There are a couple of posts on SO where the BrainF_ck language is mentioned that have been flagged as offensive. Should these be edited to "BrainF_ck" (or something else), or left as is?

Personally, I could go either way.

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@Welbourge: I rolled that back. I intentionally wanted to prevent this very post from being part of the "problem". –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 23:29
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i find your indecisiveness offensive. Think of the chilrun! –  Steven A. Lowe Oct 1 '09 at 1:30
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oh, and the answer to your question is "Yes". It is intentionally offensive, both in programmatic intent and in its chosen name. –  Steven A. Lowe Oct 1 '09 at 1:31
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Erm, offensive or not, the censoring done to several of the answers has broken their meaning and makes the authors look somewhat silly, for example, [...] when spelled "f_ck", but not offensive when spelled "f_ck"? –  dbr Oct 1 '09 at 12:50
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this censoring is pathetic, and I'm offended that my answer got edited into stupidity and i can't even delete it. –  J_ak_m El_fss_n Oct 1 '09 at 22:10
    
@J_ak_m - I agree, but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about it, short of emailing Jeff with a plea. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 2 '09 at 5:04
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Yes, a language, just as a variable, with a intra-word underscore is almost always offensive ;) –  micahwittman Nov 30 '09 at 8:27
    
Wait...so, is the agreement that it is offensive or not? –  Time Traveling Bobby May 11 '11 at 15:54
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@Bobby: the consensus seems to be that it's not even close to universally offensive, but since some folks - and more importantly, some automated systems - will create problems for pages containing it, it should be censored. –  Shog9 May 12 '11 at 19:41
    
Shouldn't all these comments be moved to chat? ;) –  muntoo Jul 26 '11 at 0:09
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Don't engage in censorship, without being the despot in power. (citation: unknown despot in power). –  user unknown Aug 16 '11 at 0:02
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Since this is now "closed as not constructive", can we assume that the whole question was moot? And do I then draw the right conclusion that the question shouldn't even have been asked in the first place? And, whatever the verdict of the community, that is moot, too? IOW, never mind, let's just refer to the language by the name it was, um, blessed with? –  sbi Sep 21 '11 at 17:52
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Um, the whole argument about corporate filters goes out the window. He just linked to the wiki article, which unashamedly includes the name. Which means the name is now on the source on this site. So all censoring aside, you can't censor the link. So all this ridiculous effort is exactly moot. –  Lee Louviere Oct 12 '11 at 18:20
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Isn't Meta all about opinion? Or at least... Meta isn't a pure Q&A site, that's why it's META. You do know there's a "discussion" tag here, right? So, the reason for closing is wrong, so the closing is wrong. Way to go, mods and others. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 18 '12 at 23:58
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considering the brainf_ck censoring, it makes me wonder what @J_ak_m El_fss_n actually is –  Sean Cheshire Sep 13 '12 at 16:29
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22 Answers

The name of the language is not, can not be offensive.

But it will be flagged by a lot of nanny automation, so it should be munged anyway.

::sigh::

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I disagree that it must be munged, but maybe I'm crazy. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 21:15
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Some employers and many schools use filters that will twinge on it, many people use SO at work or school to good effect, so teasing hyperactive filters will hurt innocent users. Or not. Sometimes it is better to fight the powers that be. But I don't feel up to it this afternoon. –  dmckee Sep 30 '09 at 21:20
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If the filter is smart enough to deal with things a page at a time, then we're all good. Many of them used to just blacklist whole domains. Is that still common? –  dmckee Sep 30 '09 at 21:24
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this is the correct answer. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 30 '09 at 21:46
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Maybe we should just ban this nanny software, since it restricts our rights of Free Speech. Why do we even allow these nanny tools anyways? –  Wim ten Brink Sep 30 '09 at 22:17
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Youre on the internet, more specifically on SO - your first amendment does not apply here. –  Locutus Sep 30 '09 at 22:44
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@DataPimp - Wrong. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_United_States both suggest that, even on the internet, you are governed by the laws and freedoms of your country. So the First Amendment (I'll capitalize it, since it's a proper noun, like certain other words in this debate) does apply here. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 6:01
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@DataPimp, the laws that apply on the Internet are the ones where the web server is located and the location where the visitors reside. For example, if porn is illegal in your country, then visiting a porn site where the server is located in a country where porn is allowed would still be illegal. In this case, SO is located in the USA and the use of these words are protected by the constitution. And I myself live in the Netherlands where obscenity laws are even more relaxed. Extremely more relaxed, I must add. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 8:11
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@chris and Workshop - oh you can say whatever you want and the site owners have the right to edit you, censor you and ban you; therefore as long as you are on this site, your freedom of speech can be revoked. –  Locutus Oct 1 '09 at 15:02
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@DataPimp: and that means what? That the issue shouldn't be discussed in the first place? –  innaM Oct 1 '09 at 15:13
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For all of you "free speech" guys: If you're in the US, the Constitution guarantees you a right to say things. It doesn't mean anybody has to listen to you, or give you a podium, or anything like that. In particular, your employer is under no obligation to provide free speech or free access using your employer's equipment. You guys are free to publish what you want on your own sites, and my employer is free to tell me I've got to use my own connections to look at it. –  David Thornley Oct 1 '09 at 16:05
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@DataPimp - The site editors do not own what we post, according to the FAQ (meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/18221/…), but anyone (including the Stack Overflow owners) can edit it because it is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Therefore your point is moot, they have no ownership of the content on the site, and have no right to revoke our freedom of speech. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 20:26
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Chris, they don't own the content, but they do own the servers and buy the bandwidth, so they get to say what bits can or cannot go out over the wires. If they did so gratuitously it would make them bad people and be a reason to quit the site. As it is, they have a clearly articulated, business-related reason for wanting some strings excluded form the content they serve. You don't have to agree, but they are not being irrational, even if they are bowing to an irrational prejudice on the part of some the wider population. –  dmckee Oct 1 '09 at 20:58
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@David Thornly: The Constitution guarantees against government abridging your natural rights. You have no rights to others' property other than what they agree to. –  Anonymous Nov 30 '09 at 7:45
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Broken content filters that block an entire domain because of one vulgar word? Should we really conform to these? It seems like they could break many other sites such as online dictionaries and Wikipedia. I don't see these sites worry about censorship. –  Alexandre Jasmin Sep 13 '11 at 23:08
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If I may make one last argument, I would like to cite the SO FAQ (emphasis mine):

Be nice.

Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor.

Nowhere in the FAQ does it say anything about "profanity," "language," "bad words," or even "professional." Instead, it says "Bring your sense of humor."

If anything falls under "sense of humor," I'd say esoteric languages do. Sure, it's a strange brand of humor, and it may not be for everyone, but if you don't find it funny, you don't have to laugh.

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That's a fair argument. I would add, though, that it's a two way street. I certainly agree with having a sense of humor, but I think it's possible to do so while still being considerate of others. –  user27414 Oct 1 '09 at 4:27
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I don't think The Language That Shall Not Be Named's true name is inconsiderate. And it seems that only a few people do. Even if Mr. Atwood is among them, this is allegedly a community-based and community-run site. If Mr. Atwood doesn't want to abide by what the community seems to have come to a consensus on (by a rather large majority), then he should call it "community-guided" and not give the illusion of democracy. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 4:29
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I think "community-guided" is probably more accurate, actually. If someone else finds THE NAME offensive, then its use is - by definition - inconsiderate. I'd file that under "Be nice". If we're mostly nice and mostly have a sense of humor, we'll all meet in the middle and be just fine. –  user27414 Oct 1 '09 at 4:38
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It is my rather controversial (and inappropriate for this site) opinion that anyone who finds certain words offensive is someone who will (and rightly should) spend a lot of their time angry. I know this can't be applied to Stack Overflow, but seriously, if you get angry at the way someone tells a joke, what won't you get angry at? –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 4:41
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And if I may cite another entry in the FAQ: "At the high end of this reputation spectrum there is little difference between users with high reputation and moderators. That is very much intentional. We don't run Stack Overflow. The community does. " –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 4:42
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Chris, that's like saying "we put our customers above our profits". It's only kind of true. The SO team most certainly does run SO. The fact that they let the community "run" the site only supports the fact that they are still in charge. But I'm getting off topic. The reality is that there are consequences to inconsiderate behavior, even if you think the other person had no right being offended in the first place. On SO, the conseqence is that your post will be flagged and deleted. My philosophy is to try not to be offended, but act as if the other person might be. –  user27414 Oct 1 '09 at 4:50
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My philosophy is that offense, being subjective, is entirely the fault of the offended, that taking offense is an irrational reflex which is to be avoided over rational thought, and that the preservation and protection of irrational reflexes over rational thought is a detriment to a free and peaceful society. (And no, it's not off-topic, it's quite relevant to the censor-and-lock spree that occurred about half an hour ago.) –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 4:53
    
Then we have a difference of opinion. I can respect that. –  user27414 Oct 1 '09 at 5:02
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I will respect yours as well, but I still feel that the censorship of The Language That Must Not Be Named is wrong, and will continue to unconditionally disagree with it. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 5:14
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+1 for Chris's same philosophical mindset when it comes to profanity. Words are offensive because the offended let themselves become offended by them, not because someone uttered them. –  TheTXI Oct 1 '09 at 12:55
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@Chris Lutz - so if I walk into your house and take a dump on your living room floor, it's your fault if you're offended. Sorry, but your logic escapes me. Every society has things that are taboo. If you choose not to respect the taboo, it's not the fault of the other members of the society that they are offended. I'd say that "be nice" means to respect others reasonable sensibilities. If it's a societal norm, then whether you agree with it or not, respect that others may validly hold it and try not to give offense. That's what "be nice" means. –  tvanfosson Oct 1 '09 at 16:33
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@tvanfosson - You are making wild leaps here. Feces can spread diseases, and is unsanitary. No matter how many times I swear at you, it won't cause you any illness or injury. It's not my fault that other members of society hold unreasonable, irrational opinions. I don't see why I should be penalized because someone else likes to get their panties in a knot. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 19:45
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Chris, I think those last two sentences are really everything that this topic deserves. There's hardly more that could be said. –  innaM Oct 2 '09 at 9:10
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Brainf**k is the name of an esoteric computer language and there is nothing "inconsiderate" about noting this fact. As for being nice, it's the people who flag comments that mention it who are not being nice. –  Jim Balter Aug 9 '11 at 0:35
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"Every society has things that are taboo." -- The programming language "Brainf**k" is not taboo in any community that I am a member of. "If you choose not to respect the taboo, it's not the fault of the other members of the society that they are offended." -- taboos are tacitly forbidden behaviors. Being offended is a personal, willful response that has nothing to do with taboos other than that some people invoke the taboo to justify feeling offended. –  Jim Balter Aug 9 '11 at 0:39
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If you can't say it in polite company, don't write it on a public web site. I'd say that pretty much covers just about any post. You and I may disagree about what may be said in polite company, however. If we do, then you (or I) should feel free to flag as offensive (or not) according to our own perception. If enough people agree that it violates the polite company standard, then it gets removed.

Personally, I appreciate the people who realize that some things outside of their control may reasonably offend others and defer to the other person's sensibilities by masking or making an oblique reference to the potential offensive word.

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I agree that we can disagree. Personally, I prefer to look at the context. Sometimes, the context is obscene and then don't use it. In other cases it's just okay to use, for example when you're talking about a specific travel agency from Germany. :-) –  Wim ten Brink Sep 30 '09 at 22:16
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"If you can't say it in polite company, don't write it on a public web site." I'm all for this. But I figure it says more about my definition of "polite company" than it does about the intrinsic value of the language in question. Personally I think that name of the language in question is appropriate for polite company when the topic of discussion is esoteric programming languages, but the second syllable alone (and most of its inflected forms and compounds) is not. Take that for what you will. –  dmckee Sep 30 '09 at 22:45
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What if I don't talk to polite people for very long? –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 23:34
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You can't really say "kill all the zombie children processes and fsck the disc" in polite conversation... –  dbr Oct 1 '09 at 10:27
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polite == easily offended? –  innaM Oct 1 '09 at 12:06
    
@Manni - Probably. Someone seems to be sweeping up comments. I suspect Jeff, since he also sweeps up the answers. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 20:20
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Your a dangerous man with dangerous ideas. The sort of ideas that aim to destroy others. Language is important and people should be free to express them selves how they see fit. –  Rook Mar 9 '10 at 23:02
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@user - give me a break. If you can't express yourself adequately without resorting to crudity and rudeness in a public space, then you need to work on improving your language skills. You'll also notice that I said nothing about the content of the message, just the delivery. If thinking that people ought to communicate in a civil manner is dangerous, then I'm glad to be dangerous. –  tvanfosson Mar 10 '10 at 0:10
    
Very wise, very wise. –  Dan Moulding Aug 20 '10 at 18:30
    
The stupid wanking in this "answer" offends me and I do wish that you had deferred to my sensibilities. –  Jim Balter Aug 9 '11 at 0:29
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Long live the lowest common denominator! Ooops, that's a pretty incredibly low one on the worldwide internet. I'd prefer if we all broadened our sensibilities a bit... freedom of speech and all that (and I'm in Germany, I know what not really having it means). –  Jürgen A. Erhard Aug 20 '11 at 21:16
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"defer to the other person's sensibilities" - I'd agree in general conversation, but this is the internet. The audience is EVERYONE, so if one is to defer to the audience's sensibilities, one must defer to the lowest common denominator. That basically means you may as well just STFU in the first place. –  naught101 Mar 28 '12 at 0:49
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@tvanfosson Do you even know what the question above is asking about? There is a programming language with the name brainf**k(asterisks added by me). How would you propose people "improve their language skills and" discuss this programming language without, "resorting to crudity and rudeness?" –  JLRishe Jan 24 '13 at 6:34
    
@JLRishe I would do it exactly as you did and respect the views of others by not typing the actual offensive word. –  tvanfosson Jan 24 '13 at 14:00
    
@tvanfosson I see. Well, I'd agree with you there. –  JLRishe Jan 24 '13 at 14:05
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Either way. Just don't flag a post for something the poster has no control over (the name of the language.)

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I agree. However, if enough people do flag it, the post will be deleted. –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 21:10
    
Really? I wasn't aware of that. Does it delete the post automatically, without input from a moderator? –  Matthew Jones Sep 30 '09 at 21:11
    
Yes. It's either 5 or 6 offensive votes. –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 21:12
    
@Jon B - I believe it's 5. That seems a fairly standard number on StackOverflow. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 21:14
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The problem is that if enough people do anything, it can happen without any input. I think the moderators should still be aware of when a post is deleted due to offensiveness, and review those posts if possible. –  Matthew Jones Sep 30 '09 at 21:15
    
Moderators can see the offensive vote counts (as can 10K users). I'm not sure if they can reset them. –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 21:16
    
I've seen moderators reset offensive vote counts before. –  mmyers Sep 30 '09 at 21:33
    
@mmyers: I don't think that we can necessarily reset the counts. I know that we can go in and clear out the flags, but if someone comes in and reflags the same post, the old flags show up again in the list and count. That's at least how it has worked in the past when it comes to the moderator flags. I have not tested this directly on spam and offensive ones, though. –  TheTXI Oct 1 '09 at 12:53
    
I don't know if this is currently the case, but offensive votes used to be cleared when someone edited the post. Perhaps this is what you've seen when you've seen the flags cleared. –  Adam Davis Nov 3 '09 at 4:13
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No.

  1. The language is named "Brainf_ck" because it's confusing as hell. To emphasize how hard it is to understand and work with the language, emphatic words are appropriate.
  2. The language isn't absurdly profane. You can talk about the language and discuss the code without actually being terribly offensive.
  3. It's one word. Grow up.

See the comments here for Marc Gavell's (moderator) opinion that largely (won't say "entirely" because of point 3) agrees with this.

If you're going to edit it, change it to "bf" (or what I use, "the language that shall not be named" with a Wikipedia link). Calling it "brainf*ck" or something looks obviously censored and sparks edit wars.

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Edit wars help no one. Don't just go wild editing out perceived profanity in a proper name. –  Matthew Jones Sep 30 '09 at 21:19
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And your reality is different from mine, which is different from @Chris Lutz, and so on. Reality is perceived, and it is certainly not black-and-white. –  Matthew Jones Sep 30 '09 at 21:22
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@Lance - Profanity is all about perception. Some people perceive words like "crap" or "hell" to be highly offensive. Some people perceive words like "freedom" to be offensive. When talking about human reactions, everything is inherently perception, because human reaction has no grounding in any scientific "reality." –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 21:24
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You missed the point entirely. What is offensive to you is not necessarily offensive to me, or to other people. My, "reality," is therefore different from yours. –  Matthew Jones Sep 30 '09 at 21:25
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@Lance - I'm not either. I just happen to think that the absolute truth is a very different absolute truth than you do. So at least one of us has to be wrong. So how about we both admit the possibility of being wrong and stop trying to shove each other's absolute truths down each other's throats? –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 21:28
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@Chris, Well you could just use the common standards in the workplace. Would you comfortably use the word in ANY 'mixed group' and in ANY setting where you work? Wouldn't you ask someone to stop that was cussing around your children or wife? –  Lance Roberts Sep 30 '09 at 21:40
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Oh you have got to be Brainf**king kidding me.... You and everyone else knows part of that word is extremely offensive. Its nicknamed the F-BOMB! Even Ralphie in A Christmas Story, "I said THE word, the queen mother of dirty words. The f dash dash dash word." So because you prefix it with Brain its not offensive? What if I did that same thing but used mother? Im going to take a guess here but you dont have kids, do you? Seriously, Brainf can work just fine and Im sure the people on this site are intelligent enough to know what youre talking about. –  Locutus Sep 30 '09 at 22:11
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I think the word "pimp" is also offensive, thus the name "Datapimp" offends me. –  Wim ten Brink Sep 30 '09 at 22:21
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And in spite of all this I'm still not allowed to say "[expletive removed]" in a comment because Atwood is a prude. The whiners will win in the end because they don't stop crying. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 22:46
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@Lance - "Wouldn't you ask someone to stop that was cussing around your children or wife?" Not having either, I would say no. But even if I did, no, I wouldn't, because it would be hypocritical. I refuse to hold double standards. If that makes me a bad person in your book, that's fine. I don't particularly care what other people think about me. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 23:25
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Why on earth would anyone care about someone swearing around their wife? Perhaps their child, but only if it is some huge tirade that is ridiculous. And that would only apply to maybe under the age of 8? After that, they have heard it and used it already at school. Do we really think this is a site that 8 year olds browse? –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 23:30
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@DataPimp - Actually, Workshop is making a subtle but valid point that you're entirely missing - the point that vulgarity is completely arbitrary and depends on the listener. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 23:31
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Wait, I agree with He Who Must Not Be Named. That means I'm wrong, right? :P –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 23:31
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@Rich B: It's the sexist belief that women are somehow more pure and innocent than men. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 23:32
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@Welbog: Wow, you are right. I now consider that to be incredibly offensive. Much more than any single word. –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 23:33
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According to the web site of the German news magazine Der Spiegel, a German schnapps manufacturer just convinced the German federal patent court to allow them to register the trademark "Ficken" ("f**k"), which the patent office had denied them earlier.
The court found that, while using the term as a brand is certainly tasteless, it is not discriminating sexually. Moreover, they said that it is listed in dictionaries (actually they referred to the German dictionary Der Duden), they found that people of all classes use it when communicating, and they have seen it used in the titles of theater plays, movies, and books. The court even found it important to note that one Werner Schwab, author of a play "Mesalliance, aber wir ficken uns prächtig" ("Mésalliance, but we f**k just great"), was elected Dramaticist of the Year in 1992 by the theater magazine Theater heute ("theater today").
So the court ruled that the word is now a registered trademark for garments, mineral water, fruit juice, or alcoholic beverages, and if you attempted to introduce into the German market any such item under the brand "Ficken", you would intrude on the trade mark rights of some Swabian company named EFAG Trade Mark Company. (No, I did not make up that name.) So be careful using this name for products to be sold in Germany. You have been warned.

It might be interesting to note that, although "Ficken" is indeed a strong expletive which is not used in polite company and, according to social consensus, shouldn't be used in the presence of minors, Germans don't use it as a swear word. Rather, we use "Scheiße" ("s**t") for strong swearing. Given that the patent office's original objection was that the brand would be used around minors (where the word shouldn't be used), I wonder whether they would have accepted "Scheiße" as a registered trademark. (Trying now is moot, since, given the court's rationale, the patent office probably would have to accept it. If anything, "Scheiße" is even more present in spoken and written German culture than "Ficken".)


I guess the main lesson to take away from this is that, for many Stack Overflow users, it is not part of their culture to pretend, in written language, that an expletive that's regularly used in spoken language (although rarely ever in polite society) doesn't even exist (or is spelled unutterably).

I believe that for a word to be offensive by itself, it needs to directly or indirectly discriminate against an individual or a group of individuals. The expletive used as a synonym for sexual intercourse does not discriminate against anyone, not a person, and not a group of them. Of course, people are free to take offense at any word – and they do. But that is those people's faults, and they will, one day, be laughed at just as we now laugh at the Victorian prudes who avoided using the term "table leg". (In fact, over here they are laughed at like that today, and with the same contempt.)

I find it hilariously hypocritical that on a website for programmers I cannot search for the name of one of the programming languages used in the pun on the site's 404 page, because the languages' name uses a word which, while spoken regularly, must not be written down, according to some vociferous users. That is a very sad state of affairs, since that language is very worth tinkering with. (Writing a BF compiler is a very good student exercise.)

If a programmer's site pretends a language doesn't exist, or is written in different, unutterable spellings, then this just diminishes the site's value for the site's targeted audience. In other words: That PC nonsense is doing to your brains the very thing that language's name refers to.

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+1 For a very good comparison :) –  Tony The Lion Sep 13 '11 at 22:34
    
@Micheal: Why remove all the editing? Was that offensive too> –  Tony The Lion Sep 13 '11 at 22:44
    
@Tony: Huh? I tried to make the answer more readable. –  Michael Petrotta Sep 13 '11 at 22:46
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@sbi, Yes I did. And I added paragraphs where they should exist. If you feel so strongly that my edits were in error, revert them. I was just trying to help - that kind of emphasis may be common in German, but just makes English harder to read. –  Michael Petrotta Sep 13 '11 at 22:53
    
You have a strange morality to believe the only content anyone may legitimately call inherently offensive is discriminatory. I'd love to see a solid philosophical basis for this morality because I think it's going to be hard to come up with one so restrictive. Start with the source of people's value (presumably your starting point for unfair discrimination being wrong). –  ErikE Jan 7 '13 at 2:59
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I dimly remember a question in the early days of stackoverflow where the OP made the mistake to mention that he was working in the context of "adult content", he didn't even say "porn". And people were offended by that! There were no links being posted, no "offensive" words being used, it was enough for some to know that a piece of stupid source code would be used to dole out porn.

I am sure there are people out there that are offended because I just used the words "stupid" and "porn". To them I say: Könnt ihr verdammten Arschlöcher nicht einfach die Schnauze halten?

Give the easily offended an inch and they will take a mile.

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It still amazes me that no one took offense over the link in my profile, which points to an URL where I still need to set up a blog about the bare basics of programming. :-) Or maybe people do take offense but never bothered to visit it. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 11:47
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+1 for the German part, and no, I will not translate it :] –  Ladybug Killer Oct 1 '09 at 11:58
    
Esta conversación ya se está volviendo muy boluda... But you are right. –  perbert Oct 1 '09 at 14:09
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I know someone who is quitting his current job based on his company's minor involvement (one project) with a very well known and "respected" men's magazine. I don't agree at all, in fact I think it's a little ridiculous, but isn't he entitled to his opinion and position for his OWN JOB? –  Jeff Atwood Oct 1 '09 at 20:29
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Of course he is. But that is completely beside the point. He can quit is job and ruin his life. Why not? But he's not supposed to tell me that I have to quit my job or that the supermarket down the road should be closed because you can buy condoms there or that I shouldn't spell out the name of that silly programming language. –  innaM Oct 2 '09 at 9:03
    
@Workshop Alex: I visited it, and I was surprised it wasn't even Web-sensed here :-D –  fretje Oct 2 '09 at 12:20
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@Workshop Alex: You offended me by using the word "bare." –  Nosredna Oct 4 '09 at 22:17
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" isn't he entitled ..." Of course, just as you are entitled to your irrelevant strawman. –  Jim Balter Jan 7 '13 at 0:51
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What I notice in this whole conversation is that some are mixing up profanity with the "being nice" concept. Talking about Brain[beep] is not profanity. It's just a name that happens to be badly chosen. Talking about John Fucker, 1990 graduate of Bishop Smith Elementary School in Pembroke isn't profanity either. It's just his name. There's a whole family tree for the Fucker family, which probably sounds silly for some here, and probably upsets a whole lot of other people but you can't change the fact that this is their name!

There's a huge difference between someone who'se last name is actually Fucker and to call someone a f_cker just to insult them. The first is just perfectly legal and should never be edited. And profanity filters who filter this away need to be filtered away themselves! There's no excuse for filters who generate false positives.

You can wonder if John Fucker is even able to work for certain companies simply because they consider his name offensive. But I bet he's real proud of his name, which is very likely to be very old. And if he ever works for a company that applies a profanity filter, will he have a problem every day with this filter? Would every email of him be blocked simply because of his name? Can he even apply there for a job or will this filter just block his email containing his CV?

People need to realize that words alone are never offensive! You should always look at the context in which it is used.

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Its right there in the Consbreastution of the USA the right to swear! –  perbert Oct 1 '09 at 15:15
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You should study programming languages. I believe it was Chomsky who worked our regular and context-sensitve languages, and regular was a subset of context-sensitive. –  Lance Roberts Oct 1 '09 at 18:36
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Just one question, if my name were John Fucker, would I be barred of using my name as a username?

What about Michel Foucault? It sure does sound obscene.

What if I were named Juan Pelotudo?

Should my name be censored because its mildly offensive in spanish?

What about using a red gravatar? Should I be censored because a chineese might find that offensive?

Where do we draw the line?

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Find out, smeagol ;) –  Ladybug Killer Oct 1 '09 at 14:12
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@Lance: way to miss the point. –  perbert Aug 9 '10 at 21:47
    
You forgot Senor Gabriel Flor de Boludo. –  Peter Ajtai Aug 9 '10 at 23:45
    
@Peter: I'm wondering it there is a comma in there :) –  perbert Aug 10 '10 at 0:34
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What about Amanda Hugnkiss? Homer Sexual? –  bobobobo Dec 24 '10 at 6:51
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I've successfully flagged a user for using "Hitler" as their username. –  Andrew Grimm Nov 3 '11 at 7:31
    
@perbert: + 1 Good Analogy :) Imagine "perbert" considered being obscene LOL –  Siddharth Rout Jun 22 '12 at 3:35
    
Even Hitler could be one's own name, @Andrew, but I'd flag those too. A flag for someone who uses Kim Jong in their display name and claims "my goal is to be like Kim Jong Il and have absolute control over the minds of my future corporate subordinates who live under the false sense of security from everyday habits, news media, erroneous scientific papers which rely solely on statistical significance, the social norms and herd mentality (sounds like South Korea)" was declined though, so I guess I missed the clue there. –  Arjan Jan 26 '13 at 14:38
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It seems stupid to flag it offensive.

Its a language and that's its name.

Cover your mouths and giggle kids. Daddy said a bad word.

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This whole topic is about the right of Free Speech versus censorship of things considered obscene by some. And as such, it tends to be a very sensitive topic. But compare this with the Harry Potter bookseries and movies. As I write this, several people all around the world want these books and movies to be banned! The reason? It's about children doing witchcraft. Just now, the "Banned Book Week" has ended again, restricting what people can read in a library. But what people don't realize is that some of these bans are based upon religious views, but people who don't share those views are just duped by these restrictions.

As an Atheist, my views are simple. You have the right on your opinion, I have the right to have my opinion. If you don't like my opinion, you're free to not listen to me. If you don't like swearwords, just install nanny software on your own computer, just like you would close your ears whenever I would be talking. But never, ever deny my the right of Free Speech or I kick you in the [beep]!!! [Beep], [beep] [beep] [beep]...

It reminds me a bit about the poem "First they came" by Pastor Martin Niemöller, who realized what he and others had allowed to happen in Germany during WWII. The same problem applies to censorship. The more we allow it, the more we'll lose our right to Free Speech. If we continue to allow this kind of censorship, then we just don't deserve Free Speech. We wouldn't even be allowed to be Free,since we let others dictate what we can and cannot do.

But do I approve the use of obscene words? [Beep] no! Definitely not! But people should not be [beep]ing stupid and just flag anything that seems to be using a bad word. Worse, when would we start banning words that are bad in other languages? The word "lul", part of "lullaby" is a bad word In the Dutch language. The female counterpart "kut" is fortunately not something you'll see in the English language, although it's the name of some radio station in the USA. Do people realize that these two words are specific Dutch words referring to the genitals of men and women?

Anyway, if someone uses a bad word as a regular part of a name or question, it should be okay. If someone intentionally used the word to be obscene, flag it! Even if they misspelled the word, flag it! It's not about words, it's about intentions and if someone intents to misbehave, they deserve to be flagged, banned even. But don't ban words...

Also interesting is the word "fok" which would have a similar meaning as [beep]. But in the Dutch language, it's far less offensive in the Dutch language than [beep is in the USA or UK. Maybe we're not that prudish? ;-)

Final note: the USA also bans several movies because of it's "obscene content", or for being "anti-Christian" or for several other reasons... The Netherlands only used to ban one movie involving Laurel and Hardy, but this movie has been unbanned again.

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Can't +1 this hard enough. –  XMLbog Oct 1 '09 at 11:40
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There is a distinction between Jeff and Joel limiting what you may say on Stack Overflow (which they own), and someone (anyone, even a government) telling you what you may not say on your website, or what you may not print with your press. Do not conflate the two, because there are not the same thing. Public libraries are a corner case, but private libraries are not. –  dmckee Oct 1 '09 at 13:55
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Of course there's a distinction. The US constitution does allow obscene language so websites who apply censorship do this all on their own initiatives. All I'm pointing out is that we should also decide if we want to support sites that work against Free Speech. Fortunately, SO mostly takes action against abusive behavior but some of the edits in this thread are a kind of bad censorship in my opinion. If Jeff/Joel don't censor this thread, others will be offended so they never win in this case. But I think that those who are upset by the name brain[beep] need to have their heads examined. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 14:24
    
I am curious which Laurel and Hardy movie was banned? –  Troggy Oct 1 '09 at 15:56
    
It's not true that the USA bans several movies for those reasons. The USA did ban movies, and smaller governmental districts have attempted to ban movies, but the Federal government doesn't ban movies and the local governments can't sustain bans. Of course, there was the public and FCC reaction to Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at that Super Bowl halftime. –  David Thornley Oct 1 '09 at 16:12
    
I also mentioned "Kut" and "Lul" but haven't noticed any Dutch visitors being offended by these words... –  Wim ten Brink Oct 2 '09 at 7:47
    
Didn't "Fitna" get banned? –  DVK Oct 8 '09 at 19:43
    
@DVK, No, Fitna was broadcast on National TV. Then Wilders was sued for doing a few copyright violations with this short film, which have been settled afterwards. People did try to block it, but it's still considered free speech. But ISP's have the right to block any content on their systems that they don't like, thus they had a few problems finding a webhost who did not fear it's reputation... –  Wim ten Brink Oct 9 '09 at 10:26
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No it isn't. Now, mangling a name is. Because it screws up one of the major purposes of this site: to be searchable by Google (and other search engines, of course).

Type to the search box at the top right here, hit enter. Do you see this question? No, you won't. You have to search for "brainf_ck". How the heck is anyone supposed to know all the various manglings?

So. Don't Mangle (and that goes for you too, C++).

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How in the name of all things made of batter can a word be offensive when spelled "f_ck", but not offensive when spelled "f_ck"?

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until the moderators stop deleting it every time I say it. There are two situations:

  1. You know what the word "f_ck" means because you are old enough to know what it means. There are two subsituations here:
    1. You are offended by the word, in which case the implied usage of the word (i.e. when it's butchered and made into something like "f_ck"), should still be offensive to you. The word doesn't have any power. It's not like it's magically not the word anymore because one of its letters is missing. It's still "f_ck", and if you are offended by the simple word but aren't offended by some childish mask of it, then you are inconsistent (and inconsistency makes you a bad programmer, Jeff said so). That is to say, if you find the word "f_ck" offensive, and use the word "f_ck" when other, less cowardly people would use the word "f_ck", you're effectively using the word "f_ck". If you don't avoid the word altogether you are a hypocrite, by definition.
    2. You aren't offended by the word, so there's no reason at all to replace it with some hollow facsimile of it.
  2. You don't know what the word "f_ck" means because you have never seen it before. The word is completely meaningless to you, and would be just as meaningless if the word were spelled "f_ck" or "waffle" or some other word you don't recognize. There's no reason to mask the word from such people because the word doesn't carry any meaning for them. And if they want to look it up because they don't know what it is, spelling it "f_ck" isn't going to make it any harder, because that spelling is all over the Internet and it's fairly easy to realize it's an expletive from its use.

So there's no reason to pretend the word is a different word when it's spelled with magical runes that remove the word's non-existent powers. It's just a word. Use it when it is the best word for the situation, like you would any other word.

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Now who wants to join the how-long-does-welboug-get-banned-for pool? My money's on three days and that this post will get deleted because we just can't have people expressing themselves on meta! It was worth it. It will always be worth it as long as censorship exists. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 23:13
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That's actually a pretty fair point. If I posted "f*** you" as a comment, that would be just as offensive as spelling it out. –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 23:25
    
Well, I +1ed you for this. –  John Rudy Sep 30 '09 at 23:26
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@Rich - perhaps you consider nothing to be offensive? We all have a different system of values. Some people consider certain language offensive. That's just a fact. –  user27414 Sep 30 '09 at 23:40
    
@Jon B: And changing the spelling of the word accomplishes nothing to that end, as I have shown. They're going to be offended anyway by the name, so spell it properly because at least that's right. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 23:42
    
@Jon: I consider everything you just said offensive. –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 23:43
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I consider parsing XML with regular expressions to be terribly offensive. You don't see me whining on meta to get that idea banned from SO. There's a difference between being offended and dealing with it properly and being an authoritarian fun sucker. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 23:46
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Some people find Perl offensive, to them I say $hut->up –  Brad Gilbert Oct 1 '09 at 3:31
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The most logical reason to disallow obscene words (whether part of a real name or not) on the website is to give those poor souls behind overly oppressive internet filters a good chance at being able to use this excellent set of websites.

While one may disagree with the definition of obscene, and internet filters in general, one must consider that the benefit of self-censoring may well be greater than the (apparently huge, to many people here) cost of adding an asterisk, or using the abbreviation, or one of a million other ways to deliver the same point without the use of 'obscene' words.

I work in a company with over 50k people, perhaps 1k are programmers. They, unfortunately, use a very, very strict filter which currently does not block SO, but they have blocked other resource sites (even after requests to open them up specifically for work purposes) due to obscenity issues. They don't do by-page blocking. With an internet connection pipe as large as is needed at each site, it's far easier to monkey with DNS and ipfilter and block the whole site - lowers the cost of the filtering equipment, software, pushing the same changes to all sites, and manual admin work, etc. Keep in mind that in this economy the bean counters rule, and in fact half the IT department was laid off last year, and the CTO is an accountant. They don't care.

While one may rail against corporate censorship, vaunt cries of free speech, and in general force others to accept their rules for obscenity, they must admit that the world isn't perfect, and it isn't just a "this could happen" scenario - this IS happening right now in even the larger companies.

So yes. If one chooses to use an offensive word (as defined by my corporate overlords) I WILL edit the post, and then mark the post offensive if it's changed back.

It is offensive to me that someone risks my ability to interact with this site when it's trivial for them to restructure or reword their post to avoid it.

-Adam

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Maybe you should be offended by your overlords and not by the guys who care about free speech. Imperfect world or not. –  Ladybug Killer Oct 1 '09 at 13:56
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+1 for the first argument against the full spelling of the language name in question I can sympathize with. While I agree that this situation should not exist, it does, and it's easier to edit the Us out of Brainf_ck (or, for that matter, the British city of Sc_nthorpe) than to make a large company do something intelligent. –  David Thornley Oct 1 '09 at 14:04
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Or you should be offended, just as I am, by inefficient process, inefficient communication between related areas, and inefficient tools used by organizations. –  perbert Oct 1 '09 at 14:12
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You have no coworkers living in Scunthorpe, right? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem –  perbert Oct 1 '09 at 14:13
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I disagree with this, because you assume that only certain words would be considered obscene. If I mention "Falung Gong" here, this whole site probably ends up being banned in China! Furthermore, you'd assume that only Englisg words would be considered obscene but many people don't use English as their native language. There are a lot of foreign words that aren't considered obscene in English but which are extremely offensive in other countries. It may also surprise you that other countries are less strict about obscenity online than the USA, though. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 14:30
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Furthermore, why are we responsible for you having problems accessing certain sites? It's your own employer who makes you less effective in your work, if they decide to block certain sites. You are giving too much control to your corporate Overlords, and are accepting them to take away your freedom! D@mn them to [beep]! Those beancounters are in control simply because people are accepting this. What if your corporate beancounters start adding f*ck, f_ck, f__k or even [beep] to their filters? I just to work for people who want to restrict my freedom this way. And if I'm the only one, so be it! –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 14:36
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One can complain about the injustice of it, rant against the corporation, and talk about free speech. But as an adult one shows respect for other human beings by making small allowances. Is this such a hard or bitter pill to swallow? There are times to dig in your heels and be stubborn, but is this fight one of them? –  Adam Davis Oct 1 '09 at 14:48
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Oh, I won't complain as long as the corporation puts things in the proper context. If I use a word in an obscene way, I should be punished. If I use it simply because it's some name of a language or a person, then allow me to use that word! That's all I'm asking for. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 14:55
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In other words you are OK with thousands risking losing access to these sites if it means you don't have to self censor. I understand your position, it just appears juvenile. You are digging in your heels for no benefit to yourself or anyone else since such words and phrase can be avoided with absolutely no loss of clarity in the questions, answers, or comments. Maybe after some years of experience you will be able to tell the difference between censorship that must be opposed on principle, and making small allowances for the benefit of others. Until then, I'll edit and/or mark offensive. –  Adam Davis Oct 1 '09 at 15:05
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@Workshop Alex: There are fights that are worth fighting, and ones that aren't. The world is different in so many respects from what I think it should be that I'd have problems cataloging all of these, let alone fighting for them. Fighting with IT for a huge corporation because their automation banned a useful website doesn't appear worth it to me. –  David Thornley Oct 1 '09 at 16:16
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@Adam Davis, if this means that thousands won't be able to access the Internet while at work then that's fine by me. People will find ways around this. Just look at the Chinese Firewall which is supposed to control the usage of Internet in China. It fails. Censorship is doomed to fail, as long as people are willing to take their freedom. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 17:25
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@David Thornley - Does it make it right or okay not to fight something you consider wrong just because you know you can't win? Is it somehow okay to stand by and do nothing just because you can't change it immediately? –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 20:49
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Is the swear filter well implemented though? For example does it provide false positives for the town in the UK southwest of Hull? –  Quibblesome Nov 16 '09 at 18:39
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I have my corp filter workaround. It starts with Andr, and ends in hone, with a smart in the middle. –  Lee Louviere Oct 12 '11 at 18:07
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"difference between censorship that must be opposed on principle" and the other kind that is okay? Sorry, censorship must be opposed on principle, period. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jun 25 '12 at 14:08
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Actually, words should be considered obscene if they're used in an obscene context. But as part of a name, who cares? In Germany, there's a bus company/travel agency named "Fücker" which would, of course, be considered obscene if those buses would travel through the USA or the UK, simply because it's name is in huge letters on top of those buses.

It's funny when you consider the history of these four letters grouped together in this "bad" way. Whole books have been banned in the USA just because they used this word too often. Worse, some authors ended up being criminally charged for obscenity because they used this word. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is still controversial because it used this word, being banned in quite a few US libraries.

But remember this: In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the mere public display of f_ck is protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and cannot be made a criminal offense. Thus, the use of this word is perfectly legal. Yet a forum like this can apply some censorship if it's used in a bad context.

But anyone who just blindly bans this word no matter how it's used is basically ignoring these two amendments and thus the Constitution of the USA. It's almost if they're saying a big eff you to this constitution by applying censorship...

Mangling it, masquerading it, shortening it, spelling it wrong, etc. These are all techniques used to bypass certain obscenity filters. Basically, that tells me that people are just accepting censorship by bypassing it. That can't be right, can it? Besides, those filters would just adjust and also consider those misspellings as obscene and before we know it, there's no more Free Speech anywhere on this World. Let's at least keep Fr@@ sp@@ch on the Internet, okay? (Before someone even considers that a bad word...

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"whole books have been banned in the USA" - examples? Who banned them? Not the country, I think. –  John Saunders Sep 30 '09 at 23:36
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Also, the Supreme Court decision is about restriction by governments of public display. It doesn not apply to private persons, companies, etc. –  John Saunders Sep 30 '09 at 23:38
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@John: You have missed the point by so much it makes my head hurt. –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 23:41
    
@Rich B: anything currently banned by the US Federal, or any US State Government? Thanks for the link, but research would be required to answer this question using that link. –  John Saunders Sep 30 '09 at 23:41
    
@Rich B: Then help me understand the point. The Constitution can't restrict a company "banning" a book, language, etc. –  John Saunders Sep 30 '09 at 23:42
    
@Workshop Alex - If you don't mind, I think at this point you need to asterisk out "free speech" in your post. It seems appropriate, especially since yours is still unlocked. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 4:50
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@Chris Lutz, I myself have more problems with the word "Obscene" which is just obscene to me. But I believe in Free Speech and live in a country where they respect my right to use swearwords so I'm not bothered by it. :-) –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 8:13
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I think "Fanny Hill, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" was a popular book that was officially banned by the government of the USA. It was unbanned in 1966. It would take 7 more years before it was decided that banning obscene material is against the constitution, unless the material is distributed to minors or unwilling parties. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 8:54
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Having recently watched Idiocracy (thanks to Mr Atwood), one thing to take away from it is that profanity is a refuge of the stupid. –  Joel Coehoorn Oct 1 '09 at 15:39
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@Joel Coehoorn - As a fairly intelligent f_cker, I disagree. But unfortunately, we can't illegalize stupidity, and as much as it would make the world a better place, we shouldn't. We can't make a rule that says people can't be racist, sexist, homophobic, or religiously prejudiced. It's just as unethical as if we made rules that were racist/sexist/etc. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 19:50
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@Jeff - Is using The Language That Must Not Be Named as bad as being racist? –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Nov 29 '10 at 0:12
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@Jeff It's never occurred to me that a visit to your house would be in order. –  Lee Louviere Oct 12 '11 at 18:17
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"Having recently watched Idiocracy (thanks to Mr Atwood), one thing to take away from it is that profanity is a refuge of the stupid." -- That's a very stupid, fallacious inference. –  Jim Balter Jan 7 '13 at 1:10
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Doesn't munging the name of a language make it hard for people who legitimately desire help in using that language to find the help they seek?

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I'm guessing that if you have to ask, you most likely know the answer. Some people get offended by the darndest things, but this is completely 100% unnecessary.

These posts should be edited completely and that kind of language should be removed. Replacing a "U" with a "_" does not change the text or how people will read it, so why do that? If you edit out the "U" then just remove the whole thing.

EDIT
Just a follow-up... The reality is that folks need to apply some common sense here. This is not about having a sense of humor. This is about being able to intelligently articulate yourself without resorting to a [beep] or a !$%@... There are many working professionals that are on these sites daily, and we should do our best to maintain a safe for work site. There is not a single reason as to why the swearing should be tolerated, and that has zero to do with it being offensive.

This is not the same thing as a "caution, contents may be hot" on a coffee cup. I think that is a little ridiculous and that common sense would tell you coffee is supposed to be hot. Let's keep SO clean...

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I would suggest to edit all those posts and to put the u back in it's place? No one will consider it less offensive, just because it's spelled different. People aren't that stupid, are they? (Then again, considering the people who do take offense over the unedited usage of [beep], I would almost assume that some are really that stupid.) Btw, what's next? Labels on coffeecups telling you the content is hot and that you should first allow it to cool down before drinking? How stupid do some people get? –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 11:50
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I am willing to respect working professionals by not swearing on the site. That isn't the argument. If they're not willing to fight for their right to free speech, I'll indulge them. The argument is over whether or not a proper noun should be considered offensive. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 20:01
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Brainf_ck is the name of the language, not BrainF_ck, BF or anything else. Flagging post with brainf_ck in it is just shooting the messenger . I agree with Welboug, ppl know what F***, Fu_k etc, actually mean (for those that don't, how they going to understand what BrainFu_k is all about?), so this is just silly. (Same goes for the stupid beep one get's in american tv shows, totally pointless.)

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Your poorly spelled support will not go unnoticed. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 23:41
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I propose a compromise: give Jeff & the SO team plausible deniability by spelling it "BrainF|_|ck".

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Just use uppercase at all times, BRAINFLICK. –  random Oct 1 '09 at 2:20
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my visual parser refused to recognize LI as U. No matter how hard I try, it reminds me not to corrupt it's pathways, else I have a hard time reading common FLICKING SENSE. –  Lee Louviere Oct 12 '11 at 18:13
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This to me falls under the same category as McDonald's creating a subsidiary called "All Beef" so that they can print "All Beef" on their packaging.

If that's the name of the language you're talking about, I think that should be ok.

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BrainF_ck : Programming Languages :: 2 Live Crew : Music

  1. It's a joke.
  2. The joke isn't very funny, original, interesting, or useful.
  3. It causes problems with corporate net filtering software and jeopardizes others' ability to even arrive at the site.
  4. All in all, a giant f_cking waste of time for everyone involved.

You will censor it, or we will censor you. Your choice.

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Minimal instruction sets are pretty interesting, man. Don't you find the robustness of instruction sets to be interesting? Computational completeness, limits of computation, theory of computing, formal languages, parsing. These things are all terribly interesting, and our topical language is an exploration of such interesting things. So while your first and third points are sound, your second and fourth are just unfounded nonsense. That said, I am happy with this arrangement because it is a practical solution to a practical problem, and lets me call people motherf_ckers to maximum offensivity. –  XMLbog Oct 1 '09 at 18:10
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FYI: I am Welbo_g now. –  XMLbog Oct 1 '09 at 19:14
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I'm not going to censor any of my texts on these sites so if you disagree with that, you'll have to do it. But I also want to make it clear that I won't use any offensive language on this site, because I don't want to offend people. However, I'm not going to restrict myself simply because some corporations are too sensitive about certain topics! Chances of me using [beep]? Probably only when I mention Brain[beep] somewhere. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 2 '09 at 7:56
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I don't understand how this "corporate net filtering" thing you talk about would be a problem for this site, while it isn't a problem for Wikipedia. –  fretje Oct 2 '09 at 12:28
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After some reconsiderations, I decided to give this answer a -1 simply because I'm AGAINST censorship, unless the intention is to remove abusive language. But censorship of just words and names is BAD! –  Wim ten Brink Oct 2 '09 at 12:36
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If somebody has a problem with the word, it isn't my problem. Tomorrow some corporations have problems with other words, maybe 'freedom'. Don't support censorship, if you're not the dictator. –  user unknown Aug 15 '11 at 23:50
    
Hahahaha, 2 Live Crew! My friends and I used to listen to them day and night when we were thirteen. Did you know one of its members is now a born again Christian? What a bizarre turn. –  Pëkka Oct 31 '11 at 20:06
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You missed something. –  Time Traveling Bobby Nov 10 '11 at 8:36
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I find it telling that you are unable to make your point about not using expletives (which this thread isn't even about, but let's forget that for a minute) without using an expletive yourself. FFS, this is how you speak all day — what's wrong about being honest about it?! And don't give me that "corporate filtering" BS. This site is full of expletives, and you will certainly already be filtered, never mind this language's name. (And the language is very useful for educational purpose. I can make my students write a BF interpreter in a few hours.) –  sbi Feb 14 '12 at 10:30
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The word appears a dozen times on this page. Your claim #3 is false. –  Jim Balter Jan 7 '13 at 1:15
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It's definitely offensive if spelled out, the standard on SO is to put the asteriks in.

EDIT: I'll now modify this answer since I've seen quite the variety of munging. As long as we munge out the indecencies, I'm not hung up on the method.

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I've seen no such standard on SO. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Sep 30 '09 at 21:11
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@John Rudy -- you just contradicted yourself. Merriam Webster's definition of expletive: b : an exclamatory word or phrase; especially : one that is obscene or profane –  tvanfosson Sep 30 '09 at 21:49
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-1 because you're wrong. –  XMLbog Sep 30 '09 at 22:52
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-1 because you spelled asterisks wrong and that offends me. –  GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 22:58
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I've never seen a -11 post before :( –  RSolberg Oct 1 '09 at 4:24
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@dmckee - I highly respect him for that. I would almost take off my downvote, except now the post is too old. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 4:44
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Me too. In some sense it is very hard to convey a real depth of feeling on S[OFU], but his manages it. –  dmckee Oct 1 '09 at 5:12
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-500 if I could, because you're so wrong. Words don't hurt people. People hurt people! And an offensive word is still offensive even if you spell it wrong or add asterisks in it! –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 8:44
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@Workshop Alex: Damned straight. And I'm very, very disappointed in Jeff for completely missing the point of this thread in editing and locking posts for discussing a simple word. –  XMLbog Oct 1 '09 at 10:43
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-1 because you seem to be right, after reading through this thread. Though, it's _, not *. –  gimpf Oct 1 '09 at 12:29
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@Welboug, perhaps Jeff is editing those posts simply because this site is also visited by minors and people who don't want to read obscene messages. It's not easy to keep things balanced, although I do agree that editing the posts here just is annoying and making the whole discussion void. Then again, a forum like SO and Meta isn't a democracy but a dictatorship, where moderators have full control and the administrators rule over all. –  Wim ten Brink Oct 1 '09 at 13:34
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@Workshop - Anyone who steps into a discussion on censorship is going to have to expect to hear some foul language. It's almost impossible to discuss censorship meaningfully without discussing, understanding, and seeing things that are often censored. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Oct 1 '09 at 20:35
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I'm offended by immense stupidity and illiteracy. –  Jim Balter Aug 9 '11 at 1:28
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@LanceRoberts: What on earth gives you the idea that I'd advocate abandoning a moral standard? If you think moral standards include rendering judgment on text based on regular expression matching I don't think you understand what "morality" even is. Judging right from wrong based on surface instead of substance is immature. It's also a very common idea among people happy to do evil while following the letter of "moral laws" and ignoring the spirit. So get off your cargo-cult morality high horse and see if you have what it takes to really uphold a moral standard. –  McCannot Jan 24 '13 at 16:06
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@LanceRoberts: I said nothing about relative or objective moral standards. In fact, my point applies to both. You are objectively wrong, logically and morally, and we apparently aren't going to agree because you don't actually want to follow a moral standard at all and don't know how to deal with your so-called "standards" being called out as the sham that they are. Not that I'm surprised--I've come to expect that the louder someone is about "moral" rules, the less objectively moral their actions are, even by their own standards. –  McCannot Jan 24 '13 at 16:50
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