I have gotten in the habit of editing out curse words and other foul language from questions and answers when I come across them. Sometimes it is a great question or answer, just that unnecessary expletive, and I usually replace it with something like this:


It's plenty easy to find shit JS developers. The good ones are rare.


It's plenty easy to find crap JS developers. The good ones are rare.

I feel that I haven't changed the meaning but perhaps it may be deemed and inappropriate edit or too minor of being worthy of the edit?

Don't get me wrong, I am not a moral crusader or a white knight by any means, however a small subset of people may be offended by such language or may be behind work proxies that flag internet usage with foul or obscene language.

I haven't been noticing anybody else making these kinds of edits, and I didn't see anything in the spec calling it out specifically.

| |
  • 3
    Personally, I'd consider crap to be a stronger word than shit, but perhaps that's just my ideolect. I'll note that the BBC allows shit on its messageboards. Americans are, of course, overly prudish. – TRiG Feb 16 '12 at 13:08
  • 1
    Question is, is saying "Americans are, of course, overly prudish" generally more offensive than saying "crap" or "shit" in the first place? (</partialsarcasm>) – Ed James Feb 21 '12 at 20:37
  • @EdWoodcock Sadly though as an American I have to agree with him. In school we were taught that the pilgrims came to America to escape religous persecution. In reality the pilgrims came so that they could enforce religious and moral persecution. So being prudish is in our culture, but at least we aren't the descendants of criminals and dregs like in Australia ;-) – maple_shaft Feb 22 '12 at 16:50
  • Since the SE network now has this code of conduct, I think it is even more visible than before that vulgar language is definitely not accepted. Personally, I would not even use a term like "crap" for persons, for the given case, a term like "average" or "mediocre" would IMHO be a better alternative. – Doc Brown Sep 25 '18 at 19:27

You did the correct thing: expletives are verboten here, except in a purely academic context (e.g., if you asking about the etymology of one on English.SE):

Expletives are not acceptable behavior on meta or any other Stack Overflow site. If you can't effectively communicate what you need to say without resorting to lowest common denominator cursing, then keep it to yourself.

If you use expletives, you will get a warning.

If you continue to use expletives, you will be placed on timed suspension.

Whether or not you agree with the belief you can effectively communicate without cursing, you've identified the practical reason why cursing is more-or-less banned on Stack Exchange: overactive internet filters in people's workplaces, when this site is meant to be used as a professional resource.

If you see it in a post, always edit it out. If you see it in a comment, flag it so it can be edited or deleted by a moderator.

| |

Your edit was more than appropriate, hopefully others will be inspired by this Meta question to do similar edits.

The FAQ explicitly states:


Civility is required at all times; rudeness will not be tolerated.

If you feel that a reasonable person would find the language used in a post rude, even slightly, feel free to edit. There is absolutely no need to use expletives in a professional setting, hence no need on Programmers.SE.

If you notice a user repeatedly using harsh language, please flag one of his / her posts for moderation attention and let us know of the situation.

| |
  • I noticed you went back to the question and edited out "crap" with "mediocre". Most english speakers would probably consider "crap" to be a softer word than the original one. Does this mean crap is unacceptable as well? What about Darn? Friggin'? Where is the line drawn? – maple_shaft Feb 10 '12 at 19:10
  • 1
    @maple_shaft I didn't edit, OP did, I just left a comment. – yannis Feb 10 '12 at 19:10

expletives are verboten here, except in a purely academic context

Well, it appears not every moderator is aware of this or cares to recognize the academic context.

I recently had one of my comments deleted that had the word shit in it. The discussion was about acronyms, the OP asked for one to mean "a lot of code". The acronym SLOC was already coined but not as an abbreviation of, what would have been in my view, the more obvious full expression. So I pointed this out.

Who are these people that flag this kind of comment and delete it, for what must have been the use of a common word in context? It is really disappointing. I never even got a notification (so I can really only guess why it was deleted), it was just gone, from my activity history as well.

The problem I have with this is not just that it is sad on a human and political level, it is that there does not seem to be a record of it or a way to challenge this behavior. I do not know who did it and I have no way to report it. If this sort of thing could be peer reviewed, the outcome would likely be there was nothing offensive about it after all.

| |
  • moderators were probably not involved in this because this word triggers automatic deletion of a comment by a single flag, see What is the SE version of Seven Dirty Words? – gnat Sep 18 '18 at 11:24
  • @gnat Thank you, that explains a lot. It doesn't make it any better though. I hardly feel the need but this sort of thing does make me feel like cursing. – Martin Maat Sep 18 '18 at 12:50
  • well, I can understand that. I also felt uncomfortable when I first learned about this feature. But after I observed few times how it works with users who get into the rage and start posting very rude comments I changed my mind and decided that its benefits outweigh disadvantages – gnat Sep 20 '18 at 16:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .