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something that's been bugging me

so i was in the shower this morning, thinking about being vegan and this forum and other general things.  and for some reason i realized i had been really agitated and couldn't figure out why for the past few days, re: this subject.  so i thought about it for a bit and slowly started to realize what has been bothering me.  

this all started around the honey debate.  which i do NOT want to bring back up here.  that's just where it began.  i was thinking about why i was being so stubborn about honey in my diet, when really i could care less about stopping eating it.  it's not like i buy it.  i don't cook with it.  the only times i eat it are when it just happens to be in something that i could easily find an alternative for.  so why was i being so...  just stubborn about it?  it's not like i don't understand the reasoning behind it.  i do.  

but here's where i started to really get it...  i've noticed...  and here's where i hope i don't start to make people mad, but if i don't get this off my chest i'm going to start coming here less and less and i don't want to do that.  but anyway, i've noticed that a lot of times when anyone (not just me) mentions they ate something or they say something kind of out of place...  people just show up and comment "not vegan!"...  which is honestly, very offputting.  as a somewhat new vegan, trying to find my way here, the last thing i want is for my efforts to be poo-pooed by someone pointing a finger at me and telling me i'm not something that i thought i was.  and it's often not in reference to something i'm even saying, it'll be about someone else entirely...  and MOST people don't do this and are very nice.  

i don't know...  i don't think that those of you who do this thing realize how bothersome it is.  it probably seems harmless, but i'm sure there is a more polite way to go about voicing your opinion, or even your facts!  when i read something that someone has eaten that i'm pretty sure isn't vegan, and i KNOW they are 'vegan', i usually say something along the lines of 'i think there is eggs in that' or 'here's a site that could give you more information, if you want it'.  and while you're probably just saying that the FOOD they have eaten isn't vegan, just showing up to say 'not vegan!' mostly implies that the person themselves is not vegan, and therefore shouldn't call themselves one.  haven't any of you made a mistake before?  i mean, we all have.  and sometimes we make choices on things before we are informed about them, only later to go back and change our minds, based on newfound information.  and maybe the people you say this to aren't even vegan, as many people on this site are simply ovo-lacto or some variation of vegetarianism.

IMHO, that does not make me 'not vegan'.  and i don't appreciate when such things are said, either in reference to myself or others.  such are the actions, in my mind, that make vegans appear arrogant and self-righteous to the general public (at least that's the way most people i know see us, unfortunately).  please don't get angry with me, i'm not trying to make enemies.  i'm just voicing how i feel before i get so resentful that i stop coming here.

The debate pages are tricky, I think, because there is a lot of debate about what people feel is vegan and it would be tricky to have that discussion without saying, "that's not vegan". However, I feel like a lot of the problem can come with the tone (perhaps inferred tone) that's used. It would probably be wise if we are sensitive about it outside of the debate forum and not put up animated siren graphics and the like.

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I say "NOT VEGAN" on these forums on a daily basis, pretty much, so I feel compelled to respond here.

I make this joke when someone's words, figures of speech, etc., contradict veganism.  Like, if someone said, "I'm killing two birds with one stone," I might say:

NOT VEGAN.
*insert flashing siren gif*

This is the type of language you are talking about, correct?  How is this hurtful?  Clearly it is not intended as a joke, not a personal affront.  In fact, I think it is in the spirit of jest--poking fun at vegans for always being on the look out for things like that.  That's how I mean it.  I would never say it as a personal comment--like, if someone said, "Oh, I had honey and toast for breakfast," in casual conversation, I wouldn't whip out the "NOT VEGAN" stamp!  Good gravy!  (See, "gravy"...that's a prime spot for a "NOT VEGAN!")  It's a joke I feel comfortable making among veg*ns like you all.  I could see how it could make me look like a jerk to outsiders though.

As far as the debate boards go, I have no qualms whatsoever about talking about whether something is vegan or not.  I mean, if you are going to ask me whether honey is vegan in a forum intended for debate, I'm not going to tiptoe around it because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings because they eat honey.  I know that I disagree with many of you about lots of topics, and we've had pretty heated debates, but I still feel like we respect each other and can remain friends, for the most part.  Like I've said, kb, CK, and bp and I have had some great debates recently, and we're totally cool!  If there's a topic that is personally sensitive for you, maybe it's not the best thing to visit that debate thread.  No one wants to hurt anyone's feelings!  We're all adults here and can discuss ideas freely without being personal.  If I've personally attacked anyone in the debate forum, I hope that someone would point that out to me so we can move on with life instead of stewing about it.

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Perhaps it's also the insinuation, from the presence of sirens and people pointing out that saying aren't vegan, that gives the feeling that there is a reason to be wary of what they are saying. Regardless of how they were meant, in has made some people feel guarded.

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i'll comment, mostly because i have a couple ideas and i'm avoiding making a reading guide for my students.

first, the debate board was created for people to "free for all" talk about whatever they want. i know many of the users here are "newer" (i.e. post meltdown of winter 07) and don' t know, in many ways, the history of this site that many of us "older timers" have. the debate board was set up to let us hash out whatever we want. i think its kind of a "if you go there deal with it" zone. i get mad reading a lot of stuff there, and i have my share of "stern" posts, but its the enviroment. if you won't want it, there are several other places to play on there.

one of my favorite things about vegweb is being able to learn about veg*n things. i've learned about lots about what it means to be vegan (despite having a few years under my belt) and the nonvegans on the board don't bother me at all. i know other boards are WAY more "policing" than ours. i think it is the spirit of learning that leads to the "not vegan" comments. i don't see/recall any on this board (the "play nice" boards) that struck me as "wow, so and so is being a real ass today!" i've learned a lot from these comments and i've never read them as intending to "shame" people for not being vegan enough. if you want vegan police, there are a TON of other boards that will give it to you.

but i don't intend to undermine how you feel. i know we have, on the boards here, a lot of "touchy freely" time to talk about these issues, and i think it makes our community stronger because of it. i think most of us longer-time vegans would agree that anyone on the veggie continuum who is here and wanting to learn is 100% better than someone who doesn't give a rip. i don't see any of us really being ill intended or "be vegan or i'll kick your butt!" i think, though, that there is some insecurity in being a newer veg*n that is just par for the course. i was the same when i started here but once you kind of "figure everyone else" you know what to expect. at that point, hopefully things will be more comfortable.

that, and i think if someone did post something ass-y that there are several of us that would, if we noticed, call them out on it. but "ass-y-ness" is also open to interpretation based on one's own personal experiences and interpretations. so what do i know?

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I recall the pre-winter-2007 crap... and I did stop coming here for a long time because of it. This site used to have FAR more of a Vegan Police "aura". It was kind of unwelcoming. I felt like a bad person sometimes because I'm not vegan.

I still feel a little sorry when I see comments to someone relatively new or who actually is NOT vegan. I feel bad when new vegetarians are directed to "vegetarian" sites, and it is clarified that this site is for VEGAN topics. I think "Wait, I thought being a vegetarian of ANY level was a GOOD thing!" We're all on the same road here, just at different points along the way.

I mean... I LIKE you guys. I don't WANT to go to another site. You all do inspire me to think of things in ways I didn't see them before. I really doubt that some hardass who fits the rest of the world's concept of "vegan" will be the one to make me stop using dairy and eggs. You know what will make that happen? Time and good, kind, vegan FRIENDS. People who make me feel welcome and cared about... and who inspire me not with ultimatums or guilt trips, but with their own actions and encouragement.

I think that part of why folks who DO eat meat give us a hard time is because just by choosing NOT to eat it, we cause them to consider on some level where that hamburger really came from. And I think the vegan/not vegan is the same. You don't have to point it out bluntly to make someone think about what they're eating. You can be gentle, and considerate, and have a better effect.

But, of course, I'm a "carebear" as they say on video game forums. I just want everyone to get along and be happy.

:)>>>

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I think this one is basically a judgement call whether you're on the chat or debate forums. Most people know the line between the 'not vegan' joke with regards to animal product-based idiomatic phrases, and when someone is flat out being short with someone. If your entire post consists of the words 'not vegan', then either you're being abrasive, or (purely on the debate forum) you're not really debating as such. We're all mature, intelligent people with the ability to utilise the English language in all it's glory. Whether its the time-honoured honey debate, or something a little less common, posting 'not vegan'... well, surely you can do better than that?

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As BP said, those of us who have been members for a long time (2 years for me, plus about 7 months of lurking) have seen ups and downs.  I feel protective over this community.  There are definitely other sites that are much more 'policing' than vegweb.  Try even posting a topic about the vegan-ness of honey on the PPK. 

I am thankful for the debate board, where I will happily give my opinion and listen to others.  I always try to do this in the nicest, most informed way possible. I despise rudeness and narrowmindedness. 

I often keep my opinions to myself regarding some lacto-ovo comments, so the feelings go both ways.  Particularly, the "I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much." or "I like my cheese and am proud of it" There is no helpful response to those types of comments.  It evolves into circular logic - just like talking to an omni who says "I could never be a vegetarian because I love steak too much." Now, if someone says something like 'what's a good place to buy cheese with vegetable rennet' then that's a different story.

We should also consider the purpose of this site and the moderator's wishes.  As most of you know, you cannot post non-vegan recipes on this site.  I'm not sure how this translates into the philosophy of the revived boards, but it's worth considering.

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I do know that email/web conversations can be misinterpreted.... I say some things over email that offend people when I was just being facetious. If the person had seen me, they would have seen the huge smile on my face/tone of voice and realized I was joking around.... I'm sure some of that goes on.

I too have almost left a couple of times, but there are quite a few people I like so I keep coming back. I just tend to more or less ignore those that offend. But I love this site and love the people....so  :)

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Also...I think most of us have our minds pretty much made up as to our beliefs. The outside cat thread comes to mind--no one is going to change my mind on that, and no one's going to make me wanna throw away my old dead-cow-hide footwear, belt, and wallet. I'm a huge fan of the bacteria making petroleum--have you any idea what else bacteria are harnessed to do? Genetic engineering is really amazing. If nothing else, it's not actually harmful compared to drilling in the ocean (WTF was up with that veto, Mr. Shrub??). I do really like the 'News' aspect of the Debate forum, but I tend to feel attacked for not being 'vegan enough' in someone else's opinion if I read too many comments on it and feel like people are trying to change my researched, weighed and thought out views. Yeah, I feel like I'm repeating myself, maybe I'll go try to be productive.

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We should also consider the purpose of this site and the moderator's wishes.  As most of you know, you cannot post non-vegan recipes on this site.  I'm not sure how this translates into the philosophy of the revived boards, but it's worth considering.

yeah, this is a good point. vegweb is a vegan site for veg*ns. the site owner has requested that the boards stay vegan in discussion since every veg*n can eat vegan stuff (minus allergies and stuff). that being said, one shouldn't post recipes on the boards that are not vegan by the standards of the site (includes honey). at the same time, if you want to take vegan recipes and use l/o subs, go for it - we're not going to stop you. i've had conversations with y about this many a times because this issue was part of the "melt down" in some aspects. i don't need to get into that, but it has been hashed out already the intention of this site.

but i think, at the same time, a lot of us want this board to be "vegan" in the sense that we don't want to hear about nonvegan things unless you need help or support. as MD said re: "i love cheese" and whatnot, why post that here? i agree with her logic. as a vegan, i got over my love of cheese when i went vegan and the decision to be vegan was bigger than that. i don't say that to imply/suggest that l/o can't just "get over it" (i know it's a process - i did it myself - and that some - esp. internationals - live places where being vegetarian, let alone vegan, is difficult.) its not for me to tell anyone how to eat or what to eat, but in many ways i would like to come here and not have to read about it in ways that aren't set for change. if that makes sense. i don't intend to offend by that, but i just feel its redundant to fight it. we're all accepting and we're not policing, but it is a vegan site and the content should be vegan or on the way to vegan.

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Same things go on on every veg board I've been on. You just have to decide how much to let it bother you. For me, I find labeling myself as a "really good vegetarian" draws less personal attacks than saying "vegan." Best thing to do is just stay within the confines of the board rules and don't take anything too personally if you can help it.

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It would probably be wise if we are sensitive about it outside of the debate forum and not put up animated siren graphics and the like.

I'm pretty sure this is directed at me since I do not know of anyone else who posts these graphics..if someone does..we need to chat..b/c we use the same smiley site! Anyway, I'm not offended.

I've read all the posts, and I'm a bit confused. It seems like some people are talking about the debate forum..and others are talking about the other forums. These are totally different things. I do not apologize for anything I said in debate..because I stand by it all...and it's in..debate.

Otherwise, as I've already mentioned, the "not vegan" comments I have made are sarcastic. Yes, I do mean "not vegan" when I say it..but I'm not saying it in an offensive manner, as KMK and some others have said. So, I don't really feel the need to guard what I say in that sense. I have not personally attacked anyone. In addition, I don't usually even make those jokes with people that I don't "know" well b/c I know they won't know how it is meant. That being said, if anyone wants to talk with me about it, you may message me, or myspace/facebook, which is on my profile. I don't think there's any need to hm..."beat around the bush" ...........I dunno about that phrase.........

Lisa's comment: "I think that alot of times, if someone points out that a food is not vegan, they are trying to be helpful. As in, in case you didn't notice they started putting egg whites in their faux chicken, or I just found out that some beer isn't vegan because of isaglass, or whatever.I'm pretty sure noone is trying to insult you or hurt anyones feelings."
is very true, for me. I do like to point out such things..b/c I would like to know, so I think others would too. If you don't, ignore it.

I don't really understand the defensiveness/guardedness b/c of the sirens......

I feel a very strong connection to many here on VW, and I know that the vast majority of us are only trying to help/have fun/joke around/love one another.

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And FTR (and I'm sure some of you know this), there is one board in particular where you cannot even VIEW the forums without registering, and as part of the registration process, you have to write an introduction where you talk about your path to veganism (and it has to be veganism, not veg*nism).  Basically, you have to apply into the forum.  And bans for a variety of reasons are not unheard of.  VW, like a bunch of others have said, is very open and accepting.

i don't see any of us really being ill intended or "be vegan or i'll kick your butt!"

Speak for yourself! 

Kidding, kidding.

In regards to people feeling outnumbered by others who disagree with their opinions, that's bound to happen on a board which brings together people of similar minds.  Not that that should keep anyone from posting their opinion!  But it shouldn't be a surprise when that happens.

"beat around the bush" ...........I dunno about that phrase.........

NOT VEGAN?  We'll have to look into it....

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And FTR.........

I'll add that.

"beat around the bush" ...........I dunno about that phrase.........

NOT VEGAN?  We'll have to look into it....

I tried..but I could only find definitions for what the phrase means....

Oh, no. I just looked again..and found this:

" I teach an English Conversation group of international students, and one of them asked about the origin of the phrase beat around the bush.

This one, in a slightly altered form, dates from 1520: "a longe betynge aboute the busshe and losse of time to a yonge begynner".  Most etymologists agree that the beating in question refers to beating the bushes for birds in order to flush them for hunters.  In fact, there is even another phrase, to beat the bushes for, which means "to seek something out with much effort".  To beat around/about the bushes is to beat such that no birds are flushed, so that none are caught: a lot of beating and no eating.  This evolved to figuratively mean "to refrain from getting to the point".

That one's NOT VEG*N!

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That one's NOT VEG*N!

Dang!  We need to come up with a vegan substitute for that one. 

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To this day beaters are sent out ahead of the hunters to "beat" the brushwood and make the pheasants fly up so the hunters can shoot them on the wing. I guess it's bad cred to shoot a sitting bird...but it's still pretty lame to raise hundreds of pheasants so you can charge rich businessmen exorbitant amounts to **stand still** at a certain point in a field and shoot them as they fly past.

It's just that there's way less "bush" in the UK to beat around.

Actually that saying always made me think of "here we go round the mulberry bush". Don't know if there's any connection. But why so early in the morning?

---yabbitgirl, etymologist in residence

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Reading this thread, I'm not quite sure what the problem is... I can't think of any posts in particular...  ???

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Reading this thread, I'm not quite sure what the problem is... I can't think of any posts in particular...  ???

same here, other than perhaps debate board stuffs. again, i think is someone went nuts (see, this is my vegan sub for "apeshit"  8-)) on a newbie in a clearly unnice way, there are enough of us who would call them out on it. at least i think that.

beat around the bush --> veganized ---> ??? i might think about this one some more. i think it can be done.  :P

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One more thing about calling people on (non)vegan sayings.  I didn't have Vegan Vittles cookbook with me at the time of my post about it.  Vegan alternative sayings are sprinkled throughout the book.

Example:
:(    There's more than one way to skin a cat.
;)b  There's more than one way to peel a potato.

:(    Don't put the cart before the horse.
;)b  Don't slice the bread before it's baked.

:(    You can kill two birds with one stone.
;)b  You can slice two carrots with one knife.

:(    It's no use beating a dead horse.
;)b  It's no use watering a dead rose.

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Those are cute, HH!  Also, there is an entire Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast episode called "Compassionate Clichés" about the topic.  :)

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