Profanity and Censor Circumvention on the Rise

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posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 07:14 AM
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I don’t know if I have been a member for long enough for my opinion to matter but I have to chime in here with some genuine questions about this topic.

It is clear to me the intent of having a site which is generally cleared of profanity is to be as inclusive of all persons as possible.

Also I guess would be the intent to justify the decision to allow a place for those who are not of age who are eligible to join to discuss the topics and participate without upsetting their parents and thus some kind of liability or law suit.

In that vein I almost understand this explanation given here:


Originally posted by yeahrightIf it's a word or phrase you wouldn't say in a business setting in front of a prospective client, or formal academic setting, or in front of your maiden aunt's church group, don't say it here.


However, I have to say you had me up till the part about the maiden aunt’s church group. I think that may be going a little too far to protect people from possible “offense”.

If I wanted to hang around a bunch of stuffy old religious ladies I’d go to said church group and discuss politics and or UFO’s or whatever; however, being an adult I chose to come here and thus far I have enjoyed myself.

I am curious why the imposition of such a strict profanity code that the use of a string of nonsensical symbols i.e. “@%#$&” which is a comedic device used even in the funny papers (who’s audience is children) since the 1950’s or before generates a “profanity sensor circumvention warning”.

In no way do I see how this violates the terms of:


You will also not use common alternative spellings or net-speak alternative for profane words.


It is neither a common alternative spelling nor netspeak it is the substitution of nonsensical symbols in the place of an expletive that the reader can chose to based upon their own moral code insert. I mean a person can read it as whatever they chose – I might read it as one thing while I am sure that my aunt’s church group might read it differently.

I can understand the alternative spellings and internet abbreviations and even when one starts a word with one letter and fills in the middle with nonsensical symbols since the writer has made an attempt to lead you down “the word choice road”.

I mean is this a religious site and I did’t get the memo that we are so strict as to limit even an example such as I listed above. Because I can show you the @$%#^ warnings I got for it on more than one occasion in some of my first posts here. Now I have to have a private chuckle when I consider it...

See how I did that; it’s up to you to insert what you think is appropriate there… I didn’t even suggest a starting and/or ending letter.

To cite the explanation again;


Originally posted by yeahrightIf it's a word or phrase you wouldn't say in a business setting in front of a prospective client, or formal academic setting, or in front of your maiden aunt's church group, don't say it here.


Honestly, having served in the military for 24 years I can tell you there are many settings in which bosses, Generals and even Senior Elected Officials use profanity quite profusely – be it in a briefing, or meeting or whatever. I would use any word that I hear on TV freely in any of the above settings and have – I guess I don’t do business with a lot of prudes.

I can go to a PG 13 movie and prime time TV and hear words I can’t say here and that seems a little draconian for a site that claims to deny ignorance.

Word’s and language are a beautiful thing and all of them; even expletives and profanity can be used to articulate a feeling or idea with good effect.

If you want to study a language in which profanity is considered a pure form of art study Russian there are verbs for things that would make a drunken sailor blush.

I can see the beauty in poetry well written and with an open mind one can admit there are some who can use profanity and expletives in a very poetic manner.

In view of this statement:


Originally posted by yeahrightThis is something we can split hairs on all day. Anyone seriously confused by the issue may be in the wrong place.


I can’t help but opine that if one can’t see the beauty in a Drill Sergeant unleashing a very eloquent and powerful string of colorful expletives to place emphasis on a key point and make it memorable perhaps a deny ignorance site is not for you…

I understand towing the party line when one is a member of the enforcement team but the implication that if one even question a policy they don’t quite understand they need to move elsewhere seems odd for a site that is designed to challenge convention don’t you think.

That said, one need not participate in the appreciation of colorful language if he/she should chose…as I understand it there are filters that could be set automatically at sign up based on a person’s age that would remove any profanity. Also, for those of age it can be an optional setting to remove such content.

It can’t be that hard or complicated my Xbox live does it, WOW does it, D&D forums have it...

I mean is there not a way for the big kids to have a discussion using big kid words while allowing those easily offended to chose a filter to remove such content?

However, since the undesirable words would then appear as &*^%$ on a person’s screen and that seems to be a T&C violation somehow perhaps that is the problem. I don’t see how that could possibly be offensive to anyone.




posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 07:21 AM
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Originally posted by Golf66
However, since the undesirable words would then appear as &*^%$ on a person’s screen and that seems to be a T&C violation somehow perhaps that is the problem. I don’t see how that could possibly be offensive to anyone.


Once again, &*^%$ on a person's screen is not censor circumvention as typed in your post. The intent is obviously not circumvention.

However, if I was to type it in relation to something in this manner:

I hate that [insert symbols here] Obama!

-or-

You're a [insert them here twice]!

Then that would be censor circumvention because the intent is clear.



posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by masquaHowever, if I was to type it in relation to something in this manner:

You're a [insert them here twice]!

Then that would be censor circumvention because the intent is clear.


This one example I do agree with because it is a T&C violation to insult another poster simple as that. This is a violation regardless of the words the reader intends to use be it something non vulgar like democrat shill, or something worse.

However in this example;


Originally posted by masqua I hate that [insert symbols here] Obama!


I still don't see this as a violation of the T&C:


Originally posted by masquaThe Terms And Conditions Of Use are quite clear:

1b.) Profanity: You will not use profanity in our forums, and will neither post with language or content that is obscene, sexually oriented, or sexually suggestive nor link to sites that contain such content. You will also not use common alternative spellings or net-speak alternative for profane words.


However, that &%$& Obama is in no way protected from an insult as far as I know by the T&C. One could insert darn, dang, crappy, democratic dream boat, sexy guy, and/or an adult expletive of his/her choice. It's the readers choice entirely.

It is impossible for the reader to determine what exact word the poster intended here…which is why it is acceptable as a comedic device in cartoons.


Originally posted by masqua Then that would be censor circumvention because the intent is clear.


You certainly wouldn’t win that argument in any court of law or even public opinion except maybe by a jury of my aunt’s church group. :wink: The intended word is impossible to determine.

I do not get how you can determine the word the speaker intended to avoid by using a bunch of random characters. I say the speaker is leaving the expletive up to the reader just like in the comic strips.

I mean come on they do it in the Family Circus which is about as G rated as Sunday Comics get.

In accordance with the wording of the T&C:

&^%&$ is not profanity

It is not sexually oriented

It is not obscene

It is not a link to the same

It is neither a standard misspelling nor substitution for a known word as I could chose any string of various random characters like *^&$ or #@&)^ and you can as the reader pick the word of your choice.

It is not a net-speak alternative for profane words and has been used as a comedic device in news papers (print), comic books and other publications with mixed target audience of children/teens/adults for years.

I did not see in the T&C where the moderator was to interpret the poster’s intent from a random string of symbols. In that case I say leave it up to the reader to determine what they would substitute.

The reason this device is used in a mixed audience of readers is to let the reader use his imagination to insert an expletive that would be acceptable for him/her.

The subtle difference when using the device censors will tell you is when the author tries to guide the reader in his/her word choice.

For example; when the author uses P%^&, S&%$, etc., which contain a starting letter (planting the suggestion) and the same number of characters as the intended word. Here I would agree the poster was impicating the use of a certain word.

However, using a random string of 5 symbols makes no suggestion what so ever to the reader and is acceptable in cartoons. I would say being more prim/proper than a Sunday Comic is a little excessive for a forum that discusses controversial issues such as ATS.

Regardless, I have just stopped using it but I have to have a little chuckle about the deny ignorance claim every time I have to avoid it.

Seems silly and to me crosses the line between enforcing simple etiquette between posters and plows into political correctness when it comes to sparing anyone any offense even one implied.

The site can’t be all things to all people all the time – it is an untenable position.

Some group or persons will have to be put off you are just choosing to be off putting to those who find the value of implied words in written communication to be funny rather than offensive.

Your site your rules, your choice.

Cheers – love the site and appreciate the work the Mods do as well; thankless jobs are the hardest.



posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by Golf66
Your site your rules, your choice.



Exactly.

And, to further that, the rules you [we all] agreed to when you [we] first joined.

Happy posting.
edit on 17/6/11 by masqua because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by Golf66

However, I have to say you had me up till the part about the maiden aunt’s church group. I think that may be going a little too far to protect people from possible “offense”.


Allow me to clarify. Most of our members, and I mean the overwhelming majority, understand what is meant by "no profanity". Sometimes, for reasons of their own, we get people who decide to pushpushpush an issue to an absurd degree to make what they apparently think is a point. My comment about the maiden aunt's church group was designed to provide some guidance to a person who apparently doesn't grasp the concept. Basically, if you're not sure (which I don't for a minute believe applies in the overwhelming majority of situations) err on the side of caution.

We all have conversations every day in settings where profanity isn't appropriate. There aren't any posted lists in proximity to the conversation to consult to see if we're going over the line. We know when we are, and self-censor for the circumstances. People either get this, or they don't. For the truly clueless, I offer the maiden aunt analogy. Most members don't require it. I certainly don't think you do.

A lot of people can ride a bicycle. Some need training wheels. The maiden aunt analogy was meant to serve that purpose.



posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by masqua

Anal is not a curseword, 'Goddamn' is...

Blasphemy is not censored. Don't try to bring religion into this because we're talking about profanities here.




Uh, you got me confused there... Isn't damning god the definition of blasphemy?

And I would like to add that the only countries I know of that have such a strong stance on blasphemy "curse words" are countries where religion is still going on strong
edit on 17-6-2011 by oniris because: because I can



posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by oniris

Uh, you got me confused there... Isn't damning god the definition of blasphemy?

And I would like to add that the only countries I know of that have such a strong stance on blasphemy "curse words" are countries where religion is still going on strong
edit on 17-6-2011 by oniris because: because I can


Isn't it telling? Cursing, like "damn it to Hell", is not censored on ATS, proving once again that blasphemy is not restricted. It can be, though, if the cursing is directed at another member, but you can damn Hitler or Chairman Mao to Hell all you want.
edit on 17/6/11 by masqua because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 02:47 PM
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Originally posted by masqua

Originally posted by oniris

Uh, you got me confused there... Isn't damning god the definition of blasphemy?

And I would like to add that the only countries I know of that have such a strong stance on blasphemy "curse words" are countries where religion is still going on strong
edit on 17-6-2011 by oniris because: because I can


Isn't it telling? Cursing, like "damn it to Hell", is not censored on ATS, proving once again that blasphemy is not restricted. It can be, though, if the cursing is directed at another member, but you can damn Hitler or Chairman Mao to Hell all you want.
edit on 17/6/11 by masqua because: (no reason given)


Ah, allright, my bad then
phew! I'm breathing better all of a sudden. So the aim is to limit language of a sexual nature. Umm I'm still against it, but I can (and have) accept(ed) it


Cheers



posted on Jan, 16 2012 @ 02:47 PM
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Been noticing more and more profanity and censor circumvention...so I'm bumping this timely thread....





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