I've been seeing a good bit of this lately and it's wearing more than a little thin...

Terms like:

  • SJW, short for social justice warrior
  • Cuck, short for cuckold
  • Beta and Alpha, short for Beta-male and Alpha-male
  • Leftie, meaning leftist or left leaning politically
  • Rightie, meaning right leaning politically
  • Nazi, meaning someone is a racist, totalitarian, and/or an oppressor.

I'm not a fan of censorship in general, but these terms are very often, and almost exclusively, used as pejoratives. I realize that many of these terms may be unfamiliar to a lot of people, perhaps that's why they've been tolerated here and there on this site and on other sites on the network.

I know there are times where we need to address divisive issues on the site, but I think we can and should be doing it in more respectful terms.

If you need to reduce a large group of people to a stereotype and start using pejoratives in a post related to interpersonal skills, you're probably doing it wrong.

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    What about "Nazi, meaning someone who literally walks down the street waving a swastika flag"?
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 23:45
  • 1
    @Kevin obviously context matters. If the person would identify themselves that way then I guess it could be appropriate in some cases.
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 23:47
  • 2
    I was born a leftie, now I'm a rightie. None of which is political. It did mess me up somewhat. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 2:15
  • @Journeyman Geek you're so punny
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:00
  • I'm actually being literal here. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:25
  • Pun- a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings. @JourneymanGeek Kinda looked like a pun used to make a point.
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:29
  • Who sets up and maintains this list? It can easily turn into a maintain war. For example, "homophobe." It is many times used as a pejorative rather than it's real meaning. Such words would not only be a hotbed for debate on inclusion on the list, but would limit it's use when speaking medically on that rare occasion its literal meaning is needed.
    – user2921
    Commented Apr 10, 2018 at 23:36

3 Answers 3


I think context matters a lot. Rather than a list of words that are fine, not fine, context matters. What if you're talking about a literal nazi? I use rightie and leftie in terms of my handedness. I was born left handed, and was forced to switch to right handedness so - I use leftie and rightie in that context.

In any case, we have one simple rule that handles this...

Be nice

If a question isn't nice - and almost all these situations would be not nice in context, flag it as so.

  • 1
    I know that the be nice policy covers, or rather should cover these things, but a lot of it has been sliding through lately. Figured it was worth calling some of these newer terms out specifically because some people don't seem to realize the connotation in some contexts.
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:21
  • While admittedly the lines are less blurred on the sites I have more experience on - appropriate flagging and gentle persuasion in the right direction would be a good idea. I'm a firm believer in positive reinforcement of good things, and firm, friendly guidance, over the rolled up newspaper and water spray approach. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 12:36
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    @apaul If your goal is just to call out these terms and encourage editing and flagging, you don't actually have to make these terms totally unacceptable. All you have to do is say, sometimes people aren't nice, including words or phrases like these examples, let's be on the lookout, and here's what we can do when we find something not nice.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 19:11

I don't think any words should be outright banned, like Journeyman Geek said there are contexts where the use could be legitimate, but I do think that we should discourage people from using sweeping generalizations. The problem with a lot of the terms you listed is that they are very prone to being used to dismiss something without actually addressing it i.e.:

[Person] believes [thing]
[Ideology I don't like] also believes [thing]
Therefore [Person] must be a member of [Ideology I don't like] and all their opinions are invalid

Which is a rather fallacious thinking, so it's important NOT to assume ideology from one belief.

That said, "Social Justice Warriors" and "alt-righters" etc. do exist, and it's not impossible that some interpersonal matters would involve them in some way. I have a harder time thinking of legitimate use of "Cuck" or "Alpha/Beta" but I also don't recall seeing them on this site, so I'm not sure how much of a problem are they really.

  • Pretty well put. The terms you're not seeing, you're not seeing because they were handled appropriately at the time, but I figured they were worth spotlighting for future reference.
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 23:24
  • I have seen people mentioning "alpha/beta" stuff at least twice, if not more often. Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 5:31
  • @apaul Fair enough, since it's an issue it should be mentioned
    – Maxim
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 14:32
  • @Anne Daunted I see, I guess I had a slightly rosier view due to the mods basically doing their job and getting rid of stuff like that before I could see it
    – Maxim
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 15:29

Well, since you pinged me with a link to this...

Not being a native English speaker, I often wonder if I'm using the right word. I like using wordreference.com for this, since it has clear mentions of slang, rude, pejorative, slur, etc, which help.

Now, on to your list...

"Leftie" and "Rightie" sound to me like friendly short-forms. "rightist" sounds weird, and I was surprised to find it in the dictionary. Huh, so it does exist. "leftist" is close to the french term "gauchiste" which is pejorative, so I had written it off, perhaps mistakenly. Your "left leaning politically" suggestion is too long and adds no value, it is just as stereotypical as "leftie". Also there are so many flavors of left & right that one single word is bound to be a broad brush, this is supposed to be obvious. But these words are still useful.

"liberal" ties my brain in a twist since "libéral" means in french "free-market advocate" which is the complete opposite of the english word "liberal" which can also mean anything from classical liberal to marxist (again almost complete polar opposites) depending on who uses it. So the word "liberal" is a can of worms.

For lack of a better option (you can suggest) I'll keep "rightie" and "leftie", first time I used them I put a disclaimer meaning they weren't pejorative. IMO they are not. "leftist" or "rightist" would also work. Maybe someone who actually is a native English speaker could chime in.

"SJW, short for social justice warrior"

It's a thing. Some people identify as such and designate themselves with this term, so the label is valid. I wonder what other alternate term could be used, since it's quite an accurate label for this particular political movement. Maybe "PC authoritarian."

"Cuck, short for cuckold"

Well, implying someone's spouse screws around is more rude than the word itself, I guess. If you refer to the new and rather hilarious use the alt-righters have found for word "cuck" then yes, it's rude and intended as such. I don't remember seeing used here in that way, though. I wouldn't use it, since it's rude.

"Beta and Alpha, short for Beta-male and Alpha-male"

Mmmm, please quote examples. I'm baffled as to why this would be offensive to anyone.

"Nazi, meaning someone is a racist, totalitarian, and/or an oppressor."

If you think the word is offensive, wait until you meet a real one and he invites you to a march. Strangely enough this guy seemed relatively normal before pulling that stunt. I hope I don't need to explain why I never talked to this guy again?

Anyway, I don't see why the word "nazi" itself could be offensive. The ideology is, of course, but it needs a label.

Can we agree that certain terms are offensive and stop using them on the site

Nope, this sounds like a weak attempt to make it more awkward to express stuff you disagree with by tone policing. None of these words are rude, except cuck. None are offensive, including cuck. "Offensive" is a joke about gas chambers, stuff like that.

If you disagree with something, why not use arguments?

So no, "we" don't agree on that.

  • 3
    I have in fact met Nazis, they show up and have rallies in our cities here. But obviously Nazi can be a pejorative launched at someone, who isn't actually a member of the party. Same goes for SJW in a lot of contexts... Also claiming that SJW is used because that's how people self identify is thin to the point of being disingenuous. It's a bit like saying a Nazi shouts "Queer!", simply because some people identify that way...
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:19
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    I pinged you because you have a habit of using some of these terms in a way that seems to lump people in to large binary groups and then make rather large and often negative statements about them. It's not a "nice" thing to do and often only seems to be written that way to invite argument and debate.
    – apaul
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:34

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