It was only two weeks ago that an admin deemed "suicide" a swear word and decided to censor it. About a week later, I notice a user going through another user's talk page and censoring "dammit". The uprising of such activity caused me to have a look through our Wiki's policy again and see what it currently says. While I was semi-active during Not the person you're thinking of's hot topic blog post, I was able to get the swearing policy onto the forums, but never got the chance to have much of a say on the topic.

Now looking at the current situation, I think we need to perhaps loosen censorship and re-examine what exactly we are asking from the community here at Nitrome Wiki. To prevent myself from getting too rambly, I will break it down into a few points.

What to censor

I do strongly believe that the f and s bombs, which are widely accepted as swearing, should be censored on the Wiki. You notice this on most public television shows and media, such words are censored.

However, this policy goes a bit wobbly as it tries to basically cover all words that seem to be...the softer version of swear words. By this, I mean ones such as crap, hell and damn. I don't ever use these words in every day life, nor do I ever find a need to, but I strongly believe they should not count as swearing and therefore not be censored. The policy tries to accomodate for an entire list of words that cannot be said by simply stating "insults worse than insults". The potential danger I see with going through other users' talk pages and picking out words we see as "offensive" or "not appropriate" is that some users may find it in themselves to blank out words such as darn, crud and perhaps in the future, even cheez. These words don't even come close to swearing, yet at the rate some users are blanking out swear words, I feel this is so.

In order to build a good community, I think respect needs to go both ways. We have a relatively smaller number of users who do use swear words occasionally, and when we put up a rule that says, "Okay, no swearing is allowed", these users just can't simply stop. Other words must replace swearing in order to meet the demands of the new rule. And usually, to get a point across still while not using "the bombs", users would turn to what I call the "softer versions" of swearing.

The point? Yes, f words and s words are regarded as swearing and should not be allowed. However, this rule should be more strict. Not in the sense that censorship should be more strict, but that the policy should be restricted in that only those two words get full permission to be blanked out by an admin or user. Any other words, I believe, should only be censored by the owner of the talk page or blog post the word is on - if the user so desires. While we ask users to stop swearing, that should be good enough. I think a good community also needs to build up toleration, respecting that such words are not that big of a deal and that they are not censored in most areas on the internet and other means of media. Mind you, the internet hardly censors f and s words period, so I believe the censorship rule is already being generous to some of the younger users.

I also think now, in this day and age, younger users seeing swear words is simply inevitable. "You can't stop them, you can only prepare them." - to quote my favourite movie.

One word, three stars

Revealing a part of the swear word, for instance, s***, should also not be regarded as swearing, nor should the user be accused of swearing. If a user writes a word like this, toleration should also come into effect, and other users should leave it as is. If it really bugs another user, however, I think they should tell that user who wrote the word if they could censor all of it rather than having the offended user straight up censor the talk page him/her self, for respect of that person's talk page.

Symbols by admins

Last point is more of a question: would actions such as this in the edit summary be regarded as swearing? What about the fourth reply to this talk page?

And while I did my best to keep names anonymous, anyone who recognizes who they are (minus the last talk page point) will forever remain unnamed unless they step forward and say who they are. I would say more, but I will now go edit because I am tired. -_-

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