The latest widely-experienced problem with the FreeForums sites is a new [ridiculous] system of word censoring that they have recently brought into effect.
Apart from the fact that no pre-warning was given to forum admins about this extra cenorship, all forums already have a word censorship option in place - but this new crazy idea (which is apparently being implemented by the advertising sponsors) overrides any existing format - and is simply causing havoc on all FreeForums sites.
There is currently a long thread on the Support Forum, headed 'Turn off word censor' - full of complaints from FF admins, highlighting the problems that FF forum users are now experiencing since this new feature was brought in: ( [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ... 1&t=136533 )
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] (BTW: Admins & moderators of the forums cannot see these censored words and have no control over what is happening). This may explain why recently I have noticed the quoting in some posts has gone completely skew-whiff and some posts are now garbled to the point of showing as quite meaningless! - It was only after reading the following complaint on the Support Forum, that I realised what is causing the problem in those posts.) [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Re: Turn off word censor
As far as a single censored word is concerned (even when unjustly marked as abusive or inappropriate) it's not such a big deal yet. From the text context you can derive the meaning and if not, it is possible for users to read the uncensored text when using the QUOTE function. This does not mean that this unnecessary and unsolicitated censoring is acceptable, of course .
But when half (or more) of a posting is completely garbled, it's an entirely different matter. In this way part of our board will be unreadable for most users.
Kindly discuss this with your Tech Staff and revert back as soon as possible.
Here is the explanation we have been given:
As you may have noticed, we have started to filter certain questionable words from appearing in posts. We are also begin to filtering adult images. The words and content are still posted, but they are filtered from view. There are a couple of reasons why the filters are in place.
1) The Terms of Service do not allow for for obscene and vulgar language or content. To help insure no one is offended by the language, we are inserting "***" so the meaning is conveyed with the use of the actual words. If a post contains too many vulgar or hateful words/images, it will likely trigger the entire post to be removed.
2) The other reason for implementing the filters, being perfectly honest, is financial. Advertisers do not allow their ads to appear next to content that is deemed obscene or vulgar. And to help insure the content is eligible for advertising, we are filtering the words and images.
Alternatives to see unfiltered content:
If the board elects to pay for an ad free site, then content will not be filtered
In the next couple of weeks, we will add an option to allow boards that elect to have ad-free, also elect to only see filtered content.
Thank you for understanding the need to provide a safe environment for members and for advertisers.
A few examples of the many complaints from that thread above:
Re: Turn off word censor
all swear words are being censored and replaced by asterisks. None of these words are set in Word censoring, they are being censored automatically.
Lots of frustration on our site over the word censorship. We're a book and literature discussion forum, discussing the topic of rape in a particular literary work, and suddenly the word "rape" is filtered out. This isn't an obscenity -- it's a legitimate (and serious) topic of conversation. Would love to understand what words are on the censored list. This really seems like it's going too far.
Not sure the admins actually understand censorship.
I could call someone a fetid smegma-coated small-peckered goat molester with no problems, but a b*****d is censored? I know which one is far more offensive.
Also, hope you don't have anyone who resides in the UK town of Scunthorpe.
It isn't just obscene language that's being censored, even the word sex is being turned into asterisks, which is ridiculous. It's also messing up the quoting function by removing the (quote) when a censored post is quoted.
Have to agree, I have never heard of sex being a swear word, censoring it is over the top, you might as well censor pants if your going to that extreme !
I fully agree and support obscene language and image censorship but keep it sensible!