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Let's say I wanted to ask a question about word X in Chinese, X being some potentially offensive term - I might be interested in the exact meaning of the term, the general context of its usage, etc. Is that permitted on this site, and if so, what would the policy on that be (e.g. would it be permitted as long as my discussion of it was appropriately "scientific")?

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From the FAQ:

What makes something offensive and when should I flag it?

Even if a post is a bad post for some reason or another, it is probably not offensive. The Offensive flag is meant to be used only in extreme cases, like hate speech, or abuse.

For example, if a user posts obscene images to the site, that should be flagged as offensive. But if someone says something bad about your favorite technology, that probably doesn't apply.

As a rule of thumb, if you can't justify something as being hate speech, or abuse, you shouldn't mark the post as offensive. Instead, you should down-vote the post.

When you decide to flag a post Offensive, you will get a warning dialog. Take this time to decide if the post is really offensive.

I would interpret that to mean that you would be fine with a clinical discussion of most topics. Be sensitive, however, and warn that your question may offend some. Also be careful to phrase the question as neutrally as possible.

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Further to Don's answer above I also want to remind people of our strict rules around translations, we don't accept questions which are "How do you say ##### in Chinese".

If it is going to have some 'offensive' language make sure there is a need to ask other than just wanting to know or just asking to be shocking/funny.

We want to answer high quality questions with high quality answers. If there isn't a problem you need answered then consider other ways to find out (ask a friend etc.).

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  • Yep, I was more of thinking of potential questions about connotations or exact meanings (compared to English "translations"), rather than translations per se. – user3410 Feb 14 '14 at 0:11

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