Author Topic: Where do you draw the line on ethics  (Read 3771 times)

BoonDogle

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Where do you draw the line on ethics
« on: November 01, 2018, 10:40:21 AM »
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

To be honest, I am guilty of many of the small offenses above.  Just curious if anyone has thought about this and has a clearly defined ethical line?

obstinate

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2018, 12:27:58 PM »
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

To be honest, I am guilty of many of the small offenses above.  Just curious if anyone has thought about this and has a clearly defined ethical line?
It depends. Of the things you mentioned, almost all of them are unethical and sleazy.

PDXTabs

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 12:45:13 PM »
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Don't forget that there is a difference between ethics and morality. Ethics is following external written (or potentially unwritten) rules like laws and written codes of conduct, morality is following your internal sense of right and wrong.

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

I don't lie to get money or goods, that it equivalent to stealing.

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

Yes, by definition if you are following the written rules it is ethical, whether or not your feel that it is moral is on you. I have no qualms "taking" from government programs or large companies if I am following their written rules. Now a small non-profit might be different. I would not take advantage of a non-profit unless I really needed their help, or they really wanted to give it to me knowing my situation. But that's not because of the ethics, that's because of my own sense of morality.

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

I wouldn't take a ream of paper, but I might take a paperclip and a couple of pages. This would fall into what some businesses classify in writing as "incidental personal use." But I can hardly say that taking an entire ream of paper would be incidental.

I give back extra change if I notice, but I don't lose sleep if I don't notice.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 01:30:07 PM by PDXTabs »

mountain mustache

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 12:52:58 PM »
I will occasionally print a page or two of something "personal" at work, but I would never take a ream of paper, or pens, or any kind of supplies for my own use. If I use a stamp, I pay for it. I spend time at work sometimes doing things that are not necessarily "work" but I also spend time at home answering work related e-mails off the clock. To the tune of probably 30-45 min a day.

I personally do not like churning credit cards/bank accounts...just not my thing. I'm not sure if I consider it unethical, but it's straddling a line for me. Not worth it in my opinion.

I had a friend here in town a few years ago who would go to the "free lunch" at one of the churches here. It was meant for unemployed/homeless,etc demographic, though it did not explicitly state that. That to me is crossing the line. She was employed full time, had food on her table, and a place to live, and I always thought it was just strange to go take resources from others who literally have nothing. But that's just my ethics, maybe others see nothing wrong with it.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2018, 01:03:37 PM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

Churning credit cards are don't find as a big deal because they put rules in place and if you abide by them so be it.

Cheating on taxes or stealing anything from an employer is unethical no matter what you think you are deserving or not.

I have lied , cheated and stole and never felt good about it so I try to avoid at all costs. And as you mature and the less you do these things the easier it is imo to not do them or be tempted to do them. Morally or unethical.


gaja

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 02:02:26 PM »
During a lunchchat today I discovered that some of the rules I follow for reporting travel costs, are just my own moral codes. A theoretical example; if I have a meeting at location B first thing in the morning (50 km from the office (location C)), but I go straight from home (location A) and therefore really travel 70 km, I will only report the 50 km from C to B.

I don't feel bad for taking a private phone call at work, or surfing the net for a few minutes, because it just as often happens that I will update the business Facebook page at home while surfing the internet, or read a couple of science articles in my free time. The same way, I have no problem printing private stuff at work, since I often print work stuff at home.

We receive several types of welfare, that we could have managed without economically speaking. But this is not support aimed at poor people, it is a type of public insurance that you can apply for if you are sick, disabled, or have a lot of extra work because of sick children.

For taxes and credit card churning, I will follow the rules. If I find a rule that is an advantage for me, I will use it and not feel bad at all.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 02:12:18 PM »
I try not to lie--as Mark Twain said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

Cheating at work:  I work for myself, so if I need time for personal stuff, fine, I do it.  I don't have to lie about it.  I just can't bill that time to clients, and I don't.  I admit to mailing personal stuff from work sometimes.  It's just easier.

Cheating on taxes:  Not worth it in the least.  There have been a couple of items I deducted that were mixed and I paid from work, but more b/c it's just easier to pay one fee to a vendor.  For example, I recently got a new headshot taken for my website, and the photographer (a friend) included a family photo on the same day for a single fee.  I paid from using my work credit card.  Should I have divided the cost?  Maybe, but eh, whatever.

Credit card churning:  Bless you if you have the time and inclination to keep track of that.  I don't, but I do take advantage of the miles offered.

I'm sure I'm not squeaky clean, but I don't knowingly engage in shady practices.  I don't want to have to to remember everything!

Cranky

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 02:41:29 PM »
All of that seems like a lot of work. I will fudge the truth to avoid hurting someone, but otherwise Id rather live so that I dont need to tell lies.

I took my own pens and paper to work; there really wasnt anything to steal.

Peter Parker

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 02:44:15 PM »
Since 2016 I lie, cheat, steal.  It can get you places

Peter Parker

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 02:49:26 PM »
Since 2016 I lie, cheat, steal.  It can get you places

And if I get outed, I recently learned to use "whataboutism" and gas lighting.  And, of course, when that doesn't work, you throw a dog whistle in and get people to look away.

Wish I hadn't wasted most of my life trying to be a good person.  I could've been somebody!

nessness

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 02:57:51 PM »
In general, I would say that if you feel the need to avoid getting caught, it's probably unethical (with obvious exceptions like planning a surprise party). For example, I'd have no problem putting one office pen in my purse in front of my boss, but I wouldn't dump in a whole box in front of him, so I'd say that taking one pen from work is unethical but not several.

As far as correcting mistakes in my favor, I'll ask myself whether I'd correct the same mistake if it was in the other person's favor. For example, if a store overcharges me by 50 cents, I'll correct it in the moment if I notice it, but if I don't notice until I get home I'll just let it go. But if they overcharged me by $10, I'd ask them to correct the mistake next time I went to the store. So I act the same in reverse - I'll correct a 50 cent undercharge in the moment but I won't to back to the store if I notice it later. One time my kids' daycare undercharged me by about $200 due to a computer glitch, and I tried 2 or 3 times to get them to correct it before giving up.

Eric

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 03:27:16 PM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

BoonDogle

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2018, 04:45:39 PM »
LOL.  One of the points that I thought might come out in this is that many things we consider ethical we classify as incidental in cost or consequence.  Outside of that the unethical things are what we consider significant in cost or consequence.  Where that line is drawn is the interesting thing.  Also, for some, it is a moving target.  I would never do that to __, but if I'm dealing with __, then I have no problem.  I am interested to see how many absolutes there are in moral and ethical dilemmas vs qualified.  For instance, I would never lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, etc - as shown by Eric.  Also, I would never add 15 minutes to my time at work but I have no problem not working for 15 minutes when I am getting paid.  Again, I am not trying to take the high ground here because Lord knows I am guilty of many things mentioned (I started this thread during office hours).

Luck12

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2018, 07:30:41 PM »
Since 2016 I lie, cheat, steal.  It can get you places

And if I get outed, I recently learned to use "whataboutism" and gas lighting.  And, of course, when that doesn't work, you throw a dog whistle in and get people to look away.

Wish I hadn't wasted most of my life trying to be a good person.  I could've been somebody!

LOL so true.  Anyway I wouldn't consider credit card churning anywhere near unethical or immoral, I mean come on, I've had banks deny me bonuses when I clearly met the requirements.  Thankfully CFPB fought to get my bonuses.  So fuck the banks.   

"Stealing time from the employer" - Ha, as long as you are meeting the job requirements, so what?

BoonDogle

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2018, 07:16:08 AM »
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics?  I know from the other topic that there is a wide gap between what people consider unethical.  For instance:

Don't forget that there is a difference between ethics and morality. Ethics is following external written (or potentially unwritten) rules like laws and written codes of conduct, morality is following your internal sense of right and wrong.

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?

I don't lie to get money or goods, that it equivalent to stealing.

How about cheating?  Do you consider it unethical (or draw the line) cheating your employer by coming in late and not reflecting your actual time on your time sheet.  How about gaming the system - is it unethical to take advantage of a program meant for the poor if you are wealthy?  How about churning credit cards?  Is it always ethical if it is legal?  What if nobody is harmed?

Yes, by definition if you are following the written rules it is ethical, whether or not your feel that it is moral is on you. I have no qualms "taking" from government programs or large companies if I am following their written rules. Now a small non-profit might be different. I would not take advantage of a non-profit unless I really needed their help, or they really wanted to give it to me knowing my situation. But that's not because of the ethics, that's because of my own sense of morality.

How about stealing?  Most people would agree that stealing large amounts from others is unethical.  What about stealing small office items from work such as a ream of paper or other small inexpensive items.  Are you OK with taking small items from a wealthy owner of your company?  What about stealing time from your employer by surfing the internet instead of doing your work?  What if a retail company gives you too much change in return for your payment?  Where do you draw the line?

I wouldn't take a ream of paper, but I might take a paperclip and a couple of pages. This would fall into what some businesses classify in writing as "incidental personal use." But I can hardly say that taking an entire ream of paper would be incidental.

I give back extra change if I notice, but I don't lose sleep if I don't notice.

PDX, that is interesting that you distinguish between the two words.  I have not heard that point of view and I generally use the two interchangeably.  From that standpoint, something could be ethical but not moral and vice versa.  I definitely agree on the incidental personal use and I also make the distinction that you make between government programs and non-profits.  Thanks for you point of view.

lollipop_hurricane

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2018, 07:25:04 AM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

BoonDogle

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2018, 07:40:10 AM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

Agreed.  I got a good laugh from the irony in your story.  Tell them the truth and they all believe you are lying - lol.

BoonDogle

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2018, 08:07:14 AM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

One of the interesting things about this thought experiment is that multiple studies show that men as a general rule have much looser ethical standards than women.  In addition, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, men are much more likely to perpetrate fraud in the workplace and the losses are greater per fraud.  So I expect that your situation is not all the uncommon, lollipop.  It must be built into our DNA - lol.

DS

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2018, 08:25:11 AM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

Agreed.  I got a good laugh from the irony in your story.  Tell them the truth and they all believe you are lying - lol.

Haha, yeah, why would they believe someone wouldn't WANT to see them?

Blueberries

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2018, 08:46:31 AM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay. <edit>

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

This response addresses exactly how I feel about it all. 

I try not to lie.  I have found it easier now that I have children because I know they are listening and watching.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 06:55:30 AM by Blueberries »

GuitarStv

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2018, 08:54:13 AM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

I kinda disagree with the whole concept of the white lie.  Rather than lie, tell people the truth in a non-dickish way.

"How do I look today?"

"You look tired, but I still think you're lovely."




"How do these pants look?"

"I think you look prettier in your blue pants."

etc.

shenlong55

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2018, 09:35:33 AM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

I kinda disagree with the whole concept of the white lie.  Rather than lie, tell people the truth in a non-dickish way.

"How do I look today?"

"You look tired, but I still think you're lovely."




"How do these pants look?"

"I think you look prettier in your blue pants."

etc.

+1

Boofinator

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2018, 03:51:44 PM »
LOL.  One of the points that I thought might come out in this is that many things we consider ethical we classify as incidental in cost or consequence.  Outside of that the unethical things are what we consider significant in cost or consequence.  Where that line is drawn is the interesting thing.  Also, for some, it is a moving target.  I would never do that to __, but if I'm dealing with __, then I have no problem.  I am interested to see how many absolutes there are in moral and ethical dilemmas vs qualified.  For instance, I would never lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, etc - as shown by Eric.  Also, I would never add 15 minutes to my time at work but I have no problem not working for 15 minutes when I am getting paid.  Again, I am not trying to take the high ground here because Lord knows I am guilty of many things mentioned (I started this thread during office hours).

This has an official term: "de minimis". Most ethical guidelines have a de minimis exemption where an infrequent acceptance of objects less than a certain value are not considered unethical. For example, using the office printer occasionally, accidentally taking a pen home, etc.

bacchi

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2018, 05:40:10 PM »
Our ethics and morality often get imposed upon by others, sometimes unknowingly.

Take a mortgage. The terms are clear -- a bank loans you money and you pay them back. If you default, the bank takes the collateral. Is it amoral to walk away from a mortgage?

In the US, there are "exempt" employees. An exempt employee may work more than 40 hours/week (and usually do) but, on the other side, an exempt employee can't be docked pay if they take off early. In other words, if you can work more than 40, you can work less than 40 (though you may get fired or use up vacation time). Is it amoral to work fewer than 40 hours?

Indexer

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2018, 11:19:56 PM »
Telling my GF I love her hair, when I really wish she would lose the highlights? It avoids an unhappy GF. Happy GF > losing the highlights.


The only thing on the original list that applies to me is churning credit cards. Yes, I do it, but I don't see any harm in that. The company is trying to entice me to use their card. For a couple companies it paid off. I use my Uber card and my citi double cash cards on a regular basis, not because of the original sign up bonus, but because they have really good cash back features. All of the other credit cards I used were just for the sign up bonus. Maybe those companies should offer better ongoing perks, but they don't want to do that because it will eat into their profits. Who is being unethical? The company that gambled a sign up bonus would trick me into using an inferior card or me for taking advantage of their sign up bonus with no intention of using the card after that? 

Quote
In the US, there are "exempt" employees. An exempt employee may work more than 40 hours/week (and usually do) but, on the other side, an exempt employee can't be docked pay if they take off early. In other words, if you can work more than 40, you can work less than 40 (though you may get fired or use up vacation time). Is it amoral to work fewer than 40 hours?

That's me. Exempt roles are normally roles where the results are more important than the time you took to achieve them. As long as the results are delivered the employer doesn't care how long it took to do it. One person might take 50 hours to get the job done and another might only take 30 hours. There are some weeks I only work about 30 hours, but I deliver the same or better results as peers who work more. That said, part of the reason I work less is that I spent time on the front end planning how to do things efficiently, and preventing potential problems that would eat up a lot of my time.

driftwood

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2018, 07:46:25 AM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

Is this even a real thing?  I see it talked about a lot in ethical discussions about lying. The famous "does this make me look fat?" question. I've never had any woman in my life ask me that question. Most of the time, people don't ask me such limited questions that have to be answered by a lie (to not hurt their feelings), or with a pre-defined judgmental answer... in this example, you either say they look good or you default to their suggested 'fat'. Does this happen to you guys?

The CLOSEST I get to situations like this is when someone likes something I don't care at all about. They tell me something, and then say something like "isn't that cool?" In those cases I feel like I'm expected to answer in alignment with their interests, but I can usually find a way to answer without lying. "That must be really exciting for you".

I've found I can be honest with others and I'm not alone. But the people I surround myself with don't ask questions limited to: 1. lie, 2. say something terribly insulting or crushing.

Lying to your GF about liking her hair? What kind of fucked up shit is that? You really value her ego over honesty in a relationship? There's a way to not answer, or answer in a way that's not mean, but still be honest. I don't understand why people do this. If you lie in support of something you dislike, you are supporting the thing you don't like. You're encouraging it. That's how you end up having a GF/wife who puts a lot of work into keeping her hair highlights for decades because she thinks you like it. That's how you end up eating some meal you hate because you lied and said you really liked it and it was delicious, when you could've said it's not really a meal you like. I know honesty is harder, but it doesn't have to be mean and it builds a stronger relationship.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 07:50:40 AM by driftwood »

driftwood

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2018, 07:53:32 AM »
LOL.  One of the points that I thought might come out in this is that many things we consider ethical we classify as incidental in cost or consequence.  Outside of that the unethical things are what we consider significant in cost or consequence.  Where that line is drawn is the interesting thing.  Also, for some, it is a moving target.  I would never do that to __, but if I'm dealing with __, then I have no problem.  I am interested to see how many absolutes there are in moral and ethical dilemmas vs qualified.  For instance, I would never lie unless it would hurt someone's feelings, etc - as shown by Eric.  Also, I would never add 15 minutes to my time at work but I have no problem not working for 15 minutes when I am getting paid.  Again, I am not trying to take the high ground here because Lord knows I am guilty of many things mentioned (I started this thread during office hours).

This has an official term: "de minimis". Most ethical guidelines have a de minimis exemption where an infrequent acceptance of objects less than a certain value are not considered unethical. For example, using the office printer occasionally, accidentally taking a pen home, etc.

For government employees, we actually have a regulation (Joint Ethics Regulation) that covers these kind of things. Can you use the shredder at work for personal mail? Yes, after hours, because then you're not using your work time to do a personal chore. Wear and tear on the shredder is minimal. I don't remember the other rules, but a lot of common examples are covered.

I've used my own personally-bought pens for work since at least 2004. I also print things at work sometimes. I think it balances out.

Apple_Tango

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2018, 08:07:37 AM »
Im quite good at evading questions even though people think Ive answered.

Do you like the new neighbors?
They seem like theyll really fit in here!

Lol. So what I really said is you people all suck but people tend to just hear the complement and miss the message. Especially if you throw in a vague head nod. And its not lying! If someone calls me out then Sometimes Ill white lie or sometimes Ill be honest depending on the situation.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 08:12:50 AM by Apple_Tango »

accolay

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2018, 11:57:34 AM »
Usually I draw the line where I could either be fired, eternally ruin my reputation or go to jail. Or a mix of all three.

White lies are usually ok, but it depends on the circumstance. When I call in sick to work, I may not be physically ill, but I'm definately sick of work :) I'd never lie on an application or exaggerate facts though- did Hollywood teach you nothing?

It is unethical to cheat your employer on time reporting and something that could come around to bite you in the ass, but in the indursty I work in there is not way to be late and not have it noticed. It's absolutely unethical and illegal take funds for the poor if you are wealthy. http://www.startribune.com/couple-with-yacht-luxury-lake-home-charged-with-welfare-fraud/251443751/ I hope their funds were redistributed.
Churning credit cards could be slightly murky ethically maybe, but I feel more like the universe is being corrected than an actual person being harmed. Similar to how "Piracy is not a vicimless crime." Why is it ok for the financial industry to screw everyone, but we can't take advantage of their programs while following their rules?

I don't steal from work, but I have made a few personal copies. If I take one of their crappy pens home accidently, I take it back to work to use it there because I don't want it around my house and I wont buy pens for work and throwing it away would lead to more waste. As far as surfing the internet on company time? For the number of times I've had to miss or severely shorten break due to work load, I think we might almost be square if I check my email and the news while at work during downtime. If retail gives me the wrong change and I didn't notice right away, oh well. But if i notice then and there I'll make things right. Because it counts against that person at the register if their register count is off. That's good karma.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 12:14:18 PM by accolay »

accolay

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2018, 12:09:16 PM »
I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.

I've had conversations with strangers or coworkers that I don't feel like revealing all about myself or my loved ones. I don't necessarily lie, but I don't need to reveal everything about myself either. I think most people on this forum probably do this if talk about finances comes up at work.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2018, 12:14:49 PM by accolay »

scottish

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2018, 03:25:57 PM »
How about this case?

You buy a movie online from Apple, watch it once and delete it.

Six months later, you go to watch it again.   But it's no longer available, because Apple no longer licenses the movie.  Or perhaps you're in a different country and there's no license for that movie in your new country.

Do you:

suck it up and buy the movie (again) from Amazon?

download it using BitTorrent over your VPN?  (This is illegal)

download it from a file sharing site so that you aren't uploading any of the movie to other people?   (This is marginally legal in Canada, but not in the US)

never watch the movie again and start an online protest against Apple or the movie producer?

(reference linky:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnarcher/2018/09/17/apple-responds-to-disappearing-itunes-movie-purchases-issue/#49f623a572b6 )

accolay

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2018, 04:34:58 PM »
How about this case?
You buy a movie online from Apple, watch it once and delete it.
download it using BitTorrent over your VPN?  (This is illegal)

I'd go with that while remembering, "Piracy is not a vicimless crime."
I've seen the scores of downtrodden movie executives across the nation in soup lines and begging for my dollars at street corners...

Sure, two wrongs don't make a right, or something, but if you already payed for it t's The Man's problem.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2018, 04:37:13 PM »
After reading an earlier post about ethics, I got to wondering - where do most people draw the line on ethics? 

Lying - do you draw the line at casual lying to strangers, lying on your taxes, only if someone is harmed from your lie, lying to your boss such as calling in sick when you aren't sick, lying on an application, exaggerating facts, etc.?  Where is your line drawn?



 

That I am a literalist is among the reasons I abominate lying.

SwordGuy

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2018, 05:43:44 PM »
Im quite good at evading questions even though people think Ive answered.

Do you like the new neighbors?
They seem like theyll really fit in here!

Lol. So what I really said is you people all suck but people tend to just hear the complement and miss the message. Especially if you throw in a vague head nod. And its not lying! If someone calls me out then Sometimes Ill white lie or sometimes Ill be honest depending on the situation.

On the same note, I ran across a Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Referrals some years back.  The author would use them when they had, for social reasons, to give a referral but were unwilling to lie to the employer or lose the friendship of the person asking for the recommendation.  Each of them has two possible meanings:

In my opinion you would be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.

"I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever."

All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly.

I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine.

I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.

I would urge you to waste no time in making this person an offer of employment.


Villanelle

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2018, 11:23:19 PM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

One of the interesting things about this thought experiment is that multiple studies show that men as a general rule have much looser ethical standards than women.  In addition, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, men are much more likely to perpetrate fraud in the workplace and the losses are greater per fraud.  So I expect that your situation is not all the uncommon, lollipop.  It must be built into our DNA - lol.

Not DNA.  I have to believe this is almost entirely socialization and what our society tells girls and women is important for and expected of them. 

accolay

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2018, 02:50:38 AM »
Not DNA.  I have to believe this is almost entirely socialization and what our society tells girls and women is important for and expected of them.

Ah the old nature vs. nurture argument. Go watch Three Identical Strangers. It gave me some insight on what may be factored into our genes.

DS

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2018, 07:48:49 AM »
I definitely think about who would be hurt if I am in a grey area.  Most often, if it's just some giant corporation, I will not care if I use the rules to my advantage; however, if it's people I can see, like a small business or individuals, I would take care, to make sure everyone was treated fairly. 

I hardly ever lie, not sure why lying to strangers would be okay.  Tbh, sometimes my husband makes stuff up in conversation and it drives me nuts.  I can't stand having to lie to back up his story and we end up getting in a fight over it sometimes.  Once, when we wanted to cancel on his parents to drive to their house for dinner, he told them that our car broke down, and pretended that we were stuck on the road.  It was so weird.  After a week of pretending, I just felt so bad, I ended up telling them the truth, but at that point, I don't think they believed me. 

It does go to show you how different people's moral compasses can be.

One of the interesting things about this thought experiment is that multiple studies show that men as a general rule have much looser ethical standards than women.  In addition, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, men are much more likely to perpetrate fraud in the workplace and the losses are greater per fraud.  So I expect that your situation is not all the uncommon, lollipop.  It must be built into our DNA - lol.

Not DNA.  I have to believe this is almost entirely socialization and what our society tells girls and women is important for and expected of them.

Or maybe men have historically been in positions to commit fraud so these stats are skewed. And with time and equity will balance.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2018, 08:27:11 AM »
The same people who wouldn't steal a paper clip don't think twice about downloading a movie or song from the web without payment.   Ethics are subjective.

GuitarStv

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2018, 08:46:14 AM »
The same people who wouldn't steal a paper clip don't think twice about downloading a movie or song from the web without payment.   Ethics are subjective.

To be fair, theft is completely different than copy-write infringement.  In one you are depriving someone of something, in the other you are making a copy of something.  While downloading a song from the web without payment is clearly on the wrong side of ethics, there are many instances not quite so clear cut.

Johnez

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2018, 09:55:04 AM »
^I just can't see the difference there. In fact, I think the copyright infringement might be worse than the actual theft of a CD. The illegal downloading of the song is usually accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other illegally downloaded songs. I've had friends who have massive libraries stored on external hard drives for crying out loud. On top of that, where are these guys getting the songs? Peer to peer download sites-so they share these stolen songs with others!

Not trying to single anyone out, but the rationalization of something so simple and provably wrong just grinds my gears. In addition, nobody actually goes out to try and steal a paperclip or pen. No paperclip company has had to struggle because...sigh...people keep stealing them damn things instead of buying them. Lol. The fact that Metallica and a bunch of unpopular corporate weenies decry this sort thing has probably made it easier to rationalize, but in the end it's taking what wasn't paid for.

GuitarStv

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2018, 10:18:38 AM »
^I just can't see the difference there. In fact, I think the copyright infringement might be worse than the actual theft of a CD. The illegal downloading of the song is usually accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other illegally downloaded songs. I've had friends who have massive libraries stored on external hard drives for crying out loud. On top of that, where are these guys getting the songs? Peer to peer download sites-so they share these stolen songs with others!

Not trying to single anyone out, but the rationalization of something so simple and provably wrong just grinds my gears. In addition, nobody actually goes out to try and steal a paperclip or pen. No paperclip company has had to struggle because...sigh...people keep stealing them damn things instead of buying them. Lol. The fact that Metallica and a bunch of unpopular corporate weenies decry this sort thing has probably made it easier to rationalize, but in the end it's taking what wasn't paid for.

The difference is that with theft, you deprive someone of something.  If I steal your poster of Mickey Mouse off your wall, I have deprived you of your questionable taste in art.

With copyright infringement, you theoretically deprive someone of something (maybe).  If I download the album of a new band that I want to check out, it's possible that I've deprived the music company (and to a lesser extent) the artist of money.  It's also possible that I don't like the music and will never listen to it again.  It's possible that I never would have purchased the album to begin with.  It's only in theory that someone has been deprived of something.

Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side.  You should pay for the media you consume.  If you don't do so, that's wrong.  But I can certainly see how theft is not equivalent to copyright infringement.

Slee_stack

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2018, 10:28:18 AM »
^I just can't see the difference there. In fact, I think the copyright infringement might be worse than the actual theft of a CD. The illegal downloading of the song is usually accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other illegally downloaded songs. I've had friends who have massive libraries stored on external hard drives for crying out loud. On top of that, where are these guys getting the songs? Peer to peer download sites-so they share these stolen songs with others!

Not trying to single anyone out, but the rationalization of something so simple and provably wrong just grinds my gears. In addition, nobody actually goes out to try and steal a paperclip or pen. No paperclip company has had to struggle because...sigh...people keep stealing them damn things instead of buying them. Lol. The fact that Metallica and a bunch of unpopular corporate weenies decry this sort thing has probably made it easier to rationalize, but in the end it's taking what wasn't paid for.
As a counterpoint, I have a good number of music files on multiple hard drives.

I also have a decent sized CD collection gathering dust in the attic.  Yep, my files are predominantly ripped ones from my discs.

Along the way, I've probably given a portion of my electronic files to friends and I've received a number in return.

In the older days, we would give each other cassettes, but the net behavior was the same.

I know both cases are probably unethical. 

The more one digs into things, the more unethical one might discover they themselves are!   My closet is pretty full anyway.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 10:30:07 AM by Slee_stack »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2018, 11:00:05 AM »
It's simple really.

Ask yourself "will anyone's interests be harmed by this action?"

If yes, it's probably unethical and you should proceed very carefully with any subsequent rationalizations. We can talk ourselves into doing horrible things to people we don't like or because we think we deserve something. But if your starting point is the recognition that another person will be harmed, and that most unethical behavior is rationalized, you've at least cut yourself off from the sort of harm denial and bargaining that characterize the thought processes of unethical people.

It's easy to think of ethically tricky scenarios with two mutually exclusive harm outcomes (i.e. the old runaway trolley thought experiment). Yet the moral dilemmas we usually face are of the do I rationalize harming another person or not variety.

robartsd

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2018, 12:38:13 PM »
How about this case?

You buy a movie online from Apple, watch it once and delete it.


Or you're watching a movie on DVD, but your player runs into an error at a certain scene. Online search reveals that the publisher did something non-standard at the transition between layers to thwart piracy (literally top search results for this particular scene indicates that this is a common problem with this DVD). Can't find a DVD rip or clip of the missing scene, so you finish the movie with a BlueRay rip from BitTorrent. Does it matter that the DVD was borrowed from the library? What about when the playback error is because the disk is damaged rather than the studio's DRM?

Boofinator

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2018, 12:48:36 PM »
I consider myself to be a generally ethical person (though typing this at work....). However, my opinion on the copyright discussion is that it kind of depends. If you sincerely have negligible income and savings (high school or college student, unemployed), and wouldn't have purchased any movies or music otherwise, I think a case can be made that pirating these items is not a net negative for society, in that the producers would not have received compensation anyways, and the consumers can become socially aware without spending what little money they have on things they truly can't afford (MMM style). If you are pirating and have a legitimate income or savings, you are at this stage being a cheap unethical bastard.

Eric

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2018, 03:23:23 PM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

Is this even a real thing? 

Yes, people ask others how they look and probably have since the beginning of time.  Our current obsession with Facebook/Instragram is a microcosm of the fact that people like external validation.


Lying to your GF about liking her hair? What kind of fucked up shit is that? You really value her ego over honesty in a relationship? There's a way to not answer, or answer in a way that's not mean, but still be honest. I don't understand why people do this. If you lie in support of something you dislike, you are supporting the thing you don't like. You're encouraging it. That's how you end up having a GF/wife who puts a lot of work into keeping her hair highlights for decades because she thinks you like it. That's how you end up eating some meal you hate because you lied and said you really liked it and it was delicious, when you could've said it's not really a meal you like. I know honesty is harder, but it doesn't have to be mean and it builds a stronger relationship.

Not sure why that's considered fucked up at all.  Surely there are at least some traits that your partner possesses that you aren't thrilled with.  Telling the truth on each of them is focusing on the flaws instead of realizing that all people are flawed and doing your best to ignore the little things that don't matter. 

"This is one of the worst meals I've ever eaten" is different than "it's not bad, but I think I prefer the chicken instead"  The former is the truth.  The latter is a lie.  They both accomplish the same thing, but only one makes you an asshole.  I can assure you that being an asshole will not build you a stronger relationship.

Boofinator

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2018, 03:38:15 PM »
To me lying is never a good thing so I just  don't accept it. Small or white lies as some people like to call them just lead to bigger lies.

"How do I look today?"

"I could never lie to you, you look like shit."

Seems like a great plan to die old and alone.

Is this even a real thing? 

Yes, people ask others how they look and probably have since the beginning of time.  Our current obsession with Facebook/Instragram is a microcosm of the fact that people like external validation.


Lying to your GF about liking her hair? What kind of fucked up shit is that? You really value her ego over honesty in a relationship? There's a way to not answer, or answer in a way that's not mean, but still be honest. I don't understand why people do this. If you lie in support of something you dislike, you are supporting the thing you don't like. You're encouraging it. That's how you end up having a GF/wife who puts a lot of work into keeping her hair highlights for decades because she thinks you like it. That's how you end up eating some meal you hate because you lied and said you really liked it and it was delicious, when you could've said it's not really a meal you like. I know honesty is harder, but it doesn't have to be mean and it builds a stronger relationship.

Not sure why that's considered fucked up at all.  Surely there are at least some traits that your partner possesses that you aren't thrilled with.  Telling the truth on each of them is focusing on the flaws instead of realizing that all people are flawed and doing your best to ignore the little things that don't matter. 

"This is one of the worst meals I've ever eaten" is different than "it's not bad, but I think I prefer the chicken instead"  The former is the truth.  The latter is a lie.  They both accomplish the same thing, but only one makes you an asshole.  I can assure you that being an asshole will not build you a stronger relationship.

One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

Eric

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2018, 05:42:14 PM »
One can constructively criticize without lying. If your meal is bad, instead of saying "This tastes like shit", try "It's not one of my favorites. X was dry./It could really use some spices./I'm not a fan of the burnt taste./etc." Most people a) know when something is subpar and b) like some honest feedback (when requested), and, on the other side of the conversation, c) have learned in life how to use a little tact.

The best way to "use a little tact" is to lie.  Everyone is happier that way, as it's a lot easier on both parties.  Remember, this is a meal that you hated.  Hated!  (not my choice of word, btw)  You literally can't tell someone the "honest truth" without hurting them if you hate it.  At best, you're going with a partial truth, which could be described as lying by omission. 

Whereas you can easily reduce the impact with a small lie.  That doesn't preclude constructive feedback.  You don't have to tell someone you love it when you hate it.  But it gives you the option to say that you don't hate it, which is generally a much better way to give feedback.  Look up the Shit Sandwich art of giving criticism.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 05:44:32 PM by Eric »

GuitarStv

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2018, 06:10:40 PM »
I don't lie to be tactful.

If you actually hate something that someone cooked for you, you don't have to comment on the taste at all.  You can talk about the presentation, you can talk about how thankful you are that the person cares enough about you to cook food, you can talk about the effort and/or time they clearly put into the meal . . . there are a lot of other ways you can handle the situation.

Johnez

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Re: Where do you draw the line on ethics
« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2018, 06:35:50 PM »
^Bingo. This is not a court room where you have to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Answer part of the question or an unrelated question and let the matter die. Not too difficult. If it gets to the point where your wife makes the same horrible meatloaf every Friday, ya dun goofed and have to come clean. If ya tell her, "Well babe, I dig how you put the barbecue sauce on top but to be honest I haven't like meatloaf since I was a kid," ya sent the same message as if you told her "Hon, tastes like shit," except without the asshole-ness.