Swearing politely with TextExpander

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I make a concerted effort to not curse online. I’ve broken that rule more often in recent years, but never cursing online for 20 years served me well. Especially these days on Facebook, where my family (and friends who don’t know me as well but actually see me face to face) frequent, it tends to be bad form. (Rory Vaden discusses this in Take the Stairs, and he and I dive in a bit on Systematic 126).

Yesterday, I was posting to Facebook on my iPhone, and wanted to “cartoon censor” a few less friendly words in a post. I think I was trying to avoid escalating a gun control argument. I thought “it takes way too much time to type out these random character strings.” Mentioned it on Twitter, and solved the issue in the same tweet.

TextExpander to the rescue. I’ve added two ways to handle the issue to the te-tools project, both designed to work with TextExpander Touch on iOS (in addition to Mac).

The first is a snippet group called “Cursed” that you can add specific words to auto-censor when typed. It comes with vanilla examples, so this is one you’ll want to copy instead of adding a URL group. You simply add plain text snippets containing %snippet:_jstecensor%, and then set the abbreviation to any word you want to censor. Next time you type it, it will be censored with a random set of punctuation characters.

That solution, however, means you can’t swear without censoring, plus all of that configuration. So version 2 was added to the Tools group with the abbreviation ,,swear (prefix configurable). If you already have a URL group for Tools, this should be in there by now. For details on using the TE-Tools groups, see the project page. This one uses a fill-in. Just type ,,swear and fill in the word you want to censor.

The JavaScript function will leave the suffix on words ending in “er”, “ers”, “s”, and “ing”, so you can convey conjugation better. Thus “mothertruckers” becomes “&%^*#$!¡@ø@ers” and “ducking” becomes “ø&¡$ing.”

Enjoy your Minnesota Nice posting.