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 Post subject: MOUL Forum Auto Censor
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:29 pm 
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If the following post makes no sense, you can read the identical post without any of the words censored on the OpenUru forum here: MOUL Forum Auto Censor

Apparently, a new Word Censor program was added to these forums approximately two years ago. It was around the time that the new Cyan forums were created and other changes were taking place. It was likely meant to reduce the need for forum moderation and that’s completely understandable. It prevents certain words which are generally considered to be offensive (i.e., body parts and bodily functions) from appearing by changing them to less offensive words. So, if you refer to someone as a “mammary gland[s],” you will end up calling them “mammary gland[s].” :lol:

Now, that’s all fine and dandy for body parts and bodily functions which we really have no reason to discuss on these forums. But, when the word for a body part is part of another word which is not a body part, then it becomes a gray area. “Donahoo’s expletive Party” has been a weekly event since the Until Uru days and has been frequently posted about on these and past Cyan and game publisher forums. It’s never been an issue, but suddenly with the new system, it’s become “Donahoo’s expletive Party.” :shock: For anyone who knows sweet, squeaky clean Donahoo, this is a bit of a shocker. She’s been a community member since the Exile days and deserves more respect than this system allows her.

Then, there’s the word which, IMO, has no business being in the Word Censor list: “God” which is changed to “Atrus.” If that's intended to prevent people from taking the lord's name in vain or being blasphemous, then it has accomplished the opposite, IMO. If it must be in the list, then it should be replaced by “Yahvo,” not “Atrus.” Despite years of joking about Rand being God (maybe that’s why it’s in the system ;) ), he is not and neither is Atrus.

Some of the more savvy forum posters are getting around this restriction by adding to the word (gods, god-like or –god-), but others who are innocently posting the word are being made to look foolish, IMO, and in the context in which it was used, it’s disrespectful to all involved. For example,

in a thread about Hurricane Sandy:
Quote:
Atrus bless you and protect you all ...

when offering sympathy/condolences on the loss of a community member's husband:
Quote:
May Atrus Bless.

when offering sympathy/condolences on the loss of a community member's wife:
Quote:
My condolences to you and your family. Atrus Bless.

in a thread for a community member who’s passed:
Quote:
May Atrus bless you and your loved ones.

in a thread for a community member who’s passed:
Quote:
Atrus Bless everyone.

And, there's no distinction between the capitalized version and the lower case version. There are many uses for the word not involving preaching or cursing - for example, discussing Gehn's god-like complex. If I want to write "Gehn fancies himself a god," it would come out as "Gehn fancies himself a Atrus" which is not only silly, but also poor English - it should be "an Atrus." :wink:

Personally, I prefer to use "Yahvo" in cases that would normally be "God" to avoid offending anyone and I think it has worked out quite well. So, that's my suggestion - if it must be changed to something, but I don't think it should be changed at all.

I’m posting this in the Technical section in hopes that perhaps someone can offer a better solution that will work for both Cyan and the forum posters.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:17 pm 
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I don't think it's much of a problem, because everyone here knows about the filter and can infer the meaning.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:44 am 
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It makes no difference if anyone agrees with what word they choose to replace with another. That are altering an idea someone posted in a way that makes it appear unaltered.
I think it would be fine if they **** out the word or deleted the post entirely. But to change someone's post /thoughts without their knowledge or any demarcation that this is NOT the original text / idea that was intended by the writer is a discussing practice. Sorry.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:32 am 
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Quote:
Apparently, a new Word Censor program was added to these forums approximately two years ago.


Actually the word censor is built into phpBB directly and not installed separately. They only chose to start using it about two years ago when they made the switch from phpBB2 to phpBB3.

The accidental censorship in some of these threads has been rather amusing. :P

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:18 am 
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Twitch wrote:
I don't think it's much of a problem, because everyone here knows about the filter and can infer the meaning.
I'd disagree that "everyone here knows about" the Word censor, and even if you do it is easily forgotten. There's nothing to advertise that it exists and people that are new to these forums could easily look at some of the posts here (such as in the examples above) and think "The folks here are nuts!"

One of the problems is that wildcarding is applied to at least some words meaning that perfectly innocent words get substituted because of a partial match to genuinely offensive words. That is a bit harder to foresee when making a post or PM, and unless you do a preview you won't see the substitution until after the post is made.

The Word censor is obviously being used as proactive moderation, which is quite legitimate as it reduces workload on the Cyan moderators as it reduces the need to manually check every post for profanities. The forum rules here have always forbidden the use of profanities with the objective that they would be "family friendly": That presents a conundrum in that the rules prohibit obfuscation of such words (meaning that one of Stone's suggestions would result in a post that still contravenes the rules). Simply not allowing the post would require some modification to phpBB (or reactive, manual moderation where the problem will often be that damage is done by the time a moderator can react), while the Word censor is a built-in feature. It just needs to be used more judiciously.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:19 am 
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Tomala wrote:
Quote:
Apparently, a new Word Censor program was added to these forums approximately two years ago.
Actually the word censor is built into phpBB directly and not installed separately. They only chose to start using it about two years ago when they made the switch from phpBB2 to phpBB3.

That's exactly what I have assumed to have happened, they just left a predefined filter activated for the sake of convenience or so, without looking deeper into it (except for the 'Atrus' lol). I'd never think of anyone at Cyan to personally support such a travesty, this is all just ridiculous, really lol ... :P

As for the chosen 'subjects' to be replaced and transformed into nonsense, while most probably being only a few of them, they have already been vividly demonstrated by Tai'lahr, and I commend everyone who has already spoken up in another thread to end this silliness, and I'd prefer and appreciate this to be eliminated entirely ... :D

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:36 am 
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There is no "predefined filter" in phpBB - the substitution list is entirely defined by the system administrator as the tables are blank by default.

Incidentally, there a few English place names that can't be posted here because they'll appear as either "expletive" or "body parts" - try Googling "England's worst place name" for an example...

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:55 am 
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Haha, I just really 'wanted to know it' lol, as you've mentioned, Mac, that those tables are blank by default, and so I've tried to write some 'really, really crude and obscene' words here, I'd really never like to think of or even write those again lol ... :P

So, whoever filled those blanks in did make good, means appropriate choices and the replacements are mostly funny, some even lovely lol ... What this all has to do with 'England's worst place names' lol, is beyond me, because then you could apply this to the whole world, but maybe I didn't really get what you meant and why this would be considered as necessary to be implemented into the choice of filters ... :)

However, it seems that would leave us with just a few 'odd or inappropriate terms' to be eventually removed from the filter system ... :D

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:00 am 
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janaba1 wrote:
What this all has to do with 'England's worst place names' lol, is beyond me

His point is that if you find the place name, and attempt to write it in the forums, it'll be replaced by "expletive".

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:41 am 
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Exactly. If anyone were ever to try to organise a Myst related event there (not that I really expect anyone would) then they'd have a problem. But it was another example of how the wildcards (which aren't applied to all the words) can have unintended side effects.

The substitutions are a kind of safety net and probably many of the substitutions are OK, but I can see why the Atrus one causes a bit of angst. So that and the wildcarding could be improved. I don't think Tai is advocating removing the filter, just asking to have it "work better".

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:46 pm 
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I do not think it is ever acceptable to alter someone's ideas without clearly marking that it has been changed, NEVER even if you agree with the edit. And lack of a better solution does not make it ok.
I do see how ****ing out words could also be a bad idea. What do you think about adding a subscript to mark the replacement words? Ex: 'Atrus' gets replaced with 'Atrus<-censored' or something to that effect.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:40 pm 
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Amusingly, the word appearing in the only album by John Lydon’s early band (/winded) pass through the filter unedited.

Brits, behave.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:40 pm 
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Stone. wrote:
What do you think about adding a subscript to mark the replacement words? Ex: 'Atrus' gets replaced with 'Atrus<-censored' or something to that effect.
Depending on what was changed, I'd maybe have suggested suffixing, e.g. "[edited for language]" - that was essentially what we'd do when manually moderating infringing posts.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:33 pm 
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Mac_Fife wrote:
Stone. wrote:
What do you think about adding a subscript to mark the replacement words? Ex: 'Atrus' gets replaced with 'Atrus<-censored' or something to that effect.
Depending on what was changed, I'd maybe have suggested suffixing, e.g. "[edited for language]" - that was essentially what we'd do when manually moderating infringing posts.
I mean, we're predominantly speaking of 'C******* parties' and 'G**' and similar really inoffensive expressions here ... :P

I now imagine someone comforting and soothing someone, giving loving advice, or just congratulating someone etc. and adding the 'G word' with blessings, or speaking in reverence of Donahoo's 'C Party', and then "censored" or "[edited for language]" being added ... wouldn't that look and feel really odd? ... Just sayin' ... 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:35 pm 
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Ah, janaba, there are slightly different issues here: First, there's the case of words that don't belong on a family friendly forum and need to (somehow) be removed; the suggestions above try to deal with that case only. Then there's the case of Donahoo's Parties which are a "false positive" - a word has been wrongly picked out because the filter is deficient - and a different solution is needed there, probably refinement of the Word list and use of wildcards. The G--/Atrus one is maybe different again, with there being a question about whether a rule is even needed and if it is then is the substitution really an appropriate one.

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