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The Heavy Hand of Censorship
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Well, I'm sure this won't make me Mr. popular (Heh. Like I care.), but recently, it seems the incidence of profanity in the blog comments has been on the rise. Now, I yield to no man in my enjoyment of salty language, but, as satisfying as it sometimes is, using it in a public forum is sometimes counterproductive. This is especially true for a blog like QandO, where many of readers like to check the blog from work.

(In fact, I am one of those readers. I cannot look at the comments page at all, because some of the profane terms that crop up will get flagged automatically. Essentially, I have to ignore the blog completely when I'm at work.)

Increasingly, businesses are monitoring employee Internet use more closely. You may not be aware of it, but your employer can, in fact, record every thing you do on your computer, right down to every keystroke you make. As part of this monitoring, network management programs scan the content of web pages that that are accessed by network computers. If certain terms keep coming up, web sites containing those terms are automatically blocked by the management software. Moreover, employees who try to access such sites can find themselves on the business end of a pink slip.

After discussing it with both Jon and McQ today, the majority opinion is that we don't want to see QandO blocked because the language has become too salty to be ignored by Network administrators. And we certainly don't want to place anyone's job in jeopardy.

So, while we don't wish to censor your expression, we have started blacklisting certain terms of profanity or obscenity. In general, we have blacklisted the "7 Dirty Words".

This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it. This, and not some concern for our readers' virgin eyes, is why I use asterisks when I insert profanity into a post or comment.

By toning down the explicit profanity, we will ensure that everyone can enjoy the blog.

No doubt, some of you will simply be overcome by the need to explore the limits of blacklisting. I understand. You chafe under the fascist restraints that others attempt to impose on you. Well, OK. Go ahead. Explore. That way, you'll help me add terms to the blacklist, and make it more effective.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’m being tongue in cheek.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I agree with Gary. This is your site, people have to follow the rules of your site. It isn’t censorship. Plus, although I too enjoy coarse language, it is much harder and more enjoyable to come up with phrases that are insulting in an intelectual way.
 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://
Yeah, like telling MK "I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being smarter" instead of "go **** yourself."

Or my personal favorite and one that seems especially tailored to our favorite troll: "I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce."

And, of course, the one I’ve often been tempted to use: "If I throw a stick, will you leave?"
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
What’s wrong with, "You’re a fornicating arsehole"?

Oh, and nice to see that, since the revival of Battlestar Galactica, "frak" is making a comeback.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
You %$#&@ mean I can’t @$!$#^ curse any #*^$ more?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
You can try.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Aww, r@ts!
 
Written By: Scott Crawford
URL: http://

Hmm. Of course, such a company will eventually get around to pink slipping you anyways since you probably aren’t doing any work when reading a political web site. Especially if they are paying for the bandwidth used.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
t*t
b*tty
w**-w**
kn*ck*rs
kn*ck*rs
s*mpr*n*

Damn you Goebbels wanna be! :P
 
Written By: anomdebus
URL: http://
monkeyspanker (NSFW)
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Book Adams

Is an offensive term?
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
It is the only term I’ve had blocked on this site.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
I bet one day, a word like "f**k" - spelled with asterices - will be an official dirty word.

Then what will we do? How will we be able to communicate at all?
 
Written By: equitus
URL: http://
I bet one day, a word like "f**k" - spelled with asterices - will be an official dirty word.
Or like science fiction writer Larry Niven’s future, where "bleep" becomes a cuss word. (So does "tanj" for "there ain’t no justice".)
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
How about "fargin"? Can I use "fargin"?

Hey, Lileks does it!

email is human readable - aloud
 
Written By: bud
URL: http://
"Book Adams"...It is the only term I’ve had blocked on this site.
That was before we had IP banning, and content banning was all that .Blog used. Now, "Book Adams" is banned by IP address.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
What’s wrong with, "You’re a fornicating arsehole"?
Nothing is wrong with it, it just isn’t imaginative, although I do like to call people arseholes.

"Frak" haven’t heard that one in a long time.
 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://
: "If I throw a stick, will you leave?"
I have got to remember this one Bruce!! Now, come clean my monitor.
 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://
"Book Adams"...It is the only term I’ve had blocked on this site. That was before we had IP banning, and content banning was all that .Blog used. Now, "Book Adams" is banned by IP address. Written By: Dale Franks

Dale Franks cannot delete the memories of the readership...just the postings. Censorship always fails. :-)

-Book Adams
 
Written By: China
URL: http://

 
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  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
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