Profanity in DeafBlogLand
This is something that seems to be increasing exponentially, and the first instance I recall appeared in January! So we're talking a month, a month and a half ago. I'm growing concerned. For the record, I have no issue with profanity at all. I enjoy using it at appropriate times and marvel at how creative we can be in any language (the French are mighty creative and colorful in their vulgarity!). I believe that in order to master a language wholly one should be able to swear in the language, even if one chooses never to do so for personal or religious reasons.
But I digress...
Aidan Mack posted an open letter to the DeafRead.com editors here regarding the issue of profanity. It raises some interesting points.One of the major "red flags" this poses for me is the issue of censorship. Censorship is a slippery slope, and once we start down that hill, there is every risk of snowballing and censoring unnecessarily. (Banning Huck Finn from school libraries, anyone?) I do *not* recommend that DeafRead, nor any other editor begin censoring entries.
My comment is copied and pasted here in its entirety. Thoughts? Comments? Please feel free to respond, members of the Teeming Millions - we need to mull this over and talk about this topic.
I agree with you both, Aidan and IamMine. I, too, work with students, and I'm now concerned about recommending DeafRead to them because of the profanity in what seems like an ever-growing number of entries.
However, there is the issue of freedom of speech/expression, and censorship isn't the way to go.
I personally have no issue with profanity and have been known to use it in my personal life. However, I'm mindful of who is around when I use it, and I never ever use it with people in grades 12 or below or younger than 18... And I refuse to use it in the blog I maintain that's
syndicated by DeafRead, because I want it to be appropriate for all interested parties, which include students and those who do not appreciate profanity. Those who choose to use it on the Internet are definitely well within their rights to do so and they are availing themselves of a wonderful part of the English language (in my opinion), but they run the risk that their entries become inappropriate for a segment of their potential audience. This means their thoughts are not reaching all of their intended audience.
As for what DeafRead can do... I think the idea of sections is intriguing. However, it would be a lot of work for both the editors and readers. As a reader, I'd far prefer to keep the current format with everything on the front page. I think we run the risk of missing entries just because we wouldn't click on every single section. I vote to leave it as is. But maybe they could code the ones with profanity somehow, maybe with a red flag? ;) That would warn parents and other interested parties.
I believe the responsibility ultimately lies with all of us in DeafBlogLand. We bloggers/vloggers need to be mindful of how we present ourselves to our audience, and if we choose to use profanity, it should be a conscious decision, made with the awareness that we are closing ourselves off from part of our potential audience. But we *should* all strive for respectful and open-dialogue entries. We commenters should keep the same things in mind when we comment on entries. Bloggers/vloggers CAN control comments, though - and SHOULD when comments are disrespectful or attack people/groups, in my opinion. In
WordPress, one can remove ANY comment, with or without moderation. Blogger requires moderation, though. People with Blogger accounts can moderate comments and refuse to allow disrespectful comments to be published. Again, we, as individuals, all bear the responsibility. I don't think dumping it on DeafRead is the way to go, but they should be aware that there are concerns.
Thanks, Aidan, for raising this issue!***Notes: I wrote this last Thursday (I think) and attempted to post this via email, but Blogger wouldn't post it simply because they were forcing everybody to upgrade to the new version, and I didn't have a chance to deal with it till now. Grr. Second note - the info about Blogger above is now inaccurate. Blogger will allow the blog owner to delete *any* comment with, or without, moderation.