In Why weren't the shields up already?, the question text contains the phrase "shit just got real".

Now, I'm not offended by this at all, but it was my understanding that our position was essentially "don't put anything that might have a chance of offending anyone unless there's a reason for it".

I.e., in Is profanity in direct quotes from source material permitted?, we establish that we don't avoid profanity in quoted materials (because we're all adults and that would be silly). The accepted answer there sort of addresses this issue (I think it should be okay to say "this is bullshit"), but it's not clear to me that the acceptance of that answer really conveys consensus on that part of the answer since it's a minor part of the whole.

So what's the consensus on mild but unnecessary expressions which might offend some people but not most.

Do we have such a policy?

  • This seems to be a dupe of this one. The highest voted answer there says that it's okay to edit out gratuitous use of NSFW language, and this case certainly seems gratuitous to me.
    – Null Mod
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:08
  • @Null: Ah, I knew there was an answer somewhere. This answer covers it -- although it's not clear from the question because that it mostly about a specific case of an important directly quoted term from a work. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:13
  • If it’s a quote leave it or hide it behind spoiler tags with a warning. If normal text feel free to edit it out.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:15
  • 1
    We don't all necessarily have to be adults. This site accepts anyone aged 13+
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 5:46
  • @Edlothiad, well, yeah. But even teenagers should be adult enough to quote naughty words from sources without giggling. If not, they should learn. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


Here's the strong consensus achieved on a different question, repeated here for convenience:

  1. It's OK to use NSFW language if that's an important part of the question.

    E.g. for story-ID questions like this, if the story used a word which is obscene but also distinctive, then that could be a very important detail. If it's a word coined especially for that story, then just Googling the word might be an efficient way to find the story. We definitely shouldn't be making it harder for people to answer questions just for the sake of not including some naughty words.

  2. It's also OK to edit out gratuitous use of NSFW language.

    If someone is using unnecessarily obscene language which isn't necessary for the question, then of course it's fine to edit it out or tone it down. We are a 13+ site according to the terms of service, and we're supposed to maintain some standards of decency and professionalism (whatever "professionalism" might mean on a sci-fi and fantasy site).

In short: unnecessary obscenities can be removed, but necessary ones shouldn't be.

Content warnings, e.g. putting "NSFW" in the title or hiding rude words behind spoilertags, can be used at your discretion. Whether or not a particular word is bad enough to merit any such measures is something to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

  • 6
    I don't understand why you copied another answer (and did not use quote formatting) from a duplicate question. That's why we mark questions as duplicates -- so we don't have to copy information from one post to another.
    – Null Mod
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:24
  • @Null, Well, because it's the case that the question contains so much superfluous content that it's not obvious that a person following the link is going to stick with it upon starting to read the question text. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:40
  • The title of the duplicate sums up the issue quite concisely, and in any case we can edit the body of the question to highlight the general issue.
    – Null Mod
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:56
  • @Null, okay, well it's duplicate now. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 18:03

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