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Censorship in the DM Chats
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Do you agree with the intensifying level of censorship as it stands now?
Yes
39%
 39%  [ 15 ]
No
60%
 60%  [ 23 ]
Total Votes : 38

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Bjorn Andrews
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 5:33 am    Post subject: Censorship in the DM Chats Reply with quote

[minimizing online presence due to future publications]

Last edited by Bjorn Andrews on Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PrlUnicorn
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 1:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Censorship in the DM Chats Reply with quote

Bjorn Andrews wrote:


Out of respect, I sometimes even censor myself which I never knew was an issue in all of this time until recently. I typed s*** — which I felt was terribly PG-13 considering there are some 'cuss words' in PG-13 movies; there are fights, too. When I was told not to censor myself, I won't lie. I felt about six inches tall and as if I was a six-year-old rather than a mature adult that owns a house, pays bills, and has never been arrested before. A mature, responsible adult.

I don't see anything wrong with what I typed. I have a lot of friends with children, most of them under the age of twelve, and what they hear at school, from their parents, from their grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or on TV (cable, not movie channels) makes s*** (censored just like that) look like sunshine and rainbows. It makes it downright PG. It protects anyone underage from the alleged ugliness of the word itself while at the same time communicates to other adults that are paying attention — because they are interested in what I'm writing to have noticed, I have to assume — what exactly is being said.

What it also does is allows me to, if I have to be censored, censor myself rather than being handled like a child which is embarrassing. A little humiliating even. I would prefer not to be at all censored, but it is my belief, my opinion, that I should be able to censor myself in a fashion that is more than PG-13 since you'd probably hear the whole word in some PG-13 movies. You'd definitely hear it on normal TV that most of these kids watch, and much worse, just maybe not the F-cuss. Correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't caught that one yet.



What needs to be examined by the admins, perhaps, is how the PG-13 rating has changed since the guidelines were written and adjust the language filters accordingly.

What I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around is you being asked to NOT censor yourself. The only reason I can think of for that is so the swearing would be fully masked by the chat filter. We used to call what you're talking about masked vulgarity. For instance, if ship was unacceptable then $h!p would be as well. However, s*** (typed that way) is rather ambiguous in and of itself. I can't find anything in the guidelines that specifically prohibits censoring one's own text.
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Sulissurn
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm...not sure what this all means, there seems to be several themes and thoughts tied together. I am going to have to spend some time ogling it. I have "just moved into House," brain.

And to totally de-rail your thread and be random, I enjoyed our last discussion and still think you're a pretty great player. So keep keepin' on.
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Mesteno
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C***. I saw that censored in there by a player one day (naming no names of course) just how I've done so there.

I personally am guilty of 'dodging the chat filter' if that's what we're going to call it, but I attempt to disguise the word heavily enough that it's not blatant what the profanity is meant to be. Whilst I'm rarely on late enough to interact in live chat while there are Hosts around, I'm fairly sure that at some point, my foul mouthed character will have cursed, and that I will have censored in this way, and I have never been PMed by a Host and had them request I try and stop trying to avoid the filter.

We need clarification. It's not fair if some writers are admonished whilst trying to respect the PG-13 rating and others are blatantly disregarding the rules with things like below...

Quote:
It also bothers me when I hear from someone else in the chat on another night that it's acceptable for two characters to make out with a third character that is naked and on the bar in the RDI because it's happening in there.


I've heard about worse happening in the booths during non-peak hours. But yes, this.

Bjorn mentioned that kids are generally exposed to far worse language, at a far younger age than the mild profanities the chat filter will not allow to pass, and I'd have to agree with this. I'm not saying we should be approving 'f' words and 'c' words, but in this day and age, it's not realistic that 13 years olds, unless they've been living a ridiculously sheltered life won't have encountered these words before. Most are unphased by them and probably use them themselves (though perhaps not within earshot of their parents.) The filter seems to have been tuned to more of a PG rating, and personally I'd be all for some tweaking to bring it up to date.
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Brian Ravenlock
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Censorship in the DM Chats Reply with quote

PrlUnicorn wrote:
Bjorn Andrews wrote:


Out of respect, I sometimes even censor myself which I never knew was an issue in all of this time until recently. I typed s*** — which I felt was terribly PG-13 considering there are some 'cuss words' in PG-13 movies; there are fights, too. When I was told not to censor myself, I won't lie. I felt about six inches tall and as if I was a six-year-old rather than a mature adult that owns a house, pays bills, and has never been arrested before. A mature, responsible adult.

I don't see anything wrong with what I typed. I have a lot of friends with children, most of them under the age of twelve, and what they hear at school, from their parents, from their grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or on TV (cable, not movie channels) makes s*** (censored just like that) look like sunshine and rainbows. It makes it downright PG. It protects anyone underage from the alleged ugliness of the word itself while at the same time communicates to other adults that are paying attention — because they are interested in what I'm writing to have noticed, I have to assume — what exactly is being said.

What it also does is allows me to, if I have to be censored, censor myself rather than being handled like a child which is embarrassing. A little humiliating even. I would prefer not to be at all censored, but it is my belief, my opinion, that I should be able to censor myself in a fashion that is more than PG-13 since you'd probably hear the whole word in some PG-13 movies. You'd definitely hear it on normal TV that most of these kids watch, and much worse, just maybe not the F-cuss. Correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't caught that one yet.



What needs to be examined by the admins, perhaps, is how the PG-13 rating has changed since the guidelines were written and adjust the language filters accordingly.

What I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around is you being asked to NOT censor yourself. The only reason I can think of for that is so the swearing would be fully masked by the chat filter. We used to call what you're talking about masked vulgarity. For instance, if ship was unacceptable then $h!p would be as well. However, s*** (typed that way) is rather ambiguous in and of itself. I can't find anything in the guidelines that specifically prohibits censoring one's own text.


I was actually hit up by an RDI and told that using ' * ' was considered getting around the chat filter and prohibited, but I couldn't find anything on that either.

Well, I did find this for the forums guidelines :

A language filter maybe be in place to catch any profanities that you may have accidentally used. Do not attempt to circumvent the language filter by using variations or slight misspellings of profanities.

Maybe that is what they were referring to .

Back to the point, I agree that s*** is ambiguous and shouldn't be a real issue, imo.
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Lyrical Dementia
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the site still regards partial spelling of the word to be masked vulgarity.

I remember Panther telling me once when I asked him about it that the filter is a tool that can be used for both sides. Use the word, type it out. Let the filter do it's work and completely mask the word.

As for the rating...

yes, you will hear curse words in movies rated pg-13. However, that rating has a ton of stipulations. Like how many times it can be used in a certain amount of time, if it is used in a sexual way or not etc.

We can't do that in the chat room. We don't have a program that would automatically filter out the word sh*t after one person says it for the next 15 minutes. (Not sure the actual time applied in the rating system, just using 15 minutes as an example)
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Yeardley Owens
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you look at any PG-13 guidelines you can drop the F bomb up to five times before it's considered R or NC 17.

Frankly, god damnit, sh*t, damn, and any number of others, are well within guidelines, and if someone censored themselves for other 'harder' words with *, well, I think we're all out of elementary school and can deal with it without a tantrum. There's always the ignore feature if you don't want to see someone's chat.

There's a lot more violence and sex, played out, that would be worse for younger viewers than reading sh*t. And since I don't think that stuff needs to stop, I don't think we need to be host-censored.

Slippery slope, you'll have nothing left to write if you start taking things out. How about deciding we're all (mostly) adults and should act like it.
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Ariana MacGyldren
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My opinion on the chat language filter is such that it should be an opt-in option for the individual player to decide if they can or can't stand to see F-Bombs in their play. The filter as it is set up not only does not catch the words that those who know how to get around the filter send out to the room, but it also censors non offensive words such as a garment worn around the waist by a man wearing a tuxedo.

I personally would rather see the S or F word or the rest of the infamous Seven Words list fly free in the chat. Not abused, mind you, but used with intelligent restraint. I would rather see that than see characters blatantly climbing all over each other in the "throes of passion", groping breasts, stripping down to skin at the drop of a hat, or otherwise emphasizing things like that the characters are "still wearing underwear so it's okay!". Such blatant sexually-oriented play happens quite a bit and frankly it is more offensive to me than the so-called foul language because in my opinion it is not necessary to have rather blatant sexual behavior in the public chat room(s) and it appears to be done simply because the parties in question can do it.
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Peaches
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just going to throw my two cents in here because I think this is a very interesting topic to be discussed so intellectually rather than people just telling others they're wrong!

Quote:
I personally would rather see the S or F word or the rest of the infamous Seven Words list fly free in the chat. Not abused, mind you, but used with intelligent restraint. I would rather see that than see characters blatantly climbing all over each other in the "throes of passion", groping breasts, stripping down to skin at the drop of a hat, or otherwise emphasizing things like that the characters are "still wearing underwear so it's okay!". Such blatant sexually-oriented play happens quite a bit and frankly it is more offensive to me than the so-called foul language because in my opinion it is not necessary to have rather blatant sexual behavior in the public chat room(s) and it appears to be done simply because the parties in question can do it.


THIS TIMES A THOUSAND!

I get that sexual based content will be a hot topic with some people, and I personally don't have a huge problem with it within limits of pubic chats, but why on earth is such ok while I used "God dammit" in the chat on a character and was reprimanded almost immediately by a host? It didn't effect me completely until I really thought about it and got a bit sore that such a standard curse (if it can really be thought of as that in this day of age) would not be tolerated while I'm sure far worse things have happened.

A PG-13 rating on this site is understandable. I get that. I've never actually encountered anyone under the age of say eighteen around here, but I'm almost positive that "God dammit" would not immediately cause them to gasp in utter horror.

I also know that if a character just comes in screaming obscenities is not going to be classy, either, but if it is in context of a scene that could be traumatic or rage filled, would any of us really bat an eye at it? The filter will catch what it can and when it does it brings up a line of **** -- am I the only one that will sit and be like, "Oh, she just said sh*t?", or whatever else cuss word that I think would have fallen in there? So is it really blocking out the image of the word in hopes that you won't have any idea what a curse word even is?

I'm also not privy to thinking that favoritism maybe being played. I'm not going to point any fingers, or even really assume who might be a culprit of it, but as a newer edition to DM I've witnessed a bit of it happening. If you're going to implement hosts with a vigilante eye to upholding the guidelines, then it should be completely fair across the board, right?

Again, just a bit of two cents that don't really add up to anything. Mad
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Ben Sullivan
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i can't really speak to the poll question, as i haven't been around long enough to understand the change in scrutiny and how strictly (or not) the pg-13 level is being adhered to -- but i will say that if people are getting chastised for 's***,' that that's pretty lame. i can lipread f-bombs pretty clearly in sporting events (or even some reality shows -- definitely saw f-bombs formed pretty clearly in project runway the other night!), and i would consider that less obscured than ***ing out part of a word.

i don't consider that trying to 'get around' the chat filter; that would be using $ in place of S, or ! in place of i, etc. 'S***' would just be a way to bleep out a trucker-mouthed character, allowing them to stay IC but to remain unoffensive. being forced to have them say 'crap' instead can really alter a character.

i also would vote for zero censorship and using ignore. i would also love the option (as suggested above) to be able to turn out a profanity filter if wanted (like most mmorpgs i've played in recent times).
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Rekah Illyriana
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See. I thought there was a filter.

But, that may just be on the RoH side of things.

Or I may be making this up in my head.

However, it's true.. if words are censored, then fairly so should content..

It may be time for a re-write of the rules as times have changed.. and the internet that DM was created under is vastly different than the internet now.

It's all so subjective. Because, typing "SHOOT!" could be taken as getting around the filter. Not the best example.. but, technically, it is. Or if you get fancy and use a foreign language.. the intent is there.. and people would know what is being implied if one were to write. "THIS IS A LOAD OF CACA" Guess what.. I know what's being said.. and guess what.. it's getting around the filter. But, because it's not ENGLISH, then it gets to slide?

It all comes down to drawing some sort of line of this v.s that.

this type of thing is discouraging.

Edit to add relevant discussion elsewhere



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Dill T Jones
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both sides of the issue need to be weighed for this matter. This isn't our website, we use it to write thanks to the efforts of other people whom we are very thankful for. It is their guidelines that we follow and should respect.

That being said, I think censorship of any kind is wrong. I understand the need to keep children away from words that I admittedly, use like a sailor with way too many chemicals in his blood stream. However, I don't think many children play on here, for good reason. Just as this is any form of art, sometimes art can get very controversial.

However, I don't believe that curse words are controversial, even for a thirteen year old child. I don't believe masking your words is the issue, as anyone who sees 'S***' and has a basic grasp of language knows what the word means and all that goes along with it.

I believe that most everyone that plays here are decently respectful people who look out for others and try not to step on toes, even while trying to write about sub human cannibals that set fire to kittens. I believe we are all mature enough to know when the words should be used, and how. And really, what words cross the line. We all know some do. You know the ones.

In my opinion, we should get rid of the filter period or join every other chatroom in giving us the ability to choose if we want to censor the words, or not. Just as we have the choice if we want to ignore people, or not, if their words become too controversial.

A small oddity of all this, is that I can't say my own name in the chat. Some of you will get that joke.

Sincerely,
****
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Alain DeMuer
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:04 am    Post subject: Re: Censorship in the DM Chats Reply with quote

Bjorn Andrews wrote:
I know that RDI hosts are trained this way, but it is my opinion it'd be better if they were trained to help newcomers and promote play rather than trained to diminish it or at least to fairly distribute their power of censorship.


Hosts have a difficult job based on my own experience with it, so I appreciate your focus on the policies the hosts are trained to promote instead of the hosts themselves. =) I don't think anyone's trained to diminish play, but I can relate to the frustrating feeling of being admonished for something that doesn't feel fair.

I am surprised anyone's been admonished for typing something like s***. I understand it might be preferable to star out all four letters instead, like ****, but letting the filter handle it as-is requires you to have complete confidence that the filter will catch it and that it also won't mangle your send, as it seems to do when a swearword (or what the filter interprets as a swearword) is immediately followed by punctuation.

Most swearwords are pretty easy to spell, but we're not perfect and typos can happen. Maybe this is nitpicking but personally I trust my own ability to replace swearwords with asterisks or find creative alternatives more than the filter's ability to handle it, or the potential for human error that would bypass it and create an unintended issue with hosts or other administrative staff in the rooms.

But again, a host's job is difficult and more precise standards regarding censorship under these circumstances may not be available.

All that said... I think the bigger issue here is censorship itself. I won't go into the other themes that were already explored in other threads, but if we're just focusing on swearing in the context of a PG-13 site, it's a standard I've always acknowledged and tried to respect (to the best of my knowledge) but personally never agreed with.

Are these legal standards, though? If we allow people 13 and up to access the site, is the administration then legally responsible for making sure they are not exposed to anything that could be interpreted as vulgarity or obscenity, including taking God's name in vain? And if so, what are the legal/administrative implications for raising the age to 18, or whatever the threshold would be for swearing? Is the onus on the users to be honest about their age or staff to verify it?

Even though I have a pretty strong opinion about the place of swearing in writing, and the capabilities of the filter, I'd like to address the legal questions first if possible. If this is based on a legal requirement, and changing the age limit is too tricky or just not something the community or its administrators is willing to consider, then just clarifying censorship standards may be the best we can do.
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Andu Kirost
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings.
I have to start this by being honest about something. I didn't even realize there "was" a filter in place in the chats. heh. I just thought everyone did like I do, which is type a string of "capitalized numbers" whose length varied according to the "strength" of the "Swearing" required by the IC situation.

To tell the truth OOC, I don't swear much. But when I do, the filters probably would fail completely because I tend to swear by insults directed at the reason for the swearing rather than the more common "cuss words" method. Andu isn't me, he uses the "cuss words" method. so I use the symbols to show his speach is audible with out having to take the time to figure out which word/s he would choose.

To me, "To filter or Not to Filter" is a hard, organic, can of worms type question. Everyone is different. What is blasemy to one is everyday words to another. Trying to please everyone rarely does more than annoy everyone.

I could go on. But I think I will end this section quickly with a single thought before I really start rambling....

Political Correctness is more often a Tyranny of over-reaction, rather than a redressing of an imbalance. (as far as I know, that thought was made by my own brain, rather than quoted or paraphrased.)
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have thought about this for a while and the conclusion I have come to is that while, no, I don't want to be censored I do understand that sometimes it might be needed? If we really HAVE to. In my line of work as well as my personal life swearing isn't a big deal at all. I refrain from using the big bads of swearing around my family to a point, but other than that? It's part of how I speak and is part of my personality.

On the other hand, I KNOW this is not acceptable for everyone, this is not a standard practice, and not everyone feels the same way I do. I am part of specific circumstances that have dulled the impact of cuss words on me. At the same time, I do feel they hold a particular punch in general which is why it is telling of my characters whether they cuss or not.

So, what it comes down to is that I am okay with being censored to a point to protect innocents or something like that, IF WE MUST, even if I believe people hear it all on television, in movies, and on the internet. I keep saying if we must, because my stance on it all personally is completely skewed because I can drop F-bombs and the C-word without batting a lash.

What I DON'T like is the fact that in the chat I have also had the wonderful experience of being told that censoring myself (a*s) was not good enough and to let the filter catch it. First, not all swears are created equal and while you can sort of figure out from context what is being said, I want it to be clear just like I'm sure anyone would want to be with anything they're writing. Also, I have seen instances of the chat filter being a spaz and censoring not just the word in question, but a group of words around it. I figure instead of risking it mangling my post I could just nicely censor myself. Or maybe I am in the wrong and should have gone the step further to pull one of those first letter, all stars deals (a**).

Either way. I think that words are words. Sometimes they are just filler or are a way to add that extra OOMPH you are looking for. I know there was a major issue before about censorship and the power of words, but I think we need to realize the difference between hate speech and a curse word. Saying "Oh sh*t!" doesn't have the same impact or intentions to me as calling someone a slur. But I do realize it's a slippery slope to say some ~*bad words*~ are acceptable and others aren't.

I suppose my main gripe in it all is being told "you censored your word, but not in a way we like." As others have said, it does make you feel rather small and take away the fun in play when you are trying to work within the boundaries yet it's still not good enough.
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