in reply to Chip (on the shoulder) Monks
To join the chorus, "Thanks, Ovid!" It's good to bring this stuff up earlier rather than later. I'd like to make a particular point about profanity. I, too, have had a pretty liberal upbringing and am very anti-censorship. But censorship is about trying to control someone's thoughts. You don't have to let everyone use your printing press however they like. A lot of us forget that censorship used to mean sedition laws, accusations of Communism, "deviant" sexuality, witchcraft, etc., leading to being outcast, not out of some subculture, but clean into the hinterlands where supporting oneself was impossible, or at least unbearable. Asking someone to reign in the four-letter words is not some freedom-destroying imposition, and neither is it a slippery slope to wholesale tyranny. I hang out on #philosophy on IRC. They have a bot there that kicks you if you use certain profanities. I have never seen anyone booted for any other reason. I was so used to throwing in the occasional cussing that I got kicked a couple of times myself. The bot kicks you, then explains briefly why it did so and what happens if you keep doing it. The discussion can get heated and even harsh, but it is a really superior quality channel that stands out strongly from the general sewage of IRC. It's a cost to me that I have to think and restrain my mode of speech, but the payoff is high. A very simple rule has been shown there to markedly increase civility. Their bot is not constantly being taught new cuss words to weed out; there is no "arms war" between people who want to sling profanity and the overlords of the channel. Not being able to sling mud in the most obvious ways really seems to have successfully weeded out the jerks. I would like to propose that we develop a very simple set of rules, preferably 10 (a traditional number, eh?) or fewer, with no more than 20 "bad words". Probably no automated software would be necessary--often, knowing the rules is enough to get people in a more fruitful, less antagonistic frame of mind. Thanks for the soapbox.