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#468300 - Tue Apr 21 2009 12:56 AM Profanity
Markboynz Offline
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Registered: Thu Mar 19 2009
Posts: 84
Loc: Auckland NZ
*WARNING: This post may contain allusions to profanity - unfortunately some things cannot be discussed without alluding to them*

Again, I have looked high and low, but have quite possibly missed the relevant page somewhere. I have, however, combed the FAQ, the guidelines for writing quizzes, and done a 2 year search on the forums and come up empty-handed, and as such feel justified in asking.

I recognise that profanity would not be allowed in quizzes (although I didn't actually see anywhere saying that it couldn't - but there is a place in the FAQ for reporting it, so let's just say that it's a given that it is verboten), but my question is, what constitutes profanity?

The reason that I ask is that in many countries, tolerance or lack thereof of particular words is very different. I'm not asking for a list (I realise that that would be inherently problematic), nor am I wanting to be crude - I was simply wondering whether there was a rubric to which the editors work?
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#468301 - Tue Apr 21 2009 04:16 AM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
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As we think of funtrivia.com as being a 'family friendly' site we do have zero tolerance for profanity and vulgarity and most members are quite happy with that and many use funtrivia.com as they know they can allow their young children to take quizzes (under supervision using the account of an adult).

We have members of all ages, from thirteen to possibly those in their nineties. There are plenty of sites where 'anything goes' so for members who want to express themselves using profanity or vulgarity there is no shortage of other sites.

Commonsense is normally applied but if you wouldn't want your grandmother or child to be subjected to something then it probably would be removed from the site. We wouldn't accept **** replacing words either when it is obvious that the **** represents a word which isn't acceptable. If it can be found on the 6 o'clock news on television it is probably OK.
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#468302 - Tue Apr 21 2009 05:26 AM Re: Profanity
Triviaballer Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 31 2006
Posts: 158
Loc: Florida USA
What about the 11:00 news? :-)

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#468303 - Tue Apr 21 2009 05:30 AM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
Channel Islands    
Would that be AM or PM?
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#468304 - Tue Apr 21 2009 10:33 AM Re: Profanity
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18797
Loc: California USA
We don't have a rubric, but, we do discuss whether certain things are acceptable in the various countries. As our staff includes people from all over the world, it's easy to just ask if we question something.

We do our best to be fair in our judgment calls but I'm sure that sometimes we may appear overly prudish or permissive according to the usage in your country.
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#468305 - Tue Apr 21 2009 10:42 AM Re: Profanity
guitargoddess Offline
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Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 39544
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
I think in the case of some of the words that aren't quite profanity, but also maybe you wouldn't want your small children learning them just yet, it depends on the context. For example I believe the word 'damn' could be allowable in a quote, or if it is relevant to the question. Same with 'hell' if you're talking about the fiery inferno. But you can't just thrown them in for the heck of it and say "I hate Monopoly because it takes too damn long to play!" or "He didn't know what the hell was going on". In some cases you can replace a profane word with a regular one, rather than using ****, especially if you need to quote something. For example, I wrote a few Trailer Park Boys quizzes and anyone who has watched it knows these guys can't go 30 seconds without swearing. The episode titles even have swears in them, and an episode title is usually an important piece of information to include in your Television quiz. So, I wrote about an episode called "I [Really] Miss Cory and Trevor", where "really" was in actuality a much stronger word.
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#468306 - Tue Apr 21 2009 11:07 AM Re: Profanity
Anton Offline
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Registered: Sat May 03 2008
Posts: 926
Loc: California USA
Quote:


If it can be found on the 6 o'clock news on television it is probably OK.


Sure about that? I've heard some "bad" words on the 6 o'clock news before. It only happens when they cut to a live feed, but it's still there and the censors try their darndest to shield the people from the oh so bad four letter words.

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#468307 - Tue Apr 21 2009 11:12 AM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
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It wasn't long ago, just a few months, that we received a complaint about some image on the other side of the site which had a very famous quote from Gone With The Wind, the member asked that it be removed as it was profanity.

You might be amazed at what does offend some people, at times I am certainly amazed and I have been a moderator here for nine years and an administrator for about six or seven.
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#468308 - Tue Apr 21 2009 11:59 AM Re: Profanity
guitargoddess Offline
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Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 39544
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
I think there are always going to be a couple of people who get offended about the little things, though. I'm all for being "family friendly", but to a reasonable degree. Pandering to everyone's personal taste isn't going to work out. I've known many people (teachers, mostly) who still object to taking God's name in vain. My cousin (she's 12, goes to public school) had a note sent home because the teacher was concerned about her saying "oh my god" rather than "oh my gosh". I feel that's fairly ridiculous in this day and age.
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#468309 - Tue Apr 21 2009 12:02 PM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
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That would deeply upset a dear friend of mine too, I obviously try hard in her presence to not blaspheme.
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#468310 - Tue Apr 21 2009 12:10 PM Re: Profanity
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4833
Loc: Western Australia

Quote:

I feel that's fairly ridiculous in this day and age.




Well, call me ridiculous but I have a problem with blasphemy too. One thing I cannot abide is four letter words that are preceded by "holy".
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#468311 - Tue Apr 21 2009 02:02 PM Re: Profanity
Midget40 Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 27 2008
Posts: 5100
Loc: Perth Western Australia       
For anyone with any form of belief in God (or a God) it is highly offensive - more so than a lot of really bad swear words. And when you join the two together as MotherGoose says it gets extremely offensive.

Rather than being ridiculous you're on very touchy ground because you're mixing religion and profanity together which in this day and age is something people try to be very careful about.

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#468312 - Tue Apr 21 2009 03:24 PM Re: Profanity
guitargoddess Offline
Moderator

Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 39544
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
Quote:


Quote:

I feel that's fairly ridiculous in this day and age.




Well, call me ridiculous but I have a problem with blasphemy too. One thing I cannot abide is four letter words that are preceded by "holy".




I didn't mean ridiculous as in ridiculing one's beliefs, and I do apologize if that's how it came across. I mean that I find it unreasonable to expect to not come across offences such as "oh my god" in public places, real world or Internet. Say you took your children to a museum. You absolutely can expect that while in the museum you and your children will not be exposed to obscene language, and should you come across someone who is cursing up a storm, you have a right to ask them to watch their language. However, I don't think the same is true of blasphemies. You may very well hear the words "oh my god" in reference to a very nice painting or something else at the museum, and that is not unacceptable. I think this is because (at least for the majority), it is not meant to be blasphemous. Personally speaking anyway, I am certainly not thinking about religion or the meaning of the phrase when I am saying it.
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#468313 - Tue Apr 21 2009 03:39 PM Re: Profanity
Midget40 Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 27 2008
Posts: 5100
Loc: Perth Western Australia       
I understand what you're saying GG and I don't think most people mean to be offensive at all.

It's just that to some people it is considered extremely offensive and if they've got children with them they've bought up the same way then they probably believe they have the right to not expect to hear what they consider profanity in public places too.

I think we're actually proving the point here on what Mark was kind of asking about re : What is profanity?

It's different things to different people. It's probably a bit like the famous quote about pornography - I don't alway know what it is but I know it when I see it.

Hey I got a complaint once because I quoted a song line that contained the word '[censored].' I didn't think that was profanity but they obviously did.

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#468314 - Tue Apr 21 2009 03:41 PM Re: Profanity
Midget40 Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 27 2008
Posts: 5100
Loc: Perth Western Australia       
LOL - obviously this side does too.

Sorry I was only referring to the other name for a donkey - nothing bad. Thought I'd better make that clear.

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#468315 - Tue Apr 21 2009 04:24 PM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
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If you were to say "Good God" in front of my friend she would immediately respond with "Yes, God is good".
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#468316 - Tue Apr 21 2009 05:11 PM Re: Profanity
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4833
Loc: Western Australia
Quote:

If you were to say "Good God" in front of my friend she would immediately respond with "Yes, God is good".




Great response - I like it!


Quote:

I didn't mean ridiculous as in ridiculing one's beliefs, and I do apologize if that's how it came across.




No problem, GG, I understood what you meant.

I have a friend who blasphemes terribly and it always grated on me, but I never said anything to him about it as I believe that one's religious beliefs are private and shouldn't be pushed onto others. However, someone must have said something to him about it because I notice that he appears to try not to do it in front of me, and if he does, he apologises immediately. It's rather nice that he obviously thinks enough of me and my feelings to make this effort. Therefore, it's hard to take offence.
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#468317 - Tue Apr 21 2009 06:07 PM Re: Profanity
guitargoddess Offline
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Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 39544
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
That is nice. I would feel bad saying it if I knew it personally offended the person I was talking to, but in general not the kind of thing I think twice about saying in public. I say my fair share of strong curse words too, but depending on where I am, will censor myself for those.
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#468318 - Tue Apr 21 2009 10:38 PM Re: Profanity
queproblema Offline
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Registered: Mon Sep 25 2006
Posts: 869
Loc: Kenny Lake Alaska USA     
Since the topic's been brought up and not deemed too controversial to continue, I'll ask something I've been wondering for a while but was too chicken to ask.

The first time I came to this forum was when an answer at Ask became quite complicated and McGruff suggested bringing it here. It was about an Old Testament law against plowing with an ox and an [censored] together. The system wouldn't accept the word "[censored]," and a moderator asked what my intentions were. I thought that was pretty strict control, but was glad nobody could "cuss" in public.

But recently I've seen lots of somewhat mild swearing here. Apparently the automatic controls have been loosened? as well as some tongues? I'm astonished, for example, at GG's post and its contents, and at the quiz to which she alludes.

I'm not complaining, just asking.

Now, here's an observation. The current acceptance of the real form of "oh my gosh" may come from the influx of Latin culture. It's long been perfectly acceptable in South America to exclaim "Dios mio!" in response to surprises or pleasures or scares or you name it.

Aha! On preview I see the 3-letter word for donkey is still not allowed. That answers that.

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#468319 - Wed Apr 22 2009 02:11 AM Re: Profanity
Markboynz Offline
Explorer

Registered: Thu Mar 19 2009
Posts: 84
Loc: Auckland NZ
Yes, I think my point has been successfully proven, not that I really had a point. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that my asking of the question has been justified...

My other point is that what is "allowed" on the 6 o'clock news is certainly different in different countries. I know in New Zealand that blasphemy would be screened without a problem (probably not by the news readers, but certainly in a taped segment)... and I have from time to time heard both the "s word" and the "f word" un-bleeped. But then we are quite open about not censoring the news...

My other other point would be that in some countries in Western Europe there is not the same stigma attached to certain words that would be attached to them in the US, UK, or other English speaking countries.

And finally, because I realised that I had another point, there are the regional words which may be considered quite offensive in one country, and not at all offensive in another. I realise that this may be a little vague, so I'm hoping that I am not offending anyone by suggesting a couple that might fit this categorisation - wanker and bugger. Bugger is common enough to be used in television ads in Australia and New Zealand, but I do realise that in other countries, it may not be as well received...


Edited by Markboynz (Wed Apr 22 2009 02:12 AM)
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#468320 - Wed Apr 22 2009 03:01 AM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
Channel Islands    
It is pretty safe to say that if you even have to consider whether a word might not be acceptable then it probably isn't. Those two words mentioned would be offensive to many people.

Many years ago we had a situation in the forums when an Australian person, no longer active here but nothing to do with this, used a word which apparently was in common use in Australia and isn't considered to be offensive in the slightest but if you used it in the UK it would be a very racist term. She simply couldn't understand why her post was edited to remove the word.


Edited by sue943 (Wed Apr 22 2009 03:17 AM)
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#468321 - Wed Apr 22 2009 03:57 AM Re: Profanity
Markboynz Offline
Explorer

Registered: Thu Mar 19 2009
Posts: 84
Loc: Auckland NZ
Quote:

Those two words mentioned would be offensive to many people.




I'm hoping that nobody will be offended by them in this type of discussion, where the intention is discussion and enlightenment, rather than anything caustic.
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#468322 - Wed Apr 22 2009 04:21 AM Re: Profanity
Midget40 Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 27 2008
Posts: 5100
Loc: Perth Western Australia       
RE blasphemy in different countries. QP's post also just reminded me of the Irish who frequently (or used to) say "Jesus, Joseph and Mary!". To them they are not blaspheming but calling on their names for help but in most of countries it could be quite offensive.

Re regional words and their context etc the bigget laugh I always have is the frequant US word 'fanny' which is obviously a very open 'clean' word for you to use. It means something totally different in Australia and would never be spoken in some of the contexts it appears!

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#468323 - Wed Apr 22 2009 04:35 AM Re: Profanity
Rowena8482 Offline
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Registered: Mon Mar 12 2007
Posts: 1408
Loc: Hartlepool Durham England UK
That's true Midget, we once had to try and explain to an American friend why the whole room either cracked up laughing or looked scandalised when she got up and said loudly "now where did my fanny-pack go?"
To us it's a bum bag...
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#468324 - Wed Apr 22 2009 04:49 AM Re: Profanity
sue943 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37357
Loc: Jersey
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With the 'Oh my God', I noticed that Susan Boyle said it a number of times when she came offstage and was talking to Ant and Dec, she is a very devout Catholic so I must admit it did surprise me.
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