kwoff_id = 7474;
So Russian outfit SUP have taken over Livejournal. As I discussed last week, there has been much concern about their rumblings about “taste”, “decency”, and “political concerns”.
elfwreck has just discovered that they have already started blocking the searchability of certain terms in Interests:
Right now, some interests don’t work for searching, neither from the searchbar nor people’s profiles. These include “genocide” (and all easily-identifiable variations: rwanda genocide, romani genocide, etc.), “child pornograpy” (and variations thereof), “child prostitution,”
Anything with the string “spic” (including “spice girls” and “spicy food”)
Anything with the string “genocide” (including several recent armed conflicts)
Anything with the string “fag” (including fagus, the genus of beech trees)
Anything with various “racist” terms, like “cracker” (including “cheese and crackers” and “goldfish crackers” and “cracker barrel”)
The “spice” block also blocks searches for “hospice” information. Also blocked are strings like “chink”, “skinheads”, and “wop” (including “doo-wop”). Unblocked terms include “man boy love”, “ethnic cleansing”, “incest”, “NAMBLA”, “teen sluts”, and “zoophilia”.
This is an example of the Scunthorpe Effect or Scunthorpe Problem, a phenomenon in which sub-strings of terms are blocked as false-positives by stupid censorship programmers. The term is named for a 1996 AOL filter that excluded Scunthorpe residents from creating AOL accounts, on account of the dirty word in their address. Penistone and Lightwater residents had a similar problem. I’ve seen the same sort of thing happen when a medical mailing list I’m on started blocking emails containing the word “specialist”.
Putting aside the futility of blocking attempts in the first place, and the ethical issues involved in imposing it suddenly and without notification (especially on paid/permanent account users): there is just no excuse for the Scunthorpe Effect these days. It has been described over and over and over, and everyone with a sliver of clue knows about it. For fuck’s sake, SUP, lift your game.
Add your block discoveries in comments.
P.S. Yes, it’s a real intersection – in Greenwood, Western Australia.
Update 13 Dec 2007: *spic* and *cracker* seem to have been unblocked today. Other blocks remain in place.