Are euphemisms for profanity OK in online comments?
We're having an interesting discussion among editors here in the newsroom about whether we should permit our online commenters to use euphemisms for swear words. Is use of the now-common conversational term "freakin'" OK as a replacement for ... well, you know what it's a replacement for.
Same with friggin' or, my personal (un)favorite — "effing."
On first blush, I'd say no. We should keep things civil. But it's really not that simple. If we disallow "freakin'" then what about "gosh darnit?" Most people are OK with their 5-year-old saying that. But it's really nothing more than a euphemism for a profanity that takes the Lord's name in vain.
And what about words like "crap," and "suck?" Should we allow those?
Or, how about commenters who take columnists', editors' and their fellow commenters' names in vain. Like, the perpetually grumpy "freeman" who calls me Buylater and refers to P-B Managing Editor Jay Furst as "Mr. Last."
Yes, we want folks to be civil. But if we start eliminating borderline offensive stuff, what are we left with?
Let me know what you think about allowing online euphemisms for profanity.