I've been struggling recently with the use of "ethics" on this site - I think it's overused to the point of the tag itself being much less useful than it could be (it's currently our 12th most popular tag) as well as answers and comments being bogged down by disambiguating "Is X ethical..." are potentially meaning:
- "Is X ethical..." in the proper sense
- "Is X a good idea..."
- "Is X nice..."
- "Can I be upset by X..."
- "Is my advisor/classmate/teacher/etc. a less than perfect individual..."
etc. Is there a good way to handle this? I think actual discussions of ethics are interesting, and a violation of academic ethics is often a very serious accusation, so I dislike that it's being heavily diluted in terms of its meaning.
Do we consider heavily editing questions/deleting tags for things that aren't actually about ethics? If so, do we need to fine-tune the current definition?
On the moral code or ethical policy of academia, including values such as avoidance of cheating or plagiarism;
Or do we just let it slide?
Some examples, per Wrzlprmft's request:
- Is it considered rude to address a PhD holder as sir or miss? - I think this is a stretch to call this an "ethics" question. "Is this insulting?" isn't actually a matter of ethics.
- Contacting EiC on social media - Again, this is far more "Is this a bad idea?" than is this ethical.