I recently edited a question that used the word infidel to refer to non-Muslims. The writer is a non-Muslim. It sounded offensive so I replaced it with non-Muslim. My question is, how should we deal with this kind wording that may hurt the sentiments of an individual or a group?

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    As an infidel myself, I'm ambivalent to the term being used here. It's sorta like "gentile" on the Judaism site; it feels like a technical term to my ears. However, I do see how it could be an example of "name-calling". If so, the best thing is to edit the term out of posts where it serves no purpose but to offend. Replacing with "non-Muslim" seems reasonable enough as a synonym. Sep 30 '16 at 19:22

I suppose the first thing you need to do is figure out if it's actually "offensive wording". As was mentioned in comments, there's nothing intrinsically offensive about the word "infidel", which is basically just a synonym for "non-Muslim" in this context.

"Infidel" can however be a loaded term given that it is often used, particularly by extremist groups, as a synonym for "enemy". Obviously, any posts which encourage an "us vs them" approach should not be encouraged (see also: "Be Nice").

While using "non-Muslims" instead of "infidels" is probably good practice (due to the loaded nature of the latter) attempting to apply a blanket-policy here would probably not really help matters: Unless a term is clearly and undeniably offensive (which "infidel" does not appear to be), posts would pretty much need to be judged on a case-by-case basis to decide which side of the line they're sitting on.

And if you're not sure which side of the line a post is sitting on, I would recommend bringing that particular post up for review in meta. That's what we're here for.

In my experience, "us vs them" style posts are typically problematic far less for the particular words they use, and more for the particular way in which they're written. In other words, you shouldn't be worrying too much about the terms themselves, rather more on the general "feel" of the post.

Which I admit can be a very subjective thing to interpret: Again, case-by-case basis.

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