Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Forums, Frustrations and Friends ~ Tim Gier

I ventured into another forum not that long ago to meet and talk with others about veganism and animal rights.  My involvement didn’t last all that long.  Maybe I ought to just accept that forums and I don’t mix?

I wonder what the point of many of these online communities is.  The ones in which I have spent time don’t seem to be interested at all in “the marketplace of ideas” wherein varying and possibly contending viewpoints are allowed to be heard.  Rather, they seem to be places
which survive on the supremacy of the “in-group”, dominated by the voices of a few vocal people who have an agenda and use the forum to promote that agenda.  I can understand, obviously, that a group or an association of like-minded folks would want to have a place where they
might gather in a mutually supportive environment. What I can’t understand is why some would expect that publicly accessible forums, with open membership rules, would not be places where minority oropposing views would be aired. I especially don’t understand it when the
forum is set-up to include people who will be bound to have fundamental disagreements.

For example, despite the superficial similarities in their positions, vegans are perhaps more different in their beliefs from vegetarians than vegetarians are from omnivores.  Vegetarians don’t usually like to hear or admit that, but it is, nonetheless, most probably true.  It is odd, then, that a forum which presents itself as a Vegetarian/Vegan forum would not expect that vegans and vegetarians might disagree, and disagree about substantive ideas.  In the same way, if the forum accepts
members who are supportive of the actual rights of nonhumans, meaning that they cannot condone, accept, support or promote those actions which deny animal beings the same rights to life and liberty recognized for human beings, it should not be a surprise that disagreements arise in
the forum with other members who either don’t support animal rights or, and this might be more troubling, misunderstand the concept altogether.

But, alas, this particular Vegetarian/Vegan Society decided that the forum category “Animal Rights” added nothing of value to their forum.  That would be like a Socialism/Democracy Society deciding that the forum category “Human Rights” added nothing of value to their forum.  I
know, it’s incredible.

So, it is with some frustration that I think about these types of online communities.  I try, as best I can, to always be respectful of the opinions and beliefs of anyone I converse with, and although I often
fall short of my ideals, I do my best to only engage people on the substance of their arguments, and not on personal or petty grounds.  I answer questions asked of me, and while others may consider it a flaw, I try to answer point-by-point, in a way that addresses the entirety of the questions, using enough words to do the answer justice.  That approach seems to not appeal to many people in the forums I’ve visited.
 Maybe it’s just me.

But, there is some good news.  No matter the forum, no matter the controversy, there are always a few people who let me know that they have been watching, listening and learning.  They are learning because an open, honest and rational discourse about contentious ideas will
always shed light on the issues, and it isn’t a matter of who is right, or who is wrong.  It is a matter of bringing the issues into the forefront, and of trying to make sense of them as best we can.  It is
only through such a discourse that we have any hope of making the world a better place, for all who live in it.

I am trying to understand the complex issues surrounding my relationship with the world all around me, and with all the beings, both human as well as animal beings, who share this world with me.  I do not pretend to have all the answers.  I don’t even think that I properly understand all the questions.  But I will keep asking questions, and I will keep trying to provide the best answers I can find.  That is all I can do.

Thanks for listening.

Go vegan.


Tim Gier's original blog may be found here:



Views: 16

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Animal Rights Zone to add comments!

Join Animal Rights Zone

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on December 29, 2010 at 15:26

I disagree that more thought on your behalf would have made any difference in this situation, Roger.

We were all considerate, friendly and even compliant. Tim answered every question they posed, intelligently and graciously. We all did!

It's such a shame that forums like this serve no real purpose, other than having a small group of people reinforce their speciesist ideas, and continue to make excuses for each other as to why veganism is too difficult. And those who are vegan surely must be elitist or somehow the enemy, because they remind these people of their inconsistencies.

It's terrifying to me that people are being sent to this "Vegan/Vegetarian" Society; those who are new to veganism, new to advocacy or new to the area. I was, and it took me some time to realise they were inconsistent and confused.

The moderators of this forum took offence to us being abolitionists, for no other reason than ... they can. They're excellent examples of tolerance and civility!

There's only so much anyone can do when dealing with people who have ill-informed, preconceived ideas about others, and refuse to give them a chance.



  • Add Videos
  • View All

ARZone Podcasts!

Please visit this webpage to subscribe to ARZone podcasts using iTunes


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow ARZone!

Please follow ARZone on:




A place for animal advocates to gather and discuss issues, exchange ideas, and share information.

Creative Commons License
Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) by ARZone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) Disclaimer

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) is an animal rights site. As such, it is the position of ARZone that it is only by ending completely the use of other animal as things can we fulfill our moral obligations to them.

Please read the full site disclosure here.

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) Mission Statement

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) exists to help educate vegans and non-vegans alike about the obligations human beings have toward all other animals.

Please read the full mission statement here.





© 2023   Created by Animal Rights Zone.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service