In this question's fifth revision, the title contains some objectionable language because of the name of a relevant achievement. Up to date, I've been removing profanity from posts because I want to maintain a family-friendly environment on the site for gamers of all ages, and I know that some terms can be quite offensive to different people. Should I not do this if the profanity is relevant to the question?

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    I barely think that the profanity in that case example is relevant - it's relevant to the achievement, but the question isn't about that achievement, no matter how much it is about not getting it. So, even though the profanity exists in the achievement name, that doesn't really excuse its need for the question title.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9 '11 at 22:09
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    @Grace I agree but I feel like this needs to be raised anyways in case it comes up again in the future.
    – Mana
    Feb 9 '11 at 22:10
  • I've got my general stance coming up, as well, as an answer.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9 '11 at 22:11
  • @Grace barely is being generous. The achievement is evidence in a side comment about how sadistic the developers are.
    – tzenes
    Feb 9 '11 at 22:31
  • @tzenes The achievement name used to be the question title. It wasn't originally part of that side comment (which I think was more focused on the whole Floating Islands aspect, anyway). Which, honestly, is even less relevant of a position anyway.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9 '11 at 22:35
  • @tzenes I first earned that achievement at that specific point of the game for falling off the floating island. I'd argue it is somewhat relevant, but it certainly is not necessary for the question (as I noted in my answer here) and could be removed without harm. Feb 9 '11 at 22:50

My general thought pattern is that if the question is about something that simply has foul language (rather than the actual obscene material which it may refer to), it can be excuseable. If you are asking about how to earn an achievement, or if for some inexplicable reason the game writers decided that a particularly important item just has to include it, it may become necessary to at least use the word in some fashion. Otherwise, it's exceptionally awkward and people might not be able to find the right information. The ideal scenario, though, would be that it is not in the question title.

I'll point to this question, which humorously you touched on but didn't have to deal with profanity itself. The title manages to go without stating the name, preferring to go about an acronym fashion. Now, I'm not going to comment on the censoring itself, but I'll note that even a certain programming language has been censored on Stack Overflow, so there's a bit of precedent to leave it like that. Actually, there's been a lot of separate incidents.

Question title has immediate visibility on the front page, and it has visibility to all people regardless of their curiosity. Question body only has visibility to people who are investigating that question. We can't hope to keep the entire site family-friendly, but I think it is very helpful that unless it is truly unavoidable, that we at least keep the front page clean. No, it won't stop people from clicking the title if they are young. But at least we won't be feeding it into their face.

  • I do see one problem with the very different views people have on what is offensive. When I asked the questions it didn't even occur to me that the title might be offensive, and I still would not really consider it offensive. Which standard of offensiveness are we going to use? I'm not insisting on profanity on the front page, but I'm wondering where we are going to draw the line? Feb 9 '11 at 22:25
  • @Fabian Well, you did happen to pick a scenario with the one word I personally despise the most, but even I can accept it when it is relevant to context. Which, as I've mentioned, I don't actually think it is anyway, but that's going on a tangent. I imagine that the best policy for now is to play it safe. I haven't kept on top of foul language development for the past 20 years (why would I?), but I imagine that the typical cluster of Fs, Ds, Ss, and both Bs make a good start for what to avoid.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9 '11 at 22:30
  • I acknowledged that it is not necessary in my answer, and I won't mind if it is removed according to site policy. My personal offensiveness scale depends a lot on the context, I don't mind profanity against abstract entities like gravity, I would be much more strict with profanity against specific individuals or groups. As a non-native speaker I'm in the end reacting to the translated versions of the profanities, my perception is probably very different from that of a native speaker in the US. Feb 9 '11 at 22:39
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    @Fabian German, right. In this scenario, even though it's not being used on a literal person, Gravity is being personified in that instance so that it is used as an insult in the same fashion. The illustration is the same even though it is just a force of nature. I don't fault you, in the end - it's literally how the quote goes. But as it stands, the word is typically considered a fairly strong, explicit, and offensive insult.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9 '11 at 23:46

As I've said in meta, I do not find it offensive, to the level that I wouldn't care if my (hypothetical) children would view it. I don't like foul language when it's just used for ranting or when directed at a specific person, product or organization - but in cases where it's appropriate I have no issue with it and I think it should remain.

In the specific case of having the accurate name of the achievement in the title / body of the question, this clearly helps the visibility of that question to relevant search engine queries (okay maybe not for this specific question, but in the general case of replicating the name of something).


The profanity is certainly not necessary to this question, it could be removed without harming the content. But the important point is not this specific question, but the policy in general.

I don't think we should generally remove profanity from this site, a gaming site is not appropriate for all ages anyway. To ensure family-friendly content we would have to ban questions on 18+ games, and I don't think we want to do that. We can't really ensure a totally kid-friendly environment here, any parents who let their kids visit this site have to make a judgement whether it is appropriate.

I'm fine with removing excessive profanity, but I don't think we should aim for zero profanity. And as Oak already mentioned, I also don't find this specific instance offensive (but I wrote it, I'm not necessarily objective here).


I'll make a movie analogy: the more inclusive a movie's ratings, the more people see it, and the more money the movie makes.

To appeal to, draw and retain the most uses, I believe Gaming should target the broadest audience possible. Thus. I would like to see a zero-tolerance policy for profanity. While there maybe appropriate edge cases, having zero-tolerance means you don't have to debate whether something is appropriate or not: it isn't, and can be edited accordingly.


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