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Which version of this question ought to be present, and why? Who does the most unpleasant dirty work in full communism?

An edit war has occurred over its title and body text in the past day despite being stable for quite a number of years.

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    Note that I didn't edit it to "americanise" the language (didn't even know "crap" is considered American, not native speaker so can be difficult to tell sometimes). It just seemed a reasonable balance to your version and Philipp's. As I mentioned in the edit reason: rolling back mod edits like this is not a battle you're going to win. – user11249 Oct 19 '18 at 21:48
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The original title was

Who shovels shit in full communism?

The question was flagged by two different users for "rude or abusive".

Question titles should not include profanity. I therefore edited the question to still say the same thing but without profanity.

Just because this profanity was overlooked for 3 years does not mean it is too late to correct this lapse. Also note that the Code of Conduct of the Stack Exchange network was overhauled recently. So the standards which applied 3 years ago are not the standards which apply today.

And while the new code of conduct still does not explicitly forbid profanity, I believe that avoiding profane language is crucial to reach its stated main goal to "build a community that is rooted in kindness, collaboration, and mutual respect".

Also relevant is this question on the general meta stackexchange "Are expletives (cursing, swear words or vulgar language) allowed on SE sites?". tl;dr: No, they are not.

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    Though FWIW, the policy about profanity has existed for longer than 3 years. – Andrew T. Oct 19 '18 at 9:56
  • @AndrewT. Thank you for finding this meta question. I added it to my answer. – Philipp Oct 19 '18 at 10:19
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    They are allowed on ELU if part of the question. They are not allowed in titles because they may show up elsewhere on the network. Is it this site's policy that they are also not allowed when part of the question? Note that the CoC does not explicitly forbid offensive words (and they are still allowed on ELU), it offends behaviour that is or could be construed as offensive towards people. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Oct 19 '18 at 13:27
  • @JJJ The SE sites about language are not that useful for comparision here, IMO. Profanity is a part of language, so talking about profanity as a subject matter is on-topic on these websites. The case we are discussing here is a question using profanity to make a point which can be made just as well without profanity. The Politics.SE equivalent to the exception made on ELU.SE would be a question about a statement by a politician which contains profanity. – Philipp Oct 19 '18 at 13:33
  • @Philipp in this case it's quite clear. What about quoting a politician who made a speech containing swear words? To what extent is that allowed? Quoting such texts could certainly be relevant in some cases. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Oct 19 '18 at 13:34
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    @JJJ As I said: I think it would be OK if there is profanity in a quote from a politician and that quote is relevant to the question. For example a question like The President of Arstotzka said during an interview: "Those [swear-word]s in parliament are [swear-word] powerless to stop my [swear-word] executive order. Read the [swear-word] constitution you [swear-word]" - is his interpretation of the Arstotzkan constitution correct? would be OK. But I agree with the ELU.SE rule that swear-words in the question title should be avoided if possible. – Philipp Oct 19 '18 at 13:39
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    I don't like the phrasing of "does the most unpleasant dirty work" though, and it makes various answers and comments look out of place as they still mention "shovelling". This is why I edited it to "crap", which seems not especially offensive AFAIK, and it fairly commonly used at least on meta SO. Perhaps another synonym would be more appropriate? – user11249 Oct 19 '18 at 21:46
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    @Martin I have tried to offer a more appropriate and reasoned phrasing inside the blue code in an answer to this question. Your eyes appreciated. – Samuel Russell Oct 20 '18 at 2:24
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Question titles may not contain curse words. This was the case long before the new CoC. The reason is that the title may show up on other sites in the Stack Exchange network where swearing or offensive words are not allowed at all (I am not sure to what extent it is allowed here, so this post does not make a statement on that / the body of the question).

For reference, see this post by Jeff Atwood (one of the founders of Stack Overflow and then moderator on the SE network) on the ELU Meta site.

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    The question is so old it’s very unlikely to hit the HQN. – Andrew Grimm Oct 21 '18 at 20:43
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    @AndrewGrimm It's my understanding that after thirty days, it is impossible to hit the HQN. The greater problem is that if one question can do it, then why can't other brand new questions do it as well? Having one set of rules for older questions and a different set of rules for newer questions is harder for new posters to learn. – Brythan Oct 21 '18 at 21:35
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I acknowledge that other editors seem to be aware of the [culturally incomprehensible to this en_Au speaker] blue code that stack exchange has chosen to operate with. I am surprised that effective moderation on the topic took many years for a high voted and moderately bumped question and answer set—part of any reaction here is surely to dead letter enforcement. Culture shock and delayed enforcement aside better substitute text ought to be used: that the particular bowdlerisation chosen is inappropriate.

"Shit shovelling" is a powerful alliterative and visceral description, and common term in my variety of English, for a form of labour generally considered to be quintessentially and viscerally unpleasant. While knackery or sex work or psych nursing may have it beat for unpleasantness, the social position of manually disposing of human fæces animates the discussion regarding the form of labour and the general desirable organisation of labour. Manual nightsoil labour is the go to vehicle in the metaphor for unpleasant work. The decision for the example trade was chosen as it is the typical example, the manner of phrasing because of the need to emphasise the viscerality and bodily repugnance.

A superior bowdlerisation within the operating blue code would be "shovelling excrement" due to the poetic and visceral hardness and superiority to "unpleasant" or "fæces" both of which are consonally softer and stink less.

  • "Shovelling excrement" does seem like a good humored alternative. But if alliteration is preferrable there's "scoops scat", "excavates excrement", "digs dung", "furrows the faeces", "trenches the turds", etc... ugh! – agc Oct 20 '18 at 3:25
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    Take note that SE is a global/international site, and thus there are also many non-native English speakers. I, for once, just heard "shit shoveling" for the first time and wouldn't understand the meaning without googling the term. – Andrew T. Oct 20 '18 at 5:37
  • @agc Your suggested alternatives are witty but mostly not going to be understood. (In particular, "shit shovelling" refers idiomatically to any unpleasant task, whereas your alternatives would likely be seen to be literal.) – David Richerby Oct 21 '18 at 10:58
  • as an aside, once editing the best edit would to make the question easily find-able for people with the same question – Display name Oct 22 '18 at 13:27
  • What about "shovelling manure"? – user11249 Oct 24 '18 at 3:13
  • Reason magazine opted for poop in this article. The problem with "sh**" is that it carries an extremely negative connotation – Machavity Oct 24 '18 at 16:06
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    It's intended to carry negative connotations. It represents the entire category of activities with negative status. It is succinct, precise and to the point. Unfortunately Americans are precious tinkerbells who think they own the internet. In the case of StackExchange, they do own it, which is a good argument for separation. – Peter Wone Oct 27 '18 at 3:24
  • What is a "blue code"? – Azor Ahai Oct 29 '18 at 17:50
  • A code to regulate blue material: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribaldry – Samuel Russell Oct 30 '18 at 6:46

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