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[Debconf-discuss] DebConf conference policy on profanity

I should preface this by saying that I personally don't feel that strongly
about this one way or the other.  But it came up in another forum that
isn't the right place to talk about it, and I've been trying to make a
point of doing my part to move some of those conversations to a better

I was mildly surprised during registration by the inclusion of expletives
as something that was ruled out by the conference code of conduct.  My
(not particularly well-researched) impression is that use of non-gendered
expletives in English is something that's become somewhat generational.
Using four-letter words was considered very impolite and unacceptable in
professional public venues in my parents' generation, but appears to
hardly be noticable in the generation in college now, with a change point
somewhere around my generation.

To be specific about what words I'm talking about, I have seen people use
both "shit" and "fuck" in a professional HR presentation context with
basically no reaction (although the latter is much less common).  Several
speakers used those or similar words during various presentations; often
they were immediately apologetic, but the audience appeared not to take
this part of the code of conduct particularly seriously.

Now, it's quite possible that I'm rather privileged here and am just
unaware of the issues.  I am *not* asking for this to be changed, at least
at this point.  However, I am curious as to what was the intent for
including that rule in the code of conduct.  Specifically, I'm wondering
if this posed a concern for any of the attendees, or if it was just
something that seemed like it would be appropriate to have in the code of

I should be clear here that I'm only talking about words that either never
had or that are used outside of any sexual meaning, and are not used in a
way that implies any sexual meaning.  I am specifically *not* talking
about gendered expletives or sexual innuendo, and would support continuing
to rule out such things in the code of conduct.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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