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I would like to lobby for an overhaul of the Disallowed Words list.

Discussion in 'Communications' started by hudzu, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. hudzu

    hudzu Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 1, 2003
    Hello. I will be using banned language in this post. Not in a flippant or discourteous manner, but because it would be otherwise impossible to have the discussion I wish to have by starring everything out. If you feel this is not appropriate, please stay your hand, because I believe that this is a discussion that is much needed.

    To start, I would like to offer a bit of context. I was edited quite recently in a post in this thread for using the word “*******.” I did not do it to be rebellious or thumb my nose at authority or anything like that. I really have no problem reigning in my admittedly loose tongue to conform with the rules of these boards. In fact, I took a moment before posting, as I often do to try and remember if the word in question was allowed or disallowed. I knew that “ass” is seen as okay, so I figured that “*******” would be as well.

    Evidently, I was in error. It was a mistake on my part, and perhaps I should have took the time to check the list to be doubly sure. But I did not, for one very simple reason: finding and using the disallowed words list is a pain in the ass.

    To avoid you having to look for it, I will post it here:

    When I look upon this list, I can see where it is now and where it was when I joined. Since that time, near a decade ago, the list has in fact gone through a sizable change. We are now more liberal with the words we allow.

    I am not here, necessarily, to lobby for an increasingly liberal stance on language. For the most part, I find the list acceptable. There are some things in it that cause me irritation, though. When I look at the list, I see a thing that was once well thought out and purposeful. But then, as time went on- and by the influence of bureaucracy- changes were made. And they were made haphazardly and piecemeal. And you can see this in its present form.

    At the bottom of the allowed list, you have the changes we have made over the past several years: WTF, Goddamn and Jesus Christ.

    And then in the disallowed section, you have the most bizarre stipulations to these things. Only “WTF” is allowed. No other usage of the letter “F” in an acronym. I realize that this was decided for a reason. However, I submit that times are different then they were, as they are wont to be. We've got these new movies to look forward to. Which means an increase in site traffic, as we have all seen.

    It's my belief that these previous changes were allowed because the craze of Star Wars had stagnated, and we were left with a small, familial community. So we were allowed to loosen our collective tie and relax.

    It is my belief now, that we should again adjust our tie. Tighten it, or loosen it more, I do not know. I would like it if in this metaphor, we changed the knot in it entirely.

    I look at our past successes and failures, and I weigh them against other successful communities on the internet. I implore you all to take some time and do the same. As the mod team well knows, right now is the time to make revisions to our rules, to allow for the changed face of the web, and to draw in (and more importantly keep) the maximum number of new users.

    So to help facilitate this discussion, I would like to better state my misgivings:
    1. Acronyms. It's strange to only allow one very specific acronym. Were I new here, I do not believe I would be able to grasp the political reasoning behind this. I would think it was weird and confusing. And I would be very much off-put. I think we should allow any acronym with the letters “F” or “S” in them. I think that as long as an acronym is not directed to flame or bait another user, used in an untoward sexual manner or violates the spirit of our board law, it should be allowed.

      There is of course the danger that users might run rampant with their use, and board language would devolve into petty acronym talk. However, the deluge of lolcats and 1337speak and horribly improper grammar that the internet as a whole has had to face over the years tells me something. It tells me that such things are only momentary diversions, and sensible and understandable language will remain the primary language of these boards. As we have seen with the allowance of “WTF” and “Goddamn,” users CAN be trusted with increased levels of freedom in their speech. Most are not likely to abuse it. I see myself as a pretty heavy user of derogatory language here, and even I do not feel the need to press that advantage.

      And those that do are likely trolls, and will not last long, or pay much attention to said rule anyhow.

    2. I really do not understand why “ass” is allowed, but “*******” is not. Very specifically, “*******” is just the hole in the ass. Where the poop comes from. But I do not how that is more derogatory than a simple ass. I can see the difference in usage and intent. ******* is admittedly a more limited word than ass. There are fewer ways to incorporate it into language not directly pointed at another user. But those ways do exist. For instance, I might wish to make a joke and call the Great Red Spot “Jupiter's *******.” Flexible and inventive language can be a boon to a post, if only you give it the chance to. And I just cannot understand its wholesale banning as a means to try and prevent name calling.

    These are my two primary gripes. As I say, I'm not standing on my soapbox, Bill of Rights in hand, demanding we change all the rules because I let slip the wrong word. I am just asking that we analyze the Disallowed Words list as a whole, and change it as necessary to be more comprehensible and understanding of our current sociopolitical status amongst internet Star Wars message boards.

    So please just take a moment and consider these issues, and any others you may have, and let us get this bitch goin'.
  2. Darth Somnambulous

    Darth Somnambulous Jedi Padawan star 1

    Sep 2, 2012
    I would agree that both instances you mention at the bottom of your post are a bit ridiculous.

    Whether or not the word list is changed as a result of this, it definitely needs to be reorganized. The "Allowed" and "Disallowed" lists need clearer definition. There are words on both lists which are allowed only conditionally. Whether you want to put those words under allowed or disallowed, there needs to be some standardization. Additionally, I would suggest words on both lists be organized, possibly alphabetically, so that it may be easier to find the word in question on the list. For example, if I were skimming the list trying to see if I could post something, I might not see "Dick" because it is both removed from the left-most side of the post and also not in any sort of order.
  3. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003
    Yeah this has kind of been a problem for a while. One thing I would consider for the immediate though - with a new movie, means new users, which means younger users becoming more rampant. I'm not saying we should ban every word, but I think getting a clearer and a bit stricter set of rules would be best.

    As far as ass vs. ******* goes - we shouldn't have either I don't think. They're both curse words. I understand some of us live in more relaxed environments with curse words, but "ass" has forever been something that's inappropriate to say to your grandmother or parents or I don't work? Would you say "Gosh darn my ass is sore today" to your supervisor? Some of you might. Most of you probably wouldn't.

    And, maybe this is just me, but there's not even a small amount of disallowed words that have been just left around the JC for a longgggg timeeee now. I haven't really said anything because why would I actually care, but since this is being discussed...I don't want to be insulting, but there's not a kind way of saying that MS is getting to be more than just a little bit lazy in that area. I know some mods are totally busting their glutes off, but there's just...a lot who aren't. With editing swears. Which is something that takes 2 seconds to do. I'm just not sure why, maybe because we've been mostly adults here for so long and we're not used to new younger users, so they don't feel the need?

    Also I propose that we ban the word bukkake.
  4. FamousAmos

    FamousAmos VIP star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 9, 2003
    I agree that making changes to increase consistency would be beneficial. I agree with you about acronyms - either include all acronyms with F and S, or disallow all of them. I'd be in favor of disallowing all of them, given that we're likely to have more younger viewers in the near future. In general, I think we have a good set of rules, we just need to be consistent in both their definition and their application.
  5. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    I agree with Amos and Ess Ell Gee. Consistency ensures the best compliance to rules. In determining the direction of said consistency, we ought to be conservative in order to protect the young people that are amongst us.
    benknobi1 likes this.
  6. Grimby

    Grimby Technical Consultant & Former Head Admin star 7 Staff Member Administrator

    Apr 22, 2000
    I will allow the use of disallowed words in this thread, only in the context of discussion of a specific word on the list. However, my patience will be short with anyone who tries to push the envelope.

    1. I tend to agree with you for the most part. Also, keep in mind that when we did amend the rules to allow for "WTF", we also said that any acronyms that were actual dictionary words would also be allowed. This would include words like "SNAFU".

    2. Not really agreeing with you on this one. "Ass" has been a mainstream word in America for more than a decade, and is commonplace even in many network TV shows. It was not originally allowed on the boards, but was later added. Back then, it was very common for the administration to cite The Simpsons as a gauge to what language was and wasn't allowed here. After the Simpsons started saying "ass", we did too. On the contrary, I've never heard the word "*******" uttered on any daytime or prime time network TV show.
  7. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003
    No offense Grimby, but citing the Simpsons as a gauge for politeness in life is a I totally understand that to you, the word ass doesn't mean much. To me though, the word **** doesn't mean much. But it's not my place to tell kids and teens on the internet how to speak or what swear words are right and which are wrong. I'd stay on the side of caution with this one. If it's a swear, it's a swear. Adding the ending of "hole" doesn't change the word. It's still a swear with or without.
  8. Grimby

    Grimby Technical Consultant & Former Head Admin star 7 Staff Member Administrator

    Apr 22, 2000
    I'd argue your reasoning that "a swear is a swear" doesn't really hold water unless you can point to a specific set of guidelines as a base. Is "damn" a swear word we should start editing out? How about "heck"?

    Also, if you'll notice, I didn't use the Simpsons as a base for my own opinions. I said network television.
  9. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

    Mar 12, 2005
    Okay, so using your network tv guage... why can't we say douche? Hurley used it all the time... "that dude is a total douche", etc.. I can see why it wouldn't be okay to say "you are a douche" to another user, or whatever, but I don't understand why it's a banned word, otherwise.
  10. benknobi1

    benknobi1 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 12, 2002
    I think above all, disallowed words aside, it is our responsibility as older users to set an example for new users - to make them feel welcome, encourage participation and foster an environment that thrives on the respect we have for one another as Star Wars fans, no matter how old the user is. That is the type of community I would like to be a part of, and overwhelmingly this has been the case from my own experience as a long time member. As we all know, children are very intelligent, creative, and see things in new ways that adults simply don't; however, they are VERY impressionable and emotionally vulnerable compared to adults. Derogatory/Vulgar/Mean language directed at them personally by adults or by better adjusted children would be abusive in my opinion. Not trying to sound corny but it is my understanding that language is a living, breathing, constant expression of shared meaning that resonates within and through each and everyone of us. In other words, the words we say to each other can have a profound impact despite the lack of real life interaction.

    Posting something like: userXYZ is a douche/******* because he/she liked what happened to such and such a character, etc could lead to a flame war. On the other hand, posting: It was funny how in last night's CW episode characterXYZ acted like a douche/******* when he did XYZ seems fine to me as long as the point is something other than character bashing. The issue then is that while words like douche/******* and even worse words and expressions can be used "in good taste" by mature users, the opposite is also true in that this place is not intended to be for mature users only but for everyone in the star war community.

    I agree 100% with what Jabba-wocky said, especially in terms of being clear and consistent.
  11. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

    Mar 12, 2005
    I don't think anybody is asking for ms to allow users to direct these words at other users.
  12. benknobi1

    benknobi1 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 12, 2002
  13. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 3, 2012
    Just on the subject of "ass", it has the dictionary, and hymnal, definition of 'donkey' -- and in England (possibly the whole of the UK) it holds the meaning of 'fool'.
  14. Darth Somnambulous

    Darth Somnambulous Jedi Padawan star 1

    Sep 2, 2012
    Pssst, harpuah, douche is on the allowed list. :p
    Grimby likes this.
  15. Grimby

    Grimby Technical Consultant & Former Head Admin star 7 Staff Member Administrator

    Apr 22, 2000
    In the same vein as harpuah's point, I'm not sure whether you're agreeing with the current policies we have in place, which already prohibit flaming of other users, or if you're suggesting we change something.
  16. benknobi1

    benknobi1 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 12, 2002
    I think it's fine how its been
  17. Billy_Dee_Binks

    Billy_Dee_Binks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 29, 2002
    Hold it, hold it, hold it... we're allowed to name-call users those naughty words on here?! :eek:
    Why have found this out only now? So many missed opportunities!

    Life has just started all over again.

    *dances the happy swear mouth dance*[face_dancing]

    DieWompRatDie likes this.
  18. Miana Kenobi

    Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 5, 2000
    AFAIK, a lot of the words on the list are because the site owner said so. It actually was a big to-do to allow WTF.

    And I feel obligated to point out that even if a curse word is on the allowed list, that still doesn't mean you can call another user that word.
  19. AaylaSecurOWNED

    AaylaSecurOWNED Jedi Master star 6

    May 19, 2005
    I just noticed **** is still on the disallowed words list and would like to lobby to allow the word "****" in the context of "arguments on the internet".

    I don't think anyone over the age of 13 needs to be protected from acronyms (excuse me, Jello, initialisms). As has been discussed time and time again, allowing "lm*ao" rather than "lmfao" or "B*" instead of "BS" doesn't really protect from any offense, it's just unnecessarily encoding something that's already been encoded.

    Make sure GrandAdmiralJello knows that, because he edited it a couple days ago. (Which is why consistency would be useful.)
    Bacon164 likes this.
  20. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000
    The understanding I had about the rule was the precise opposite: we were allowing wtf and only wtf. SNAFU was specifically pointed out as something that would not be allowed.

    I'm fairly positive about this because I thought it was a meaningless distinction at the time, but moderators who were uncomfortable about allowing profanity on the grounds that wtf had evolved beyond the profanity to be its own thing whereas the others had not (NB I doing most people know where snafu comes from of course, but that was the argument that was made)

    Tapatalk is probably not the best way for me to find that discussion as it happened in MS but I'm pretty sure that's the way we did it.

    FWIW I'm not a huge fan of editing profanity and am probably one of the inconsistent mods alluded to earlier, which I don't deny, but I think that I was being consistent with policy for once :p

    Edit: regarding clarity and the like, I fully agree and often bring up discussions in MS to clarify unclear portions that haven't been consistently clear (like what a person means for purposes of words allowed when not directed at another person).

    Misa ab iPhono meo.
  21. harpua

    harpua Chosen One star 9

    Mar 12, 2005
    Huh... when did that happen? :p
  22. Katya Jade

    Katya Jade Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 19, 2002
    Yeah, just because a word is on the list, it doesn't mean you can use them to flame others.

    I don't know about using '*******'. I agree with SLG's statement above but I'm more okay with using ass than *******.

    And let's dump starring out offending 'effs'. It's just silly at this point.
  23. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    I agree if only because I find managing those to be the most tedious, pointless edits I have to do, and it's never because of an actual disregard for the rules. Also B* looks like some terrifying B-eyed thing making a kissy face. Bans on acronyms should absolutely be excised.
    My understanding of that one has always been that ******* is considered more offensive in multiple circles, sort of like how you can say damn on a lot of TV shows but not goddamn. But again, I find I'm in favor of removing the restriction, because to me, the fact that I can say "I fell down on my ass and bruised my ***hole" but not "I fell down on my ass and bruised my *******" is silly. Really silly.
    AaylaSecurOWNED likes this.
  24. V-2

    V-2 Jedi Master star 5

    Dec 10, 2012
    Very interesting thread!

    I'm a newcomer and a Brit. We love our swearwords.

    I can confirm that ass in the UK is either a donkey or a fool, though some (uneducated) youngsters use it in the American sense. ******** is a very minor insult over here. On a par with ****er or bellend maybe...

    I suppose as long as the word you're using isn't too rude for young children, it should depend on the context, eg., 'bugger off' is bad, but 'keep buggering on' is okay..?
  25. JoinTheSchwarz

    JoinTheSchwarz JC Head Admin & Community Manager star 8 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 21, 2002
    Acronyms should be allowed. It's beyond ridiculous.