While in Nuremberg, one of the interviews that Erin and I did was with Kurt Garloff and Hannes Reinecke who explain new scaling features in the Linux kernel, including hot-swappable CPU’s and memory. (That’s right…it is possible to hot swap CPU’s…remember back when that was a far out new thing for disk arrays?) It’s about time that we finally get this one online.
But there’s this problem…at one point Hannes casually uses a common interjection of surprise when explaining a hypothetical scenario. The expression contains a term that some would say is inappropriate in a professional setting.
Then, a few minutes later, Kurt uses the exact same expression in exactly the same way. Neither of them deliberately used the phrase to be offensive, abusive or course. It flows perfectly naturally in coversation.
That’s my conundrum. Is “Oh, shit,” acceptable to leave in a production that represents a global software company? For that matter, what’s more offensive: leaving in a not-uncommonly-heard curse word that is used in this case as a regular way of speaking, or assuming that one’s listeners should not hear a certain word that was hardly even used as a curse word in the first place? Then there’s the whole matter of whether we should bleep it out in order to keep our iTunes listing from saying “explicit,” which really doesn’t even apply to this particular show, let alone our tens of other episodes. Dare we risk it?
When I first proposed Novell Open Audio [originally as “Radio Free Novell”] to Novell’s senior management, my proposal included a statement to the effect that the program’s credibility rested on our ability to allow people to speak as much like they normally do as possible. Faced with my first use of what some may consider profanity, I now have to decide: do we bleep the “oh, shits” or not?
Advice appreciated, and tune in to Novell Open Audio tomorrow to find out what we finally decided.