When people are considering veganism or vegetarianism, they often search for answers to very basic questions. Here are some basic questions that each get searched thousands of times per month in Google, along with some of the top results:
- "Is Vegan Healthy? 10 Reasons Why I'll Never Be Vegan"
- "Angelina Jolie Says Vegan Diet Nearly Killed Her"
- "How our vegan diet made us ill"
- "Is a vegetarian diet really better for the environment?"
- "Vegetarian and 'healthy' diets may actually be worse for the ..."
- "Vegan eating isn't as environmentally friendly or sustainable as you ..."
etc... ("authority nutrition" and a few other big sites often come up near the top of search results with sneaky titles the seem informative, but then the article trashes veganism with all sorts of cherry-picked research results that "prove" a high-beef, high-fat, high-butter, high-bacon is actually way healthier (not even joking))
As you can see, there's a lot of "backlash" against veganism in the form of poorly researched blog posts, news articles, etc. that just want to report on something unexpected, or something that's very shareable because of dietary insecurities or whatever.
So there's a bunch of misinformation out there and I think that this site would be a great resource to help squash that misinformation. To do this, we'd need to be very open and supportive of super basic questions, and really build a community where even the most obvious questions are allowed (you'll see what I mean in a moment).
What follows is a massive list of search terms which, together, are queried tens of thousands of times per month. Sorry about it being so big, but I just want to make sure I'm properly communicating the sorts of things people (especially beginners) are searching for. For those interested, I generated this list and the linked one using an online tool.
- are vegans healthy
- are vegans healthier
- are vegan diets healthy
- are vegans stupid
- are vegans allowed to eat honey
- are vegan desserts healthy
- are vegans skinny
- are vegan doc martens good
- are vegan donuts healthy
- are vegans unhealthy
Of course, I'm not suggesting that every single one of these search terms deserves a question (many don't even make sense), but there are many of them that (I think) people would scoff at or try to close either because the question seems too obvious, or because it sounds "troll-like". Basically, I want to help make this forum as successful and useful as possible. To do that, I think we need to reach as many people as possible, and so am just thinking about strategies to help us out with that.
Note that I'm not suggesting rules changes, but rather am just trying to make the community aware of potential pathways to help people and spread good information.
I just happened to read over the invite email and came across these important paragraphs:
The first questions set the tone for the site. If you ask high quality, expert-level questions, you'll build a site that attracts the experts and pros who will make it really successful. But if you ask beginner questions, survey questions, or social-conversation questions, experts and pros will not be interested.
Remember, you get the site you build! Ask difficult, specific questions — the kind of questions pros and experts ask each other, not the kind of questions novices ask pros, because a site full of pros and experts will attract everybody, but a site full of novices rapidly becomes boring. No easy questions, no survey questions, no polls, no intro-level/basic questions, no unanswerable hypothetical questions.
This definitely makes sense. Perhaps we should leave the basic questions for later when we've got a good crew of experts on board?
To clarify some points raised in answers, the question is as stated in the title: Should we encourage/allow very basic questions which would be beneficial to those just starting out? I'm not suggesting that we start spamming a list of basic questions into the community. Rather, I'm asking whether we should be supportive of newbie questions, even though most people in the community will think they're super obvious to the point of maybe being silly (e.g. "can vegans eat fish?").