Should ActiveRain Ban Profanity?

Real Estate Agent with La Entrada Realty

I had an office mate in a real estate office who could not complete a sentance without using profanity. From time to time he would mention my personal religious beliefs and kindof aplogize. I basically told him that regardless of my own beliefs I thought that a professional with a college degree should have a broader vocabulary and the words he used didn't properly describe property or the services he could provide. Ultimately his low level of production reflected his low vocabulary and high use of profanity.

Original content by John Novak NV License # 56750

Maybe I've just been catching ActiveRain at the 'right' time lately, but it seems that there is more and more profanity creeping into posts and comments. Initially I thought this would be addressed by AR's Terms of Service or the Guidelines. Seeing no mention there, I reasoned that maybe the AR Team considered this a free speech issue because this site is essentially a public forum.

How do other social media sites address this issue? In the Facebook Terms of Use, users agree not to:

"upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable"

LinkedIn's User Agreement says:

"don't upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available or initiate any content that is unlawful, libelous, abusive, obscene, discriminatory or otherwise objectionable"

Twitter takes a slightly different approach in their Terms of Service:

"We may, but have no obligation to, remove Content and accounts containing Content that we determine in our sole discretion are unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable or violates any party's intellectual property or these Terms of Use."

Should ActiveRain ban profanity? | BuzzDash polls

Exactly how big of an issue is this on ActiveRain? Do a search for any common obscenity and you may be suprised at the results. While a majority of these are found in non-member comments, there is still a sizable amount in member's posts.

The line between ActiveRain being a real estate network and a social network is blurred, and is different for everyone. How far should we pull back the curtain to let people see us as we really are? For each member, that answer is unique.

What the ActiveRain Guidelines do say is this:

We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech, which contains slurs, or the malicious use of sterotypes intended to attack or demean a particular gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or nationality ...

... Let ActiveRain staff and other members know what you are thinking. Member feedback is essential to our continued growth and development.

Should ActiveRain ban profanity? My answer is Yes. I think eliminating profanity will present a better overall image of our community. If someone can't express a thought or emotion without profanity, then they're probably not that good of a writer to begin with. That's my personal view. Whether or not the AR community or individual members agree with it, I can still vote with my mouse to read or not read a post. Consumers can vote with their wallets by working or not working with an agent.

"Let ActiveRain staff and other members know what you are thinking." Take the poll, and leave your thoughts in the comments. Should ActiveRain ban profanity?

(Reminder: Although there may be strong feelings on both sides of this topic, remember to discuss the issue, and not particular individuals or posts.)

Comments (2)

Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES
Exit Preferred Realty - Bel Air, MD
Harford County Specialist

Tony, I absolutely would never use inappropriate language with a client or a coworker who would be offended. I agree it is a reflection on our character. Sometimes we need to take the words in the spirit they are intended. It certainly can be offensive at times.

Apr 25, 2009 02:16 AM
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Dec 09, 2010 08:56 AM