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!