Text editor as language guardian?

This might have been asked before, but here it goes...

I was giving an answer a few days ago where I had to mention a, let's say, erotic act, usually (but not exclusively) performed between two males. A bit to my surprise, and quite unexpectedly, I was ticked off by the text editor.This was strictly in a medical context, mind you, but I can see it can quite easily be misconstrued as offensive language. I rephrased it and that apparently acceptable, but what happens to your status if you persist with the text, e.g.if there is no alternative?
Not a make-or-break situation of course, just wondering....

1 Answer
Nov 12, 2017


Context is the key.


For starters, and I don't know if you've noticed this yourself, the flag that you get when writing certain words or phrases that can have abusive or offensive connotations cannot prevent you from actually posting those things.

In other words, the warning message that points out that you're using quote, unquote offensive language is just that, a warning message.

If you are using a certain word in a context that is not abusive/offensive, which can certainly happen with some words, then you certainly go ahead and ignore the warning message.

On the other hand, if a contributor uses a word to offend, clearly ignoring the warning message in the process, then they will be banned--this is pretty much what happens to trolls.

Despite the fact that there is no context to justify the use of a lot of words , it's clear that some words have meanings that depend exclusively on context. So as long as you use certain words in appropriate contexts, you have nothing to worry about.