Some time ago I signed up for an online shop to design campaign buttons, t-shirts, magnets, and bumpers stickers. I still have some campaign gear online for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, although I haven’t added any new items lately.
When I started the online shop, I had to check a box that said whether my website was child-friendly or not. That was easy. Up to that point, my focus was mainly on the Middle East, and I hadn’t written anything I wouldn’t want my Jordanian roommate to read. Also I wanted children to be able to read my site, and not have it restricted by any parental control software.
Since I wrote a couple of pieces about Obama’s Trinity church, people have been leaving comments with a lot of profanity. I have never had this problem before. So what do I do now? I’m a big fan of free speech. I want to hear what people think. I want to provide a public forum for the exchange of ideas.
So far, I have just replaced the profanities with asterisks, so the original intent of the writer is still obvious. But the effect is quite frankly a bit more moderate than the original post. Wouldn’t it be more realistic to leave in the original words so people can get the idea of what kind of person is expressing these opinions full-blast?
I am well aware that there are lot of blogs out there that try to use profanity in a hip way. You can decide for yourselves if they are offensive in a way that is socially redeeming and make a point or whether they just come off as being ignorant and offensive.
Okay, so the Camel’s Nose is not a democracy. It is my personal kingdom, and I am the Queen. If I decide I don’t like seeing a bunch of offensive language every time I open my browser, I can do something about it. I can make my own website civil and idea-driven. And for now, that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I do want the exchange of ideas, even ideas I don’t agree with. As long as they are couched in language that is civil.
Is that reasonable? If you don’t agree, I am willing to entertain other ideas. The comments are still open.
In the meantime, if you are thinking about posting a bunch of expletives here, just think what impact your ideas will have once I get through replacing the profane words with asterisks. Will you have any ideas left?