The use of swearing

I wrote this thread because of how swearing is oftenly used in abundance on the boards but also because I think that swearing has an important place in this community and mods must be careful when censoring it. So I thought people might be interested in some insights (this thread does not nearly cover all there is to say, but I hope that what I included will be helpful for some people). Swearing is something that carries a lot of meaning and is an important tool for expressing oneself. Like most tools however, some boundaries need to be respected so that this tool doesn't destroy more than it builds. One of the most important uses of swearing is to express emotion. It is actually believed that people who swear sometimes are considered more trustworthy and likeable than people who don't swear. That has several reasons. People who swear give a strong statement as to where their moral inclinations lie and also show that things can affect them enough to inspire an emotional response. This creates a little moment of intimacy where a spectator/ reader gets to know the swearing person a bit better. It is also useful for getting the reader to feel something about a topic as well. It simply serves as a very honest expression of emotion. This is also a bit problematic. While a bit emotion can get people to sympathize with you, improper use of swearing can feel like too much emotion for readers. Especially in an anonymous online environment, people generally don't want to be burdened by the negative emotions of someone else. Another problem is that emotion and rationality often are considered to be opposites. This is especially of importance when one tries to discuss something. Swearing can undermine how rational or well thought out your opinion/thread sounds. This means that if you actually care about getting a discussion going (instead of just to vent), you must chose wisely how and whether you want to swear. There are actually very fine lines here, but a general rule of thumb is that swearing works better for this purpose if it is kept basic. For example: “For f.ucks sake, these Vayne buffs are bad“. vs “These Vayne buffs are f.ucking r.etarded“. Both phrases show how the author feels but the second goes a step further by making a very illogical connection between “buffs“ and “r.etarded“. While this may make sense emotionally, logic dictates that such a connection is impossible which makes the author come across as unreasonable. Being believed to be unreasonable is the death of most discussions. It is not uncommon for people to think that the author must have been aware of the relationship between swearing and being considered rational. So swearing despite this knowledge can be seen as not caring about having a discussion in the first place. This is why swearing better works if it's used sparingly and with a specific purpose in mind. Something which derives from this, is that excessive swearing works better on people who already agree with you (since they are share a similar emotional mindset), while people who disagree or have no opinion will feel rather inclined to distance themselves from you. This is not what you want for a discussion. Another important aspect of swearing is that in general, it is considered offensive and forbidden. This matters in multiple ways. Knowing that it might offend people and still using it, is a powerful sign of disrespect. This can be averted to an extent though by the use of untargeted swear words.The use of f.uck for example is open and non descriptive for any groups.The use of b.itch or the n-word however indirectly targets specific groups, even if they were meant to describe for example the vayne buffs. However, the offensive and taboo character can also be used as powerful tools to underline your point. Swearing is in many cultures akin to breaking the rules, if you do it anyways and you do it smartly, you express the notion that you think that your opinion was worth breaking the rules for. Which is a strong and clear signal to any reader. One additional point that leads to awkward situations sometimes is that swearing can be used amicably for teasing or as a joke. This expresses very strongly that you like someone or something. However, swearing in jest is mostly done between friends. Outside that condition it will most likely not be well received and should be avoided in the first place. I hope some of this was useful to you and if there is enough demand I might expand about the topic some more. Let me know what your own thoughts are about the matter! Signed by: a passionate swearer
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