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  1. Compile all known examples of such questions as links in a community wiki answer to this post.
  2. Offer an analysis in paragraph or bullet form about what you think the questions have in common. Suggest an “abstract question form” which stands as the representative of the class of questions. Discuss why you think the abstract question form does or does not effectively summarize the suggested class of questions. (For example, you could argue that some of the examples should be removed, since they are actually a subtly different class.)
  3. Analyze in paragraph or bullet form what you think the recurrent issues with the RQT are, and why. Ideally, cite specific Stack Exchange policies or other meta posts discussing specific criteria the question doesn’t meet, such as being “opinion based”.
  4. Offer suggested “guidelines” for such question types. This could be actions to be taken by editors, like telling the poster something about their question, or it could be an editing heuristic - a simple, quasi-formulaic way to modify the question to expediently redress the issues (RIs) it has.

Note: doing so does not make such suggestions “official”, but it allows one to at least link to such a discussion in the future, to avoid repeating the same conversations in myriad places.

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EXAMPLES

DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS

  • It asks if something is or is not “ethical”, or common synonyms pertaining to ideas like “moral”, or “right or wrong”.

DISAMBIGUATION

  • This is not the same as asking “Should I..” or “Should someone…”, because there are other deontic flavors than the category of the “moral”.

DISCLOSED ASSUMPTIONS

  • My analysis claims that “moral” and “ethical” would be synonymous, for the purposes of our site. I recognize this is disputable, so I state that I recognize that my analysis depends on this claim.

SUGGESTED ABSTRACT QUESTION FORM(S) (AQT)

  • “Is X ethical?”

SUGGESTED HANDLE

  • RQT:ETHICAL

RECURRENT QUESTIONS ISSUES (RQIs):

  • I leave this open for now. I haven’t thought about it enough.

SUGGESTED EDITORIAL GUIDELINES:

  • RQT:ETHICAL1: Inform the poster this is an RQT and link to page X… (also still thinking about this, so no concrete suggestions right this moment.)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Ethics uses morals and ethics synonymous, so generally that's fine. I do not see how "should I" is radically different a type. And a typical problem with this type is that the answers differ depending on the ethical framework you choose, thus making them opinionated and/or too broad.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Mar 18 at 10:12
  • I agree with @PhilipKlöcking on the fact that the underlying problem for "Is X ethical" and "Should I Y" is the same. While we are here, we were wondering whether the "share feedback" option in the question reviews is customizable. That is, for example, can we add pre-written feedbacks to it? And is it something moderation would be ok to consider?
    – Johan
    Mar 20 at 14:40

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