clive's profile picture

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Category: Blogging

Turns out spacehey thinks Emily Dckinson's name is a curse word

So, when I was creating my spacehey account, every time I tried to save my "interests", the system kept on deleting them and telling me it contained a curse word.

I could not for the life of me see any curse word I'd used. (Actually back during the early days of blogging I decided to avoid all swear words online, because my theory was I wanted to write posts for audiences that could stretch literally down to elementary school, and didn't want their parents saying they couldn't read my stuff because it had naughty words. So I have not much cursed online for over 15 years, apart from "damn" and "goddamn" etc!)

I tried removing a few terms I thought might be curse words, and tried re-saving, but it kept on telling me I had a curse word in there.

So I had to brute-force it. I started by saving only the first word in my "interests" list, checking to see if it passed (it did), then adding one word at a time and re-saving it, checking each time to see if it passed ...

... until finally I hit upon the term that it banned: "Emily Dckinson".

Obviously, you have to add an additional "i" into her last name to complete it. I daren't spell it out, even here, because the curseblocker will probably ban it in blog posts too.

Of course, one can readily spy the hilarious low-fi-ness of the curseblocker: It's the string "dck" -- again, I'm intentionally leaving out the "i" there -- that triggers the ban.

Two thoughts on this:

i) I am actually super charmed by the idea that Emily Dckinson's name could be regarded as a curse word. In fact, I intend to immediately adopt it as a piece of profanity in my day-to-day life. (While I do not use swear words online, in the offline world I curse like a drunken sailor.) So the next time I, say, accidentally smash my finger with hammer, I'm going to scream her name out loud.

ii) My process here -- submitting and resubmitting a post, tinkering with it to try and figure out what's getting it banned -- is an incredibly common activity for people posting to online services. Attempting to reverse engineer the secret rulesets of algorithms is our modern version of the ancient greeks attempting to suss out the internal psychology of Zeus or Demeter: Which of my daily actions might bring down the lightning? Can we ever truly grasp the mind of such fickle gods?

14 Kudos


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Lee Wilke

Lee Wilke's profile picture

XD I think the bots need to be fixed cuz it's just bots banning what may look like a swear word XD

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CYR ELI's profile picture

this also happened to me with e.e. c*mmings and the novel middles*x! and any band name with de*th or d*e in the name... an, i would like to request a little easing up on the censors here ^_^

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mrzool's profile picture

"So the next time I, say, accidentally smash my finger with hammer, I'm going to scream her name out loud."

This made me legit lol. Thanks for that.

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Greg "X" Willis

Greg "X" Willis's profile picture

Now I'm interested to know all the words that are censored. Pumpum. LOL You are not from the islands if this is not censored.

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corentin's profile picture

(looks like it's a success)

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corentin's profile picture

Testing to add an empty span between two letters of the word: Emily Dickinson

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The Pyrrhic Llama

The Pyrrhic Llama's profile picture

I ran into this same problem attempting to list D.eath Metal, though I hadn't come up with the clever idea of a period. I instead just left the mention off. I feel ashamed, it's usually my thing to break a system of censorship like that.

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clive's profile picture, yes!!

Aha, Torben, that video is awesome -- I hadn't seen it. I also hadn't thought about the implications for all the towns with naughty-sounding names ... of which I would imagine there are a lot!

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Torben Haack

Torben Haack's profile picture

This awesome video by Tom Scott came to my mind when reading this blog post.
Thought that I share it for the people who don't know it yet :)

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Raffaele's profile picture

The same for Hitchcoc.k!

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clive's profile picture

omg yes

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alex's profile picture

The Cox's were luckier I imagine

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