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Last month a Reg reader contacted us via our Twitter account to complain about the use of the word "freetard", on the grounds that, as an analogue of "retard", the word was derogatory to people with mental handicaps. Americans may have a little difficulty in understanding the substance of this complaint, in the way that most …

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Re: Niggard

It's been a while since I bought a packet of Mr Brain's Faggots from the freezer section of my supermarket. I must go get some and gobble them down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot_%28food%29

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Meh

Spaz

It's quite shocking here in Canada that the word "spaz" and "spazzing out" is used in common language for someone that has gone a bit mental temporarily.

I know when I was a kid at school, we used the word as a rather cruel derogatory word as an abbreviation to Spastic for anyone with a physical deformity and now is heavily frowned upon (quite rightly) as abusive and unacceptable.

I do wonder how these things, having presumably the same original root, can take such different paths in terms of acceptance in different places.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spaz

don't be such a Joey

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Trollface

"Chaps"?

Is the poll exclusionary of those who don't self-identify as a "chap"? I must suppose not. Though El Reg makes no pretense of a democracy, or even of political-correctness, you're choice of "chaps" is old-boy-school i.e. it sniffs of patriarchy, or something similar. But I'm sure you knew that.

Curiously, the use of the term "retard" has long since fallen into (relative) disuse. It resurfaces, periodically, in school-age children. And, while I haven't checked recently, the "mentally retarded" are no longer referred to as such--different term, same referent, though.

Anyway, context is important, and El Reg has a culture of its own.

My preference is that the term "freetard" be used to refer to those who are 'all about free things, including pirated media and warez, but also freeware, and give-aways in general', but that "fossil"* (as in "F/OSSil") be adopted and used to distinguish from the more general "free"-lovers that group obsessing on the 57 varieties of linux and *BSD as the answer to everything e.g "Fossils are 'special' people and warrant a term that is more specific to their condition".

* I make this suggestion in full knowledge that the term "fossil", when used to refer to seniors, is mildly derogatory.

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Re: "Chaps"?

"...or even of political-correctness, you're choice of "chaps" is old-boy-school..."

'Scuse me, sir -- your fly's open.

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Anonymous Coward

Based on assumptions

The fact is that 'tard' can only be offensive if it's automatically assumed to be a contraction of 'retard'.

Any other explanation would have to hinge upon exactly how many letters of an offensive word were being reused.

nts.

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Re: Based on assumptions

I'm sure you're not about to argue that 'tard' is short for 'bastard' or some other such risible nonsense.

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Mushroom

Fairly certain you wouldn't approve what I'd like to call Andrew Orlowski.

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Joke

Or you could...

... start referring to, say, Sony's lawyers as Orlowskis.

sadly I can't, Orlowsky's the name of someone up the food chain here (and a personnal friend of my direct boss; a very nice guy, too). Perhaps Andy-Os? that has a nice ring to it.

Let me try... "That guy on telly keeps saying that selling blank tapes will kill music. What an Andy-O!". Yes, it works!

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We're all special now

The word 'retarded', used to indicate mental deficiency has been replaced by the word 'special', as I understand it.

In view of this, can we be called 'specialists'? (Have I got the wrong end of the stick with this one?)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We're all special now

I don't think that's correct....I've never heard my mechanic say that he had trouble specialing the ignition on my car.

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Happy

Re: We're all special now

Where does that leave Special Ops personnel?

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Vic
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Re: Re: We're all special now

> Where does that leave Special Ops personnel?

Very special indeed...

Vic.

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Re: We're all special now

Right up until the kids started calling each other 'Speshul' as a derogatory term.

Last time I heard, it was "X-challenged", where X can be anything that a person may have trouble with. No doubt even that's a few years out of date.

It's an arms race. Replace a term with a PC one and it will soon be used in a derogatory manner causing a new term to be generated.

I'm not offended by shorteners. I don't like talking, so it makes my life just that little bit easier.

For those people who are offended, why do you care about what that person says? Is your self esteem irredeemably harmed if less than 100% of people on this planet like you?

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ACx

I dont care, its the selfish paytards that balls everything up.

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Pint

Retrotards?

Some of my best laughs are from watching language develop and the internet is sure good for that! Anyway - is "fuckwit" an old fashioned word now?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Retrotards?

"Fuckwit". It's old-fashioned enough to be new again! Use it, but not illiberally. If possible.

< Get's it, but doesn't appreciate it.

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Anonymous Coward

@James

Glancing at the comments on the iPhone1 story linked, James was the one being described as a commentard, though time has demonstrated his comment actually was quite retarted.

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Joke

Commentard or Commenturd?

Can we vote?

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Commentard is the future

My missus was a bit offended at first when I called her blog commenters commentards, but now she's using the correct lingo to describe them.

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Made me re-enable JS

Although for a very limited period of time.

It's "commentard" and we won't have that "commenter" nonsense, no sir.

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Groundlings

Land of Shakespeare and all that....

"the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumbshows and noise." Hamlet

I think that perfectly sums us up.

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Re: Groundlings

Later in that speech Hamlet says:

"Now this overdone, or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve..."

"Come tardy off." (Hamlet pops in between the election of commenter and commentard.) "O, I die, El Reg. But I do prophesy th' election lights on Commentard; it has my dying voice." [Dies]

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Commentard of course

Commentators get paid.

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Commentard.

As an Australian, and therefore someone who spends most of his time insulting his best friends, I personally don't mind the term commentard (or any other -ard) - but it still depends on context. Most "-ards" terms are used by authors as an almost endearing term - a way of converying the informal tone of the article, or poking light fun at an extremely broad group without any serious connotations attatched - one which the author doesn't hold any animosity towards, but is just lightly taking the piss out of.

It's only the instances where the term is used in an attempt to deliberately belittle or provide weight to a personal opinion about a group of people that it becomes inappropriate, particularly where an author has an obvious and pervading dislike for the subject which permeates all of his writings (ie. Orlowski).

I'd like to think that a site as technical as el reg doesn't need to belittle it's opponents with insults - that's what we're here for.

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Re: Commentard.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

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Turdspurter

From the verb - 'Turdspurt'

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Anonymous Coward

Peon's of ping or Viri.

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Anonymous Coward

Comment$TARD

There, fixed it.

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Flame

Stick with it

It reflects the prevalent British attitude towards folk with intellectual/learning disabilities well.........and that's not me being snide or 'right-on' I really do mean it.

While you're tweaking RegSpeak, I suggest you expand the theme:

'Fanboi' could be replaced with 'Mac Mong', 'fandroids' could become 'Droid Deacons' and as 'troll' really lacks distinctiveness, 'spazz' might fit the bill.

If you seriously think it doesn't matter, spend a few minutes on http://www.respond.org.uk/ or read Living in Fear from Mencap, bit old now but nothing has changed all that much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stick with it

I'm totally with you on the "Mac Mong" front, but I think replacing troll with spazz is going a bit too far, we have to reserve some words for genuine disabilities.

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It's all about context.

Just like swearing, it's not the word you use, it's how you use it.

My objection to "freetard" is that every time I see it used by Andrew, there seems to be this unuttered insinuation of "those brain-damaged morons who think that way". It is never used "affectionately", it is always there to condemn and ridicule. To make less of those that don't think like he does. In fact, because it's derivative of "retard", it says that, mentally, there's something wrong with people that think that way.

Yeah, maybe I read too much into it all. Perhaps just seeing it used that way a couple of times was fine, maybe even a bit humorous, but after a few dozen times, now it just pisses me off.

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Hmm, if this

is the most pressing issue in peoples life, can i suggest a catch all title?

"fucktards"...

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Pressing issues, only

If we dealt with pressing issues only, cornz 1, life would be entirely depressing.

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Holmes

(As a matter of interest, a female Polish person is 'polka', in Polish)

Really changes the meaning of a chorus in an old song I heard recently.

"Will she dance the polka"

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Holmes

The X-tard epithet is mild and relatively inoffensive

However, using it as a derogatory term does nothing to strengthen ones argument. Something that some commentards, and occasionally certain El-Reg reporters would do well to remember.

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Happy

I'm a proud commentard

I've always been a commentard.

It's just a laff, innit?

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Anonymous Coward

How about 'Commenturd'?

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Headmaster

@TRT

Exactly - it's "commentator" as any fule kno.

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This has got to be a joke.

Retard is as offensive in the US as it is in the UK. See the whole Tropic Thunder shitfest for their 'full retarded' joke. In fact, it was probably a US dude who complained.

They're the ones pushing the 'don't called handicapped people handicapped!' thing, calling blacks 'african-americans', sticking 'happy holidays' instead of 'merry xmas', and other exaggerated sensitivities.

I actually like El Reg's snarkiness, even if I don't quite agree with AO's particular views but damn if 'freetard' will be bannes just because of oversensitive people!

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Anonymous Coward

Just tell the f*cktard to p155 off!

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WTF?

commentard or freetard

Whatever, commentard or freetard it's all derogatory ...

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Respect is useful

As a general rule, I think reasonably polite individuals should, upon hearing it clearly stated that their actions are upsetting other people, refrain from doing so unless it seriously impinges on their own freedoms or goals.

Argument by analogy :

I like loud music. My neighbor has a headache. I have a right to play my music loudly, but it causes my neighbor pain. So I, as a human being who respects other human beings and wishes to be treated similarly, turn down my music or put on headphones. My temporary inconvenience is less of an issue than my neighbour's pain.

Anyways, My take is that words that hurt others un-necessarily should be kept for private conversation amongst friends who know the score, not tossed around loudly in public where bystanders might be upset by them. Which, I believe, is pretty british concept, no? Politeness, et al?

Then again, I'm Canadian. :)

Anyways : Commenter. Or Commentator. Or let's find a cooler neologism! Commentationist? Overtones of communism are ALWAYS fun!

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Meh

Commentator

I'm nor sure about commenter. I would prefer commentator. I'm a bit lazy to do the research, it feels about right, so it must be so.

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Devil

Don't forget the fascistards

There are a few around here. You know who I mean.

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TRT
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OK, who has broken my favourite commentard dump?

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