43

Like always I hang around in Stack Overflow's chatrooms. Today, someone posted a link to his new "reloaded" user profile.demo

Along the lines I read in Arabic "god is a pig". So I asked him to remove it:

Me: I have a lot of respect towards you because of your knowledge but what you wrote there in Arabic is offensive. Could you remove it please?
OP: if it were in English, would it be equally offensive?
I will write it in Dutch because you ask it so kindly.
Me: yeah, I mean what's your goal? You're just seeding hatred
OP: It is an experiment.

After that, the user changed it to Dutch.

My question is: are such statements acceptable by Stack Exchange's standards? If not, should I flag one of his posts like stated here? If yes, could you state why?

My answers to possible questions:

  • This happened on SO, why don't you post it on MSO?
    • This happened on SO but I think it's applicable to all SE sites.
  • Why didn't you link the user or the chat conversation?
    • I want the user to remain anonymous unless he or she chooses to reveal him/her self. I will give the user a link to this question
  • Why do you care?
    • I find it offensive, not only to my religion but to any religion that believes in god. I posted this question to know what you guys and girls think about this. I live by the rules, so if it's acceptable by SE then so be it and I won't bother you again.
  • If you don't like it then move on.
    • I know that this is not a mosque/church/temple and that swearing is acceptable to a certain degree. But I don't see the point in insulting god, a religion or a race in a public profile. More over, it's not even built on arguments.
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    It is kinda nice of him to translate it in Dutch though :) BTW any link to the profile in question? – PeeHaa May 9 '14 at 14:35
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    +1 I don't believe an environment such as SO benefits from any religious reference; whether it's to represent your belief in, or hatred for, any religion. Of course, there are sub-sites dedicated to this topic of discussion specifically, but SO/SU/SF don't need to know. – Dan Lugg May 9 '14 at 14:37
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    @DanLugg: yet the user profile is the one place a user gets to express themselves. There are few, if any, restrictions on what you can put in there. – Martijn Pieters May 9 '14 at 14:38
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    @MartijnPieters Frankly, I don't care what you put in your profile, but I also can't understand how people rationalize putting anything except technological achievements and interests there (again, in the context of SO/SU/SF) – Dan Lugg May 9 '14 at 14:40
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    And that some find this to be offensive is still a subjective issue. I find it terribly easy to laugh random statements on user profiles off. At best, I think less of the user; e.g. it's their own loss. But it should not be the job of Stack Exchange to remove such statements, absolutely not. – Martijn Pieters May 9 '14 at 14:40
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    @DanLugg: I don't understand how people rationalise that you cannot put anything there except technological achievements and interests there. We are all humans, we all have interests and expression beyond the technical field! – Martijn Pieters May 9 '14 at 14:41
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    I never said you "cannot". Do whatever you want. But, I don't walk into a church and start talking Linux with the congregation for no reason. Consider that. – Dan Lugg May 9 '14 at 14:42
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    @DanLugg: That's a straw man argument. A church has an entirely different expectation, culturally, of how people behave there. This is not a church. – Martijn Pieters May 9 '14 at 14:43
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigs_in_popular_culture see the section on religion and the numerous examples of pig or boar gods. – Bart May 9 '14 at 14:43
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    @DanLugg Is there something wrong with going to the church wearing a Linux T-shirt? (Because profiles don't "start talking" to anyone) – R. Martinho Fernandes May 9 '14 at 14:43
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    I seem to have found myself down the rabbit hole here. I'm not a religious man, and I think I'm rather hard to offend. Have fun :-) – Dan Lugg May 9 '14 at 14:44
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    What part of the expected behavior guidelines do you feel someone putting content in their about box is violating? The cause for action hinges upon you being clear what behavior you wish to censor / suppress on someone else's one clearly personal space on the site. – bmike May 9 '14 at 16:13
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    Sounds like you're beung openly offensive towards those who believe in pig gods, oh which there are many. Your way is not the only way. Live and let live. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 9 '14 at 17:55
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    I wonder how did you (the OP) know that god was insulted. Did he (or she) told you personally? – ypercubeᵀᴹ May 9 '14 at 18:12
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    As a Northern Irish Atheist (yes there is such a thing), I really do not feel it is OK for somebody to use this site as a platform to insult another's beliefs. One of the major draws of StackExchange is the fact that we are all, despite out differences, drawn together because of our love of technology/programming etc, and I find the fact that I can ask a question, and can receive an answer from somebody with a completely different worldview from myself, on the opposite side of the planet, or vice versa (maybe I can help them), to be an incredibly good thing! – JMK May 9 '14 at 22:41

10 Answers 10

74

Wendikidd mostly nailed this, but here's the semi-official guideline:

  1. Generally speaking, your "about me" is just that—what you want to share with the world, and we try to allow users a good bit of freedom there.
  2. However, in the rare cases where what's there is likely to be truly offensive to large groups of seemingly reasonable people, we may not allow it.

Note that point 2 does not mean you should go out searching for offense; fear not—it will likely eventually find you. If you happen to stumble upon a profile that truly offends you, flag it for attention.

When in doubt, try to be at least as tolerant of someone else's statement or opinion as you want them to be toward you. (Hat tip to Sklivvz.)

In the interest of being slightly less hand wavy:

We will probably not allow:

  • Most terms or statements that directly malign (non-famous) individuals
  • Any terms or statements that imply something derogatory about a racial, ethnic, religious, gender or sexual orientation group
  • Things that are likely to be strong emotional triggers (like rape, suicide, etc.)
  • Statements that appear to be demonstrably libelous

We will probably allow:

  • Things groups or individuals would vehemently disagree with, but don't seem to directly malign them.

Note: this list is not comprehensive or absolute—I want to be clear that this policy is highly discretionary, and we'll make individual calls based on our desire to allow the maximum freedom possible without undermining our commitment to a community based on civility and mutual respect.

With regard to the OP's example:

This one's kind of hard, but if I had to pick a line for this type of content, and only when someone flags it as offending them—we are not policing this:

I'd probably consider the generic, "God is a pig/myth/crutch" to be reasonable, if controversial expression of one's personal belief. That said, I'd probably consider the same type of statements directed toward "Yahweh," "Allah," etc. to be more potentially problematic, as they are much more personally offensive and targeted to specific groups.

If you learn better from pictures: Our tolerance in different areas has a lot to do with how much they're in your space on the site, vs. the public space. Posts are very public, shared resources. Your username and avatar are (obviously) more about you, but they appear anywhere you post, so they're pretty public. Your about me is visible to the public, but in your little public corner of the site, so we're a bit more liberal:

Enter image description here

  • 6
    Is it intentional that the arrow gets droopier as it progresses down the table? – Josh Caswell May 9 '14 at 19:52
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    @JoshCaswell, there's not much "intentional" about my drawings. Everytime I sketch something, a tiny part of Jin catches fires. – Jaydles May 9 '14 at 19:55
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    For Piglet's sake, then, put down the pencil! – Josh Caswell May 9 '14 at 20:00
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    Cargo shorts? Really? – hairboat May 9 '14 at 20:13
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    @AbbyT.Miller, all else being equal, cargo shorts are always superior to non-cargo alternatives. – Jaydles May 9 '14 at 20:13
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    So what does the next level (which is obviously chat) allow? ;) (+1 for free hand drawing, you obviously chose the wrong job!) – Shadow Wizard May 9 '14 at 20:27
  • @ShadowWizard, we have chat? I – Jaydles May 9 '14 at 20:32
  • Whoops, knew I shouldn't reveal the secret! :D – Shadow Wizard May 9 '14 at 20:37
  • @tshepang, thanks for editing the link in - I shoulda done that in the first place. (I did up vote her, though!) – Jaydles May 9 '14 at 20:49
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    -1 for not drawing this in red, +1 for the content – Sklivvz May 9 '14 at 20:49
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    Very nice! Especially love the image :D +1! – WendiKidd May 9 '14 at 22:54
  • Just a side note: from a common Jewish perspective, in the future, it's generally not good form to write out the name of God. However, please don't edit it out at this point :] It is understandable, but I'd respectfully ask you not to do it again. – Aza May 10 '14 at 18:23
  • @emracool, just to clarify, I remember now that I probably should have written "G-d", but is there also something different I should do for "Yahweh"? I'd prefer to edit to make this most appropriate for all readers! – Jaydles May 10 '14 at 18:32
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    @Jaydles Don't worry about it - it's an honest mistake :] I don't think anyone would be offended by it as such. In the future, though, generally one is not supposed to write or speak the name of God, but it is generally more offensive to most, based on my experience, to have erased it once it is written. I don't personally mind, though. Thanks for understanding! – Aza May 10 '14 at 18:35
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    @Jaydles The name of God in Judaism is not "God" but the word that started with "Y" in your post. Hopefully the request of emracool doesn't bewilder you any more. – guntbert Aug 2 '14 at 13:07
42

From what I've seen, the general way SE handles stuff like this is that you can put anything in your profile/comments/whatever until someone finds it offensive, at which point they flag it and mods decide whether it's something that could legitimately cause offense or not. You've got a lot of leeway in profiles, but things have been removed before; racism, etc. When something is very clearly offensive and someone complains about it, it does get removed.

The question here is whether or not this specific instance is offensive "enough" to qualify for removal. Personally, I don't think it is. It's someone expressing their opinion, which it seems to me they have every right to do. However, I am not the Grand Determiner of Offensiveness, and you've clearly stated that it does offend you. So I suggest you follow the above steps and flag them; the mods on the site in question can determine if they think a change needs to be made or not. (When we're not sure we usually bug SE staff to get an official answer.)

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    Most offensive things are someone expressing their opinion, no? All the others are just misunderstandings and can be cleared up unless one side goes ballistic. – R. Martinho Fernandes May 9 '14 at 14:50
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    @R.MartinhoFernandes Sure, which is why it's a judgement call. I think there's a pretty big difference between a personal attack and a statement about your religious beliefs. But just because it doesn't offend me doesn't mean it doesn't offend someone else, which is why I think flagging is the best option (and why, in my experience, mods tend to lean toward "well, someone found this offensive, so let's remove it" even if they don't find the content offensive). – WendiKidd May 9 '14 at 14:52
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    Some people find anything offensive. You can't remove every scrap of content that might possibly offend someone. – DeadMG May 9 '14 at 14:53
  • @DeadMG Also true. This is why we have flags, and mods and SE staff to make the final judgement call :) – WendiKidd May 9 '14 at 14:53
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    @DeadMG - I find that offensive. – Oded May 9 '14 at 14:59
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    You can choose not to be offended by it @HamZa. Saves everybody a whole lot of trouble, not in the least yourself. Thinking "nah, he's not" and then moving on is probably the easiest option. – Bart May 9 '14 at 15:08
  • @HamZa Well, that's the thing. SE's policy isn't "This is offensive, that isn't offensive, this other thing is really offensive..." SE's policy is "If you think it's offensive, ask the mods to look at it." So I'm afraid no one will have a definitive answer for you on that. – WendiKidd May 9 '14 at 15:09
  • I recently flagged a profile I thought was offensive (not to me personally, just in general) and this was the response: helpful - users are allowed to swear their head off in their about-me as long as they're not posting anything overtly bigoted or graphic – Stijn May 9 '14 at 15:44
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    Hopefully we can get enough activity on this question to produce a sort of de facto policy from the community that will serve in lieu of a definitive answer. +1 for "Personally, I don't think it is." – Nick Stauner May 9 '14 at 19:31
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    +1, this is a good description of how it works. @NickStauner, I provided a more definitive description of our approach (and some thoughts on this specific case) in a new answer. – Jaydles May 9 '14 at 20:03
  • @Jaydles: I saw what you did there. Thanks again! I wonder if that makes some of these comments obsolete (this one included)... – Nick Stauner May 9 '14 at 20:06
40

If it's ok to praise god in your profile (it is), then it should be ok to insult god in your profile too. This is a matter of people's personal beliefs, and as a Stack Overflow moderator I don't have the authority to tell you what you can or cannot believe. I can't even keep track of what people believe. Some people might honestly believe that god is a pig for all I know. Or a plate of spaghetti. Or a lovable cartoon lizard. (I may be alone on that last one.)

Anyway, my point is that unless someone is writing hate speech directed at other people (individuals or groups of people), I'm really not comfortable censoring what they write in their profile. Your beliefs are not you, they are your choice. We have to be accepting of other people with different beliefs, even if they are the exact opposite of our own.

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    That reminds me, Bill, my mom's going in for surgery. Please watch over her and keep her safe. Amen. – Josh Caswell May 9 '14 at 19:24
31

Other people saying things you find offensive is just part of living with other human beings. The fact that you don't see the point in insulting God is irrelevant. This user clearly does. And it's his profile.

Insulting God is no different to insulting Jeff or Java. It should not be treated specially. And if I wrote "Java sucks" in my profile, I think everybody here would let it go. So I'm going to conclude that this is no different, although not actually being Dutch makes it hard to judge exactly how offensive it is.

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    Never not make fun of religions. – Cat Plus Plus May 9 '14 at 14:53
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    I think that the fact you don't see the difference between insulting God and insulting Java or Jeff implies you perhaps don't understand people very well. – Joe May 9 '14 at 14:58
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    Or that he actually really values actual human beings a lot. @Joe Though I have no idea why he would be that fond of a programming language. – Bart May 9 '14 at 15:19
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    The translation from dutch to english is exactly the same. According to your reasoning, it would be acceptable to say "arabs/jews are pigs". Although we have the freedom of speech, I think one should respect others and their believes. Again, that's just my thinking. – anon May 9 '14 at 15:20
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    Really? Because it seems to me like you want to censor his beliefs just because you dislike them. As for the translation, I don't know what the original was, so saying that it's the same is totally unhelpful. – DeadMG May 9 '14 at 15:24
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    @Joe: Maybe it's not me with a problem. Religious beliefs are not special and anyone who thinks they are has a problem. There's nothing more inherently valuable about a religious belief compared to any other, and nothing more inherently offensive about disparaging a religious viewpoint than disparaging any other viewpoint. – DeadMG May 9 '14 at 15:26
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    Understanding people means, among other things, accepting that they might have values different from yours, and accepting their values as valid for them. Forcing everyone to have similar values to you is exactly why many people don't like religion nowadays, but doing the same yourself is no better. – Joe May 9 '14 at 15:28
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    Speech that is clearly tailored to be offensive to a particular group of people is not something I'm particularly interested in protecting. One could make anti-religious arguments all day and I would have no problem with it, but making statements that have no value beyond their offensive nature are less than worthless. – Joe May 9 '14 at 15:30
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    So wait @Joe. The values DeadMG expressed differ from yours? Yet you were upset enough about those because they did not align with your values, so you felt the need to express that in a comment instead of simply accepting it? – Bart May 9 '14 at 15:31
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    That's an excellent strawman, @Bart. Nice job. – Joe May 9 '14 at 15:31
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    @Joe: It's your belief that it's tailored to be offensive. I don't even know what it says and nobody will provide a translation, so it's hard to make a judgement, but it seems inherently hypocritical to assume here. – DeadMG May 9 '14 at 15:34
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    I don't think you understand what I'm saying at all. I'm not even taking a side on the particular case here. What I'm saying is that if you don't understand why some people might be extremely offended by it, then you don't understand people very well, or are projecting your values onto them and suggesting their values are not worth considering. – Joe May 9 '14 at 15:36
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    Well, yes. I think that a set of values which involves censoring everybody else isn't worth considering. And I think that if you have such a set, then that's a problem you should fix, not something where society should bend over backwards to accommodate you. – DeadMG May 9 '14 at 15:40
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    Any argument even vaguely to do with religion will never come to a conclusion where one side convinces the other of anything. You can write that my mother is a whore on your profile if you like, I won't care. Stand in front of me and shout it at me with malice and I will have another opinion, but the contents of SO profiles are not something I am going to get offended over, and nor should anyone else (but I don't expect anyones stance to change over some comment thread on the internet...). – OGHaza May 9 '14 at 15:40
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    Separate "offended" from "censor" a bit. The point I have, primarily, is that people are offended by certain things, particularly insulting their religion. You don't seem to accept that as a possibility. The choice to censor or not is a distinct discussion, and largely (as has been pointed out) is entirely up to the SE mods; if they would rather censor speech (risking losing customers) than allow people to be offended (risking losing customers), they may do so, or not. – Joe May 9 '14 at 15:46
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The real question here is why do you care? It's just some guys user profile. You don't need to look at it. It's not like he's posing it in his questions or answers.

Now I understand that you or any other person may find this offensive and it is well within your right to be offended. You may also ask him to change his profile politely if you are so inclined. However if he doesn't wish to change it there is ZERO reason to force him to. He's not harassing anyone so just ignore it and move on.

Ultimately life's much too short to spend any of your time worrying about this.

27

The point is: where does it end?

If someone likes unicorns should we allow others to insult unicorns in their profiles? What about spaghetti monsters?

There is a difference between pointing an insult to you personally, and pointing an insult to something you merely believe in, namely that in the latter case it's well within the boundaries of freedom of expression ("This idea blows goats") and not in the boundaries of personal attacks ("You blow goats").

You are not your beliefs :-)

Please do not take offense at other's display of religiosity (or lack thereof). Demonstrate tolerance. We all have equal rights to be wrong :-)

  • 1
    All good until the part before your last paragraph. Let's not tell people what and what not to write in their profile, and let's not tell them what/how they should define themselves. – Adi May 9 '14 at 16:44
  • @Adnan I did not intend to imply to tell anyone what to write: can you explain further? – Sklivvz May 9 '14 at 16:56
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    Absolutely, I will. You see, we're talking about freedoms, that we shouldn't tell others what to write in their profiles and what not to write. Then, an answer from a mod, comes and tells the OP "you are not your beliefs". Well, Skliwz, who are you to tell him how and how not to define himself. Some people identify completely as Christians. They adhere to it, they live by it, and it's their life. My point is, it's a bit ironic/hypocritical to talk about freedom of self-expression while telling others in what way they should define themselves. – Adi May 9 '14 at 17:08
  • Good ol' slippery slope argument. Almost always fallacious. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 17:19
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    @djechlin Not really: my argument is not "if we have this then it will end badly" but "this is already bad, and it could also get worse". It's a statement of merit and a criticism of the statements of the OP. – Sklivvz May 9 '14 at 17:22
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    @Adnan People are free to be wrong about that, but they are still factually wrong. E.g. one is free in not believing in gravity existing tomorrow morning, but if in consequence one jumps of the window they have no rights in complaining about getting hurt or complaining if someone warns them. – Sklivvz May 9 '14 at 17:24
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    Well, I disagree with the thrust of your argument as well. Do you support me writing "Homosexuality is a sin" on my profile? And if any gay people complain about that you'd be willing to look them in the eye and insist, "hey, it's just your belief, it's not you he's insulting." Insulting god is more like that. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 17:27
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    @djechlin It would be ok, as long as you don't insult people. It would certainly not be popular. – Sklivvz May 9 '14 at 17:31
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    Yeah, most of the gay community, and people who deal with discrimination in general, would disagree very strongly with that. You're kind of out of touch with reality on this one. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 17:32
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    Name a single case of a user profile being edited because of that. I don't see why you should be name-calling me, by the way, that is completely out of order. Ironic, given your position. – Sklivvz May 9 '14 at 17:34
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    * your opinion is out of touch with reality, my bad. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 19:13
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    If "people who deal with discrimination" think that they can stop someone from disliking them by putting a piece of duct tape over that person's mouth, @djechlin, they've got another think coming. People who get upset about homosexuality are "offended" by it, and they "offend" in return. Why should either side get to limit the other's expression of their ideas? – Josh Caswell May 9 '14 at 19:13
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    @Sklivvz ... well I did decide to stop believing in gravity this morning, and it worked. But now im stuck floating and gravity is no longer affecting me. I tried believing in gravity again but now that I know that gravity is a lie I just cant do it... – Chad May 9 '14 at 21:05
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    +1 for sticking up for the rights of spaghetti monsters, and for differentiating between self and beliefs. Those who firmly believe you are what you believe need to acquaint themselves with another word: delusional. – slugster May 9 '14 at 22:03
7

Have you considered the possibility that this person actually worships a god whose corporeal form or appearance is in fact that of a pig?

Who are you to twist this person's words and question their beliefs? This is a statement of faith, and you are disparaging it by taking it as an insult to your own.

5

Yes, of course it is acceptable.

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    I don't think it's acceptable to insult anyone or anything, even in the profile. – 3ventic May 9 '14 at 14:39
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    @3ventic you know what's coming, right? Soon someone will claim your stance against insults is insulting to them. – R. Martinho Fernandes May 9 '14 at 14:41
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    @R.MartinhoFernandes I never said anyone should be able to claim something as insulting. No single person should make that call. – 3ventic May 9 '14 at 14:52
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    @HamZa Because I do not see a single reason why it should not be allowed. – wilx May 9 '14 at 15:27
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    Firstly, you're wrong. Secondly, this answer adds nothing of value. You need to add a reason. All I learned from this is that someone, somewhere disagrees with the OP, and I knew that before reading your answer. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 15:37
  • @R.MartinhoFernandes and I claimed you stabbed me and murdered my mother and should be banned, but people don't take that seriously either. This does not mean every time person A insults person B and person B says person A insulted them that their claim is illegitimate, because sometimes people say other things. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 15:38
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    @djechlin "Firstly, you're wrong" followed by "You need to add a reason". Care to add your reason for stating he's wrong? – Lamak May 9 '14 at 15:49
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    @Lamak no, I don't. It's covered by several people in the other answers though, and in the original question. I'm just explaining one of the two reasons for my downvote. Feel free to downvote my comment if this bothers you though. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 15:52
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    @djechlin Well, comments can't be downvoted. And it doesn't really bothers me, just find it funny the way you were arguing about reasons and then just stating "you are wrong" – Lamak May 9 '14 at 15:53
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    @Lamak this is all consistent with the fact that if you're posting an answer you have a higher burden to justify your thoughts than if you post a comment. Posting why OP is wrong here is just writing an answer to the question, which is already done several times so would be silly. – djechlin May 9 '14 at 15:56
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    @3ventic wrong. MySQL. I insult that all the time. Totally acceptable. – Zane May 9 '14 at 16:10
  • @Zane acceptable according to yourself. My opinion isn't wrong purely because you (and few others) disagree with it. – 3ventic May 9 '14 at 17:38
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    @3ventic your opinion is that, an opinion. Some people will agree with it and some people won't, it doesn't means it's right or wrong, that's why it's an opinion and not a fact. And, come on, one can't insult anything?, like, anything at all?, even something that everyone can find repudiable. "War is the worst!", can't I say that? – Lamak May 9 '14 at 18:07
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    @3ventic but your original comment is indefensible. "I don't think it's acceptable to insult anyone or anything, even in the profile" By that logic if I wrote I hate watermelons in my profile it would be unacceptable. That doesn't make any sense. You really want any and all satire completely banned? I'm sorry dude but I'm having an impossible time wrapping my head around that. – Zane May 9 '14 at 18:10
5

To me, the fact that it was in Arabic – when it sounds like nothing else in the profile was Arabic and this is a non-Arabic speaker – really escalates this. I don't think that was an accident, and I think he only switched to Dutch because he didn't think he could get away with it anymore.

It also sounds WAY too coincidental that he chose "pig" as his insult of choice, since Muslims consider pigs unclean. Pigs have been used in anti-Muslim harassment on several occasions throughout the world (1 2 3 4 5).

As Jaydles's semi-official answer said, expressing your opinion is fine, but you can't...

...imply something derogatory about a racial, ethnic, religious, gender or sexual orientation group.

If Muslims and/or Arabs were intentionally targeted, that takes this beyond an expression of opinion and into the realm of hate speech. He wasn't expressing his personal beliefs, he was attacking others for theirs. He went out of his way to offend and inflame anger in a specific group of people. Stack Overflow explicitly bans hate speech.

I'm as wary of censorship as anyone, and I share Jaydles's belief that people should be allowed to Zardoz-up their profiles, but I think this crossed a very clear line. I can't say whether switching to Dutch brings him back to this side of that line, but the previous version of his profile had no place on Stack Overflow.

  • It's pretty racist to assume that everyone who can read Arabic is a Muslim, or that you must be able to read Arabic to be Muslim. You are mixing up language, ethnicity and religion in one here. – Lundin Mar 21 at 13:52
  • @Lundin - What on earth makes you think I'm assuming that? The question at hand is what this guy was trying to do, and whether he was targeting a racial, ethnic, religious, or other protected group. Arabs and Muslims are both in that list, so it doesn't matter if he was targeting all Muslims, all Arabic speakers, or Arabic-speaking Muslims in particular. If his chosen slur is based on a racist assumption, you should take that up with him. – Justin Morgan Mar 21 at 16:58
  • Are not humans unclean to eat too? – Joshua Mar 21 at 18:13
  • "This guy" is just some sad troll that people should simply ignore. The point is, he is not targetting anyone. People are free to write in whatever language they like in their profile. It's pretty distasteful to bring in religion to a programming site, but it is allowed because it isn't targetting anyone. Users are allowed to express religious believes in their profile, if they must. There might be a problem that the word 'god' in Arabic is 'allah', I suppose. But people are allowed to think whatever they want as long as it isn't direct towards someone or a group. – Lundin Mar 21 at 19:24
  • Bottom-line is people who run around feeling "hurt" because others don't share their own religion need to calm the f down. Religious freedom doesn't mean running around and analysing what those who don't share your religion say or think, and get offended if they don't say things you like. That mentality belongs in a dictatorship, not in a democracy. – Lundin Mar 21 at 19:26
  • @Lundin - I think it's pretty clear that this was, in fact, targeting a specific group. This is what I illustrated in my answer. If you can show why it wasn't reasonable to interpret his behavior that way, be my guest. You haven't really challenged that interpretation, so I assume you don't disagree. Stack Exchange has a clear policy banning derogatory speech that targets a religion or ethnicity. That has nothing to do with me. If you have a problem with it, I suggest you take it up with them. – Justin Morgan Mar 22 at 22:38
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My 2¢

For someone to go to Google Translate then write a drive-by offensive message in their profile just for the sake of trolling is a sad sad person. To have your life molded around the hatred of one particular thing that keeps you up at night thinking about it everyday. So much so that it's the thing you talk about the most, you tweet about the most. That level of devotion is one step away from starting your own church... again, sad.

God isn't a pig. God isn't a bear either. God needs to exist in the first place to be something.

Just being offensive for the sake of being offensive tells me that I don't like that person. However, me not liking that person(or your feelings of being offended) shouldn't override his freedom to write whatever they want. Being something intelligent, stupid, sad, offensive, or whatever.

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    How do you know God isn't a pig or a bear? I am presently imagining God as a omnipotent, bearded manbearpig...seems roughly as plausible as anything else. Al Gore was right about climate change after all! – Nick Stauner May 9 '14 at 19:37
  • @NickStauner I think choosing to write that sentence in Arabic on an English speaking website removes any benefit of doubt I might give the poster. – CodesInChaos Nov 17 '15 at 12:51
  • @CodesInChaos Writing it in Arabic does not make it any more or any less offensive. If the profile said that "Arabs are pigs", that would be offensive as it targets a group of people instead of a belief. The language one uses to express their belief should be irrelevant. – forest Mar 22 '18 at 23:58

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