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Kolojang
 Wednesday, January 02 2013 @ 11:09 PM UTC (Read 8394 times)  
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I just found out that a certain word has been censored, mainly, the word faggot. Now, I understand why the decision to do so might have come to pass, but I think this is a mistake, mainly for the following reasons;

1. That word can mean a lot of things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot Sure, I'm not an idiot and I know it's used a lot in a pejorative manner, but I think it's mostly in the USA and English speaking Canada. Censoring it not only exacerbate the fact that some people wrongly use the word, but also takes from the other meanings. If we go down that path, are we to censor fairy too?

2. This is supposed to be an adult environment. With adult things. Remember the midget massage parlor? I'm not advocating that people should start shouting all kind of slur in public areas, but I know some of us like to have more realistic exchanges in places. Not everyone likes roleplaying stories about a band of friends searching for ingredients to make a batch of cookies. Some of us like our characters to interact with bad or mean characters, just like it would happen with real people.

3. If someone uses that term as an insult toward another player, well, the solution is not censoring it, but reporting the offender and banning them. I understand that for the moderators that might not be a lot of fun to take care of, but it seems to me that the alternative is having a disruptive person around, and the fact that the word was replaced with &#&?$! doesn't change the meaning of the phrase one bit.

But mostly, the real reason it bothers me is that if we keep censoring ourselves like that, it means that the bigots won. It means that we let them become so invasive that we let them dictate the meaning of our words and the way we use our language. And that makes me really sad.

/twocents


 
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Omega
 Wednesday, January 02 2013 @ 11:21 PM UTC  
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All aboard the censor ship!

Those are good points. The current system censors hateful words rather than just swears or slurs. This and other reasons lead me to believe that as it stands, the censor is just an old module from Legend of the Green Dragon. (Mind you, I'm not voicing disapproval of your proposition. I actually welcome it because it's going to make my time easier when sharing "interesting" book names and excerpts such as The Vagina Ass of Lucifer Niggerbastard.)



The author tries so hard to write in an offensive manner, it's hilarious to me!


There are two secrets to success. The second one is to never reveal all your secrets.
 
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Full Metal Lion
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 12:58 AM UTC  
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As an AMERICAN! who lives in AMERICA!, all I can do is endorse FREEDOM!, while noting that, legally (if not morally) CMJ has a RIGHT! to censor whatever he wants on his website.

This thread also reminds me of another forum thread (that I cannot find) that informed me that CMJ was censoring the word "scum". I wonder where that thread went... Stupid search engine.

On another note, are any other words censored?


 
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Kolojang
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 01:37 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Full+Metal+Lion

As an AMERICAN! who lives in AMERICA!, all I can do is endorse FREEDOM!, while noting that, legally (if not morally) CMJ has a RIGHT! to censor whatever he wants on his website.



Of course, I'm not saying he's out of his right to censor anything he wants, or to do or not do anything else on his site. That would be silly. It's just that I feel that measures like this go contrary to what I thought was the essence of this place; a place for adults to have fun in a (im)mature manner.

When I saw the the warning on the second page of the sign up screen, so many moons ago, I thought to myself "great, a place where we can get down to shenanigans without having to worry about offending people". For those who don't remember, it goes something like "This place is silly and not politically correct, if you don't like it, here's a few games you might like that are as silly as this one but where you won't get your panties stuck in a bunch".

There's plenty of other shocking content on Improbably Island, the first one that comes to mind is the Pope mob which could be considered very offensive to Catholics (which I am, Catholic, not offended, mind you. I know my mother would throw a fit if she saw that). And then there's what some people might consider an incentive to smoking by virtue of having cigarettes as a buff item. I've even seen people get flagged to a mod for swearing, when there is so much swear in the game text (ever tried the Romantic Fun Pile in CC404?). Players will get their cues from the game in regards to what is acceptable or not.

Somehow, I don't feel like it was a choice stemming from the admins, but rather pressure from other players complaining that they found random stuff offensive. And I think the rest of us shouldn't have to cater to these people sensibilities when the tone of the game is so clearly stated on every page of text that loads.

I might be wrong though, it might be CMJ's decision from the get-go. And again, I want to state for the record that if I do not agree with it, I certainly support it as I think that these sort of decisions are no one else's to make anyway.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 04:09 AM UTC  
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It was my decision from the get-go, and it remains as such.

Common swearing isn't censored, only hateful words. The censored words are nigger, paki, faggot, cunt and scum. Chink was in there for a little while, but there were too many false-positives (as in a chink of light, the chink in his armour, that sort of thing).

EDIT: looking at the censored words list, it looks like at some point I removed scum too. Also cunt, probably for the benefit of the Australians in the audience.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 04:34 PM UTC  
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Um, I may have been at least partly responsible for 'scum' being rehabilitated, having a midget side character called Scumbelly Perkins.


 
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Kolojang
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 04:50 PM UTC  
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Just out of curiosity, why was scum censored? Doesn't it mean the grime that builds up on top of ponds? I get how it can be used as an insult, but how is it worse than calling someone, oh, I don't know, a moron, or trash? By the way, I'm a native French speaker, so I guess that's why some of these terms don't hold so much impact for me. I do understand why nigger would be banned, as it has no redeeming qualities, and paki...well, people use that as an insult? Really? That's stupid.

Also, since we're talking about about hateful words being banned, shouldn't retard be on that list? That one I find offensive.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 05:12 PM UTC  
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"Scum" was censored because it combines hatred, disgust, generalization and a smug sense of superiority, in a way that even the most offensive of other words fall short on.

When you use it to describe something (usually a group of other people), it makes your top lip curl up in an unattractive way. Look in the mirror and say "Scum" with passion - you look like a tool. The word cheapens you as you say it.

Paki was censored because it was the most common hate word used in my home county. Pakki was also censored, because bigots usually don't know how to spell.

Kolojang, why're you campaigning to have more words put on the list? Weren't you just yesterday asking to have the right to say "Faggot?"


 
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CavemanJoe
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 05:36 PM UTC  
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So, funny story.

One of my mods (still around, don't see him much these days) decided to expand the naughty word list one day.

"Butt" was one of the words entered.

One player came into town and did a little dance, "shaking her cute lil' kitty-$&#*."

Immediately making it sound a hundred times filthier than it actually was.


 
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Kolojang
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 06:23 PM UTC  
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I'm not campaigning as much as just throwing ideas around. I do understand why some words might be banned as they don't really have other uses other than being hateful - I just thought retard was one of them. I guess I might be a bit more sensitive about the subject because of my mother's line of work; as a kid, I was introduced to a lot of people with learning disabilities and they are some of the most joyful, sensitive and life loving people I know. Making fun of them is just particularly foul in my eye.

I guess faggot got my attention in particular because I actually use that word sometimes, in French, while referring to a bundle of sticks. For me it is a regular word first and a hateful word second, like the fairy I used as an example in my prior post.

The whole idea was that by banning words that has been co-opted by bigots and idiots to be demeaning, we give them more power over all of us.

Just to be clear again though, I'm all for a certain amount of control over the - ahem- scum of the internet (we all know how people can fall toward the lower part of the human nature spectrum on the web), and I'd never dream about implying that my ideas have to be implemented...they're just that, ideas, posted in the feedback section of the forum. If for some reason anyone feels that it was inappropriate for me to bring the subject up, feel free to lock the thread and I apologize in advance. Smile


 
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Count Sessine
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 08:40 PM UTC  
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I remember when 'scum' was still on the banned list. I don't think I once saw it being attempted as a pejorative to demean another player. The ban did occasionally interfere with posts from some of our more writerly players when they were trying to describe the territory around Squat Hole or oil slicks in CC404.

My own personal opinion is that a simple word-ban list is incredibly bad at determining when a player is being abusive. That judgement call still takes a human being. It's why the game has moderators.


 
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Anonymous: Escemfer
 Thursday, January 03 2013 @ 11:13 PM UTC  


I hesitate to comment on this, but it doesn't hurt to put in my viewpoint, for the sake of record. I actually ran into the "scum" word filter, a year or so ago, and it did cause me a moment's hang-up. "Wait, what? Scum? Ha, okay..." And then I wrote grime, instead. While some word filters might seem silly, the only inconvenience it causes to the well-meaning is a few seconds searching for a different word.

A nasty word is all it takes, sometimes, to bring a person crashing down from a fun, safe place, to a place they feel afraid and hated. And while I know that the censored words here are not the only ways to express hate, they are some of the fastest and simplest ways to do so, and the most easily understood. You can (and should) bring hateful speech to the attention of a mod, but in a lot of cases, the damage is already done. Someone has already seen it, or been on the receiving end, and someone is already hurt. Sometimes, these words aren't even used with intent to damage, but are thrown around playfully; ignorance, on a joker's part, can still end in someone being hurt in a very personal way.

I know I'm really arguing the fluffy bunny "think of the children" angle here, which is generally not popular on a game full of sexy midget whores, but when all it takes is a word to remind someone of all the hate and fear and prejudice they've experienced in their lives, I'm not too broken up about that word being censored (on a site that is supposed to be a lighthearted game). I'd be much, much more uncomfortable seeing "faggot" thrown about as an insult, nickname, or joke than I would be seeing anyone have to write "bundle of sticks" instead.


 
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Skidge
 Friday, January 04 2013 @ 01:46 AM UTC  
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Asked a gay guy once why 'faggot' was so insulting, and he told me 'because the word originally meant a bundle of useless twigs whose purpose was to be burnt'. Itwas a rather poignant way to put it.

The word has since its inception been subject to verbal drift; no matter how you choose to take it, the majority of people mean it in an offensive manner.

"But 'retarded' just means it doesn't grow as fast," people could object, just as simply, just as easily. It would still be offensive if I called your point retarded, yes?

Damn straight it would. Why the fuck would someone even say that.

And yet, people do.

Just because you have not personally experienced a word as offensive does not mean it does not carry that meaning for the a whole hell of a lot of other people. Am I for censoring? No, honestly. I am for people being human damn beings to one another and not putting us as a species into the sort of position that requires we censor one another's language on a website where I frequently accuse people of being sons of Babylonian whoremongers.

Well, I don't. But I totally could if I wanted to.

But man, "faggots means a bundle of wood!" is such a weak defense. I've heard it from so many people who are using it to defend their use of the word in an offensive manner. There are so very many other ways one can be offensive if one wishes to play a villain/asshole/what have you. I know; I do it. Pretty damn frequently, truth be told, and if you really REALLY REALLY have to use the word faggot to do it, why not go and open up a gdoc? That's what I would do.




 
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Iriana
 Sunday, January 13 2013 @ 11:55 AM UTC  
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Censoring 'hateful' words is tricky because everyone grows up speaking a different language. I'm from California, and I've never known 'faggot' to be anything but hateful. Even though I know it can mean 'bundle of sticks', it doesn't really to me--it just means the person speaking is being a big fat dickwad.

Contrast with 'retarded'. I once used 'retarded' in a blog post to refer to my laptop when it was overheating like crazy, and the post exploded with people telling me what an insensitive asshole I was. I apologized and changed the post immediately, but the backlash shocked me because I honestly had just never known the word in an offensive context. I had never, ever heard it used as a derogatory word towards people with mental disabilities, even on the playground as a kid. I'd always thought of it as just meaning ‘backward’ or ‘stupid’ (in the least offensive sense)--a word you use to tell your friends that you think they’re being exasperating. To me, growing up, it was barely even an insult.

I work with a lot of children who suffer from learning disabilities, and I'd never consciously use a word that was derogatory towards them. It's just... I didn't learn the word in that context. Someone is probably going to get angry with me over this post. And I know this sounds like exactly what Skidge just said was bad. But it's not--I hope I'm explaining myself properly.


 
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Anonymous: Escemfer
 Sunday, January 13 2013 @ 07:29 PM UTC  


Iriana, I don't think that a person's ignorance of the more hurtful meanings of a word put them in the same class as people who are aware, but try to insist that everyone else is being overly-sensitive. From your story, it sounds like, when you discovered that your choice of words was very hurtful to some people, you learned from that and corrected it, even though that word didn't mean anything hurtful to you. That makes you a good and awesome person-- and not the kind of person I think Skidge was talking about.

While there are a lot of good, awesome people in the world, and I like to imagine we're surrounded by good and awesome people on the Island, some people are more interested in arguing and being contrary and, sometimes, offending. If everyone in the world was willing to concede the argument and be considerate toward others, a censorship wouldn't even need to be considered.

I'm kinda tired, so I hope I didn't say something stupid, or miss your point, Iriana. @.@


 
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Daedalus
 Saturday, January 19 2013 @ 04:18 PM UTC  
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Given how short the list is, according to CMJ's account of it, I don't see it as a problem. Given how good his reason for having it is, I don't see it as a problem. Given that I've never fallen foul of it ... guess what? OK, so my experience is irrelevant in terms of the issue of censorship. On a more considered level: if the Admin of any site wants to take steps to curtail the likelihood of hurtful speech, thumbs up to that Admin.

@ Skidge: why 'Babylonian'?*

@ CMJ: Why put that back for us Australians? Oh wait ... is that a joke about accents? If so, we'd think it was for the Kiwis.**

D.

* Not a serious question.

** Must ... resist ... relating ... Kiwi ... pronunciation ... jokes. (What's a hindu? It lays iggs, bro!) Sorry ... sorry all, wont happen again.


The lunatics are taking over the asylum! Come with?
 
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Hairless
 Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 08:28 AM UTC  
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I'd like to second Sessine on the value of a moderator's judgement of intent, and Iriana on words having different meanings, in different places and times. Filters can't recognize intent, tone, intonation - but people usually can.
I'm kind of an old guy. When I was a kid in school, our parents and teachers still told us jokes about the stupid things that "morons" did, and my less-adept classmates were segregated into a special-education class for the "slower" kids, those officially referred to as the "mentally retarded" - it was kids of my generation who first made "retard" into an insult.
Some time later (but still some time ago) I worked for a nonprofit social-service agency where part of my job was to provide meaningful, and appropriately remunerative, work for people with fairly severe mental disabilities. Everyone there cared for these people, who were all clients for the services that our agency provided. After a while, some of the professional social workers at the agency decided that some of their colleagues were using the word "client" with insufficient respect.
The social workers decided that "client" was a word that would no longer be used in the agency, that (at least to them) "client" had become an offensive and derogatory word, because they felt it was being used disrespectfully toward their own clients, by their own colleagues. Henceforth, to prevent future hurt feelings, they determined to always use the agreed-upon words "people served" when referring to the clients of their services, and insist that others do the same.
Looking on, I learned that intent is what matters most: any word can be used hurtfully, but few (if any) words are hurtful in and of themselves.
Anyway, as long as it's CMJ's own very short list of a few always-hurtful words, and he's responsibly monitoring it, then I'm okay with his filter. For anything beyond that, I'm grateful for the attention and intelligent intervention of our moderators, who help prevent dicks from setting the tone of the island.
Hairless


 
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Hairy Mary
 Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 02:25 PM UTC  
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Actually, I can't help wondering if we're not missing an opportunity here. What about creative censorship? Would it be possible, every week to pick ten words at random for censorship? Nobody knows what they are until they get used, so you're just going about your role play business and you suddenly find one of your words ****ed out. That could spice up RP a bit couldn't it? You can imagine it:

Alexander Quandle ****s into Ace High. (walk)
Fred Bloggs sees an old friend! "**** Mike." He says. (hello)
etc.

You'd have to restrict the list to "big" words - nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs - it might get a bit too awkward if "and" or "the" get censored.

Just an idea.


 
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Full Metal Lion
 Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 04:26 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary


You'd have to restrict the list to "big" words - nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs - it might get a bit too awkward if "and" or "the" get censored.


Eek! THAT WOULD BE *** GREATEST THING EVER!

Or maybe we could just have a little bird pop down with a basket full of Req...
This could be a nifty feature to put in a Place.


 
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talkydoor
 Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 06:36 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Would it be possible, every week to pick ten words at random for censorship? Nobody knows what they are until they get used, so you're just going about your role play business and you suddenly find one of your words ****ed out.



Anybody who managed to use all ten in a sentence would have 'solved' the puzzle for that week, and would win a prize, maybe SP.

In other news, I've only ever used scum with -bag affixed, and only ever when pretending to be a pirate. Hadn't even realised the word itself was so offensive until this thread.


 
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