Shame-free zones

Melanie Joy’s article on shaming was shared widely and several people have expressed interest in making their Facebook group (or organisation) a shame-free zone. To that aim, here’s a short text with some commitments , which people could paste in their group or on their wall. You also find the text itself below


This area is a shame-free zone. We:

do not presume knowing other people’s thoughts, feelings, or identity better than they do. Therefore, we do not argue about whether another is or is not a vegan, feminist, democrat, etc.

do not use degrading language or state judgments about others.

do not use hostile humor, including sarcasm.

aim to understand and be understood,
rather than “win” an argument.

are curious and open-minded.

try to stay connected to our empathy, considering
how the other feels hearing or reading our statements.

speak out with compassion when we see shaming behavior.

do not allow shaming comments on our pages, and do not “like”
or share them: we do not give a platform to those who shame. 


10 thoughts on “Shame-free zones

      1. One last note. If you’re having trouble engaging me, a highly educated male with an interest in animal welfare that is a bit aggressive/argumentative…..your chance of engaging the typical American (or western in general) male is near zero.

        I’m still really not sure what you’re trying to do here. Promote your career? Promote animal welfare? Promote animal rights? Reform vegans? etc. But speaking to the choir is one thing, but the minute you deal with the general public you’re going to be confronted with a lot of chest pounding men…..that aren’t going to impacted by all the usual appeals to emotions, etc. Solid rhetoric, powerful arguments……mixed with some aggression are the only thing that will work. And you’re really short on that.

    1. Tobias,

      You have enough people patting you on the back here, I don’t think being “positive” or noting points of agreement serves any purpose when you’ve created a deafening echo-chamber.

      But there is no real engagement here, mostly echos, so its probably the best for both of us if I stopped commenting. Good luck with your efforts.

      1. No, i welcome your critical comments and often agree. But lately i find myself skipping your comments more and more, i think because they’re is not enough common ground? Maybe state what you do have in common with the rest of us, just once?

        1. I do get the psychology here, and I’m sure you have a lot of valuable insights into public speaking and communication overall. But I’m not built for that.

          In any case, I was here partly to get a sense of your views but I can’t help but try to bounce ideas around and debate….its how I refine my views. But this isn’t the place for that and sorry for the disruption.

          Lastly, to be frank, I’m not really sure what I have in common with “the rest of you” because I can’t make out why you (plural) think veganism is compelling, nor can I make out any underlying ethical position that your views are based on. All I can say, which I’ve said before, is that I have an interest in the philosophic issues that arise form our interaction with animals.

          1. I think i was just being consistent (unfortunately actually) with what i preach: encouragement, rather than criticism (at least not constant 🙂
            I would think you care about suffering? I assume you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care at all? Is that not something you have in common with “us”?
            I can tell you many of these posts are quite controversial within the vegan community, exactly because i often, like u but ti a much lesser extent, relativize veganism, in different ways, and i get many things that you are saying

        2. Crudely I assume there is some common ground on suffering, but beyond that I’m not really sure what vegans think. Since vegans insist one avoids the use of all animals, I assume they believe that all animals can suffer and that isn’t something I understand, that is, it conflicts with what we know scientifically. In any case, generally speaking, all the underlying issues are complex and its frustrating to see them white-washed by vegans. You’d think vegans would be interested in the underlying philosophic matters, but I’ve found that that is rarely the case.

          At this point the only serious question I have about veganism is how to best marginalize it. But now I’m starting to think that isn’t even required, the vegan community is a pretty insular sub-culture so one may be able to safely ignore it and if it comes up, I find that writing vegans off as radical nuts is pretty effective. Don’t mean the last part to be offensive, just find that its a good strategy for opening the door to serious dialogue.

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