I was surfing the side-links today and came across an answer that had been edited to replace a word with another which, according to the comments relating to the edit, was intended to be a less problematic equivalent. The comments indicated that the word violated the "no bigotry" rule:
Bigotry of any kind. Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. will not be tolerated. At all. (Those are just a few examples; when in doubt, just don't.)
The word in question (obscured to preserve delicate sensibilities) was:
The sense of the usage was: a foolish or despicable person
I tried to discuss this with the moderator who had made the change, with a nod towards the fact that it is quite likely that my perception of the word is quite different. He sent me here.
From my view there is nothing about the word which contravenes the "no bigotry" rule. The specific usage of the word is gender neutral and does not touch on race, sexual orientation, religion or any other individual or group designation. Obviously this is not true of whichever culture the mod is from.
To further complicate things, the word was replaced with "Jerk" which - in the culture I was raised in - is a term applied exclusively to males and is generally considered to be a crude abbreviation for a particularly male activity. By definition then it is gendered and in contravention of the rule in question.
Not that I have a problem with either word, I honestly don't. But since the given reason for the change was to correct a violation of a rule, I find it a little concerning that the replacement is a much more apparent violation of that rule by the definitions of my culture. If we're going to moderate away one, why not both?
Or better yet: neither.
I am not advocating for a complete lack of manners in questions, answers or comments. I'm not asking to be able to use the common abbreviation of pusillanimous in my descriptions, since that one is mistaken as gendered fairly universally. Nor am I insisting that all discussion be carried out in carefully neutered words to ensure that no possibly offense can be taken from any of them.
What I'm concerned about is that petty words of neither impact nor importance are being treated as bigotry, regardless of intent or cultural considerations. I'm hoping that I'm not the only one that finds this to be concerning.
Do we need better definitions as to what words are bad and banned, or could we perhaps put out a few of the fires on the censor ship?