The Chronicle's customer service and information blog

That one word

 

My new pet peeve, the thing that irritates me the most about moderating comments, is having to delete an excellent post because of one poorly chosen word that often is not even spelled out. Commenters will post a several-hundred word, carefully crafted argument and then in the last sentence throw in a four-letter word that is three-quarters asterisks. After burying my face in my hands for a few seconds, I dutifully click "remove" and as politely as possible ask them to repost an amended version.

They aren't all like that. Often it's just random foulness, but those are easy. It's the thoughtful ones that are difficult.

No one likes being told their word of choice is inappropriate. I can sympathize; I've had a few steely eyed editors delete entire paragraphs of mine without even a by your leave. I think they enjoy it. I guess that's what makes them editors.

In a forum such as ours, where anonymous people can post comments on the most controversial of topics, a set of standards and a trustworthy profanity filter are absolutely necessary. I've received some negative feedback about our profanity filter. I can add some of my own. It's mysteriously been turned off at one or two inopportune moments. Maybe someone in corporate is trying to keep me on my toes.

We can choose certain words and phrases for automatic deletion. George Carlin's seven dirty words you can never use on TV is a handy place to start, but in today's Internet-savvy world, it's not easy to keep track of every obscure acronym that pops into the head of a teenager in Muncie, Ind. And from there... the world. We have to use our best judgment.

You have no idea how much I wish I could give you a comprehensive list. Then I could just add them to the profanity filter and move on to the next issue. But as I recently told a commenter, there are too many clever people on our Web site who take it as a point of pride to find ways around our filter.

I'm regularly amazed at the new and interesting ways to spell parts of the anatomy and various bodily functions. Sometimes it's amusing, sometimes distressing, but regardless of intent or profanity-tolerance, we have a set of standards and we're sticking to them.

Don't let your comments fall prey to that one inappropriate word. If you feel the need to use random characters to spell a word, just don't use it. We're looking for "*@%&" and "^%&*" and don't forget "!#*%^" If we leave it, we will be asked to defend it. If I can't defend it, I'm removing it.

I'll have another column in Sunday's technology section, so look out for that and have a good weekend.

 

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Connor Threlkeld
711
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Connor Threlkeld 02/19/10 - 10:06 pm
0
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I feel your pain. Getting rid

I feel your pain. Getting rid of great comments because of one word is the worst part of moderating the comments system. I never have a problem getting rid of the bad ones, but it's hard to enforce the rule when the rest of the comment adds so much.

Petey Aitchess
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Petey Aitchess 02/20/10 - 11:41 am
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Excellent blog, Sean! Nice

Excellent blog, Sean! Nice comments, Connor. We understand. Thank y'all. Of course if you posted "the list" you'd have to suspend yourself. ;-)

Sean Moores
181
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Sean Moores 02/20/10 - 11:42 am
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Thanks Petey! Funny you

Thanks Petey! Funny you should say that. I did have some in my original version and um, lets just say it got "edited."

seenitB4
85152
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seenitB4 02/20/10 - 11:50 am
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Petey of all people giving

Petey of all people giving a thumbs up...Has the world stopped spinning & I didn't notice...haha just kidding petey...we all love u..

seenitB4
85152
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seenitB4 02/20/10 - 11:52 am
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Connor.... You must be the

Connor.... You must be the one who deep sixed my comments...& I can understand why you would feel the pain.lol

Petey Aitchess
0
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Petey Aitchess 02/20/10 - 05:09 pm
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PLEASE fix the "Latest

PLEASE fix the "Latest Comments" portion of the Discussion tab/page. That is by far the most useful page on this site for navigation.

Petey Aitchess
0
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Petey Aitchess 02/20/10 - 05:10 pm
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Somebody please report my

Somebody please report my 4:09pm post so that somebody at the AC will read it.

helpicantfindthespacebar
1
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helpicantfindthespacebar 02/21/10 - 02:18 am
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Sean, when in doubt about a

Sean, when in doubt about a creative spelling, you can always check a site called urbandictionary.com. It's quite an eye-opener.

Ayetidiosi
2
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Ayetidiosi 02/21/10 - 10:23 am
0
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Any robo filter will

Any robo filter will disregard context. Unfortunately, it appears many of us posters can express our comments above the level of comprehension of the moderator on duty. Eliminate the filter and use humans with comprehension skills. Works much better.

Sean's right: we will figure out how to get our thoughts expressed regardless of regulation imposed.

edieed321
0
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edieed321 02/21/10 - 10:39 am
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It beats "wow". And "like,you

It beats "wow". And "like,you know, awesome".

bettyboop
7
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bettyboop 02/21/10 - 12:55 pm
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I used to watch NASCAR with

I used to watch NASCAR with my husband upon occasion...lol I liked the wreaks and the intense conversations the drivers would have with someone they felt had purposely commited a wrong againest them....then( the powers that be) came in and called for a new PC NASCAR and lost many many viewers and true fans myself included......well now it seems that they the (big guys) have figured out they were boring the fans to tears we now have a "new(old) NASCAR ..let the drivers do what they do....leave the PC out of it......something the ("big guys") running this paper should look into.........

JustMe
0
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JustMe 02/21/10 - 04:47 pm
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So weird...I used the word

So weird...I used the word idiot in a ciomment and my comment was deleted however the other day someone said idiots in the Rants and raves, not a comment and it printed. Go figure!!!!

seenitB4
85152
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seenitB4 02/21/10 - 05:40 pm
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Still having trouble with the

Still having trouble with the discussion page...latest comments & part of page is missing...golly gee whiz can we get it fixed??

Petey Aitchess
0
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Petey Aitchess 02/22/10 - 06:40 am
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G'mornin, Sean, Happy Monday!

G'mornin, Sean, Happy Monday!

If you get a chance today, could you please explain what is offensive about the word "uppity"? According to The Merriam-Webster online dictionary, it is defined as follows:

"Main Entry: up·pi·ty
Pronunciation: \ˈə-pə-tē\
Function: adjective
Etymology: probably from up + -ity (as in persnickity, variant of persnickety)
Date: 1880

: putting on or marked by airs of superiority : arrogant, presumptuous

— up·pi·ti·ness also up·pi·ty·ness noun"

If this one is a "no-no" when used as "The word y'all are looking for is "uppity", please let us know so we can stop our transgressions.

seenitB4
85152
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seenitB4 02/22/10 - 07:24 am
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Petey .. You know it's the

Petey .. You know it's the rator at the time of posting... we need a time line of rators hours & their like & dislikes..lol Then we can have a level field..

cristinadh
6
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cristinadh 02/22/10 - 07:52 am
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they still get deleted...

they still get deleted...

Little Lamb
45276
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Little Lamb 02/22/10 - 09:24 am
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I agree with Petey and

I agree with Petey and SeenItB4: The "Latest Comments" page (reachable by clicking "Discussion" on the home page) is the most useful for navigation. But for some reason, the "Latest Comments" disappear for long periods of time.

seenitB4
85152
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seenitB4 02/22/10 - 09:46 am
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Golly Gee Whiz again...latest

Golly Gee Whiz again...latest comments comes & goes like GONE WITH THE WIND... Is this supposed to happen...during updates...let us know pls.

willienelson
5
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willienelson 02/22/10 - 09:53 am
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Has anyone noticed that the

Has anyone noticed that the discussion tab is not working this morning? I know I can't use %^&* but can I just use %^?

Little Lamb
45276
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Little Lamb 02/22/10 - 10:12 am
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Hey, SeenIt and Willie. I

Hey, SeenIt and Willie. I think I just figured it out. I just posted a web page link on a post to Glynn Moore's blog. The link is longer than the column width the Chronicle designers think is most pleasing. Well, the long link forces the "latest" blog posts from the middle column down to the bottom of the first column.

I know that the "latest" posts in the blogs is not exactly what we're talking about here about the "latest" posts on the Discussion tab, but I'll bet that it is long web page links that is messing up the page that comes up from the Discussion tab.

The one thing I can't figure out right now is that you would think that when there were enough follow-up posts to roll the offending web page link off that the "latest" comments page would start working again all by itself.

Little Lamb
45276
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Little Lamb 02/22/10 - 10:17 am
0
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If my hunch is correct, all

If my hunch is correct, all the ace programmers at the Chronicle would have to do is capture the web page url, but instead of displaying the url they would just insert the word Link into the post and, of course, make the word Link the hyperlink to the captured url.

I offer this consulting advice free of charge to the Chronicle.

Newsreader
11
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Newsreader 02/22/10 - 11:06 am
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I just want to know where the

I just want to know where the news went. The last day of the old site was packed full of articles. The new site came on line and I have not found where they have hidden the news. It seems that some articles have three or more links to them. I can find several reference to Tiger Woods, and Victoria's Perfume. But those are not news. Can anyone help me find the factual content on the new site?

seenitB4
85152
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seenitB4 02/22/10 - 11:08 am
0
0
Thanks littlelamb but my

Thanks littlelamb but my mind is so tired I think I'll just go google something..

Fiat_Lux
15043
Points
Fiat_Lux 02/22/10 - 12:11 pm
0
0
I long for the links to

I long for the links to simple, complete lists of articles (ie, "Today's Stories" with all the stories from a day's edition, and the lists from preceding days in an archive) from days of yore. Alas.

And, Sean, old pal, in my weekly whine, I want the comment archive BACK(!!) WITH the ability to link directly to a specific comment in a specific article. My life has been changed in a way I DO NOT LIKE!!! Who has time to scan everything to find a specific orienting comment, sometimes out of hundreds? *whine*

So, tell your minders that it IS a priority, a very high priority, that must be dealt with post haste. After all, it's been years since the new site came online.

Also, what's with the on-again, off-again availability of html tags for comments?

Sean Moores
181
Points
Sean Moores 02/22/10 - 12:29 pm
0
0
Hey everybody, The Latest

Hey everybody, The Latest Comments section on the Discussion page is being looked at right now. It's a strange intermittent problem. Jonathan Dozier (the hardest working man at the Chronicle by the way) is figuring it out.

Sean Moores
181
Points
Sean Moores 02/22/10 - 12:33 pm
0
0
The html tags were changed by

The html tags were changed by corporate without our input. Jonathan and I both agree that is a nice feature that gives all of you more customization - something we want more of not less of. I think we can get that back. Stay tuned.

Sean Moores
181
Points
Sean Moores 02/22/10 - 12:37 pm
0
0
helpicantfindthespacebar,

helpicantfindthespacebar, Urban Dictionary is bookmarked on my browser. I used to think that if I didn't understand it most people wouldn't understand it, but in the brave new world it is essential.

Sean Moores
181
Points
Sean Moores 02/22/10 - 12:47 pm
0
0
Ayetidiosi et al, I'm not a

Ayetidiosi et al, I'm not a big fan of the profanity filter, but it is a necessity. If commenters are cryptic enough to get past the moderators than most people won't understand either. Then of course others who do understand can report it and we'll take it from there.

Sean Moores
181
Points
Sean Moores 02/22/10 - 12:57 pm
0
0
JustMe, From my standpoint

JustMe, From my standpoint getting rid of insults between posters is the most important step we are taking in the new moderation. We want more people to feel comfortable commenting. I don't pick the rants and raves. I will talk to the people who do though. We need to be consistent. Just remember that politicians can be called idiots. This is after all America.

Fiat_Lux
15043
Points
Fiat_Lux 02/22/10 - 01:32 pm
0
0
I personally think we should

I personally think we should be allowed to call each other idiots as well, if we can do it creatively and with levity instead of rank hatefulness and obscenity.

'Tis a pleasure to be savored, even when the target is one's self.

A well-crafted, timely-executed insult is a thing of beauty, and a joy forever. People should be paid to help us maintain our perspective. Otherwise, we're left to arise from our beds, and, going to our mirrors, to chant at our aging reflections, "You're just not that big a deal, you're just not that big a deal..."

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