Marv\'s Blog

More semantic experiments | September 14, 2005

Semantic Experiment on Profanity & Potentially Offensive language: A Blink 182 Quote.

Apologies to those using screen readers or other browsers that readily render the title attribute of elements, you may hear some profanity or otherwise potentially offensive language. beep beep beep beep beep-beeper beeper-beeper beeps Fart beep & beep

The semantic experiment I’m currently running is more beep retentive than my previous semantic use of header tags within the blogger template. As you may notice, there are a lot of beeps in this post. I’ve used a quote from a very short Blink 182 song I once heard to illustrate my experiment. If you’re wondering what each beep actually means (assuming you’re not using a browser that readily renders title attributes), and you’re using a browser such a , or one of those sucky, less secure, less functional browsers, hover your mouse, pen or other pointing type device over each beep. For those who are lazy, the quote is Shit Piss Fuck Cunt Cocksucker Motherfucker Tits Fart Turd & Twat.

The idea for the experiment occurred to me after an event I will reveal at a later date, and a slightly less semantic use of the experiment lead me to check the for a more useful element.

And now for the science bit.

This is an entirely subjective experiment. Some people might find the phrase beep beep-beep beep beep beep beep-beep-beep offensive, others may not (in this case, the phrase would be entered with extra class attributes). As the experiment is intended to be used from a subjective view point, and not a politically correct one, if you were going to join in on the experiment, you would apply the values and usages as they suit yourself or your situation, not anybody else’s moral system.

Here is a list of the classes I’ll be using for my experiment:

profanity.
Used when you would otherwise find the term to be socially unacceptable to use, for example for display in a formal domain or setting.
Used when you are venting frustration, such as Jack Thompson is a beeping whingy beep, where your usages of the words are syntactically correct as a means of emphasising other words within the phrase, but in a calm state of mind you wouldn’t use the terms or you don’t want offend any prudish or innocent minded readers.
potentiallyOffensive .
Used for words you would find perfectly acceptable to use in some circumstances, but you wouldn’t say in certain places, such as in a church or a funeral.
Used for words you would find perfectly acceptable to use in some circumstances, but you wouldn’t say in certain situations such as interviews & debates or in front of certain people, such as your relatives, government or religious officials. For example; If I was ranting about how annoyed I was with that whingy beep Jack Thompson, I’d use whatever term came to mind at the time of the rant- If I was conducting an interview with Jack Thompson, or participating in a debate with him on the effects of video games on society, I wouldn’t use any profanity or offensive language. Unless he insulted me to such an extent through his own stupidity that I couldn’t restrain myself (trust me, it takes a lot to tick me off). Which he does do, for example .
butNotToMe.
This isn’t used by itself, but in combination with potentiallyOffensive. Used when you want to draw attention to the fact that you don’t personally find the term offensive. Even though the experiment is subjective, it would stand to reason that if you define something as profane, you would personally find it offensive, and not use it with profanity.
imBeingSarcastic.
Used when you want to draw attention to the fact that you don’t find the term offensive or profane in any situation, and you’re just kidding around, like in the example I made with Internet Explorer earlier.
uncensored
Kinda self-explanatory. Used when you want to display something offensive or profane directly, and intended to be read without any modifications to the page. Can be used in combination with either profanity or potentiallyOffensive.
Usages.

Now in my examples I’ve used variations of the word beep as the word I want to be displayed when the page is unmodified- but any other multi-purpose word or commonly used censoring sound-effect could be used.

Now to get to where the actual profanity or potentially offensive language is stored. It is of course placed, quite rightly, in the confines of the title attribute.

The classes and titles can be used on any tag that supports them, but with one requirement: the tag must be semantically selected. For example, in the censored Blink 182 quote (inside of a <q> tag of course), each iteration of censorship used the <dfn> tag, as I was trying to convey the definition for each beep, and in the uncensored quote, the entire quote was potentially offensive, so the classes were applied to the <q> directly (without any title attribute, as the text is uncensored).

Summary.

This is an experiment, and I don’t swear a lot so don’t expecting to be seeing an explosion of <dfn> tags across my blog. If you feel the need to check the source code, you’ll have noticed I’ve been conducting other experiments for a long time now, most noticeably within header and <dt> tags.

When I have the time & drive to do so, I will be creating a Greasemonkey script that will display the profanity based on the user’s preferences. I intend to use the User Script Commands to enable or disable the script, with the possibility of using an Adblock style interface to pick and choose which sites the script runs on, unless of course the new (6.2) version of Greasemonkey makes it easier to include and exclude sites.

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