profanity on comp.lang.python (was Re: Pyro stability)

Cliff Wells cliff at
Wed Nov 8 20:42:21 CET 2006

On Wed, 2006-11-08 at 10:42 -0800, Paddy wrote:

> I too know your wrong Aahz. The written word is not the same as that
> spoken. People should make an effort to put across their meaning in a
> clear manner. If I were going to an interview I would be very careful
> about swearing and most likely not do it. People complain about the
> friendliness and tone of groups, and mention it when talking about
> programming languages.

But of course, this was never about "friendliness or tone".  The person
who uttered the dreaded word was actually speaking quite positively
about Pyro.  The complaint was about the use of a particular word, not
the intent of it.

> Not everyone swears like Eddy Murphy in Beverley Hills Cop, and a lot
> of those that do, would not do so when they want to impress, or
> communicate with a stranger.

But of course "not everyone" is a double-edged sword that can just as
easily be turned against either party.  If we limit ourselves to saying
what is going to be the most palatable for the widest audience we will
most likely find ourselves confined to discussing the weather. 

And of course, people who worry too much about impressing others rarely
do.  Just ask DHH of Ruby on Rails fame:

Personally I find people trying to impose their personal beliefs on
others to be at least as offensive as any particular swear word and
about a million times as dangerous.  

> P.S. I did a google search and found 540,000 hits for python in c.l.p.
> and only 121 for f***. thats less than one in a thousand. Lets keep it
> that way please.

Well, I think that's a good point: the one instance we had that spawned
this thread fell well within this "one-in-a-thousand" boundary.  So
there was no indication that was in danger of turning into a
sailor's bar.  

I'll apply an old software maxim (from sendmail?) to the topic of public
interaction: "Be liberal in what you accept, conservative in what you
send."  Applying this would suggest that both parties were equally at
fault in this situation, so perhaps we can just leave it at that.  


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