I have objected to the use of the term "cretin" at rpg.stackechange.com and my objections have been arbitrarily dismissed. Two site moderators (mxyzplk and AceCalhoun) have endorsed the use of the term. Mxyzplk claimed that "there is no Official StackExchange Policy" and added a derogatory Comment stating that my objection is 'just playing definition games'. AceCalhoun has further commented (with much less hostility) to the effect that it's a 'majority rules' situation, pointing to the voting system on the site.
People once used epithets about race, creed, color, disability, and more. These epithets were all perfectly acceptable to the norms of the past. They are not acceptable today.
Should insulting terminology, illegal in some venues, be freely used on this site? Should that decision be a matter of popular vote?
From the EEOC (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission):
Workplace harassment is any unwelcome or unwanted conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or an aversion toward another person on the basis of any characteristic protected by law, which includes an individual's race, color, gender, ethnic or national origin, age, religion, DISABILITY, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal characteristic protected by law.
("Disability" capitalized for emphasis.)
Examples of Offensive words for people who have specific medical conditions:
- cripple: an offensive word for someone who is physically disabled, especially someone who is unable to walk
- imbecile: an offensive word for someone who has a mental disability
- retard: an offensive word for someone who has not developed mentally as much as most other people of the same age
- spastic: affected by cerebral palsy. This word is now considered offensive.
Cretinism / Cretin:
- "cretin (often offensive): one afflicted with cretinism" (Merriam-Webster online Dictionary)
- "cretin (offensive): a person considered to be extremely stupid" (Collins English Dictionary)
- "The disused term cretin was a medical term which described a person so affected with the condition, but, as with words such as spastic and lunatic, it can also have a vulgar connotation and can be used disparagingly." (Wikipedia)