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OK, this one is one I'm having a hard time with:

https://workplace.stackexchange.com/a/113657/9264

I know there is a common perception of what "cowboy" means in movies, but it's absolutely wrong, and honestly, quite offensive to those of us who were raised in agricultural communities.

There aren't many of us, to be sure, but this is still wrong. I tried to "lead him to water" to understand, but then he just doubled-down on the insult.

Thoughts?

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    What a bizarrely off-topic conversation in the comments there. Hopefully a mod comes and cleans them up. Comments are for suggesting improvements to answers, not off-topic conversations/arguments. – V2Blast Jun 12 '18 at 5:55
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    @V2Blast - It's not off-topic at all. It started out with cultural defamation, which I attributed to ignorance, and attempted to address, but it turned out to be much more than that. If the comments were deleted, the cultural defamation would remain. Would you suggest editing the answer to remove it? – Wesley Long Jun 12 '18 at 5:56
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    @WesleyLong I can understand how you feel about the word cowboy being used in a negative light. However, right or wrong, it looks like solarflare (OP of that answer) isn't the first person to use that term, as an internet search of "cowboy coding" shows. As such, I wonder if can we work to establish a reasonable middle ground that is acceptable to both of you? On a personal note, I find the term "code monkeys" similarly offensive given that I have a pet monkey who is far more creative and intelligent than what "monkey" implies in "code monkey". – Masked Man Jun 12 '18 at 7:10
  • @MaskedMan - in the first half of the 20th century, entire nations practiced segregation, and it was codified in law. Still wasn't right. Not saying this is even in the same ballpark, but it being in common use doesn't make it right. – Wesley Long Jun 12 '18 at 15:55
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    @WesleyLong I certainly don't think any kind of stereotyping is "right", regardless of it being in common use or not. Nonetheless, an opposite argument could also be made: the user just used a term in common use, with no intention of offending. (Although in this particular case, the followup comments from the OP tend to suggest otherwise.) – Masked Man Jun 12 '18 at 17:01
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    Thank you for commenting to try to educate the user. (Being a city kid I didn't know either.) Given that the phrase really wasn't adding anything, it would have also been fine to just make the edit that another mod made. – Monica Cellio Jun 12 '18 at 21:40
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    Please refrain from publicly calling me a bigot. – solarflare Jun 12 '18 at 23:08
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The answer was edited some hours ago by one of our Mods, and the problematic content removed.

It now does not contain the cowboy part, which was a bit unnecessary IMHO.

I'd say that the problem is gone now with this answer.

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    Thank you. It is much appreciated. – Wesley Long Jun 13 '18 at 0:32
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"I used to joke that they would only deploy new software if they were wearing their cowboy hats."

In what way was this sentence offensive to you?

I have only my only limited experience to draw from. As a Yankee from New England I've never had occasion to feel anything but positive about the symbolism associated with Cowboys and Cowboy hats.

The Boston Red Sox used the phrase "Cowboy up" to talk about being strong in the face of adversity. The Dallas Cowboys use the word to personify strength and toughness.

With what little I know, I would assume that OP was saying "I used to joke that they would only deploy new software if they were feeling brave."

I am genuinely and honestly ignorant about your life experience, and I would really appreciate it if you could help me to understand what about this phrase was offensive to you. My first inclination is to believe that you have misunderstood and misconstrued the statement due to some misunderstanding or incorrect assumption about the intended meaning of the phrase, but I recognize that this is due atleast in part to my own ignorance.

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    I'm not speaking for Wesley but I will point out that the stereotype of the cowboy coder presents cowboys in a very negative way. – Ben Mz Jun 13 '18 at 19:07
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    as maskedman said in the comments, and as I mentioned in my answer, the WAY it's used makes all the difference. IF it's used as a synonym for toughness and a "take the bulls by the horns" attitude, it's as you noted. If it's used as a synonym for unsophisticated, uncouth, wild, undisciplined, ignorant, or unintelligent, it's an insult. The implication was the former. Given the deleted comments and the user's response in here, I dare say that to draw the inference that it was indeed the former is reasonable. – Old_Lamplighter Jun 13 '18 at 19:28
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    @Lumberjack the more I think about it the more I agree with you. I dont think "cowboy" is meant to be used to describe stupidity but more so braveness and toughness. Especially toughness. Think of City Slickers, that kind of thing. – solarflare Jun 13 '18 at 22:59
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    Cowboy also means "reckless", btwhttps://able2know.org/topic/140713-1 @solarflare – Old_Lamplighter Jun 21 '18 at 17:57
  • @DonThermidor_LobsterMobster coughI knowcough – solarflare Jun 22 '18 at 0:01
  • @solarflare so, you knowingly disparaged a people. – Old_Lamplighter Jun 22 '18 at 1:05
  • I was only trying to disparage the people I worked with by using a common term used to define recklessness. To be honest I wasnt even thinking about real cattle drivers. Can we stop being snowflakes getting offended by everything? Because I'm really offended that I'm being targeted like this. – solarflare Jun 22 '18 at 1:11
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Cowboy coding seems a perfectly reasonable thing to say. There was no implication that it was an actual cowboy on a horse. Complaining about it seems a bit 'non-cowboy' if anything.

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The term "cowboy" as it was used can generate a visceral response. It is often used as a pejorative by Americans living on the coastlines to disparage people in the heartland of the US.

To complicate matters, the WAY it's used makes all the difference. IF it's used as a synonym for toughness and a "take the bulls by the horns" attitude, it's not insulting. If it's used as a synonym for unsophisticated, uncouth, wild, undisciplined, ignorant, or unintelligent, it's an insult.

When used by non-Americans in the insulting form, it's perceived doubly-so. Wesley's reaction is not atypical, nor is it particularly overblown, though it is a strong reaction.

While I'm loathe to language police, I would caution people against using the term as a synonym for lack of tact, sophistication, skill, or intelligence as you WILL offend people.

This is not policy, and I am not a moderator, but I think we could benefit from a little more civility here.

thank you.

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    " It is often used as a pejorative by Americans living on the coastlines to disparage people in the heartland of the US." - it is? I have lived on one of the coastlines my whole life and I can honestly say I've never heard that term used in any kind of disparagement. I'll keep a lookout for it going forward though, and try to discern the context. – Joe Strazzere Jun 13 '18 at 20:33
  • @JoeStrazzere I'm on the east coast and I hear it. But it's one of those things where context matters, I'll edit for clarity – Old_Lamplighter Jun 13 '18 at 20:55
  • It's the term "often used" that confuses me. I live on the east coast and as I say I've never seen this happen. Maybe it often happens in some specific east coast locales and not others? I think your answer would be better if you softened the second sentence. – Joe Strazzere Jun 14 '18 at 10:13
  • @JoeStrazzere able2know.org/topic/140713-1 – Old_Lamplighter Jun 21 '18 at 17:57
  • As these things often go, in some contexts some folks will find a term offensive. There are plenty of songs and stories where people call themselves "this old cowboy" in non-derogatory ways. As I said, I've never personally witnessed someone use the term in a derogatory way. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, just not what I've ever seen. – Joe Strazzere Jun 25 '18 at 14:38

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