Here is an ethical dilemma for you. It’s a real one. I’m not going to give identifying details, and if you know or can guess what this is about, please don’t post anything identifying here either. But I would like to hear about opinions about this.
A descriptive study of a language was written and published in a very inaccesible place a long time ago. It was written by a man who had worked only with other men. He had studied the language and culture in great depth and knew a great deal about gender-restricted initiation rituals. Such information appears in the grammar, and he had also written several other anthropological articles on the topic. The author and all the consultants have since died.
The grammar has been edited and recently republished by a scholar in a well-respected series. The person in question identified certain material as potentially restricted and deputised a third person to check on current community feelings about publication. Said third person provided no corrections and the material went to print as it was in the original. The deputy, when asked about the status of the materials, said that he felt that the material would be better published so that community members would have access to it, since the traditions are no longer followed and not publishing it would deprive them of access to it. It is unclear whether the community were in fact consulted.
Is this a problem? What would you do in this case, if anything? Please discuss. (I have opinions on this but I’d like to see how this situation strikes others first.)