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Old 03-27-2018, 01:10 AM   #1
Talon87
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Microsoft to ban "offensive language" from Skype, Xbox, Office

"Microsoft will ban 'offensive language' and 'inappropriate content' from Skype, Xbox, Office and other services on May 1, claiming it has the right to go through your private data to 'investigate.'"

Source via Reddit

1. Seems pretty ridiculous to censor profanity on private channels like Skype or Office.

2. What some people don't seem to realize is, censor a profane word and people will create a new word or retrofit an old word to take its place.

3. Will I get in trouble for linking to Cee Lo on Skype? What about George Carlin?

4. What happens when a word is profane in one context but is culturally accepted (bordering on protected) in another? An easy example is "nigger", a racial slur that has been worn as a badge of honor for the past 30 years by those it was originally intended to denigrate. I can't see banning this word outright going down well, considering the word's prevalence in the media produced by and for an entire culture -- to wage war on the word would be construed by many as waging war on the culture itself. A milder second example is "ass", a curse word that has lost all edge in modern times but would still be considered impolite at the Christian dinner table -- unless of course one is discussing the Bible, in which case "ass" most probably refers to the donkey. And speaking of Carlin, we may as well consider "bitch", "cock", and "tit" while we're at it looking at "ass". Certainly the use of "bitch" as a word for "female dog" has fallen out of use, so strong is the association with the curse, but there remain contexts where it would be applicable. What about "douche" in the context of a gynecological discussion? What about "douche" merely speaking French? Doucher? While we're on that train of thought, what happens when people seek to circumvent your blanket ban on "nigger" by writing "niger" instead? You can't very well ban an entire country's name, can you? What happens when we're talking about retardants? What happens when those seeking to circumvent a ban on "retard" start speaking in code and referring to the mentally handicapped as "retardants" because you've whitelisted that word? Now we're back to No.2 on my list.

So we'll see, I guess. Like so many things online these days, this story seems like it could be blowing things well out of proportion, that nothing will ultimately come of this. But who knows? The deadline is set for May 1 -- only a little over one month away -- so I guess we'll have our answer soon enough.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:01 AM   #2
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This sounds like an April fools joke to me. And honestly it might very well be, opting for May instead of April to make it less obvious.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:37 AM   #3
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If it is, it's in extremely poor taste and there will be firings at Microsoft for it. I highly doubt it's a joke.

Rather, this is consistent with what I've heard about sweeping changes rolling through online gaming, "anti-toxic" rules to prevent a negative gameplay experience. Cannot swear, denigrate, or say anything in a negative context to other players. Not, "do this and you are punished", you are censored to the point of non-communication. Almost like a "hellban".

It also coincides with Google's initatives to ban Android forks from using GAPPs and the current Facebook fiasco.

The common trend is tech companies are trying to assert a greater control over their right to your biometrics, which is increasingly becoming the business model for many companies. Google, Facebook thrive off the data mine. Microsoft included telemetry in Windows 10 just to begin taking advantage of it. I was shocked to discover my DigitalOcean server already has a program installed on it - Google Analytics!

So, to actually stay on topic...I don't think Microsoft cares too much about profanity, but is using this as an excuse to exert more control over data. It sets the precedent for them to push the envelope, as a discretionary right to look at your information violates pretty much every privacy policy I've ever read.
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:01 PM   #4
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Microsoft's stuff went off the deep end as far as I am concerned a while ago, those ***. I guess that makes me a luddite.

Last edited by Hunter; 04-04-2018 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 04-06-2018, 02:36 PM   #5
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I know this is a thread about censorship, but can we avoid using racial slurs flippantly?
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:09 PM   #6
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I know this is a thread about censorship, but can we avoid using racial slurs flippantly?
Agreed. I edited it out as well. It's one thing to say it in this sort of context (still questionable, sort of), it's another to refer to someone specific with that term.


Regardless, I feel that this is a really way ineffective to address offensive language. Even Obama's memoirs had obscenities in it. Context matters and we're a long way off any AI from understanding that.
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