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Can I use salty, expletive-laden language on Stack Exchange sites, like Q*Bert?

Q*Bert says @!#?@!

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  • Q-Bert doesn't ever actually swear, it's implied by the punctuation. The point is that it's non-obvious and non-universal what's considered to be an 'expletive'. I don't see any gold standard as to whether 'heck', 'dang', 'dagnabbit', 'blast, bother and damnation' et al. are expletives or not, mild or strong, and then there's 200+ other languages/dialects/regions. Meta has 291 hits for 'damn' and 30 for 'b****' Also, there's a huge difference in comments directed at a user, vs code examples. – smci Jul 29 at 6:18
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No.

Expletives are not acceptable behavior on any Stack Exchange site, even on Meta. There are a very small handful of exceptions (such as if you were talking about the word itself on a language site), but in general you should not use expletives anywhere, under any circumstances. If you can't effectively communicate what you need to say without resorting to lowest common denominator cursing, then keep it to yourself.

If you use expletives, you will likely get a warning. Any language that becomes a source of disruption is subject to removal through editing. If you use even what one might consider the mildest of expletives for style and someone removes them, leave them out.

If you continue to use expletives, you will be placed on timed suspension.

  • 95
    would be funny if this answer opened with "Hell No" – gnat Feb 9 '16 at 19:45
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    Yes @Stack Exchange, I would consider adding why I DVed, but it will just be deleted anyway (again). – Mazura May 11 '16 at 23:09
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    How are we supposed to find out which words are considered "expletives" on Stack Exchange? I'm not just asking to be annoying - as a global resource, it's possible that cultural norms in different places have very different influences on what's offensive (e.g. consider the difference between a devoutly religious country/region and one that's much more secular). – Toby Speight Apr 7 '17 at 8:16
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    @TobySpeight if you have to ask that question about a word don't say it – Christopher Apr 26 '17 at 15:49
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    @Christopher: yes, I'm reasonably confident that my answers are worded acceptably for most English-speaking cultures. My point is simply that it's not as black-and-white as you might think (even ignoring obvious cases such as when implementing spam filters). – Toby Speight Apr 26 '17 at 16:10
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    Fork this sort! – iBug Apr 30 '17 at 14:24
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    @Jeff Atwood: even in chat? – sergiol Aug 30 '17 at 22:52
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    This either needs to be globally enforced or forgotten. There is nothing worse than a "enforced at my whim" rule. – Kik Sep 28 '17 at 17:18
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    So what do we do if we run into an expletive on a question, etc.? – rogerdpack Apr 30 '18 at 23:48
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    @rogerdpack Flag it as rude or offensive (or abusive). That is what the flag is there for :) – fosslinux May 1 '18 at 6:15
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    @Azxdreuwa: there are reasons to swear: it happens! There are acceptable reasons to swear in broad-minded company: exuberance, let off steam; I recall Sir Simon Rattle on TV calling a performance “f●●ing brilliant” (±ε), which surprised but did not shock me. But 1) there are less acceptable reasons, mainly to offend part of one’s audience, and 2) what some find acceptable will alienate others. I am happy for SE to play safe and ban swearing. But check the origin of “poppycock”: fairly offensive! – PJTraill May 13 '18 at 22:26
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    @Azxdreuwa: Try replacing swear by copulate (for example) in some of your statements and you will see that your argument needs tightening up. – PJTraill May 14 '18 at 20:01
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    @Azxdreuwa That's the fun thing about opinions: you're entitled to them, but so is everyone else. Frankly, having a colorful vocabulary is a lot less offensive to me than being smugly judgmental. – Beofett May 22 '18 at 20:11
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    @Christopher I think the issue is that what is offensive to some is benign to others, and the others have no idea, and the offended will take it contextually. A great example is the word squat. I have used that word and offended people who think it is explicit. But there are contexts where it is just a word that means a specific body position. If we didn't use any words because we could imagine a hypothetical person would be offended by them, then we basically couldn't write anything. – Todd Wilcox Jun 5 '18 at 14:26
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    @Azxdreuwa You're speaking from your own cultural perspective. Where I'm from some parents do swear in front of children. While I can't think of anyone teaching me to swear, no one really taught me the rest of my English either for the most part. Instead, it was just something I learned as part of the rest of my language. Nonetheless, I also agree with other commenters that while I think swearing is acceptable in some contexts, it's completely reasonable to disallow it on SE. – jgon Nov 16 '18 at 2:13

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