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Old 3rd December 2009, 10:00 PM   #82
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,956

Thank you RSWORD for your thoughtful post.

You are, of course, correct, in that an individual may have his own standards for ethical behaviour, however, the meaning of the word "ethics" is much broader than a set of personal rules for personal conduct.

It is generally accepted that there are three schools of ethics:- Aristotlian, then the school grounded in the philosophies of Kant, and lastly, utilitarianism. For our purposes here, we can probably direct our focus to the principles of the school of utilitarianism, which hold that the guiding principle of conduct should be that which results in the greatest happiness or benefit for the greatest number of people.

Far from the concept of "ethics" being limited to personal standards, we will find that most, if not all professions have standards of ethics, the infringement of which can result in censure of a member of the profession by the profession itself, or can result in legal action being taken against that person who has acted in an unethical way.

Ethics are real, widely spread throughout our communities, and govern the behaviour of the members of those communities.

However, the standards which various codes of ethics espouse can vary from one community to another, and in that sense, ethics are not graven in stone, except insofar as each individual community is concerned:- that which is held to be unethical for one group of people may not be held to be unethical in a different community.

In this present discussion of policies and ethics, we are discussing the ethics which we as a group would like to see apply within the community of the Keris Warung Kopi, the keris discussion sub-forum of the Ethnographic Arms & Armour Forum.

When the necessary decisions have been taken in respect of what is to be considered ethical behaviour, and what is considered not to be ethical behaviour, then the policies to govern that behaviour will be formulated and put in place.

This is the way in which those two separate concepts of "ethics", and "policies" are related one unto the other.

We could think of this exercise in this way:- if this current discussion and the decisions and actions flowing from it were occurring in the corporate world, what we would be looking at would be an exercise in corporate governance. As I am sure we all understand, proper corporate governance is essential for the continued health of any organisation.

And that is exactly what we are attempting to ensure here:- the continued health of our little keris discussion group.

It is regretable that it has become necessary to raise this matter at all, however, if we look at the history of keris discussion in public forums, it will become clear that for some unfathomable reason the things that occur which are related to keris are not necessarily echoed in the discussions and occurrences which take place in discussion of other weapon types.

The keris presents a special case, and that was the base reason that keris discussion was hived off into a separate forum.

Those of us who regularly contribute to and monitor discussion taking place within the Keris Warung Kopi have become aware that behaviour of some of our contributors might be viewed as tending towards that which could be considered unethical.

The present discussion is an attempt to gauge the opinions of regular contributors to this sub-forum in respect of what standards of ethical behaviour should govern activity within the sub-forum. Hopefully, when this exercise has run its course, management of this site will implement policies which will result in an acceptable and uniform code of ethics being followed by members of the Keris Warung Kopi, which will result in the greatest happiness and benefit for the greatest number of members of this group of people.

In other words, the practical application of the ethical philosophy of utilitarianism.
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