I don't think anyone wants to be the thought police, and I'm particularly wary of censorship on a part of the site that is a user's personal self-statement, and is a little off the beaten path.

On the other hand, I'm also concerned that we may not want a site where clicking on a user to see their other posts would expose folks to racist or other bigoted terms that almost everyone would agree are inappropriate for civil discourse.

Don't forget the "be nice" rule".

Note that I don't want a "flag user" rule, which I know has been beaten to death already, and further think that swears and semi-inflammatory opinions, etc. should generally just be ignored - I'm only asking about terms that provoke serious emotions around racial, religious, ethnic, or sexual orientation issues.

What, if anything, is the appropriate response in such cases?

  • 3
    Mail the SOFU support team would seem the obvious answer.
    – nb69307
    Commented Jun 6, 2010 at 19:07
  • 2
    Links! --------
    – Pekka
    Commented Jun 6, 2010 at 19:08
  • 5
    Ok, I'll email the team. My reluctance to a link is that it may expose the user (who I'd like to hope doesn't know any better) to a defensive debate, rather than a quick profile change. If the right approach is community response, I'd be open to that, but I'm guessing a quiet request for revision/deletion might be more effective in eliminating the problem without fanning the flames?
    – Jaydles
    Commented Jun 6, 2010 at 19:13
  • 19
    No, links and witch hunts
    – juan
    Commented Jun 6, 2010 at 19:15
  • 7
    Yeah! We guarantee a mature, responsible witch hunt, with only a little fanning the flames. Link!
    – Pekka
    Commented Jun 6, 2010 at 19:22
  • Funny to read that, especially the "OK, I'll email the team" now that you are the team... :-) (That said, maybe add your own answer now, if there's anything new too add?) Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 5:37
  • @ShadowWizard, ha! I added a link to this post to Jeff's answer (which still really covers the key points, IMO.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 22:44
  • @Jaydles but aren't those dupes? Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 13:26
  • @ShadowWizard, I considered it, but I don't think so. They both share an answer (what's okay where on-site), but I think they're different questions. The other question is asking whether something specific is allowed on an about me, while this one asks what to do when you see something not appropriate on one. Both elicited answers on what's okay, but the key answer here "flag or email the team" isn't really relevant there.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 13:32
  • Thanks. Usually I would argue a bit but, well, you call the shots. ;-) Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


Email [email protected] or flag one of their posts noting the profile.


Oh, this user, whose name rhymes with "bosshog", definitely knows better.

Our general approach has been to take a hands-off approach to the user page -- it's for you to place whatever you want there, within reason. Obviously racism, hate speech, any sort of overt evil will not be tolerated. But there is more flexibility in the grey areas on the user page, because it's about the user, not us.

We have much stricter rules about what content can appear on our question pages, we expect a modicum of professionalism throughout -- but the user page belongs to the user. Whatever content is there in the "about me" section reflects directly on that user, not us. And I don't think any reasonable website visitor would expect otherwise. (In other words, if someone has an intentionally stupid Teh Facebooks profile, that doesn't make Teh Facebooks look stupid to most folks.)

(This post gives some more color on how to think about relative freedom vs. professionalism expected in different places on-site)

As I read it, this particular user's profile is meant to be a joke. And I think it's funny, at least.

  • Oh Him. Yeah. I don't think it's possible for anyone to read that and believe he is an "accurate portrayal of the community at large"
    – devinb
    Commented Jun 7, 2010 at 16:13
  • But surely we are not talking about our canadian expatriate from Super Mario Land?
    – Pekka
    Commented Jun 7, 2010 at 23:37

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