acting alone.) Nov 21 '13 at 17:45
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    The conversation happened in chat this morning not before the deletion. The mod made a decision that it was offensive to him and deleted it before any other feedback was recieved
    – user9
    Nov 21 '13 at 19:46
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    Actually, the referenced conversations happened last night.
    – Joanne C
    Nov 21 '13 at 19:48
  • John is correct. I was not referring to the conversation in The Litter Box this morning.
    – Beofett
    Nov 21 '13 at 19:55
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    Usually we want the community to act on problems rather than relying on mods. When a community is small and young sometimes mods have to step in (I'm a mod on another small beta BTW). And part of the reason we have mods is that we trust them to act on their own judgment. All mod actions are auditable, so if a mod were to overstep it could be dealt with. I personally think that in the case of content that would reasonably offend the average person (like that post), we should delete first and (if possible) fix/undelete later. This was a terrible thing to have at the top of our front page. Nov 21 '13 at 20:39
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    Looks to me like it would have been good for migrating to CookingSE if only reworded to suit. Nov 22 '13 at 21:29
  • The nature of pets is that human's have an emotional attachment to them. It is not usual to enquire about eating a pet. It would be similar to asking about eating a child on Parenting. many people feel like their pets are children. We are not discussing livestock, which are often bred to be eaten
    – user87
    Nov 28 '13 at 14:14

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