#AskError Should offensive jokes be banned?


Should there be any legal restriction on cracking “offensive”* jokes in public - and if so, for how long should anyone claiming that “multiple monitor supports works fine for me on KDE Plasma” be jailed?

  • Deemed “offensive” to a “reasonable person” as would be judged by jury at trial.


The word “banned” implies a legal angle.

A government should never enforce such a thing. Leave it up to social norms.


But shouldn’t a government be the representative of a country’s social norms?

On the other hand, would it be dangerous if people could be jailed for being happy with something in their life (e.g. monitor/DE-setup) that doesn’t really impact other people.


I am struggling to see any benefit over what currently happens when a comedian offends people. Let alone the fact that freedom of speech (in a legal sense) should be a right.


In a recent much publicised case over here in Scotland, a self-proclaimed comedian was arrested and convicted of being “grossly offensive” when he trained his partner’s pet pug to do a Nazi salute and posted the video on YouTube. That’s what can happen here, when a “comedian” offends people.

Was this really a “joke”? He seemed to believe so and said that was his motivation. Supporters of the action argue that the joke wasn’t funny, and that he wasn’t a “real” comedian.

Personally, I wasn’t aware that comedians required professional certification to prove their comic credentials. Lawyers have to pass the bar - perhaps comedians have to remain in it? :clown_face: (I’ll get my coat … and watch my language). I think the very fact that any form of State authority is tasked with defining the bounds of the “legally funny” is an altogether unfunny turn of events.


Things to consider:

  • freedom of speech; ie - government should never put restrictions on what a person may say or think, beyond reasonable things like yelling ‘Fire!’ if there is no fire.
  • hate speech/hate crime; if a person yells “N****R” whilst kicking the shit out of a black person, that ‘speech’ should add to the severity of the crime and to the sentence applied. That is, hate crimes are a thing and sometimes speech is a part of determining if a crime is a hate crime
  • private organizations; if a business, club, group, internet forum, etc wants to put limits on what it allows its users/customers/members to say/write, and if those limits are made known and agreed to, i have no problem with that.