Discussion:Updating the Foul Language policy

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Varkarrus (talk11:12, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]


I think the foul language policy is a bit outdated, what with cultural shifts. In our current society, swear words barely carry any weight anymore. I think what with globalization and the internet, its impossible to not get exposed to swearing any longer; no other online community I'm in has a foul language policy, and there's never ever been any drama involving it. Instead, its slurs that carry weight now. Words that carry the weight of bigotry, rather than being completely arbitrary.

I feel we need to unban foul language, excluding slurs; but of course, leave the adult content policy and the civility policy unchanged.

I will admit a possible downside to this: being forced to be careful and avoid swear words can subtly enforce civility between other users. Though I do feel overall that if someone wants to be uncivil, a ban on swears won't stop them. Plus, swear words are far more often just a part of casual conversation, as opposed to being used to hurt or offend, these days.

EpicBoss99 (talk11:20, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

Firstly, I really like the Deltarune picture, Vark! :)

On a more serious note, I'm going to defend the ban on swear words. I believe that it does indeed uphold a sense of civility and discipline between users. Just because swear words are thrown around all the time nowadays doesn't mean that they've lost their meaning. Even if it's just used in casual conversation, if we lift the swear word ban we won't be careful about what we say anymore and we may turn people away who don't want to be constantly in the presence of swear words. I also believe that our swear word ban helps to improve D&DWiki's image as well to people that are new to the community. In my opinion, words under the ban aren't really needed to portray feelings anyway.

--Kydo (talk) 11:45, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

What about users under the age of 15? What about parents who have introduced gaming to their kids? What about users who grew up in a home where foul language of any sort is strictly forbidden? What about users who view profanity as not only rude- but inherently sacrilegious? What about older users- the game has been around for over 40 years. One of the guys at my table is 72 years old. Should we refuse these people, who desire polite and agreeable language, over making rudeness and ignorance even implicitly more acceptable? I swear. I'm a factory worker. I swear a LOT. But I try my best not to on communities like this out of respect for others. I rather expect a community share and enforce that philosophy.

ConcealedWife (talk12:51, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

I personally feel that foul language is not necessary to write (or communicate about) homebrew articles. I also agree with above comments that mention the possible presence of children on this site. ConcealedWife (talk) 12:51, 22 December 2018 (MST)

BigShotFancyMan (talk13:08, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

As much as I love a good swear word and it is natural, there is a time and place. I like the wiki’s zero tolerance even if I am not enforcing 100%.

Quincy (talk13:15, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

Cussing adds nothing of value to the conversation. Just because other communities are willing to debase themselves and be vulgar doesn't mean we are obligated to accommodate their lower moral standards. Similarly, it is up to the users of D&D Wiki to respect the longstanding standards and culture of our existing community; it is not the other way around. Therefore, I must affirm our policy against foul language and swearing as it is.

--Kydo (talk) 13:23, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

Just a side note though Quincy, everything on a wiki is subject to consensus, even the oldest policies. Anything can be changed if the community agrees to that change.

That said, I'd say there's pretty clear consensus that this policy in particular is fine just the way it is.

ZarHakkar (talk14:52, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]


I'm all for a relaxed stance on profanity. Many see it as the words themselves being bad, but it's not that. They're just words. What matters more is the intent behind those words.
Now, I'm not saying users should cuss all willy-nilly; there's a time and a place; but when I say something like "Shit man, I'm sorry." I don't want Cap standing over my shoulder saying "Language."
A user being able to swear when they need to helps create an air of honesty and openness as opposed to what we would have otherwise: stifling civility and professionalism. We're not all friends who share everything with each-other, but we're not in a courtroom either. We're co-workers, sometimes serious, sometimes friendly, and the atmosphere of the talk pages and discussion threads should embody that.
Oh, and swearing does not promote lower moral values. In fact, people who swear tend to be more honest and trustworthy.

Varkarrus (talk14:57, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

"Lower moral standards" implies that there's anything amoral about swear words in the first place.

Geodude Chatmod.png (talk | contribs | email)‎‎ . . 15:31, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

Since repealing the ban on profanity doesn't change our requirement that users remain civil with one another, I don't oppose allowing them. If users want to be hostile to one another, they can already do that without using swears, so the argument that relaxed standards on profanity will lead to increased incivility between users is a fallacy, from my point of view. I don't entirely support this, however, for basically the reasons Kydo stated above.

On the other hand, though, I'd really like the College of Trash Posting (5e Subclass) to be moved back to its original and proper name. If we do decide to keep the current policy, could we maybe look at allowing this page to be renamed, as a special exception? The original name of the page has a clear meaning within the culture it is depicting, and in my opinion, its current name makes the page less meaningful.

--Kydo (talk) 18:19, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

What about, instead of abandoning the foul language ban, we instead add an enforcement guideline. When I was an admin, I believed in something called "consensus by silence". Basically, I assumed that if nobody complained, that meant everyone was in favor- provided I'd given people an opportunity to respond. I treated foul language the same way. If nobody complained, that meant nobody cared, so the rule wasn't worth enforcing in that instance.

While this might seem capricious, it's actually highly pragmatic: we don't deal with the sparks, we just put out the fires. It frees administrator attention to focus on things that matter, rather than policing every last conversation across the history of the wiki. (Which, believe me, is an easy way to burn out fast.)

Simply saying that administrators have a right to decide when something has become a problem worthy of policy enforcement relaxes things a bit without diminishing the policy itself.

Or you could just call me a hypocrite. That's fine too.

Varkarrus (talk20:23, 22 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

Oh, no I totally get you. Consensus via silence seems like a good idea in general.

BigShotFancyMan (talk08:50, 23 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

What Kydo says is basically how I’ve admin’d. I go after egregious offenses, which is subjective I admit but I don’t think I’ve been under the gun for Robocoping language.
The consensus by silence doesn’t require policy change though if I’m not mistaken. Or, I’d hope it wouldn’t.

Green Dragon (talk09:46, 23 December 2018 (MST)[edit]

This is obviously a discussion that should be taking place on Help talk:Behavioral Policy.

With that in mind, based on the discussions above, there are multiple major (if not all) online communities that automatically ban swear words. The Elder Scrolls Online, for example, bleeps out all foul language that takes place in-game. I assume that most, if not all, MMORPGs use this same policy.

My opinion is that using this language does not help us edit constructively. Any change, I propose, would follow w:Wikipedia:Offensive material which allows the use of foul language when it is useful, and when it does not degrade the quality of the encyclopedia.

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