Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Profanity Policy

Gaw asks me to clarify TofE’s policy on swearing. The best approach is to avoid if in doubt, as though you were at a dinner party with strangers whose views on profanity are unknown to you. Personally I’m not offended by profanity – I play football, after all – but this policy has been in place since TofE’s inception, continuing a tradition from the post-Judd blogs.

This might strike you as quaint in the wilds of the internet, but there are three reasons:

1. I have a very varied readership, some of whom I know dislike swearing.

2. Unless used judiciously – ie. unless you know how to swear effectively, and many people don’t - it is a lazy shortcut to emphasis. Refraining is a good self-discipline which forces you to find more inventive ways of expressing your point, resulting in a better quality of comment thread overall, so...

3. Above all, it is a slippery slope. Once people start effing at each other in comment threads, you usually end up with little else – see Guido, Guardian message boards, YouTube threads and indeed 99% of the internet.

It's testament to the calibre of TofE's commenters that I very, very rarely have to mention this policy because you naturally get it - and if you don't think that's remarkable, go and check out some of that 99% of the internet. Thanks all!

8 comments:

Gaw said...

No.3 seems a real danger and one that leads to a truly horrible fate. It's infinitely depressing to read the comment threads on some of the sites you mention. Mind you the odd bit of creative swearing can be highly amusing (Ianucci-style). However, as you say this is best left to the experts.

worm said...

Now I'm trying to think if I have ever made a swear on your blog. Maybe I did and now I feel like I might have in some way soiled your pristine environment.

Brit said...

Fear not, Worm - it's a question of intent and frequency, not a zero tolerance policy.

malty said...

Oh, all right then but can we at least refer to you know what as Percy filth.

My father never once used the f word, at his funeral I mentioned this to one of his lifelong friends, he thought for a moment and said 'you know what, neither did I'.

Peter Burnet said...

Surely the blogosphere is conclusive disproof of the idea that they are just words ("so, WTF!"), and that anyone who objects to them is some kind of repressed prude. Unless used with uncommon artfulness, the f-word can pull a debate into the muck faster than even a Hitler analogy. Forget the UN and the altruistic gene, civilization rests on grandmothers with bars of soap at the ready and the Oxford debating rules.

Brit said...

...into the muck faster...

Quite right, Peter, and I'm glad you typed that carefully...

malty said...

The fault lies with the Anglo Saxons Peter, we of true British racial purity have had our language tainted by them.

We were starting to overcome this when along came The Wire, Gordon Ramsey and other Scottish persons.

Hey Skipper said...

#2 is reason enough, all by itself.