To cuss or not to cuss — that is the question [Ask dotTechies]

I will be completely upfront with everyone — I absolutely love cussing (using swear/curse words). I don’t know why; I just do. (My wife does not appreciate this fine quality of mine.) You may have noticed I sometimes (more regularly lately, it seems) cuss in my articles. Personally I have no issue with cussing, as long as it isn’t overly excessive (which I don’t think I have been), aside from the Best Buy article. However, I have received a few e-mails from concerned dotTechies asking me to tone it down. Instead of listening to just a few, I’d like to throw it out to a popular vote — should cussing be allowed in dotTech articles? Cast your vote below and be sure to leave a comment!

[polldaddy poll=6740991]

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  • dbaby

    You can say whatever you want however you want. It won’t bother me a bit. I just enjoy your articles. My husband did not cuss until he met me. He sounds weird when he cusses. I am a cusser and always will be. Take care.

  • Mister Lee

    Hello Ashraf: I suppose it all hinges on how you perceive yourself. Do you see yourself as a professional writer with big aspirations? Or are you still seeing yourself as teenage blog writer, (that has advanced via the calendar to your early twenties). You are married now. Soon there may be an Ashraf, Jr. You have new responsibilities. At this stage of life, you don’t want to put limitations on yourself, (or your career). If you picked up a copy of PC Magazine, Smart Computing, PC World, or whatever well known tech publication you prefer, would you expect to see profane language in the articles or comments? You know the answer. Suggestion: Promote your wife to DotTech editor. Let her have the final say on ‘all the tech news that’s fit to print’. I wish you all the best in your career and family life. — Mister Lee

  • jayesstee

    Good thread, lots of sensible posts on both sides of the ‘cussing’ debate.
    However I am worried about you. How long have you been “happily married to the most beautiful woman ever? Don’t you yet realize that ‘Mrs Boss‘ vastly outranks ‘Mr Boss’? Shape up Ashraf or you will be in trouble!

  • clockmendergb

    In my world London
    Cussing swearing is a way of life .

    Unless its directed at a particular person in a nasty way I find nothing wrong with it.

    Those I know and have known have not been lesser people because of it.

    In some cases the fact that you can cuss and swear at somebody close and they do not get offended, shows how deep your friendship is.

    On the other hand I can understand a priest not doing it.

  • Maurice

    To cuss, curse or use explesives;
    you may use any and all of the above when you go to a web site that uses that darn capcha or whatever it is called. Half the time it would take me three or four tries and other times I would curse and back out.

  • Well we all do, myself included, even though I try not to. So who can judge another ! After all it’s your site, so you have the prerogative. But honestly, I’ve not noticed really, and I read just about all of your articles. I would say, as a general rule (not necessarily applicable to you) : I try to keep away from words that may give offence to another’s religious beliefs, as well as the more unsavoury ones with a sexual bearing. What’s left I don’t even seem to notice heheh

  • spredo

    I don’t really care, as I have not really noticed excessive cussing in your posts.

    On the other hand, my mother taught me that cussing is just laziness, because people tend to cuss when they run out of words.
    If you really are a writer (I don’t really need to modify that to “dottech-writer, do I?), you should be able to find the RIGHT words, and not need any bloody shortcuts.

  • otojunk

    Personally I think cursing is out of place in any type of public arena..

    But damned if you do; damned if you don’t.

  • Ashraf

    @Everyone: Thank you for the valuable feedback!
    @sl0j0n:@Bill Wingler: My wife is firmly against me cussing. Crazy woman.
    @J.L.: @Concerned Mom of 5: LMAO, I wasn’t intentionally trying to rig the vote. My intention was to be funny. FAIL, Ashraf.
    In any case, this vote isn’t a “majority rules” type vote. I just want to get an indication of how people feel about the issue. Even if a majority vote for some form of “yes, you can cuss”, I’ll likely try to avoid cussing if a large percentage of dotTechies voted some form of “no”.

  • sl0j0n

    Hello, Ashraf.

    You wrote:
    “should cussing be allowed in dotTech articles?”.

    I used to use a *great* deal of ‘cussing’ in my everyday speech.
    Now that I’m a minister, I personally find such language very offensive.
    In any case, here is an idea that may help you, regardless of your morals, or lack thereof.
    Communication requires bandwidth.
    Available bandwidth is always limited, and never unlimited.
    Anything that reduces bandwidth is ‘bad’.
    Since ‘cussing’, like pop-over ads, reduces available bandwidth, and will annoy/aggravate some readers, it may be that you want to limit the amount of ‘cussing’ you use.

    Another point:
    On the right side of the page, you have a list of ‘Dottech friends’.
    How do the ‘Dottech friends’ handle this?
    Are there any writers that you admire?
    What position do they take on this?

    Another point:
    How do you, Ashraf, feel about your readers, and visitors to Dottech?
    Do you have concern, consideration, or respect for them?
    How would you feel if you found out that a number of visitors choose not to visit Dottech because of ‘cussing’?
    Does Dottech exist to satisfy Ashraf only?
    Or does Dottech have a ‘purpose’, and if so, how would ‘cussing’ advance or retard that purpose?

    Other points to consider:
    You may note that I listed my opinion after my ‘confession’.
    You may not have any religious interests, as I previously did not, but I assure you, many people do.
    How do you feel about offending those people?
    Aside from the religious aspect, how do you feel about showing respect for others?

    I hope you will take time to think about these points.
    Maybe you should ask your “most beautiful” wife what she thinks.
    While I may not agree with your decision, I will respect your right to decide for yourself.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbor!

  • JonE

    I do have to admit that I have been tempted at times to use expletives to express myself and get my point across, but I’ve always thought that I could effectively do that without the use of expletives. It’s a personal choice, but I have to admit I’ve been tempted.

    And so, when I see well placed expletives I am neither offended or bothered by it.

    So Ashraf, use as many well placed expletives, to get your point across, as you deem necessary, just try to keep it down to a dull roar.

    And for the record; I cuss quite a bit, just not in public. I tend to use some very colorful language, all be it some of it very gray.

  • Mary


    LOL! I know. But, you know how us humans are. We like to change the rules to fit our conveniences! You know, like the Constitution of the United States. Make them mean something other than our forefathers meant! Twist the words to fit our needs, change the definition! ;) (not that I do that to the Constititution. Just an example.)

    My post was just meant to be funny! I really do try not to cuss / curse in public, but I couldn’t resist commenting on this topic! :)

  • Bull

    The way I see it, there is no need to cuss/swear at all in articles, unless it’s an article about swearing/cussing. There are more than enough words in the english dictionary that can better describe your emotions regarding a person, place, thing, action, etc. and still give still give the impression/impact you are looking for.

    I personally don’t want to read any swear words in articles. I like to get away from all that when i can. In my opinion, it takes away any and all seriousness in any article and I find myelf moving on and reading somthing else. I also find reading articles without cursing/swearing to be more professional. Again this is only my opinion.

    I’m not against it. I do it from time to time, when the occassion calls for it. Still I have dramatically lessened the use of “swear” words as I have grown older mainly due to children being around me.

    Now with all that said, I and most likely other of your readers appreciate you taking our opinions into account. Personal life and a public forum are two different things, depending on what you are striving for in that public forum.

    Are you looking to relate in a personal level yet portray it in a professional manner? Perhaps you want that personal-casual relationship with your readers/fallowers? The choice is yours.

    This is your site Ashraf, and yours alone. You can do as you wish with it. Do what makes you feel most comfortable with and what you feel is best for your site.

  • AFPhys

    I prefer no cussin’, but have not noticed reading any articles that you have done so.

  • Maurice

    @Mary: Webster’s dictionary; cuss(kus) n. 1. a curse

  • Mary

    Hi, my name is Mary and I am a cusser too.

    I know when to cuss and when not to though. It is a stress reliever for me. I even made my mother say the F word because she was so uptight. After explaining to her that it would make her feel much better after saying it, (and it took me HOURS to get her to agree to just try it once) She was hooked. She felt so free! She said it really did help her stress level go way down. Imagine that! I was so proud of her! :)

    You CAN be a responsible cusser. If your wife doesn’t really appreciate it, but you really have the need to do it, change it up. I replace typical cuss words with less sharp words, like “effing” instead of the original. Or “crap” instead of my favorite S word. I sometimes make up my own cuss words, depending on who is around me, like my grandkids. Example: “Oh, snigglespit.”

    So, go for it. Cuss away, but be responsible!! Abusing it is no way to live. If you can’t control it, get help! Call Cussers Anonymous.

    Oh, and cussing and cursing are 2 different things. Cussing is when you say those words for the relief or out of frustrations. Cursing is when you inflict those words on something else or someone else, causing a “curse” on it/them. ;)

    BTW, I noticed I wasn’t logged in when I went to post this. When I did try to login using the link, I got the daggone “untrusted site” error. So please, see if you need to update your darn site certificate. :)

    Have a great ******* day! :D

  • oldtimer56

    Go with what you think is right for the moment.

  • Bill Wingler

    If for no other reason stop out of respect for that fantastic wife you say you have. “Foul” language taints the image of one as bright as you are. I know you can express yourself sufficiently without cussing-you do it all the time. However, with or without cussing I really appreciate the effort you put into dottech, but my preference is NO cussing.

  • Anonymail

    I say cuss all you want, Some of my family members think the f word is a punctuation mark so I am used to filtering! I’ve never been offended by anything you have written, so if you feel the need, go for it! I cuss sometimes to make my kids laugh, is that bad? LOL

  • J.L.

    When there’s 4 options for no, it’s only fair to add their scores together.

  • Maurice

    To curse or not to curse; I have read several of your articles and have found them very informative. I myself do not mind someone using a curse word once in awhile. I think the world is getting out of hand with all the pc correct things.What I personally don’t care for is the over use of cursing that I here in public where almost every sentence has more cursing then proper language.

  • catman

    Firstly, thank you Ashraf for putting the question out into the open.

    I feel that young use the internet and old alike the poster should be mindful that there is no justification for using cuss / swear words in any site where the age group of potential readers is so wide.

    DotTech, including the author or writer of any article should always keep that in mind.

    Bottom line do we really have to us cuss / swear words??

  • Zapped Sparky

    I don’t think any articles have been excessive in profanity, and where it has been used seems perfectly reasonable. If the articles were eff this, eff that, eff the other then yeah, I could see why people would have an issue with it.

    But they’re not, so I don’t see what the dealio is :)

  • Prema

    I honestly haven’t seen cussing on dottech apart from the “F” word on the best buy article, but then again i don’t consider a lot of words cussing. I don’t mind cussing, but like others have been posting, there is a fine line between what dottech is about and cussing doesn’t really seem to fit in. I’ve been a dottechie for a while and there has always been this high class and quality work in your article which could just get damaged by inserting cuss words.

  • Concerned Mom of 5

    @jayesstee:Point made. Where is the line drawn? If the article is littered with filth, it will engender comments rooted in that same contaminated soil. Birds/feather. YSIC.

  • jayesstee

    I voted for #2. But I think you should consider your audience. Not all of them are crinkley old gits like me. Some of the visitors to may be quite young.
    Imagine your virtual (hope to be realised one day) son or daughter aged 7 or 8 years old and use language that you wouldn’t mind him/her seeing/hearing.
    The main thing is that you continue to give us your true reactions to the subjects of your articles. “More power to your elbow!”
    Pesonally I’m fairly broadminded, but I do object to the abreviation in comment #15 from the so-called “Concerned Mom of 5”.

  • Frank D

    I agree with Bruce Fraser and Spencer Kimball. IMO cursing and using profanity indicates difficulty with expressing thoughts normally. Sort of like throwing rocks when you’re mad at someone. I use a Firefox addon called Web Page Fixer +, which has an option to replace swear words with neutral ones. So it’s less unpleasant and somewhat funny to read an article that looks like “And so, *&^*&*, go and *&%)^* yourself.” In the end, the indication that cursing and swearing is within an author’s normal, everyday capacity reduces that person’s credibility with me. I’d rather see the author’s constructive ideas on the subject matter, not the fact that he/she can’t express thoughts in normal language.

  • Harrkev

    When somebody resorts to swearing to get their point across, I usually attribute that to a lack of intelligence. Any moron can throw in a few four-letter words.

  • Col. Panek

    @Janet: Formation Ouverte À Distance ??

  • kevbo

    I like to cuss. Used appropriately and with restraint, it can really serve to drive a point home.

    As Lenny Bruce pointed out: If you can’t say “Fuck” you can’t say, “Fuck the government.”

    Or, for a more venerable source to support the occasional expletive, none other than Bill Shakespeare said:
    It comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him.

  • Janet

    I just looked up FOAD…That’s one we can certainly do without…!!!

  • Concerned Mom of 5

    The survey structure is bogus. You’ve already determined the result you want. FOAD

  • ds5929

    Mark Twain said “In times of stress,profanity provides a realease denied even to prayer” These are stressful times…..

  • Bruce Fraser

    I agree with the classic comment by Spencer Kimball: “Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.”

    It’s not a matter of being prudish; it’s a matter of taking the time to think and choose words well. That’s why you’re a writer, Ashraf.

    By the way, it will be interesting to see the results of the survey, as an example of “vote splitting.” There are four ways to vote “No,” and one way to vote “Absolutely yes.”

  • aardvark

    I like your articles a lot, haven’t noticed cussing –though I agree with other comment that when I hear f-this or f-that it is annoying –adolescent. Might be worth wondering what you get out of it…

  • kelltic

    So just who was at the fekking a_ _ who decided which words were naughty and which words nice, and who was it that placed the crown on their head?

  • chuck

    Sometimes it just takes a good old four letter word to drive home the point.The Best Buy article would not have done that without the well placed profanity
    So,fuck on dude!!.

  • JohhnyG

    I’m an American ex-pat living in Europe and I find that it’s almost exclusively prudish Amercians who whine about this issue. “Naughty” words are part of life in other cultures, or at least the limits are much broader. If I were you, I’d just let them whine on.

  • Col. Panek

    I am disgusted and revulsed by words like “BSOD”, “Ballmer” and “defrag”.

    Seriously, you don’t see ZDNet using cusswords, even though their articles are plein de merde (pardon my french).

  • meldasue

    I do get annoyed when I’m in public and forced to listen to ‘f-this, f-that’. The little bit I’ve seen on dottech seems to be appropriate and humorous, however.

  • sojourner

    I swear more than I should and have, lately, been trying to find alternative expressions. I find my vocabulary is increasing…I’m not bothered by it but agree with #1.

  • Mags

    I’ve never really noticed your cussing either. But then again I also cuss. However, only done when and where appropriate. I voted for choice #2.

  • Peter

    Avoid terms like “suboptimal” when four letters are enough! :)

  • Janet

    I never noticed your cussing—it must be in the type of categories I’m not subscribed to…:-)….

  • Herman Hermit

    I have known this site for a very long time. DotTech means quality and honest opinions. If something deserves tough words, they should be said aloud.

  • You don’t need to. Your articles and your prestige are enough reason to keep visiting and reading your site and articles. Keep it up!