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There have been many questions where it seems people are using euphemisms for bodily functions and other things. For example, the big white porcelain bowl (for toilet), poop (for feces), fart (for passing gas) have all been used.

What sort of language do we want?

Would people prefer to use euphemisms of words that are more scientific?

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To some extent, words are powerful things, and even two words that may mean the same thing may give the post a completely different feel. Welfare vs aid to the needy, for instance. are two ways of saying the same thing that may evoke very different emotions in people.

If two words are likely to have the same meaning, and one word would give the site a more professional feel, it may be best to edit the post and change the wording so it uses the more professional choice of words. After all, the enthusiasts will come to a site catering to professionals, but the reverse is not necessarily true.

However, consider that changing the wording isn't something we'd necessarily need to shove down an asker's throat the moment that person posts the question. The content created here sticks around for years to come and will be viewed long after the asker and answerers have forgotten it, so a good time to edit in this manner is after the person has ideally accepted an answer and moved on to something else.

  • I like this view. It takes more effort to raise the bar than to cater to the masses (so to speak, now that is a phrase that just sounds wrong!- but that is my whole problem, I am not a good communicator! hahaha).. I think it is nice to have a polished site, but a friendly and welcoming site. We are all adults after all and can we cope with the scientific term for poop.. human beings really are strange creatures. Animals are far more straight forward. – user87 Dec 4 '13 at 6:17
  • @Skippy - And the nice thing is it allows for people to still be human while we're all initially interacting with the question/answers. So long as there's a cleanup crew to come around later and fix things without people feeling slighted, everyone wins. :) – jmort253 Dec 4 '13 at 6:22
  • Ah, I love the concept of this cyber clean up crew. I have a vivid imagination.. some things just make me laugh :) – user87 Dec 4 '13 at 6:25
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    Also I am trying to get off meta, I must only come here briefly and then fly, you may have noticed, I get into trouble when I stay on meta sites for too long.. I think it is some kind of psychological disorder.. metaphobia or something :) hahaha – user87 Dec 4 '13 at 6:27
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    lol, @Skippy, now you have me picturing these Daft Punk type cyber-people coming around the site when no one's looking and magically cleaning everything up: youtube.com/watch?v=s9MszVE7aR4 – jmort253 Dec 4 '13 at 6:34
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To be perfectly honest, I think this is going to come down to a personal style preference, which is going to depend on the asker/answerer. There are very few cases where the term isn't going to be known to users of the site (those we deem "professionals" and otherwise), and I am not sure that it is really a problem.

For example, if I go to my vet, and say "Oh my goodness my cat is farting and it smells terrible and it doesn't stop, what can I do?" he is going to know exactly what I mean, and be able to help me.

By all means, if the meaning of the colloquial terms for bodily functions and the like aren't clear, ask for clarification, or if you feel like you might know what the OP is trying to say, edit it in, or comment making sure you have the right word.

I don't think we are going to be able to police language use here, and I also don't think we should, in this particular case. I think that we should just let this one be. :)

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We should encourage the the wording to be as close as possible to what people are going to be searching for. The people who are most likely to need help will be those who aren't going to use professional terms. If I want to know what can cause runny dog poop, a question (or answer) using words like stool or feces or whatever is less likely to turn up in my search results.

Google does a pretty good job of understanding synonyms, but the Stack Exchange search isn't that advanced.

As far as tags go, the most commonly used word (poop) makes the most sense, with the professional words (feces) being synonyms.

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