Personally, I could go either way.
locked by Shog9♦ Jan 30 '13 at 5:35
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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.
If I may make one last argument, I would like to cite the SO FAQ (emphasis mine):
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.
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.
Either way. Just don't flag a post for something the poster has no control over (the name of the language.)
- 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.
- The language isn't absurdly profane. You can talk about the language and discuss the code without actually being terribly offensive.
- 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.
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" ("fk"), 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 fk 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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++).
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.
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:
- You know what the word "f_ck" means because you are old enough to know what it means. There are two subsituations here:
- 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.
- You aren't offended by the word, so there's no reason at all to replace it with some hollow facsimile of it.
- 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.
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...
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?
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.
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...
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.)
I propose a compromise: give Jeff & the SO team plausible deniability by spelling it "BrainF|_|ck".
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.
- It's a joke.
- The joke isn't very funny, original, interesting, or useful.
- It causes problems with corporate net filtering software and jeopardizes others' ability to even arrive at the site.
- All in all, a giant f_cking waste of time for everyone involved.
You will censor it, or we will censor you. Your choice.
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.