I’ve noticed a lot of discussion and disagreement among friends recently in the comment section about the use of language. This is my fault, as I have not clearly described a policy. So here goes.
First of all, I don’t like setting policies of any kind. I want people here to be able to say what they want, how they want. My inclination is always to err on the side of allowing speech, even, and especially, when I don’t like it. Free speech is one of the core principles that underly this website, and its existence as the foundation of our society is one of the reasons I’m allowed to be in business writing stuff that can be sharply critical of our leaders.
That said, I think it’s reasonable to draw a few limits that preserve a sense of decorum around here and make all people comfortable hanging around and expressing themselves. So . . .
1. The nastiest expletives, such as the F-word and a few – but only a few – similarly egregious curses, are generally not permitted. Nor are certain disgusting or lewd phrases. I realize I am not drawing a completely clear line. But I’m not going to list every example and then add to the list. I’m going to leave it to you, as adults, to figure out approximately what I mean. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart’s comment on pornography, with unacceptably bad language, you’ll generally know it when you see it.
2. Offenders will be warned, and repeat offenders who have been warned may be banned from the website.
3. This is not a G-rated website, however. I’m going to allow most “bad words” and offensive language that I see. Also, the common acronyms for offensive phrases will generally be allowed. I would hope, again in the interest of decorum and consideration for the feelings of those who don’t like to see this stuff, that you not overdo its use. But mostly, I want people to express themselves, and in real life, bad words often accompany anger, irony, frustration, fear, and humor.
4. Please always feel free to send me a message if something is upsetting you. Though I’m not insisting, I prefer this to people taking each other to task over language.
5. Bad language used by newsmakers will be repeated by me verbatim. It’s news, and I report the news. I think everyone can handle it and that you don’t need the hand holding, in the case of news, of me substituting a letter in a curse with an asterisk or something.
I hope this helps settle the matter. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know either below or directly.