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# Vulgar or colorful language policy

I noticed that a common expression I used in one of the recent posts was edited to remove one mildly vulgar English word that expression contained. The most obvious conclusion to draw is that this forum has a policy to prohibit all such words, not just the ones considered most offensive otherwise no one would have bothered to edit my post. My apologies to whoever edited the word for violating the policy.

I didn't see any explicit policy one the forum or in discussion thus far and this seems like something that should be part of the rules or part of the Wiki so that newcomers know the existing policy. Is the official policy that no such words are to be used here? Is this spelled out somewhere I can reference?

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1.
edited January 2011

I noticed that a common expression I used in one of the recent posts was edited to remove one mildly vulgar English word that expression contained.

In real life I talk like a sailor, though only in the privacy of my own home. But on the blog, I almost always avoid 'dirty words', because over long experience I've found that maintaining an almost absurdly high level of politeness and 'decency', and an unheated emotional tone, is the best way to keep people from descending into downright rudeness. And I'm the one who has to set a good example.

So when I want to say 'hell', I say 'heck' - etcetera. This almost quaint sort of euphemism is a good way to let people know that I'm not gonna let anyone start cussing on my blog.

But I've very rarely had to bowdlerize people's posts, and I don't remember doing it with yours!

I really doubt I did it, and I also doubt that Andrew did, and I can't imagine that anyone else has the power. Hmm: could there be an automatic system that does it? Not here, probably - I'll soon see - but on the blog? There may be some setting...

By the way, I'm much less worried about people getting into fights here than on the blog. At least so far. Someday the Forum may get big enough that it becomes a real issue.

Q: What is 'heck'?

A: It's where people go who don't believe in gosh.

Comment Source:> I noticed that a common expression I used in one of the recent posts was edited to remove one mildly vulgar English word that expression contained. Are you talking about this Forum, or the blog? In real life I talk like a sailor, though only in the privacy of my own home. But on the blog, I almost always avoid 'dirty words', because over long experience I've found that maintaining an almost absurdly high level of politeness and 'decency', and an unheated emotional tone, is the best way to keep people from descending into downright rudeness. And I'm the one who has to set a good example. So when I want to say 'hell', I say 'heck' - etcetera. This almost quaint sort of euphemism is a good way to let people know that I'm not gonna let anyone start cussing on my blog. But I've very rarely had to bowdlerize people's posts, and I don't remember doing it with yours! I really doubt I did it, and I also doubt that Andrew did, and I can't imagine that anyone else has the power. Hmm: could there be an automatic system that does it? Not here, probably - I'll soon see - but on the blog? There may be some setting... By the way, I'm much less worried about people getting into fights here than on the blog. At least so far. Someday the Forum may get big enough that it becomes a real issue. Q: What is 'heck'? A: It's where people go who don't believe in gosh.
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edited January 2011

By the way, Curtis, I do keep editing your work to promulgate the policy that all titles have only the first letter capitalized, except for proper nouns.

So, for example, I'm changing the title of this thread from

Vulgar or Colorful Language Policy

to

Vulgar or colorful language policy

and I've similarly changed the titles of some your subheads on Blog - making decisions under uncertainty.

It only really matters for Azimuth Project page titles, where we need some system and we've adopted the system used by Wikipedia. But I've found that to get into the habit of using this system, it's best to apply it universally.

Comment Source:By the way, Curtis, I _do_ keep editing your work to promulgate the policy that _all titles have only the first letter capitalized, except for proper nouns_. So, for example, I'm changing the title of this thread from Vulgar or Colorful Language Policy to Vulgar or colorful language policy and I've similarly changed the titles of some your subheads on [[Blog - making decisions under uncertainty]]. It only really _matters_ for Azimuth Project page titles, where we need _some_ system and we've adopted the system used by Wikipedia. But I've found that to get into the habit of using this system, it's best to apply it universally.
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edited January 2011

On another forum (www.theoildrum.com) they have a rule that they're very strongly discourage use of "real" swear words because they've found out that some people were following the discussions on computers in libraries, and in addition to the obvious thing about people looking disapprovingly over your shoulder some of these machines have dumb automatic filters tha prevent (re-)loading any page containing a "swear word", so that after the first swear word any discussion "magically disappears" from such computers. (They actually provide a link to James Kunstler's blog "Clusterf**k Nation" by rendering a key syllable as an image to avoid triggering any filters.) So I try write in such a way that it's clear I'm swearing without actually using bloomin' swear words.

Comment Source:On another forum (www.theoildrum.com) they have a rule that they're very strongly discourage use of "real" swear words because they've found out that some people were following the discussions on computers in libraries, and in addition to the obvious thing about people looking disapprovingly over your shoulder some of these machines have dumb automatic filters tha prevent (re-)loading any page containing a "swear word", so that after the first swear word any discussion "magically disappears" from such computers. (They actually provide a link to James Kunstler's blog "Clusterf**k Nation" by rendering a key syllable as an image to avoid triggering any filters.) So I try write in such a way that it's clear I'm swearing without actually using bloomin' swear words.
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Okay, so now this discussion will automatically disappear from certain computers.

Comment Source:Okay, so now this discussion will automatically disappear from certain computers.
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5.

The wiki does have a list of words that aren't allowed. I've never run in to what it does when it comes across one - so I don't know if it silently removes it or if it sends you an error message first. The forum does not have such and I've yet to edit someone's post to remove such words - but only because, until now, I haven't needed to. Please do keep discussion civil, not only for the reasons that John and David mention but also because I have to abide by my institution's regulations since this is hosted at my work account. I have no desire to be an active moderator of these forums, and if I had to be then I would have to - regrettably - close them down or move them elsewhere since I do not have the time to devote to active moderation.

So please do be civil, please be over polite (if you don't know how to be rude whilst being polite, watch the UK Parliament channel - any speech that starts with "As the honourable gentleman said, ..." is guaranteed to be highly offensive), and please edit the above posts to remove the offensive words.

If a post on the forum is edited then you will see the "edited by X" line. If there's no "by X" then it means that the original author did the editing. Only John and I have editing power, and I only have it when I'm logged in as "Mathforge Admin".

Comment Source:The wiki does have a list of words that aren't allowed. I've never run in to what it does when it comes across one - so I don't know if it silently removes it or if it sends you an error message first. The forum does not have such and I've yet to edit someone's post to remove such words - but only because, until now, I haven't needed to. Please do keep discussion civil, not only for the reasons that John and David mention but also because I have to abide by my institution's regulations since this is hosted at my work account. I have no desire to be an _active_ moderator of these forums, and if I had to be then I would have to - regrettably - close them down or move them elsewhere since I do not have the time to devote to active moderation. So please do be civil, please be _over_ polite (if you don't know how to be rude whilst being polite, watch the UK Parliament channel - any speech that starts with "As the honourable gentleman said, ..." is guaranteed to be highly offensive), and please edit the above posts to remove the offensive words. If a post on the forum is edited then you will see the "edited by X" line. If there's no "by X" then it means that the original author did the editing. Only John and I have editing power, and I only have it when I'm logged in as "Mathforge Admin".
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Thank you!

Comment Source:Thank you!
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edited January 2011

Interesting, this was in a discussion here in the forum, since the software doesn't have the feature of removing certain words, it couldn't have been the forum software. I also tried it in preview and the word doesn't get removed there. So that pretty much rules out the software in my mind.

It now seems that the most likely reason is that I actually didn't type the word and only read it into the expression in my mind as a mental fill in the blanks while proofreading my post. Because it was a swear word, I just assumed that the word had been edited out or deleted, when it was actually just a normal typo. I find that often happens when the missing word either ends or begins a line. Your brain just fills it in when it reaches the beginning of the next line.

Comment Source:Interesting, this was in a discussion here in the forum, since the software doesn't have the feature of removing certain words, it couldn't have been the forum software. I also tried it in preview and the word doesn't get removed there. So that pretty much rules out the software in my mind. It now seems that the most likely reason is that I actually didn't type the word and only read it into the expression in my mind as a mental fill in the blanks while proofreading my post. Because it was a swear word, I just assumed that the word had been edited out or deleted, when it was actually just a normal typo. I find that often happens when the missing word either ends or begins a line. Your brain just fills it in when it reaches the beginning of the next line.
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Incidentally, the forum software saves all versions of comments so that if a post has been edited, I can go back and look at the previous versions. There's no public interface to this (yet) so you have to trust me to report accurately, but then you're already trusting me a lot by using the software! Anyway, what I mean to say is that if you or anyone else want to trace the history of a comment then it's possible.

Comment Source:Incidentally, the forum software saves all versions of comments so that if a post has been edited, I can go back and look at the previous versions. There's no public interface to this (yet) so you have to trust me to report accurately, but then you're already trusting me a lot by using the software! Anyway, what I mean to say is that if you or anyone else want to trace the history of a comment then it's possible.
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9.

I edit people's comments quite routinely — but only to fix spelling and formatting mistakes, sometimes a bit of grammar, and also to make the titles follow our silly capitalization policy. This is doubtless because my father was an editor. I've never had any urge to 'tone down' comments here. Sometimes on the blog I have.

Comment Source:I edit people's comments quite routinely &mdash; but only to fix spelling and formatting mistakes, sometimes a bit of grammar, and also to make the titles follow our silly capitalization policy. This is doubtless because my father was an editor. I've never had any urge to 'tone down' comments here. Sometimes on the blog I have.
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10.

Andy Pitman and Ben Newell, The psychology of global warming: improving the fit between the science and the message, on Psychology of sustainability has many good recommendations about how to ease the language from scintists to the general public . Off topic i know but more important ! So using weather instead of climate which people confuse anyway .

Comment Source:Andy Pitman and Ben Newell, The psychology of global warming: improving the fit between the science and the message, on [[Psychology of sustainability]] has many good recommendations about how to ease the language from scintists to the general public . Off topic i know but more important ! So using weather instead of climate which people confuse anyway .