I work in a small interdisciplinary field in which one group writes a lot of papers that aren't good but are often read. When I publish on a topic that they have published on before, should I cite them even if their work is irrelevant to mine?
The prolific group publishes a lot of mathematical modeling papers in which the model is hidden behind a cascade of self-citation, is written in somewhat non-standard terminology, and no code or calibration data is published. My field is dominated by non-modelers who are often not equipped to judge the modeling, but who read the papers for the figures and discussion (and open peer review has shown that they often review the papers without reviewing the model).
The ethics of citation as I understand them agree with this answer in that we must cite (1) intellectual precedents of our work, (2) supporting evidence, and (3) papers that provide appropriate context. Because their methods are opaque to other modelers like myself, (1) and (2) aren't possible. The papers are also not (3) appropriate context because the science between the intro and discussion isn't done well and I view these papers as opinion pieces.
But, I can expect my non-modeler readers to look askance at my minimal citations of the group's work. As a less-established member of the community, it can look like I'm playing games with priority when I'm actually concerned about advancing the poor state of modeling in my field. I'm debating whether to stick to my principles or give in to what I perceive are poor citation practices to lower friction and look more collegial.