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There are many examples of profanity in science fiction.

Jeff has said that real-world expletives are not allowed on any StackExchange site (presumably including bowdlerized versions, since the question has such as an example), although his answer appears to be regarding using these words as insults (insults in general are not ok, of course), or as emphasis. These words are permitted in technical discussion on the English Language & Usage site, and there may be other site-specific exceptions.

Is it permissible to use fictional-language profanity on this site?

  • Is it acceptable in direct quotations, or do those need to be censored?
  • Is it acceptable to ask questions about these words? (e.g. "What is the origin of ****?").
  • Is it acceptable to simply use these words in questions/answers? (e.g. "This is the ****ing best example of modern science fiction").
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  • Welbogging yeah! – Shog9 Aug 13 '11 at 22:11
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    You bet your goram frakking mivonks it is!! – Valorum Nov 2 '17 at 12:32
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I can't see why not.

The arguments against real profanity are kind of nebulous, a sort of constant moral panic that has lasted centuries. Mostly people are afraid of their kids being looked down upon after they pick up swearing (which all kids ultimately do). The main problem here is that it turns off certain users IMO, and drives them away from the site.

Edit: Shog9 points out that filtering proxies might start blocking the site, and thus must be Stack Exchange's primary motivation for outlawing swearing.

But I can't see why fictional profanity shouldn't be readily discussed.

In Science Fiction, fictional profanity provides a trope for mankind to discuss society's relationship with swearing and the nature of swearing, without actually swearing.

To outlaw fictional profanity would be ironic.

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    FWIW, the strongest arguments against allowing profanity on SO were the existence of filtering proxies that might block the entire site if too many vulgarities were detected. The next strongest argument involved sensitive folk who might simply be driven away. But neither argument applies to "fake" profanity. – Shog9 Aug 14 '11 at 3:44
  • I stand corrected. – Mark Rogers Aug 14 '11 at 4:17
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    @Shog9 both arguments apply to fictional-language profanity, but both are weaker. I have seen filters that do include the fictional-language versions (just as they include misspellings and otherwise obfuscated versions), but this is certainly less common. I believe people could be put off by common use of fictional-language profanity, also: it's not the actual words at issue, as it is the impression that this is not quality content. – Tony Meyer Aug 14 '11 at 4:50
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    @Tony: same thing goes for emoticons, "lol" / "rofl" / etc. It's a judgement call - if that's the bulk of your "content", you're not contributing anything. – Shog9 Aug 16 '11 at 2:23
  • @Edlothiad I think 'shop9' sounded better dude. – Möoz Nov 2 '17 at 21:09
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    @Möoz be careful for what you wish, youngling – Edlothiad Nov 2 '17 at 21:40
10

Personally, I think the first two are ok, and the latter not. If it's a quote from a work, then it's likely that anyone reading the question/answer is familiar with the language of that work, and it's acceptable to them. If it's a technical discussion, then it should be ok, just as the English words are ok on english.stackexchange.com (potentially even the English ones would be acceptable here when used in a technical answer regarding the fictional-language ones).

I don't see how there's any benefit in allowing their use as English profanity replacements. It seems like a "cheat" to allow "frak", but not allow the bowdlerized version of the English version (or presumably translations into other real-world languages). This potentially works around filtering services, but with the words that have spread outside of their origin (like "frak") there is a moderate chance that they are included in the filter as well (I've seen ones that do, and ones that don't).

IMO if you have a point to make, then there are sufficient words in English to make it without having to resort to profanity, whether in English or not.

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1

Thoughts...

  • Is it acceptable in direct quotations, or do those need to be censored?

I'll suggest this is okay. It's a direct quote, and the made-up words are generally "safe" enough to pass TV/movie censors.

  • Is it acceptable to ask questions about these words? (e.g. "What is the origin of ****?").

This sounds good to me, because we are discussing the words in the meta sense; there's a point to bringing it up. There might be some good discussion there. Were the words chosen randomly? Are they evocative of real cuss words? The author's childhood enemy's name?

  • Is it acceptable to simply use these words in questions/answers? (e.g. "This is the ****ing best example of modern science fiction").

I'd recommend against this, albeit mildly; it seems a little indulgent and showboat-y, and unless you're a really good wordsmith, adds little to the conversation.

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