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You absolute starring star! The profanilty rules

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Ender Sai, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Ramza Edit:
    Hello, Modly Squad types, and other JCers

    For many years, the boards have been a place where people for whom unbiblical words are second nature fear to tread. The justification was sound; the intent was to have a "family friendly" forum, for people aged 13 and up.

    However, in the period since the establishment of the boards, the online landscape has substantially changed. Primarily, I of course refer to Facebook's rise - the social media giant that has changed the way we interact online.

    Like here, the age requirement for Facebook is 13 years - I understand due in no small part to some US regulations? In any event, it doesn't matter - innately, Facebook does not instinctively censor profanity for a largely similar age demographic. It does, however, have options available for people to filter out content that might be offensive.

    I'm not of the view people who dislike swearing ought, instinctively, be forced to view it on a forum where participation acts as a release from the daily grind. It ought, instead, be an enjoyable experience for all. I also have been made aware of a number of studies inferring a correlation between words that make the baby Jesus cry, and creativity/intellect.

    In other words, some people swear, some don't. Can we not find a scenario that better caters to both?

    The current format is swearing by implication. In practical terms, "**** off" has one of two four letter words that can apply, both of which most if not all of the people reading this have already given name to in their head. So it's not that we've avoided swearing; we've just removed the location of the word to people's head, from the page.

    Using Facebook, or other forms of online interaction (MMOs and other video games, comments sections of most media outlets or, ew, YouTube, Twitter et al), as an example can we look at the site owner's appetite to change the policy so the following occurs:

    1. The profanity ban is lifted
    2. An addon is employed* that filters out profanity
    3. The default setting is "on" for said filter, and
    4. Users need to opt out of a profanity filter?

    * All this is based on the assumption that such a filter exists

    The counterpoint to this is, "well, don't use swear words."

    OK, but - it's ridiculous to try to morally police how people speak when the use of profanity has been shown to enhance certain people's creative and verbal processes. We currently de facto allow it, because context and experience translates the asterisks into actual words. We just de jure disallow it.

    It's bull****, in other words, that we disallow it for family reasons since everyone said the brown word in their heads while reading that censored text.

    Anakin.Skywalker likes this.
  2. JoinTheSchwarz

    JoinTheSchwarz JC Head Admin & Community Manager star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 21, 2002
    This is Coruscant's fault, right?
    Ender Sai likes this.
  3. Darthmaul208

    Darthmaul208 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 29, 2013
  4. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    An add-on with the desired functionality exists, but is incompatible with our current version of Xenforo. Such a change could not be implemented until we upgrade, which is happening but still very much TBD. I'm also not sure how well that add-on actually works or if its precise method of implementation would be compatible with the way our usergroups are set up.

    That said I don't believe our site owner would allow such a discrepancy as the word filter has already caused some issues relating to the main site's displays of forum content that MS knows how to look out for. Our sister sites also do not allow profanity (albeit we're probably a little harsher than most, a separate discussion). As his is the final authority on these subjects it is entirely possible (and indeed, perhaps likely) that such a suggested change would be unilaterally shot down. As with most things that have to go through him, it'd need a broad consensus.
  5. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 7, 2010
    As someone who hates cussing and rarely does so myself, I actually agree with eliminating the "star it out" rule and just letting people write (formerly) disallowed words directly. Any teenager that doesn't know cuss words well enough to automatically fill them in when they see a row of asterisks has been living an incredibly sheltered life and probably isn't on the internet at all if their parents are that protective of them. Thus, there is no benefit to be gained by hiding the words that our teenage users already know from them.
    J7Luke likes this.
  6. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 5, 2011
    As someone who swears a lot, you really don't want to let me, or anyone like me, cut loose. It will jump up a notch, or twelve.

    The ban on profanity actually encourages me to self-censor quite a bit, and I think that has a major positive effect on my behavior. Yes, what you see of me is actually the self-censored, filtered version. Think about that before you take the filter off.

    I really do think it's a gateway to not only nastier language, but nastier behavior. I think one naturally follows the other.
  7. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    JoinTheSchwarz - is it ever not?

    Thanks for the responses Ramza, jcgoble3

    I think the point jcgoble made is probably the key one for the site owner; the current format is paying lip service to an idea that in practice does not act as a word filter in any sense but for the preservation of pristine text on the page.

    There's no point at which a 14 year old doesn't instantly translate the four stars into the profane word. There's no ambiguity over "The prequels are nothing more than elaborately rendered dog ****". That last word is not likely to be representative of naught words for willy, congress, or ladybits.

    And, if the default position is for people to opt out of a profanity filter, the site's preference against the language is rendered pretty clearly. Add in there that attempts to circumvent are trolling and therefore a bannable offence and you have a pretty robust framework.

    If the orang-utan-esque bankruptcy addict running for US president can be given a pass by his followers for the kind of language we'd ban for, I really feel like the wheels of society won't come off if we get broad consensus for change here...

    (though, as I'm already going to hell, I'll gladly bear responsibility if my request is taken up and morality as we know it just collapses)
    Sepra and jcgoble3 like this.
  8. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    If we use Trump as a barometer for what constitutes good behavior, we've got much bigger problems than language, filtered or unfiltered.

    As someone who also swears a lot, I think this is a fair point.

    "You have to star out the entire word" edits are my least favorite but the filter sets an atmosphere I think.
    Mr. Tambor-ine Man likes this.
  9. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Nobody swears more good than me, ok? I swear the best. Ask Sean Hannity!


    Isn't starring the word out setting an atmosphere of complicity in swearing anyway?
  10. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Jun 29, 2003
    Ender, I really like that part about "Users need to opt out of a profanity filter" because that's a great middle ground catering to the innocents while the rest of us can have a verbal festivus. If such a thing could be possible (sounds complicated per Ramza's post, but maybe someday? "Someday" being a someday sooner than fixing the missing cropped posts from the move?)

    I will say -- and I know you're not advocating this Ender -- that I'm against a complete free-for-all where there's no filter at all. Not like we'd risk becoming the Youtube comments section, but we'd lose a lot of younger people. I came here (different screenname) when I was 13 and wouldn't have stayed if the first thing I saw was a bunch of people mouthing off to one another. I suspect a lot of younger users, ones in their teens and especially younger teens, are still living in households where swearing is prohibited or limited, so when they're on the internet they're still adjusting to it.
    J7Luke likes this.
  11. Seagoat

    Seagoat PT/ST/Music Section Moderatator star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 25, 2013
    As one of the most vulgar foulmouths I know, I must say I'd prefer if a system were to objectively remain as "you must star out the word". Not sure if that's blatant hypocrisy or just a bit of a soccer mom mentality, but as I joined this board at 14 and know that potentially some just as young or younger can join up, I'm still for censoring

    "What the ****", while leaving some things up to imagination, is a lot prettier than seeing the actual word

    As for starring the WHOLE thing, it wouldn't bother me one way or another seeing policy change. I'll give it that it makes it much more obvious if you type "what the ****" vs. "what the *****"
    Sarge, J7Luke and Mr. Tambor-ine Man like this.
  12. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    This point has been come up, and I feel compelled to note that I'm not advocating the revocation of the TOS; rather, the requirement to obscure a word - though, sometimes in a negative way, not its context - for some people who opt into that system.

    Firstly; the TOS would still be the governing document for all users, allowing attacking commentary etc to be dealt with swiftly by the Administration. So it is not a risk, that people will devolve their commentary.

    Secondly, the point made by CT-Two Tone and others, that it would in fact remove restraint and enable swearers to go hog wild. Look, to be honest, I've happily said four letter words for the filter to catch when I've been on a run. The difference between me typing it in anger or without restraint or not is if the mods can see the word or not.

    Like the argument marijuana (please say this as Stewie Griffin would, i.e. marry-huana) is a gateway drug, it's a slippery slope argument that feels more like a knee jerk reaction than a founded concern. If, however, user practice did materially shift, there can be an easy windback...

    Plus, if someone is especially vulgar, you have the ignore feature available as well.

    Where the current approach actually can materially shift the intended tone of the post, though, is where the specific four letter word is unclear.

    For the purposes of illustrating it, I need to use the first letter. Apologies, Ramza, this is actually relevant though.

    Saying "you're/they're such a ****".

    I can think of, practically, three variables for this;

    A word starting with D and meaning "willy".
    A word starting with S and meaning "poo".
    A word starting with C and meaning "ladybits".

    These are ascending in terms of severity, from light hearted and possibly a joking compliment to full on insult. And they materially alter the reaction most reasonable recipients would have to that statement.

    If you can see someone saying "Ender stop being a ****", and you can click to view the Satanic wording to reveal "Ender stop being a d*** you might see it as a light hearted, japing comment. "Ender stop being a ****" however instinctively sounds way more intense, more harsh, more severe.

    Just a point to consider against the current format, and possibly (I wasn't intending it this way but, um, it works) in support of what Seagoat said.
  13. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    Actually, thank you, I need to probably address this now - if a particular circumvention of the language rules is required to illustrate a point about said rules (i.e. relative intensity or clarification), I'm generally inclined to allow it. For example, including the first letter to differentiate the various four letter words can be permissible in this context. But as always, err on the side of caution.

    I'm going to go ahead and edit this into the top of the OP as well.
  14. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    I'd cast my vote for profanity filter, too. There is so much of it everywhere, and one of the things I liked about the boards is that, for the most part, it didn't degenerate into a profanity filled trollfest. The 13 rule is due to US law, but I know that younger folks wander in here or sock themselves in here, even if they aren't supposed to.
  15. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Rangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Jul 7, 2000
    Since we read it anyway in our heads I would think that means we don't need to see the word in it's full glory. I see this as a reason to keep the ******* filter.
    Sarge and anakinfansince1983 like this.
  16. Sepra

    Sepra Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 14, 2016
    I'd be in favor of removing the profanity filter. I get people are saying they can't control themselves or whatever, but in my experience people do control themselves, and frankly the word is more obvious to me when it's starred out. It would barely even register it except that I mentally translate it.

    But I would ask, if the consensus is that the filter stays, can we at least be allowed to post images with profanity as long as it isn't abusive? That's my big thing here. I've had mod edits when I was posting screenshots of Carrie Fisher's twitter feed. Or there's a funny meme I want to share with my friends but I can't because at the last minute I notice there's a swear word in it and I don't want to get a post edited or warned or whatever.

    But if I can't even quote Carrie Fisher without violating the TOS, I feel like there's something that could be improved upon.
    Ender Sai, Ewok Poet and jcgoble3 like this.
  17. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Tell me after the US election, people didn't need to be allowed to swear a bit guys. ;)
  18. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    I noticed words have been added to the filter that didn't previously get captured; w*nk being one such instance.

    Why did you guys decide to go backwards on modernising this site?
  19. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    As the current prohibited words list stands as written and w*nk is currently on it, why exactly should it not be included in the word filter?
  20. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    The point is more it wasn't previously, and you indicated a review of the current stance was underway. So it sounds like you went more conservative, which I don't understand.
  21. Snax Rebo

    Snax Rebo Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 1, 2017
    I'm going have to second this. There's nothing wrong with a little bit of positiveness, especially on a Star Wars board.
  22. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    Well, one, I said I would like a broad consensus, which I haven't seen, and two, based on relative position in the filter list it probably predates this thread entirely and you just didn't notice.
    JoinTheSchwarz likes this.
  23. Only-One Cannoli

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

    Aug 20, 2003
    Late to the party, but this. Also the fact that written word coming across with a different tone than spoken would have a big influence on this changing. If people hear me saying **** every other word like I do in real life, they're going to think I'm angry.

    In truth although to some people this is probably a change that wouldn't drastically affect them and it might seem fair, I think it sort of just pushes the line of acceptable poor behavior that's already a huge problem on some parts of the JC. It's not so much about censoring I think, it's more about manners and showing others respect, which is something that parts of the JC have clearly not proven they have the ability to do therefore why would they be granted the ability to decorate their harassing/bullying behavior with swears? I don't see the logic in it.
  24. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 20, 2005
    Personally I have no issue with "adult" language whatsoever. I understand that some do though. I'm fine either way. I don't think there are too many people that have never heard cuss words before, and for the most part, we're all adults on here anyway. Seems pointless to me. Just my 2 cents though.
  25. Anakin.Skywalker

    Anakin.Skywalker Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2016
    There's actually quite a few younger teens on here (13, 14, 15 -- I've been surprised just how many there are) and some of them are not comfortable with cursing. Just my 2 cents of your 2 cents. :):p
    Unkar's Muffins and Pensivia like this.