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View Full Version : Having a switchable swear word filter



JohnD
2011-Apr-12, 09:39 PM
All, esp. mods,

In the past I've got into trouble here for using 'swear' words. On my honour, I don't do it purposely or with insulting intent, it's just that I have a different standard to that which applies here. A very high standard indeed, but I'll live with that and try to live up to it.
But sometimes, the filter in the board software just makes the board look ridiculous, as when a Nobel Prize winner's name triggered it, or when a King of England's name was transposed to read "William the 'illegitimate child'" (William 1, the Conqueror).

I've come across a message board that allows its users to turn off the swear word filter if they wish, which would seem to me to be a handy way of allowing liberty yet keeping control. If mods would like to look at it, it's on the Bad Science forum, a message board attached to the excellent Bad Science blog of UK doctor and science journalist, Ben Goldacre.
See: http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=21083

John

pzkpfw
2011-Apr-12, 09:51 PM
That's a phpBB forum, this one is vBulletin. I don't know if this forum therefore has the same kind of setting avaialble, but it could be looked up.

(Fraser, for good reason, does not like adding customisations to the forum, so even if this kind of thing is possible as an add-on I doubt it would be implemented).

Personally, though, I don't like the idea at all. All around I prefer the simple lowest-common-denominator type approach at BAUT. Having the filter switchable invites people to use "bad language" whether or not it's relevant, e.g. the "illegitimate child" word as an insult. It would simply add to the moderators burden to keep an eye on that.

grapes
2011-Apr-12, 09:51 PM
I've come across a message board that allows its users to turn off the swear word filter if they wish, which would seem to me to be a handy way of allowing liberty yet keeping control. If mods would like to look at it, it's on the Bad Science forum, a message board attached to the excellent Bad Science blog of UK doctor and science journalist, Ben Goldacre.
See: http://badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=21083From the blog post:
We have the filter in place to allow members to access the forum from behind restrictive filters imposed by public institutions. The tone on here is fairly informal, and sometimes sweary - the filter is a compromise, feel free to turn it off.I'm pretty sure that we're not aiming for "sweary" at the moment :)

Hornblower
2011-Apr-12, 10:14 PM
If in doubt, just use the preview function before posting. It will display filtered words, if any, and give you a chance to edit.

Tobin Dax
2011-Apr-12, 10:33 PM
In the past I've got into trouble here for using 'swear' words. On my honour, I don't do it purposely or with insulting intent, it's just that I have a different standard to that which applies here. A very high standard indeed, but I'll live with that and try to live up to it.
But sometimes, the filter in the board software just makes the board look ridiculous, . . . .

This board does not have such a filter that I am aware of. It shouldn't need one, either, IMO.

If you are willing to follow the board's rules on language, why propose an alternative?



ETA: Maybe I'm wrong about the filter. Despite my curiosity, I don't think that I'm going to investigate.

JohnD
2011-Apr-12, 10:44 PM
Tobin,
Why? For the reasons that I gave, and you quoted.
John

grapes
2011-Apr-12, 10:49 PM
This board does not have such a filter that I am aware of. It shouldn't need one, either, IMO.

If you are willing to follow the board's rules on language, why propose an alternative?



ETA: Maybe I'm wrong about the filter. It does have a filter that converts a select group of triggers into a string of asterisks. But part of the complaint in the OP mentioned a tranposition, that I think was actually done by a moderator attempting to restore readability to the post. It's like what happens with google language when it translates pommes frites to French fries. You can't be too literal, even when going from English to English. :)

Jim
2011-Apr-12, 11:18 PM
Quoting from Rule 3:
No cursing. This website is read by kids, who want to learn about astronomy, and space exploration. Many "net-nannies" will block this site if bad language is used. Think of the language used on a TV after-school special and you'll get the idea. ...

That kinda sets the tone for allowable language. If you can't use it on an after-school special, don't use it here. (Think of language allowed in a fifth grade classroom.)

BAUT does have a language filter, but it's not perfect. Sometimes a Mod will catch a word that is passed by the filter but should not be used in that context or that classroom. Then you get a manual edit.

Having a by-passable filter would not work here. All it would take is one 5th grader by-passing the filter, reading the naughty words, and getting caught by Mom. Mom tells Teacher who tells Principal who tells School Board who has BAUT blocked on the school district computers. Word spreads.

BTW, this is also why some threads get locked or removed. The topic is unsuitable for the children we want to feel safe coming here.

Hernalt
2011-Apr-12, 11:20 PM
The cognitive burden of attempting to divine the mind of the swear word sniffers, or other police of dialectic arcana, is of a type with the more quotidian cognitive burden of tackling subjects that are already inexorably entrenched in centuries or decades of scaffolding vernacular and initial misconception. When in Rome, you go with the territory. When on BAUT, you swiftly "must" or 'ought to' line up with the expectation of sustaining these scientific, and those other political / cultural burdens. These expectations create a low but omnipresent pressure that sweeps the central boards of idle, fruitless, impractical, innocent n00b imaginings. The objective (unless I am grossly mistaken) is to optimize clarity of thought despite complications of advanced subjects, rather than to optimize ease of expression. It is a form of wearing a tie to an event.

PetersCreek
2011-Apr-12, 11:42 PM
Sounds like a good idea to me...for some other board. As Jim rightly wrote, a switchable filter would defeat the reason for having rule 3 in the first place.

NickW
2011-Apr-12, 11:50 PM
I swear like a sailor when I speak, but I have no issues not swearing when I make posts on BAUT. A switchable filter seems to be a very minority want.

pzkpfw
2011-Apr-13, 12:20 AM
Oh, also, if the issue really is a name or something - contact the mods by PM or report.

Exceptions can be stuck into the filter list by the admins.

(There's no guarantee that a particular request would be actioned, but it can't hurt to ask.)

Buttercup
2011-Apr-13, 02:13 AM
Sounds like a good idea to me...for some other board. As Jim rightly wrote, a switchable filter would defeat the reason for having rule 3 in the first place.

...and then you're automatically pausing (and thereby interrupting the natural thought-process flow) to "replace" the switchable with the real thing. It's always slightly annoying, even if spoken (voice-overs in films such as Liar, Liar [1997/Jim Carrey] which aired tonight on cable). ;)

Glom
2011-Apr-13, 06:29 AM
The filters used to trigger with grass or brass or class or bass. That was a bit of a problem.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Apr-13, 10:16 AM
The cognitive burden of attempting to divine the mind of the swear word sniffers, or other police of dialectic arcana, is of a type with the more quotidian cognitive burden of tackling subjects that are already inexorably entrenched in centuries or decades of scaffolding vernacular and initial misconception. When in Rome, you go with the territory. When on BAUT, you swiftly "must" or 'ought to' line up with the expectation of sustaining these scientific, and those other political / cultural burdens. These expectations create a low but omnipresent pressure that sweeps the central boards of idle, fruitless, impractical, innocent n00b imaginings. The objective (unless I am grossly mistaken) is to optimize clarity of thought despite complications of advanced subjects, rather than to optimize ease of expression. It is a form of wearing a tie to an event.
And, if the intent isn't insult, most sentences can be rephrased to express the same thoughts even without resorting to sesquipedalian verbiage.
If the intent is insult rephrasing won't help anyway.

Spoons
2011-Apr-13, 10:48 AM
I like the fact that there is no swearing allowed here. it's one extra thing to make me stop and think, consider what I'm saying and how I say it. Like NickW, I swear a lot in general discussion, but I know how to tone it down when necessary, and I like having "swear free zones". I have another similar forum where we can swear, and it does change the atmosphere. Not necessarily negatively, just different.

Though I can understand your wish, JohnD, I just don't agree with the idea of changing that aspect of BAUT.

baric
2011-Apr-13, 03:41 PM
On a related note, what are acceptable words to use to express the concept of having sex?

I recently used 'fornicate' in a post (to avoid using a potentially inappropriate word), but I felt that I noticeably aged after using it. If anyone has any better, yet allowable, terms that do not make me feel like an old-timer I'd appreciate knowing.

NEOWatcher
2011-Apr-13, 03:47 PM
On a related note, what are acceptable words to use to express the concept of...
Didn't you just do that?

Besides, that's going to be a very tricky one, because you would be walking down the path to an entire inappropriate context rather than the words themselves.

baric
2011-Apr-13, 04:01 PM
Didn't you just do that?

Besides, that's going to be a very tricky one,

Which is why I'm asking so that I don't inadvertantly cross a line.

R.A.F.
2011-Apr-13, 04:30 PM
I've come across a message board that allows its users to turn off the swear word filter if they wish, which would seem to me to be a handy way of allowing liberty yet keeping control.

How much "control" of language would the mods have if every poster could turn off the language filter on a whim.

...the answer is none...

Hernalt
2011-Apr-13, 04:56 PM
Noted. Rephrasing, "Loose thinking correlates to loose lips." Due to the importance of the subject matter, I'm all for an environment in which loose thinking is actively oxidized and sequestered away. Particularly innocent novice space enthusiast "intuitions". Kill them summarily, I say, to clear and to keep clear a huge worktable for qualified thinkers to innovate. The best way to do that is to create an environment intolerant of woo, SyFy, and space opera, which is, if I'm not grossly mistaken, one of the large pathways into interest in the actual physics of space flight. -But that leaves the environment open to physically plausible innovation, even if the politics or social realities forbid it (Warren's moon gold thread). The best way to do that, I think, is to maintain an environment where care in speech is already a required exercise. It's an Oberth for critical thinking, and that avails the subject matter.

Gillianren
2011-Apr-13, 05:18 PM
There are a lot of fans of science fiction and space opera around here, you know.

NEOWatcher
2011-Apr-13, 05:29 PM
The best way to do that is to create an environment intolerant of woo, SyFy, and space opera, which is, if I'm not grossly mistaken, one of the large pathways into interest in the actual physics of space flight.
Like Gillian said... there's plenty with those interests here.
Maybe not people tolerant of woo, but certainly people interested in why the woo is woo.
Very few are tolerent of SyFi, but there is plenty of tolerance to SciFi and space opera's. The difference is that those here are not tolerant of living in a world of SciFi, but like to take the step on learning the difference between Science and Science Fiction.

Hernalt
2011-Apr-13, 07:01 PM
Yes, BAUT globally has many other ecologies where woo, why-is-woo, Sci-Fi, SyFy and space opera are welcome. I mean Space/Astronomy Q/A, Space Exploration, Life In Space and Astronomy. That's where the stakes are. That's where real-life tempers flare. That's where the advantage of clarity of thought, and of the 'no blasters' swearing rule creates best prospects for impressing upon visitors - children, novice space enthusiasts, future space engineers - the terminally unforgiving demands imposed by the real final frontier (which at the moment seems to be as close as LEO). Germane to the OP, I'm hoping to argue that the no-swearing rules pay non-trivial long-term dividends.

captain swoop
2011-Apr-13, 07:35 PM
As for William the 1st, call him William the 1st or William the Conquoror like everyone else does.

Swift
2011-Apr-13, 08:10 PM
On a related note, what are acceptable words to use to express the concept of having sex?
If you are talking about the biology of animals creating young, "reproduction" or some variant of that would work. If you are talking about the intimate physical relationships among adult humans for purposes other than reproduction, I don't have a ready word, but it is also kind of a borderline topic for BAUT.

Glom
2011-Apr-13, 08:39 PM
If you are talking about the biology of animals creating young, "reproduction" or some variant of that would work. If you are talking about the intimate physical relationships among adult humans for purposes other than reproduction, I don't have a ready word, but it is also kind of a borderline topic for BAUT.

"Reproduction" describes the entire concept. It doesn't describe the act of mating, which is only a part of the concept.

And there you go. I've solved your dilemma. My work here is done.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Apr-13, 08:41 PM
If you are talking about the biology of animals creating young, "reproduction" or some variant of that would work. If you are talking about the intimate physical relationships among adult humans for purposes other than reproduction, I don't have a ready word, but it is also kind of a borderline topic for BAUT.
Recreational intercourse? AKA Fun with prophylactics.

grapes
2011-Apr-14, 05:03 AM
but I felt that I noticeably aged after using it. If anyone has any better, yet allowable, terms that do not make me feel like an old-timer I'd appreciate knowing.I'm not sure, but if you've reached that point, I think it's too late. There's no hope. :)

Prithee, peel me a grape, quoth the floatation device.

Gillianren
2011-Apr-14, 05:20 AM
Actually, she said, "Beulah, peel me a grape." Beulah being one of the bevy of maids behind her.

baric
2011-Apr-14, 12:27 PM
I'm not sure, but if you've reached that point, I think it's too late. There's no hope. :)

Prithee, peel me a grape, quoth the floatation device.

I just didn't want to use one that would get me infracted! haha

I guess I'll go with the sterile "procreate"

Swift
2011-Apr-14, 12:59 PM
I guess I'll go with the sterile "procreate"
Its better than anticreate. :p

Kaptain K
2011-Apr-14, 05:27 PM
Its better than anticreate. :p

...or concreate. :whistle:

grapes
2011-Apr-14, 06:13 PM
amcreate?

baric
2011-Apr-14, 06:21 PM
Man, mention the word 'sex' and everyone gets giddy.

Ara Pacis
2011-Apr-15, 08:32 AM
Coitus works equally well.

DonM435
2011-Apr-15, 04:34 PM
I was once on a movie discussion board wherein we couldn't directly refer to that dude who directed Vertigo and Psycho and North by Northwest because the filter didn't like the last half of his surname.

JohnD
2011-Apr-15, 04:44 PM
I take Jim's point about children and their parents, though I've been Language for what are surely extremely mild words.
I won't test the filter either, but I'm glad to see that Baric's word got through.
If that seemed too 'clinical', Baric, try "dight" a medaeval word for dressing for battle, which I believe was also used in the sense of undressing for battle.

RAF, the mods might set limits on who may turn the filter off, but I think you misunderstand the turning off. Only YOU see the unexpurgated words; everyone else sees Mrs. Grundy's version

And Cpn Swoop, my reference to the unmarried status of the parents of our first Norman king was in the context of the succession of that royal station through unbroken blood lines down to the present day, a proposal that the nickname of the first William showed was dubious from the first. So I think it was relevant, and useful. But "child of umarried parents" will do , though it lacks a certain pithyness.

John

Gillianren
2011-Apr-15, 05:21 PM
There are places where it gets silly--the filter on the MythBusters board, when I was a member, starred out "balls," which made it difficult to discuss the episode where they were testing whether reproductive material (another word that got starred out, as I recall) could survive on a piece of Civil War ammunition after it had been fired.

ETA--However, I've never really had a problem with the filter here. Just on the chat service, which replaced, not starred, and spelled some of its "replacements" wrong. "Hitler" got replaced with "Ghandi," for example, which is silly any way you look at it.

DonM435
2011-Apr-15, 07:03 PM
John D, I once got a warning from this board for typing in four non-alphanumeric characters to imply mild swearing while making a joke about it! So, watch your . . . never mind!

baric
2011-Apr-16, 02:56 AM
There are places where it gets silly--the filter on the MythBusters board, when I was a member, starred out "balls,"

haha!

The worst was an old Christian forum I used to talk on. Instead of using asterisks to bleep out bad words, they actually used '[WASH MY MOUTH]' for EACH letter.

So in a discussion about a particular Greek philosopher, his name was displayed like this: Hera[WASH MY MOUTH][WASH MY MOUTH][WASH MY MOUTH][WASH MY MOUTH]us

Made it totally unreadable, but they were at least able to add his name so some sort of exception list.

pzkpfw
2011-Apr-16, 09:42 AM
... but they were at least able to add his name [t]o some sort of exception list.

I may be repeating myself, but that can and has been done here too. Just PM a mod to ask, or report a relevant post, to have it considered.

JohnD
2011-Apr-16, 01:58 PM
The idiot censor replaced with "Langauge" the sequence 'asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, ed'.
It meant nothing except that I had been taken to task in the past.

It's this sort of unthinking (literally) censorship that makes a board a laughing stock. I respected your point, pzkpfw, but what child could be lead astray by those characters? Only one who alreday knew a word that fitted.
John
PS if the blue indicated moderator comment, and you indict me for questioning a moderator (See pzkpjw's signoff) ............... then Kafka lives!

WaxRubiks
2011-Apr-16, 04:44 PM
I think it should say "word-deleted", myself...it used to on the old BABB....the word 'language' shouldn't be synonymous with a swear word, I don't think.

grapes
2011-Apr-16, 04:59 PM
The idiot censor replaced with "Langauge" the sequence 'asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, ed'.
It meant nothing except that I had been taken to task in the past.

It's this sort of unthinking (literally) censorship that makes a board a laughing stock. I respected your point, pzkpfw, but what child could be lead astray by those characters? Only one who alreday knew a word that fitted.
John
PS if the blue indicated moderator comment, and you indict me for questioning a moderator (See pzkpjw's signoff) ............... then Kafka lives!As you seem to figure out, as you post, you just called a moderator an idiot. :)

That's the path you're on! Tread lightly. The reference to Kafka seems to be a comment about irrationality and unreason (but I could be wrong), yet you seem to have reasoned it out!

pzkpfw
2011-Apr-16, 09:40 PM
The point of the automatic censor is to try to ensure nothing dodgy accidentally gets through, to be seen and read by anyone or anything we don't it to be seen by.

(And yes, like or not the thing errs on the side of caution.)

But it doesn't stop there. That is, we don't then allow anyone to write whatever they like, secure in the hope that the automatic censor catches everything.

You are not supposed to write the dodgy words in the first place.

Leaving the asterisks in a post can make the reader think that they are acceptable, so they are often removed by a moderator, as was done in post #38 of this thread.

Bear in mind that moderators are not mind readers and we don't know what letters are "under" the asterisks, so again we err on the side of caution.

Note the rule, there's no guessing about what the word was...


3. Language

No cursing. This website is read by kids, who want to learn about astronomy, and space exploration. Many "net-nannies" will block this site if bad language is used. Think of the language used on a TV after-school special and you'll get the idea. Attempts to express bad words or phrases in messages or screen names, by any means such as (but not limited to): replacing key letters with different characters, misspellings homonyms, sound-alikes, abbreviations, or any other trick will not be tolerated. Same goes with adult topics -- talk about them somewhere else. If you do need to post something risqué, stick with arcane scientific terminology.

This includes avatars; use care in choosing that image. Contact a moderator or administrator if you have any doubts.


It's pretty darn simple - watch your langauge. If you want a forum where you can be more "adult" or whatever, there are plenty of others.


And now, I think everyone has made every point that they have to make, so this thread is getting closed before trouble ensues.

Anyone can report this post to ask that this thread be opened again - but let us know what it is you wish to add.