Remember NewSpeak? In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, the government was working on editing the English language to remove all words that could describe what they deemed to be treasonous or heretical ideas because, as they put it, "If you cannot put a treasonous thought into words, you cannot think it."
I have been playing Free Realms since 2 weeks before launch, and one of the first things I noticed was the "language filter". SOE chose to replace any words that matched with pound signs (####).
But they are using a brain-dead literal word matching filter. About it's only claim to intelligence is that it will recognize a "bad word" broken by a space. The filter matches any word, or part of a word or words, that contains anything in the "bad word" list. The word "assume" comes out "###ume", but worse, "isn't it?" comes out "isn'####?" because of the word "tit".
Unfortunately, this makes it nearly impossible to have a reasonable conversation in this supposedly social game.
Then, because someone at SOE observed someone trying to give a phone number to another person in-game after they enabled regional chatting, SOE's answer was to add all numbers and the words that describe them to the "bad words" filter!
Joe: What brawler pages did you need?
Mary: pages # and #
Mary: # and #!
Mary: ##### and ####!
Joe: Ah, forge####!
After the numbers were added, many folk pointed out that using roman numerals, or counting in spanish, or spelling numbers phonetically, gets around the filter. Then SOE pointed out that anyone caught doing so is "using an exploit, and is in violation of the TOS" and any posts that discussed it on the official forums were removed.
And it just goes downhill from there. The following is a list of a FEW of the NOT BAD words that are in the filter:
0 thru 9
zero, one, two, three through nine, ten, hundred, thousand, and so on
engin (as in the word Engine, comes out #####e)
oral ("thanks for all your help" comes out "thanks f###### your help")
Lesbian (but Gay is not blocked)
g spot (there is a collection item, "King Spotted Ant" that comes out "Kin#######ed Ant" if you try to say it)
meth (but "crack" is an a-ok word)
Bitte (German for "please")
Honestly, SOE, Little Johnny is going to be harmed by reading "please" in German?
Now, one of my personal pet peeves is kids in-game that say, "oh, that's so gay!" when what the mean is "oh, that is so wrong!". Patting themselves on the back for being so cleaver, and as if "gay" is the worst thing they could come up with to say.
It is quite trite, even passe, to say "I have friends that are ______" when discussing a group of people, but the truth is... I DO have friends that are lesbian, and I do have friends that are gay, and although I have none dying of it at this moment (thank the gods) I have had friends that have died of AIDS. The very thought that SOE is concerned that Little Johnny might accidentally overhear a conversation about HIV or AIDS, or, heavens forbid, Lesbians! makes me want to vomit, or reach through my monitor and shake the #### outta the person that added those words to the "bad words" filter. Lets add some REAL dirty words to that filter, eh? How about "war"? How about "knee-jerk right-wing neo-conservative"? How about "fundamentalist"? Oh, I've got one! Perhaps the worst word in the entire english language... "censorship". But it's ok. Next week we are gonna to go burn some books!
Whenever the moralist has no legitimate argument to make, he always falls back on "but, think of the children!". Whenever I hear someone say this, my eyes roll up and my ears turn off. Stop trying to automate your lawyer's idea of NewSpeak. Put it in the TOS, define what can and cannot be said or done, and boot anyone that violates it.
But, after all, if Little Johnny can't say a bad word, he can't think it, right?
*This blog is the opinion of Bludwyng. It is not the expressed opinion of ZAM Network or it's officers and management, but it damned well should be.
Edited, Jun 4th 2009 12:24am by Bludwyng
Edited, May 9th 2014 1:13am by Calthine Unlock Thread