Swearing Wrecks your Credibility

I was reading a good article yesterday. In fact, it was good enough that half-way through I recommended it via IM to the rest of my team, then kept reading. A bit further on, however, it changed and I regretted my quick recommendation.

The author came to a point where he wanted to rant about something. Which is cool. Ranting can be therapeutic. Reading a good rant can be both informative, humorous, and enjoyable. Unfortunately, this rant had none of those positive qualities. Rather than use humor or incisive sarcasm or other rhetorical technique, the author choose profanity.

Disclaimer: In real life I swear plenty. I’m not against it on moral grounds and it can, in fact, be a very concise way of expressing what you think and the emotional impact you intend.

But in a professional context I find swearing simply wrecks your credibility. It happens again and again; I’m reading an enjoyable, seemingly well-thought piece, but suddenly the author dips into swearing and I simply no longer care what they are saying. Further, I refuse to follow links to articles with profanity in the title, even if innocuous. It’s just juvenile and I expect the content to be no better. (HackerNews: I’m looking at you…)

Swearing is a sign of maturity or wisdom only for those who are immature and stupid. Resist the urge.


About jeffkotula

Software engineer, musician, and so on...
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