Suggestion: Instead of symbols, replace swears with...


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So, I'm pretty laissez-faire about the whole swearing thing, and I've always thought the "newspaper comics" thing we had going on with symbol replacements was fine.

That being said, if it's not fine? I think having the swear get auto-replaced with "smurf" would be a lot more effective. It has the bonus impact of making whoever's swearing look a bit silly, so if they're being abusive, it takes the punch of of things.

Alternatively, just replace the whole word, so kids can't easily tell what the swear was anymore. "What the $%@#?" is literally something you could find in Zits or Dilbert--explicitly child-friendly comics. "That's #$%@*&!% crazy" is, again, something you could find in a newspaper comic. This would allow swears to retain a little of the tone while removing any of the actual bite.

I also want to say, for the record, that I think this is incredibly silly and way more conservative than basically anywhere else in society right now. Half-censored swears do not make the Paizo forums non-kid-friendly. If anything makes Paizo non-kid-friendly, it's the massive amount of violence in the game Paizo publishes, but that's never been a problem before.


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It just occurred to me that I'm posting this literally just as the moderators are going on break, so I may bump it in a week. I doubt any arguments are gonna crop up during that time, but, like, be cool, everyone.


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Or we could just use a bigger vocabulary to discuss our feelings.

I don't see any reason to change the forum rule


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I'm not saying we have to change the forum rule. I gave three suggestions, and one of them was to change the forum rule (because I like having access to at least some version of the vocabulary I use everywhere else, and censored swears have always been an acceptable way to reconcile that, even in kids' media). The other two were just to make the filter actually work.


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I don't think that everyone is just going to suddenly change their vocabulary and stop using swears just because someone on the forum suggests it.

A forum rule is necessary, because you have to mandate it from the top down rather than just vaguely suggest that everyone expand their vocabulary, and you need a filter because people are human and slip up on following the rule to not swear.

The problem is the way the current filter works is pretty pointless, because you still know exactly what the word is (even if you are a kid, kids generally learn all of these words pretty early on).

Honestly the best filter is either;
- A fixed amount of symbols (like, no matter what you type, it gets replaced with 5 symbols) replacing the entire word.
- A random amount of symbols replacing the entire word.

Human brains are pretty good at translating words that have letters omitted or the order of the letters changed, so filters shouldn't really retain any elements of the original word.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Or the word Smurf.


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Honestly, I don't think it's a huge deal if people can guess the swears as long as it's indirect--this is literally where "darn" and "shoot" and "fricking" come from.

That said, I'd also be fine with these solutions. I just want the filter to work, one way or another, so it's not "tricking" us into breaking the rules.

Option #4 is "literally just don't allow a post to go up if it trips the filter", but I dunno if that's doable.


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Like KC I can't say that I consider swearing a big deal at all, but if the moderators really don't want it then I would support any of the proposed changes.

The thing about the way the filter currently works is that not only does it not really stop you from swearing, it endorses it. Somebody programmed it the way it is on purpose, after all - the filter detects swears, and then instead of getting rid of the word entirely or just not letting you post at all, it leaves it still pretty legible to anyone who knows what word it's supposed to be.

Conscious thought was dedicated to the question of 'what happens when people swear on our forum?', and the answer chosen was 'let it happen'. Of course people swear sometimes when that's the case.

Simply not letting that happen at all instead of making the moderators go around and clean up after the fact seems like it would save them a lot of grief in the long run.

Silver Crusade

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“Option #4 is "literally just don't allow a post to go up if it trips the filter", but I dunno if that's doable.”

That’s how the WoW forums handles it, don’t know if the PAIZO forums could or if it would make it crash.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The danger of 'not allowing profanity to post' is that those who would dog whistle would become even more obscure in their commentary but vastly more hurtful -- if they use common words that shouldn't be removed under normal circumstances.

I don't know how to fix for that -- sure, flagging options have changed, along with a willingness to suspend/ban offenders -- and the danger is manipulation of any hypothetical system.


I don't know if I understand what you're saying, Wei Ji. Are you alluding to slurs? Because slurs have always been 100% banned. And the f-word isn't and never will be a dogwhistle.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

More that 'if certain words get flagged because they are slurs', then folks will get more creative with their slurs/subtlety.

If that makes any sense?


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


More that 'if certain words get flagged because they are slurs', then folks will get more creative with their slurs/subtlety.

If that makes any sense?

Any word can be a swear-word/slur given the right context (or intonation, if spoken). If words get banned, then other words will be used (history proves this) until those are also banned.

I've long held the belief that it's not the words that are the problem.


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Dogwhistles are not worse than the actual slurs. This thread is also not about slurs. Anyone who tries to post a slur on Paizo should be prevented from doing so.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I don't know if I understand what you're saying, Wei Ji. Are you alluding to slurs? Because slurs have always been 100% banned. And the f-word isn't and never will be a dogwhistle.

A better example might be "Homo", which is/was a slur when referring to homosexuals but is perfectly proper usage in a discussion of hominin ancestor species, and which was notoriously flagged on the wizards.com message boards in the latter usage. Then there is the British town of Scunthorpe that was flagged as obscene by AOL and prevented anyone from that town from signing up with that Internet service. And there is an Austrian town name that I won't mention here because it is in fact the f-word.

So automated flagging of "bad words" can go awry since only a human being can properly judge context.


Well, it just so happens that the forum already has an automatic swear filter, and it didn't pick up any of those words, so... I'm not sure what problem you think exists?

She wasn't suggesting that the filter be made more sensitive, nor that the forum moderators be replaced with robots - 'ambiguous' words would still be allowed, and the mods would still be exercising their own judgement whenever necessary. This thread is suggesting improvements to what the forum already does, to be more in line with how the moderators are already choosing to deal with swear words.


Personally, I'd love to have the swear-filter have a smurf-conversion, especially if it could maintain part of speech. I feel like the extra vagueness as to which cussword people were using would help... and if things are heated enough that folks are pulling out cusswords, then the smurf-derail might also have some value.

"What a smurfing smurf."


It would probably actually just be, "What a smurf smurf." It depends, I guess.

Sovereign Court Director of Community

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I think the suggestion to replace it all with "smurf" would be fantastic, but take more work/resources than can be dedicated at this time (though I will discuss with our Director of Tech!).

Instead, I think adjusting the guidelines to read no excessive profanity or some variation, where it is clear one word here or there won't get removed but an every other word message would, is more feasible. Thoughts?


I honestly support any change that reduces the moderation workload in this department.


Tonya Woldridge wrote:

I think the suggestion to replace it all with "smurf" would be fantastic, but take more work/resources than can be dedicated at this time (though I will discuss with our Director of Tech!).

Instead, I think adjusting the guidelines to read no excessive profanity or some variation, where it is clear one word here or there won't get removed but an every other word message would, is more feasible. Thoughts?

I think this sounds like a great policy to move towards.


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Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Instead, I think adjusting the guidelines to read no excessive profanity or some variation, where it is clear one word here or there won't get removed but an every other word message would, is more feasible. Thoughts?

That is fantastically enlightened. It wouldn't change my posting habits personally because I don't find profanity-amplifier words useful here, but I'm philosophically aligned with the idea. I believe if you are disturbed by an occasional s-bomb, that's a choice and vulnerability you've taken on.

Obviously targeted profanity - like any other targeted speech - should be dealt with mercilessly. If you're calling someone names, you're on thin ice regardless of if that name is "flower" or a slur. And threats are threats, with or without reserved words.

There's a difference between asking if a bear <does its business> in the woods (which my current ursine lycanthrope character would like you to know has the answer "not exclusively") and going ballistic with adult language in an argument.

A flag for excessive/gratuitous profanity wouldn't be unwelcome. It'd leave it to the community at large to provide feedback. If a message gets flagged by a bunch of people, it's probably worth investigating. If it doesn't, it doesn't. If a couple forum visitors repeatedly flag simple messages, you'll quickly build up a list of people who are perhaps oversensitive.

Final thought. Personally I'm far more irked by someone who evades a profanity filter than someone who swears. There's something sociopathic about deliberately circumventing a community's chosen guidelines. I will always have a strong negative reaction to that. If the community chose less stringent guidelines that allowed occasional adult language, my "this person is evil" radar wouldn't be triggered.

I'd be fascinating to hear others' thoughts.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would definitely support the submit button just not working if your post contained a single swear word, no matter how minor, as long as it is not a word that also has a non-swear meaning, such as a synonym for donkey.


I love the smurfs idea. I'm curious to know what happens when you swear, so I will do so here, then edit it out

Ah. That's what happens. Also, perfect smurf for that


How in the smurf did you get a personalized smurf pic Kobold Catgirl?
Soooooo jealous.
As for the topic, I don't really care if I see English language swearwords, they are all pretty lame anyway, but replacing them with smurf would be hilarious. Have to be careful though or that certain Prestige class will become SmurfSmurfin, though that would be pretty cool too.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
WagnerSika wrote:

How in the smurf did you get a personalized smurf pic Kobold Catgirl?

Soooooo jealous.
As for the topic, I don't really care if I see English language swearwords, they are all pretty lame anyway, but replacing them with smurf would be hilarious. Have to be careful though or that certain Prestige class will become SmurfSmurfin, though that would be pretty cool too.

She got it by angering the all-seeing eye


Wottt! You folx are a bunch of smurf smurfing smurfs that wouldn’t know a smurfing smurf-smurf if it smurfed you in the smurf.

Ha. I love using my enhanced vocabulary to make incredibly gratuitously visceral replacements for regulah convasation because not doing so makes me dumm.

Look I get that folx think swear words are crass, or lazy (and had a Romanian friend who went to school in Texas and was told that swearing was just shorthand for using a range of other, more applicable and more specific words, and fully understand and support that stance) but sometimes, you want the added vehemence and power a beautifully launched epithet gives you.

Smurf.

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