We all know automatic profanity filters on message boards and elsewhere on the Internet can be ridiculously and unimaginatively strict. But the problem is much worse: Sometimes, it sees swearwords inside other words. Thus, you can get hilarious Malapropers — like "hecko" instead of "hello", or "teasfecesn" instead of "teaspoon" — or else you get results like "cl***" instead of "class", ironically making those words more profane, not less. Assuming of course that the filter doesn't outright censor the whole message and ban you from the board.
This is known as the Scunthorpe Problem, after an incident in 1996 when AOL's rather simple-minded dirty-word filter prevented residents of several English towns and counties — among them Scunthorpe, Penistone, Lightwater and Middlesex — from creating accounts with AOL because it matched strings within the town names to "banned" words. Since it also checked the town names against the postal codes, users from these towns could not get around it by entering modified versions of the names — they were darned if they did, darned if they didn't. It's also known as the "clbuttic mistake". The ubiquity of the trope suggests that the profanity filter industry employs a lot of very lazy programmers. Read this to see what they likely have to wrestle with.
And of course when anyone reads some bizarrely censored text, they are absolutely going to assume that you swore like a drunken sailor at them, with either terrible or hilarious results.
Compare Censored for Comedy. See also The Problem with Pen Island. May overlap with Have a Gay Old Time.
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AOL once banned users from putting the word "horsemen" in their profiles. Sucked for anyone who wanted to mention the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or talk about Ric Flair!
Amazon.com's profanity filters will delay or block reviews or comments with "four-letter"" words, even if these are buried inside the name of the author of the work being reviewed (for example, Yamashita).
AT&T has banned numerous words from use as or in usernames, including some not normally considered offensive, and it will not tell people the words they can't use. At least one anecdotal account reports that a complaining user was told he should change his name in order to avoid the filter.
Atlus' forums have this issue with the Persona Yoshitsune, and is replaced with Yo####sune instead.
On the World of Warcraft and Battle.net forums, "rape" is censored. Want to talk about and link that Drape of the Twins your guild's healer obtained in the Bastion of Twilight? You're SOL, sorry. Also, "Nazi" is censored, but not "Hitler" or "Soviet."
Of course one could subvert this filter. Just add a space, bold the space and delete the space. This fools the word filter into thinking that the word is "ra[b][/b]pe" rather than "rape," but not the typical forum user or the reply box.
The BBC online chatrooms always used to automatically censor the word 'shat'. This caused discussions about Star Trek, featuring that great actor William S***ner, to become a whole different experience. After several complaints from users, the word was (quietly) removed from the automatic censor.
Bethesda Softworks' Official Forums censor the word "handbag" to "han***" because of a word most users will not know without recourse to the Urban Dictionary.
Don't try to say Homo Sapiens on Bungie.net. Why? Because they will be -blam!- Sapiens. Yes, the filter replaces swears with -blam!-, as it was Halo's second codename. The first one was Monkey Nuts, and was changed when Bungie founder Jason Jones (no relation to the one on The Daily Show) wanted to tell his mother about the game.
They have a similar problem with naming a custom map in Halo 3. Among others, you can't use the word assault... even though there's a game type called "Assault"!
The BIONICLE fansite BZPower has run afoul of this from time to time. For instance, the word "mod" filters to "moderator", a filter put in place early in the site's life to discourage discussion of rival fansite Mask of Destiny (commonly abbreviated as MoD). However, this poses problems in discussions of "mods" (modifications) for sets, and such discussions come up fairly frequently. Additionally, a lot of even minor insults like "jerk" would filter to #### or "idiot" to "cool dude" (Both words that actually appear in BIONICLE media) in order to discourage flaming, which made a line in an official BIONICLE short story posted to the site by BIONICLE writer Greg Farshtey seem shockingly profane. Most members simply learn to alter their vocabulary since BZPower has well-enforced rules against bypassing the word filter in any way. Most mods (moderators) recognize that some filtered words are silly or out-of-date and that the filter is in major need of an update, but they still enforce the rule against bypassing the word filter so new members don't think that putting spaces between letters is allowed for serious infractions.
On the old Broadway.com message boards, talking about your favorite stars like D*ck Cavett or D*ck van D*ke could be problematic.
Chaoticgame.com had a similar problem with its own censor, but the moderators created a white list of all non-profanity words to fine tune the censor software and fix the issue.
The Chicago Sun-Times censors words like 'sex' and 'rape' in its comments section, presumably out of porn fears, but it can make it annoyingly awkard trying to comment on certain types of articles. And for some odd reason, 'wife' is censored as well.
The forums at City-Data.com have word filters that make it impossible to say "He graduated magna cum laude." without "cum" being blocked.
The Comics Curmudgeon once had a problem with the comment system spam filter catching posts containing "MILF" when Gil Thorp, a comic regularly discussed on the site, takes place in a town called "Milford".
Cracked censors the "jap" in "Japan". Considering that almost half of their articles are about how crazy Japan is (the other half being dick jokes), this is quite annoying. An article can say all seven dirty words with no censorship, yet they feel the need to censor the comments section. This is made even more ludicrous because CRACKED's primary demographic consists of 18-34 year old males, who would have no need for a filter. One can turn off the filter, as there is a button that says "show profanity". But it's always on by default, and one must switch off the filter for every individual article.
Not to mention the "cum" in "documentary" and the "cock" in "shuttlecock" or "cockerel", though as of this writing it does not censor anything containing "dick."
The DC Comics Message Boards had this problem, too. You couldn't discuss one of comics' most well-known heroes, Dick Grayson (aka the original Robin), without that first name being censored. What made things worse is that, as Nightwing, the character whose name you couldn't even mention had his own dedicated board for fans to not mention him in!
The DDR Freak forums have always had a swear filter. Yes, it's been known to catch a few innocent words at times. Notably there is a DDR song called Little Bitch. It got censored to Little Fish on the old forums, and on the newer ones it was Little Doggy. However, bypassing the filter with html markup not only worked fine, but is actually allowed, even if the profanity is intentional. The admins just think people getting censored when they are angry is funny, and then getting even angrier when other people cuss just fine is even funnier.
The Discovery Channel forums once censored fart (that's right. They considered the word fart to be obscene), leading the word "farther" to become ***her.
The Doctor Who Answers site previously had this problem with TARDIS being blocked because it contained the term 'tard'.
ESPN.com's filters apply only to the user comments, not to the writers themselves, so you could be directly quoting the article on which you're commenting and end up getting censored. (This was particularly bad when "Boobie" Gibson was involved; thankfully, the nickname seems to have passed and all references to him use his actual first name.) Oddly enough, "eff" is considered out of the question, which is unfortunate considering that Bill Simmons was the one who popularized the idea of the "No Effing Way Game".
Likewise, players of their online Poker client will find themselves talking about a player getting a *ll house, or how aw*l their luck is.
Final Fantasy fan-forum Eyes on Final Fantasy filtered "lol" to "I cried aloud in mirth and merriment", intended to prod users towards lessening their usage of chatspeak. It also changes "fuck" to "smurf" and "shit" gets replaced by a line of White Mage emoticons.
Facebook revised their censor for people's names about a year ago; before then, people whose last name was "Gay" had to come up with something else.
Their in-game chats still have censors, which can run into this type of problem sometimes.
Facebook chat's habit of disallowing swearing caused some unintentional hilarity here.◊
Fark.com has various filters, that it replaces in words (and even between words, not counting the spaces, so "wish it" would become "wishiat"). Shit is replaced with "Shiat", Bitch replaced with "Biatch", Fuck with the site name, Nigger replaced with "attractive and successful African-American", and Nigga replaced with "Nubian" (thus, "niggardly" becomes "nubianrdly".) It would also render this trope's title as the Scoonthorpe Problem. It's usually Played for Laughs: Fark doesn't have a problem with autofiltering; it enjoys every minute of it.
Not only will it filter across spaces, it will filter backwards. When you combine the two, it can lead to great confusion and amusement. As an example, an article was once posted where someone was shot for egging a car. All occurrences of the phrase "For egging" were replaiced with "Fonaibung".
While not profanity, the phrase "first post" is filtered to "boobies". This eventually lead to the word "boobiesulated". Similarly, "first comment" becomes "Weeners", and "last post" becomes "minimum post" (even on the profile page). The most well-known example within the site is when a "this day in history" post of "Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General of the United States" was translated to "the boobiesmaster General of the United States"
Over at the GameFAQs forums, Japanese named like "Shizuru", "Shizuka", "Fukurou", etc. were once blocked on account of the first four letters. It got worse when the superhero movie Hancock was publicized, but at least the latter was corrected.
It skips over line breaks, which can make it frustrating when trying to compose a list (at least until you learn that putting a space just before the line break fixes it without being visible.)
The GameFAQs boards for the Disgaea series makes it really hard to discuss top-tier equipment, since the regular Infinity+1 Sword of the series is named 'Yoshitsune'.
GameFAQs also ignores return characters when checking for banned words - even though it does count spaces - meaning people producing un-punctuated lists often end up vexed by claims of profanity that spans between lines.
The Mons game Robopon 2 featured a line of monsters that were thieves. Atlus decided to name one of these monsters after a famous thief from another work of fiction (Robopon is filled with Shout Outs). Thus, they chose Fagin from Oliver Twist. Thanks to this trope, the (numerous) Robopon lists have it listed as F*gin.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had a little scooter called the "Faggio", made "***gio" on the GameFAQs boards. Appropriate given it's an Italian feminine word for "beech" but still.
The Giant in the Playground forums used to use a filter that would replace any text deemed to be racist with [racist language is not allowed], and obscene words for male of female genitalia with [male genitalia] or [female genitalia]. Which resulted in several discussions about someone looking for a [racist language is not allowed] in his armour, and one forum member having his forum name automatically changed to "Nigh[female genitalia]ch".
The IMDb boards keep mild swearing but replace worse words with *beep*. For example, "ass" is allowed, while its derivative, "asshole", is beeped and as a further result, talking about Alfred Hitchcock is more or less impossible. The censorship policy also beeps certain Japanese words with worse swear words within them, such as "dashitara" and "Odago"note for the anti-Italian slur "dago", both of which are perfectly okay. This occasionally makes talking about characters in Japanese films a problem - Yoshitoki Kuninobu's name being rendered as *beep* Kuninobu, for example.
They had to allow the word "Pussy", after a minor outcry by James Bond fans.
Marx Brothers fans have difficulty referring to Harpo's trademark funny face, called the "Gookie," because the word contains the ethnic slur "gook" within it.
JournalFen, famous as the home of Fandom Wank, blocks any comment (without explanation, for added confusion) with the word "cialis"note Trademark for tadalafil, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction in it, making it difficult comment about socialism or specialists or similar things. Before being widely known (and occasionally since), this led to some users wondering what the site admins had against socialist ideology. The Fandom Wank wiki gives advice on dealing with this.
It inexplicably was also keyed specifically to that capitalization, so anyone actually talking about Cialis® was able to do so.
Kissthisguy.com, about misheard song lines and mondegreens, will not let you make ***sumptions about the words you thought you were listening to. Nor any other word containing the string "ass".
Online card game Kongai has a character named Higashi, The master. Kongregate's own forum doesn't have any kind of censor, but sometimes hilarity ensues when talking about the character on another forum.
The Let's Play Forum has installed a word-filter that turns "lol" into "I lick old ladies" as a way of making fun of those who overuse the acronym. However, not only has it failed to prevent clueless newbies from spamming the phrase in every one of their posts, but it's also caused problems fora certain user who LPed Adventures of Lolo.
Specifically, any phrase that has both a sexual-sounding word and a word for any family member hidden somewhere in it—for example, "unclean horsemen"—gets blocked, because apparently it could somehow be referring to incest or something.
Ludia has admitted to this problem in their games. Among the things which trigger their swear filter are screwdriver, Saturday, scrap, and basement. It also tries to catch people trying to circumvent the filter, by also censoring "hore", which hits "shore" and "chores". Then the filters looking for Spanish cussing also hits "reputation". It also censors the "hoo" in "hooray", perhaps because "hoo hoo" is a euphemism for the vagina in some regions.
Marvel.com censors the word "homo", despite the name of the mutant race in their very popular X-Men comics being "Homo Superior", or Namor belonging to the species "Homo mermanus".
Meebo Rooms tries to prevent people from circumventing the swear filter by ignoring hyphens when looking for swear words. This leads to a lot of false positives when taking about Post-Its. Typing "is hit" or any word that ends with the letter "S" before Hitler, saying "finishit, or Simpson's HitN'Run is difficult too. The phrase Sit on my face is also censored, oddly enough, as it is probably rare among anyone aside from the more savvy Monty Python fans.
The movie review site Mr. Cranky has fun with its profanity filter: Offensive words in posts come out as "Melanie Griffith".
At one point, MSN news article comments sections censored Muslim swear words - unfortunately, some of these words were incredibly common in English.
Here's an example from ms-news.net with a post from an aspiring ***embly programmer who can't find any do***entation. assembly and documentation.
And another, from someone having a problem with Se***emCount() (SetItemCount).
A Myst-related chatroom that bleeped the innocent words "manuscript" (for containing the word "anus"), "Uranus" (for the same reason), and "shell" (for containing the word "hell"). Some fora-members still use "m***cript" or "mcript" as an Unusual Euphemism...
Neopets used to have this problem on its forums. Saying the word firetruck would get censored. Also, too bad if your RP character's wearing a bikini — it'd inevitably get switched to "cardigan".
It got worse recently, where the filter for Neomail (Essentially private messages) played this trope painfully straight. Words such as "something", "document", "circumstances", "facepalm", "hello", birdy, "skill", and so on would be blocked.
"Uncle" is also not allowed, for some reason.
They're also not very fond of "isn't it", "doesn't it", or anything of the sort.
A Nickelodeon-related forum once censored the word "fag", reasonable enough, right? Except anytime that someone mentioned Bill "Patrick Star" Faggerbakke, the last name became "f*ggerbakke" (without the capitalization, either!)
That, and the less risque Rodger "Squidward Tentacles" Bumpass.
Did that come out as "***p***"? That would have been hilarious.
The (now defunct) Nintendo of Europe forums had this problem with a certain legendary bird Pokémon called Ho-Oh.
The Spanish forums had this with the word "Rojo" (literally "Red"; blame Spanish history), which made talking about, say, Pokémon Red and Blue kind of hard.
The Christian news Web site "One News Now" automatically changes "gay" to "homosexual" in wire reports. It was pretty funny when Tyson Gay ran a 9.68-second 100-meter dash to win the event in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials — the resulting headline was 'Homosexual Sent to Olympics'.
It gets better — the censored headline was accurate. Beijing also featured the first outed homosexual to win an Olympic gold medal, Australian diver Matthew Mitcham.
For a while, the RPGamer forum on the Final Fantasy series made things difficult to talk about the character designer, Yoshitaka Amano. To the webmasters' credit, they later just pulled the entire filter.
Sega Forums has a swear filter that replaces swears with smiley faces. This causes words like "assassin" to be rendered as :):):):):):)in, much to the annoyance of many forumgoers.
The MySpace-like social networking site Sitemodel.net was run by some very strict Christians, so not only were cuss words censored (and even words containing cuss words), but also words like "devil" and "Satan". The word "anal" was also curiously censored, and this turns the word "canal" into "c***". The mostly secular role players who moved to the site after MySpacechanged its look and gave the site most of its traffic constantly complained about this in the site's suggestion blog, but to no avail, until the site's owner decided to create a separate site for them called Roleplayer.me, with fewer rules. Then so many flocked to this site and abandoned Sitemodel that it was eventually forced to shut down.
Popjustice, a music forum, censored the word "bitch", replacing it with a long condemnation of the term. This made it pretty difficult to discuss songs like Sexy Bitch or any lyrics using the word. The filter was removed pretty sharpish due a deluge of complaints, although still remains for the word "chav", and also turns ROFL into "I am a gaping bumhole". The forum owner is strict about using proper English, to say the least.
Slashdot's lameness filter appears to impose a limit of four times that "troll" can be used in a post. This forces people discussing game controllers to self-censor themselves, such as use of "gamepad" in this post.
Invoked by Something Awful. Though profanity flows freely and edited posts have "[username] fucked around with this message at [timestamp]" added to them, it has swear filter only for unregistered viewers to make the forum uncomfortable to read for them. The filter replaces several words with "gently caress", "poo poo", and "stinkyhole".
The word "asshole" is censored to "rear end in a top hat".
B3ta dabbled with a similar system, the cranberries.
A long time ago there was a filter changing "sir" to "fag" after creator Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka got sick of posters constantly addressing each other by "good sir." It was eventually taken out, but for months everyone was eating fagloin steaks and hearing fagens.
The Spore forum does this, censoring any swear for "SPORE". And, inevitably, new members who type SPORE in all capitals when talking about the game are mistaken for swearing and placed under close scrutiny.
While we're on the Sporum, as it is called, they censor "Roblox", thanks to a spamming spree relating to said website. And also "sperm", which has problems for people trying to talk about whales.
Even then, they don't bother to censor Flash items in user signatures, or fix the problem with UBBC code bypassing the censor (example: f[b][/b]uck). Actually, the whole forum is a massive goddamn mess, and it needs to be seen: Right here.
Spring.me (formerly known as Formspring) has this problem when you're viewing a comment and you aren't signed in. For example, "hyperness" shows up as "hy***ess". Strangely enough, it also censors the word "stupid". And the word "fig" (try and ***ure out why...)
The Steam Forums have a Scunthorpe Problem. Any banned character string is replaced with hearts (complete with colour-formatting code to make them pink), no matter where in the post it was. You can't even link them to this page when trying to complain about it, because the very name of this trope triggers the auto-replace, which screws up the hyperlinks.
TalkCity did this in their chatrooms, which caused a lot of problems in the chatrooms devoted to pet discussion. Words like 'Cockatiel','Cockapoo' and 'Cocker Spaniel' got hit with the censor. (chatters got around the cockatiel problem by just calling the birds 'tiels', or clockatiel and cocker spaniel became clocker spaniel. Or a zero was subbed in: c0ckatiel,c0cker spaniel.)The site is still open, but whether anything has changed is hard to say.
The Unforgotten Forums had (or has if it comes back) only two censored words. "Fuck" is changed to "boink". And "Will" is changed to "Rob''. The site's creator put in that joke because of his fiancée's "views" on Will Smith, but it sometimes got annoying.
Who Sampled censors every instance of slurs in titles and people names, which comes across not only as annoying (as in the examples above, Yoshitaka becomes "Yo***aka", and so on), but also as hypocritical: being primarily a site about samples in rap and hip-hop songs, words like "bitch", "whore" and "niggaz" aren't exactly uncommon.
In Whuddle World, not only are swears filtered, but certain non-swearing religious words. (Ostensibly, religious discussion is disallowed because of the emotional response involved, potentially creating an atmosphere that they don't want to foster.) In any case, running afoul of the filter keeps the whole message from being posted. And you can't go back and make a few edits unless you stuck it in Notepad or something first. The chat just tells you "Inappropriate message." to keep innocent eyes from seeing the word "Hello!", while the forums display "Stop swearing." regardless of the class of inappropriateness you have unwittingly tried to post.
The old Wizard World comic book forums back in the late 90's and early 00's had this problem. It was very noticable when someone wanted to talk about famous comic artist, Dave Cockrum.
The Wizards of the Coast message boards used to filter out 'cock' which is understandable enough, except that it led to interesting exchanges involving crossbows, handguns and body language. "I got into an argument with a player once when he insisted that he could *** his gun quietly enough to avoid detection by the guard next to him." or in the roleplay forums "She ***ed her head and smiled..." or "How many rounds does it take to *** your crossbow?"
When the expansion set Champions of Kamigawa was released, some (presumably younger) members of the community were highly amused by the fact that it could be abbreviated to CoK. The moderators cracked down hard on this, insisting that the set's abbreviation is CHK and that calling it anything else constitutes disruptive behaviour, which was against the Code of Conduct (or CoC, an abbreviation which the moderators didn't object to at all).
It doesn't help that the shipped product correctly lists the set code as "COK" followed by the contents: Booster packs. COK Boosters.
Magic Online had a notoriously restrictive swear filter. "Damn" was verboten, despite numerous Magic cards existing with "damned" or "damnation" in the titles (and, indeed, one card existing whose entire name is "Damnation"). The card "Deep Analysis" suffered from a similar problem. "Mick" is also censored thanks to it being an old slur against Irish Catholics
The Gatherer Magic card database's discussion section has a similar problem. You get the old standby cl***ic, as well as the somewhat less common cir***navigate. Not to mention ***ulative upkeep, a (now outdated) rule that appears quite often in older cards.
Somewhat strange in that first case, given the the full name of the 6th edition core set is Classic Sixth Edition...
On the World Of Warcraft information board, 'Wowhead', the censorship renders 'cock' into a line of asterisks. This shows most clearly in discussions about the minipet, the ***roach. The word 'snatch' is also censored, leading to interesting discussions on the ability of the Bird Of Prey hunter pet: *** (a disarm where the bird grabs the enemy's weapon).
The Xbox forums censor the word hell. This is all fine and dandy until you're talking about Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway.
Occasionally a site will consider "yahoo" to be offensive. One site that does so? Yahoo.
The Brazilian yahoo site has a weird problem. You can't use "fica" or words with those four letters (signiFICAr, etc) in it. Now, "fica" means "stay" in Portuguese, nothing in English but the abbreviation of some law and "cunt" in Italian. However, bad words in Portuguese aren't censored. Nor are bad words in English. And nor are other bad words in Italian. So, the reason for a perfectly common Portuguese word or termination to be censored shall forever remain a mystery.
YTMND used to have this problem. This page pokes fun at it.
Zug.com uses a profanity filter that substitues the names of famous poets for swears. This led to a Scunthorpe Problem when an article was written citing "John Belushi, then the leader of..."; the writer left out the comma and space after "Belushi," turning the sentence into "John Belu Shakespearehen the leader of...."
One chatroom banned the use of the word "gif" so people couldn't post pornographic images. The word "gift" always appeared as "*CENSORED*t."
Not an attempt at censorship, but the principle is the same: Some message boards and instant message services will try to convert typographic emoticons into equivalent graphical smileys. Things get weird when you try to talk about Windows XP or quote from the King James Bible, which finishes a lot of parenthetical statements with colons or semicolons.
It also raises problems if you make an enumerated list that contains at least 8 elements, or write out a calculation that uses both parentheses and an 8, as 8) is rendered as a face with sunglasses.
Deviant ART's can even screw up URLs this way, including ones inside HTML hyperlink tags.
There's also some Wiki software used that also makes a mess of any TLAs you throw at it.
Many forums forget to censor the special character SOFT HYPHEN (U+00AD), which can be typed on Windows as Alt+0173 (that's hold ALT then type 0173 on the number pad) or on Linu as Ctrl+Shift+U, A, D, Enter. A soft hyphen is ordinarily used to break words at the end of a line but doesn't show up otherwise. Thus a crafty user can get away with liberal use of f----ucks and ba-s--ta---rds (and other banned strings) all day long, since they're not identical to what's in the filter. Usually ends with a ban though.
One online script for Sweeney Todd censors Mrs. Lovett's line about "popping pussies into pies". However, she's talking about cats.
A fifth-generation Pokémon by the name of "Cofagrigus" has created this problem.
The in-game Global Trade Station is designed to reject any Pokémon who have offensive nicknames. At the moment, "fag" is on the list of banned words, which means every Cofagrigus traded on the GTS is either non-English or nicknamed. At least Cofagrigus is an evolved Pokémon.
Which means that when innocent children have learned why they can't put up their Cofagrigus on the GTS, they've also learned the offending word. Great planning there, guys.
Pineco, has the same problem and is not an evolved Pokémon. And Ho-oh, which is a legendary. Oddly, the words "pine" and "ho" are only banned in Generation V. (At least for Ho-Oh, you must have owned one to trade for it.)
Weedle, Marshtomp, or Skuntank are also banned because of their names.
Nosepass and Probopass are still unable to be traded without a nickname, though Cofagrigus has at least been fixed.
French people are suffering similar problems with their Seismitoad, or Crapustule as they call them.
There's also the Bulbasaur line, which is likely a bit confusing to anyone who doesn't speak German...'Sau' is German for 'Pig', and is used as an insult like it is other places. Thus, you can't trade a non-nicknamed member of that family either. (Ironically, the German names for those Pokémon don't actually contain the offending syllable in the first place. In ascending order, they're "Bisasam", "Bisaknosp", and "Bisaflor" — no "Sau" in sight.)
Pokémon X and Y got hit with this hard when it comes to nicknaming your Pokémon, far moreso than the GTS in Gen V.
Actually used as a plot device in Goblins' Tempts Fate 9. The dragon says his name is so powerful that "If I were to say my name to you, you'd find yourself sucked into a black plot-hole from which time, space and bad writing cannot escape," so the name is censored. But then the second half of the word "destroy" gets censored.
At least one board replaces "or egg in" with "onubian" due to a racial slur spelled backwards.
One board censors the string "tard" because it's a slur against people with mental disabilities...which leads to the ironic censorship "bas***".
One release of PHPBB would allow all of the "7 dirty words" but would change the N-Word into "n1663r", and the name "Turner" into "Phillpe J. Suckmonger." Changes references to the racist novel The Turner Diaries into "The Phillipe J. Suckmonger Diaries" but it also meant you couldn't speak about how Ted <s>Turner</s> started Cartoon Network and CNN, err I mean Ted Phillipe J. Suckmonger started television networks like Cartoon Network and CNN. But you could say that Ted T.urner did so.
One news site◊ censored the name of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
Experts-Exchange.com, a site for experts to answer computer and IT related questions, was originally located at expertsexchange.com, but a hyphen was added because that could be mistaken for "expert sex change". Full story at The Problem with Pen Island.
General English Examples
An Irish example: Facebook, in one of its more risibly blue-nosed moods, has banned an entire Irish town from posting. The town is Effin, County Limerick. Leading to one FB poster famously saying: "I may just be a woman from Effin, but this makes me effin furious!"
The sedate Lancashire town of Clitheroe.
Where do you find the pilot sits in an aircraft? The thingypit.
Since ProBoards automatically censors "dick" to "thingy", one occasionally runs into mentions of "Vice President thingy Cheney" and the like on message boards. Censoring it to "Richard" instead just makes some proper names worse (such as "Charles Richardens").
Somewhat humorously, writing "dick" on an Invisionfree forum will be changed to "pigdungeon". Why does that seem fitting for old Cheney?
George Carlin observed that it is now called the "flight deck". "I can't imagine why they would want to change a lovely word like COCKPIT, can you? Especially with all those stewardesses going in and out of it all the time?
The regulation prohibit to transport pearoosters in thingypits.
And speaking of aviation, discussions of old-school navigation become more difficult when you can't talk about a certain important piece of equipment: the ***tant.
Discussing James Bond movies in some forums leads the 13th movie in the series to receive names such as "Octokittykat".
More specifically centering on the trope namer, this extends to the two English football [soccer] teams that are sometimes difficult to name online: Scunthorpe United and Arsenal.
Hence the clbuttic joke: Name three English football teams with rude words in their names? Arsenal, Scunthorpe United and Manchester Fucking United (or substitute the name of your own team's bitterest rivals with 'fucking' added).
And on a few boards, you can't simply describe it as Arsčne Wenger's club (it's Arsčne, not Arsene, but few people include the accent and boards could consider it an attempt at getting past the censors).
It's almost a guarantee that this has happened when Dick Van Dyke was mentioned on television fora. "Thingy Van Happy Person," anyone?
One Harry Potter forum had a filter which would change rude words to more innocent words with the same meaning. When a fanfic had friends from Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw refer to themselves as "The Huffagryffiravendorteers" (or something like that) the filter kicked in on the part of the word that says 'fag'. This changed the name to "Hufcigaretteryffiravendorteers".
The filter on the PS3's text chatrooms makes it impossible to discuss Assassin's Creed.
They're very thorough. It it blocks obscenities in English, Japanese (written and romanized), German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch and, curiously enough, several words in Latin.
Does that mean, a German can't tell another person that some character in the game is fat (= "dick")?!
Worth1000.com automatically changes "cock" to "man-meat", resulting in a photo of a martini glass filled with gummi worms being labeled "Gummi man-meattail".
One instance on a strictly moderated chatroom brought up the timeless phrase "Oh I wi** ** could be Christmas every day..."
The Sims Resource forums censor the word "cum" for obvious reasons. Why is this a problem? Because when discussing Sims University, the phrase "Summa Cum Laude" and the variations come up quite a bit. Meanwhile, references to ejaculation were never seen. It might have been wise to change the filter for that one word.
The NFL generally prohibits people from buying custom jerseys with profanity or anything controversial on them. For example, there was a rush on jersey orders bearing the name "Ron Mexico" after it came out that Michael Vick was using it as an alias to visit VD clinics. This had to change when cornerback Randall Gay entered the league.
The perfectly innocent British word "snigger", equivalent to the American "snicker", is often rendered as "s***".
Spoofed once on All in the Family when Archie Bunker insisted that the polite way to say the term was "snegro."
For a time on the Buildism.net game making website, you couldn't say "cockroach" or "grapefruit" or "scraper", among several common words. This was particularly annoying because swear words are replaced with things like JUSTIN BIEBER, UNICORNS and POOP.
British digital TV supplier Virgin Media caused laughs when they broadcast Hanc**k, The Story of C***s (Canals), and a show synopsis which included a m***in shop.
Mock the Week's Funniest Book of All Time fell victim to the Trope Namer in a list of "Unlikely things to hear from a continuity announcer":
Just another three hours of pointless studio chat here on Sky before Grimsby-Sc*nthorpe finally kicks off
On Pro Boards, the most notable one has to be "my ass" is changed into "I disagree". Thus you end up with sentences like "The other day, I disagreeistant signed up for the seminar". Oddly enough, "ass" isn't always censored like this, but "my ass" ALWAYS turns into "I disagree".
Beaver College in Pennsylvania changed its name to Arcadia University because it found that too many high school library's filtering software packages blocked their site.
Chalk this one up to the fact that Eternal English is not Truth in Television. Depending on the board, people may have trouble with political threads that involve D**k Cheney.
General Non-English Examples
German message boards unexpectedly censor words like anspornen [to encourage, to incite, to cheer on], Rittersporn [larkspur]...
Filters are not good for Japanese written in the conventional Hepburn romanization. Most formal past tense verb forms end in -mashita or -deshita. There are also tons of sa-hen verbs in the language, to the point where virtually any loanword verb by default gets -suru added to the end of it and is conjugated as a sa-hen verb. For these verbs, the (very frequently used) -te form ends in -shite, the provisional form ends in -shitara, and so on. As a direction, "down" or "underneath" in Japanese is shita. (Note that in all these examples, there's a syllable break between the shi- and the -te or -ta.) With a filter in place, it is very rare to post multiple sentences of romanized Japanese without something being filtered.
Or even to talk about some Japanese companies in English. The parent company of Panasonic, for instance- Matsushita. This was averted in 2003 when the company announced it would be phasing out the Matsushita brand and just using Panasonic for everything instead.
On the ancient Prodigy online service, it was impossible to discuss the then-Prime Minister of Japan, Noboru Takeshita.
Chat filters on the World of Warcraft chat are clever enough to detect swears intentionally misspelled, such as 'kunt'. Unfortunately, in Dutch that word means 'can', and almost all Dutch-speakers play on English servers, and will still communicate with each other in their own language.
Latin has the word "ducunt", which means "they lead".
The Russian word "describe" (a request) is "opishite".
The filter extended to words that shared letters with dirty words, such as "help", "train", "start", and "dice." Imagine if this happened in real life: "Can I have some pretzels?" " Help yourself."
That same filter also inexplicably includes "basic", "epic", "glitch", "mystery", and "puzzle", and it ignores word boundaries (such as spaces), leading to a ridiculous number of false positives. Getting even the most basic phrases past this epicly glitchy filter is a real puzzle.
The chat room for the online Transformers game Battle for the Allspark was bad enough that you couldn't describe how you liked the scene where Sam is on top of a skyscraper, and worse that you couldn't say your favorite character is Bumblebee, but once you got to the point of not even being able to say the game was fun, it was simply ridiculous.
The forum for the online portion of the DS Transformers games filters out "dam" and "azz" despite Hoover Dam being a location in the game and Jazz one of the characters.
The City of Heroes profanity filter was rather weird to start with (censoring "Jew", for instance) but at one point it went totally bonkers, censoring words seemingly at random — "fist" can maybe be read as dirty, but some of the other variants most definitely not. Luckily the in-game filter can be turned off, and the official forums have a much saner filter.
It censored "45s," which occasionally came up if you and your team were fighting enemies in that level range. Apparently City of Heroes inherited its draconian profanity filter from an earlier NCSoft title, wherein "45s" had been used by players as a stand-in for the nigh-unspeakably filthy word, "ass".
You better not try to discuss religion - real or fictional - with anyone in City of Heroes either - 'God' is considered a swearword, probably due to the possibility that he may Damn you. Considering the nature of the game, however, it gets problematic if you want to tell someone that your Supervillain got his powers from an Evil *** .
Yu-Gi-Oh! Online has always been like this: Not only is it literally impossible to hold a conversation without half of a sentence coming out as censor stars, but many actual card names can not be used (try mentioning any of the dragons in the game at your own peril).
MapleStory censors out "can always" and "can also" to "c** **ways", "c** **so".
Just for a laugh, log onto MapleStory and declare your intent to hunt pigs.
A good while back, the language filter was updated. This resulted in some people not even being able to say their own usernames — For instance, any variation on Christopher or Christina was now blocked. Also, asking other players to "whisper" to you (a common chat function) frequently results in messages saying "Whi*** *e" (Whisper me). Some censored words and phrases are so obscure that it's faster to completely rephrase your sentence — even several times — than to try to identify the specific trigger and correct it.
Made even worse when the words "Jew" and "Jap" were both censored. And all of this happened while Maplestory's content filter caused a popup to appear that didn't allow you to control your character until you closed it. In higher level areas, this was fatal. It was even worse when "Tit" was censored, as saying even something so simple such as "Can't it?" would show the annoying "Cursing is not allowed." popup.
If you use a screen name that ends with an S, "hit" as the first word in a message will be omitted along with the S in the screen name. The word filter is so bad, it even ignores the colon and space that separates the screen name from the message text!
Further hilarity ensured when they blocked "ass", as one of the character classes is the assassin.
Also, it blocks the word "Blow", and several skills have that word in their names.
Whats worse is that its rather ironic with the more sophisticated censors. It can censor things like "have sex" and "sex with" while at the same time seeing "cucumber" as a curse word.
There are also so many variations of trying to avoid curse words that are censored its not even funny. Especially the word "shit" has 5hit, shLt, sh1t, etc. censored.
For a time, even the word "fletching" was asterisked out. Understandable when you realize that it's extremely similar to the name of a sex act, not so much when it hits you that they censored out the name of one of the in-game skills.
It also censors out milk and eggs... when one is referring to cake ingredients for a quest.
Most strangely, it bleeps out "Yahoo". Which is apparently an obscure slang term for breasts. Despite much more frequently meaning "an exclamation of glee or success," or "a search engine". WTF?!
RuneScape also censors the word "squid" and anything with .com/.net/.org, and the abbreviation pw, because it doesn't like advertising or people giving out their passwords - making discussing the anime S*** Girl or talking about the stagnant taste of ta**water rather more trouble than it's worth.
Even worse is that changing the spelling slightly would cause the word to get through in most cases. Fortunately, the filter is now much more intelligent, although it still makes the occasional mistake.
Sometimes you have to wonder about the filter; the word "darndest" is censored.
Or for that matter, "screw" is censored. Fair enough, you'd think, as it does have obvious alternate meanings... That is until you realize words like buttfucker, assfucker, cumstain and a slew of other SLIGHTLY more offensive words aren't.
You should have been there in the old days. One of the early censorship filters had a list of a few thousand "permitted" words, and any word not on the list was changed (in a manner similar to spell-checking) to one on the list. Since RuneScape terms and usernames tended not to be on the "permitted" list, this made communication hard (and totally impossible for the game's surprisingly-large Finnish playerbase).
It used to be that you couldn't say "suck". As in you're about to die and you want to say "Well, this sucks."
At one point the word "phone" was also blocked. "One second, *** ringing"
The phrase "to school" was censored for unknown reasons for a very long time before it was fixed by Jagex.
You can now turn off the filter. "It's up to you!" as the game puts it. Many players turn it off and test it by saying 'cunt'. So... removing the filter leads to more swearing?
In one MMORPG chat, the filter attempted to compensate for people inserting spaces to bypass the filter, but this resulted in simple phrases such as "was hit" being censored.
Runes Of Magic. You can't say "cave" in chat (though "c a v e" usually works). The game uses the same word in the names of several areas.
The PC game Neverwinter Nights avoids this problem by having a list of exceptions for each naughty word filtered. For example, it won't filter "cock" if it appears in the word "cockpit".
It still doesn't solve problems with specific names, though, and (in the sequel, at least) needs hakpack to resolve it.
The filter for the online chatrooms is local to your machine and very easy to change. Erasing the file means you can fill a chat room with profanity for all to see and nothing can be done about it.
It also made it difficult to talk about yohohoyos, an in-game item containing another code word.
Though in the chat's defense, you are free to use profanity. It's encouraged not to do so, but no one is forcing you not to do so.
Meanwhile, their forums, as a joke, ***s up the common mispelling "alot". Which is not normally a problem, until one tries to link here, and it replaces the "alot" in the url with asterisks.
In Gunbound, the "word" Tai used to be censored for some odd reason, making it quite difficult to say "Mountain"... in an artillery game. One that still exists is Suck, which might be fine until you note that one of the mobiles has an attack that pulls nearby mobiles toward its landing spot. And things always were fairly amusing when players couldn't even speak the name of one of the people in the guild — Spicule.
The filter that one-time North American distributor ijji put on the thing censored such terms as basement, classy (a favourite of mine, before the transfer away from SoftNyx) and ineffectual. And of course would block the whole line rather than bleep the "swear."
Disney's MMO Virtual Magic Kingdom filters not only meant you couldn't talk about the items in your room — like the pirate themed organ — but also censored numbers and emails, meaning you couldn't talk about how many Mickey Heads you had found or what your high scores are. Disney's reason was wanting to make sure kids couldn't share personal info... expect we only got sentences like "I'm Tree Ears Hold" and people not able to find their friends elsewhere. The latter wasn't helped by bans resulting from talking about the VMK fan site in the game because it gave away your non-VMK identity.
Monster Hunter had a basic filter, which compensated for workarounds... however, this made saying "he'll" a tad difficult. For a mostly online multiplayer game that emphasized teamwork but had no voice chat, compounded by the fact that you would often be predicting where the monster went, it got a bit frustrating. You couldn't say "He'll probably be in zone 6 next," and had to find a workaround.
In Monster Hunter Tri, the word "after" is bafflingly censored. Apparently it's the medical term for anus in German, but I doubt that has anything to do with it.
The filter in Tri is very imaginative. Among the censored words are "sa" and "blitzkrieg", which makes talking about the in-game weapon "Blitzkrieg" difficult, especially since it's a switch axe, logicaly shortened to "sa". The "Hell hunter jacket" is also censored. Any word including the fragment "kak" is censored, which is bothersome in Finnish where it's not uncommon.
Guild Wars has a built-in world filter that censors the name of minor character Captain Quimang and the enemy type Damned Cleric. Thankfully, it can be turned off. This one isn't the game developers' fault, however, as it's included in all games published by NCSoft.
Recently the filter has been expanded to censor an NPC henchman's battle quote: "Ever see a Tengu that could take a bite out of you?" and some Centaurs talking about two tribe leaders being on the verge of an agreement.
Which becomes rather humorous if one is playing a Blood Necromancer using Wallow's/Vampiric Bite or a Beast Mastery Ranger pinging the target of his/her pet's Poisonous Bite.
Bite is the french word for dick (and likewise, verge is a synonymous for penis).
The filter in Air Rivals is particularly aggravating. Although it only bleeps out the offending word, but at least you can turn it off :V
Subagame's version of the swear filter in Ace Online is the same in that respect and you can still turn it off there
The Taiwanese version of SD Gundam Online has a word filter that replaces stuff like www, com and other url components with asterisks. This gets fun when you try to talk about the Nether Gundam or any of the possible suits with "gm" in their name (at least one quarter of the C rank suits in the game are GMs).
The North American Version, SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, has a very zealous censor that doesn't let users use words such as "Japan" and "spoon." Furthermore, instead of simply removing the offending part of the message, the entire line of text is replaced with "I fancy SD Gundam Capsule Fighter!" which usually leaves users completely clueless as to what they typed that trigggered the censor.
Many online games, such as RuneScape, censor "ich" for its connotation to bitch, presumably. This is very unfortunate for those who live in Wichita, Kansas or Germany.
Ragnarok Online, at least during its open beta phase, was chock full of this. Ridiculously, "Bastard" was censored, despite there being a common in game weapon called a "Bastard Sword." Similarly, you couldn't use phrases such as "of a great" because the swear filter checked for common methods of bypassing filters.
The Philippine servers of Ragnarok Online notoriously censored very common Filipino words which weren't profanities in either Filipino or English, such as "kuya" (big brother in Filipino).
That's a result of multilingual censoring; "kuya" contains "kuy," a Thai swear word which was censored in several of the regional servers (Thai players used to be very common).
The Brazilian servers censored the word "puta" (means whore), but it's also a substring of "computador", meaning players couldn't talk about their own computers without using "pc", which sounds weird.
For a while you couldn't use the word "assist" or "assassin", which is particularly troublesome in the later example because was one of the character classes.
Free Realms, in an attempt to be child-friendly, also censors out drug references — you may find yourself asking your friends if they need help with so####ing, or complain that this is the third ti####is happened.
The online Phantasy StarMMORPGs are notorious for this. Words like 'hello', 'Saturday', and 'shoes' would all wind up censored in Phantasy Star Online. The filter in Phantasy Star Universe was an improvement, but phrases like "I'm going to put a trap here" or "isn't it" would wind up censored because the system ignores spaces.
In PSO, one of the Mags (a device that gives you stat boosts and Limit Breaks) is named Marica. Unfortunately it's a swear word in Spanish, and thus blocked by the multilingual swear filter for in-game chat.
PSO also censored "hell", despite it being part of weapon names. One way to work around this censor was to look up HELL in WORD SELECT (the game's built-in translator). Oddly, WORD SELECT also included some censored words that were not game terms, such as "suck".
The best PSO blunder is Frozen S*** (Shooter). One of the most common weapons in the game (technically it's fairly rare, but it's still a basic Ranger weapon).
And yet, despite mangling a LOT of harmless phrases, PSU's swear filter often missed plural forms of offensive words. Talk about half-assed! (And yes, you can say "half-assed" without getting censored in PSU.)
This was a result of their attempt to fix the Scunthorpe Problem with "ass", to prevent words such as "pass" and "assassin" from being censored. The method used for this fix? Only censoring " ass ", i.e. when the word is surrounded by spaces. This meant the censor could be dodged simply by ending a sentence with "ass." (period or other punctuation). Perhaps awareness of the problem with this fix is the reason this fix was not used with other censored words (resulting in words like "skyscraper" being censored).
Let's not forget the classic Twin Handgun Photon Art, "Twin %!&@#$*@%!$" (Penetration).
For quite a while the EVE Online official forums censored the word "crack", which lead to weird discussions about how to best crack certain ships' armor.
Fortunately, one didn't generally need a wristwatch in a pod, but censoring Safeguard confused a lot of people.
made worse because there was a "Serpentis Safeguard" enemy in the game.
Baseball simulator game Ultimate Baseball Online 2007 even censors out the word ball.
Champions Online, a game about superheroes won't let you use the fragment "hero in" or the word "heroine" in your biography because it spells "heroin".
Also, the language filter censors "puta", because it is apparently a rather rude Spanish term for a prostitute. Which seems reasonable until an NPC runs up to your hero and exclaims, "The city owes YOUR NAME HERE a debt of gratitude after he %$&@ stop to the alien invasion!"
"Iron Cross" isn't allowed, but UBERSOLDAT is. Hmm.
Likewise, "Nazi" isn't allowed.
And "Isn't it" appears as "Isn'#$&@".
Dungeon Fighter Online has a dungeon called "Blazing Grakquarak". When typed, the censor changes it to "Blazi@#$%@aquarak", since nggr is censored for being an abbreviation for nigger.
It also censors "bastard", despite there being many Slayer weapons named Bastard Sword.
"ass" is censored, and thus so is "class." Oops.
One could speculate that the only reason "Hell" isn't censored is that it's a critical part of the word "Hello".
This tends to be a coommon issue in Nexon games, to the point of becoming a bit of an in-joke within it's playerbase.
MMO golf game Pangya recently changed hosts in North America; the chat filter Ntreev USA installed is notoriously anal-retentive. For months, the Game Masters have neglected to fix this, to the frustration of players everywhere. Ironically, the ridiculously strict filter ignores chat macros. Profanity ensued.
Not so applicable to the U.S. version, but GOA's EU version seems to have developed a problem thanks to the filter's need to recognise the character set presently in use. Players with a non-standard character set or locale setting (such as Japanese) will find every instance of certain letters caught as swearwords. Oh and there's a "three strikes, then gag" policy in effect.
The filter in Dungeons & Dragons Online will censor people trying to talk about "Spell Penetration" — an enchantment found on many items that boosts the dice roll required to use magic on a monster with Spell Resistance. This is despite the fact that the in-game description of the enchantment, as well as the name of most randomly generated items with that enchantment, contains this exact phrase and that it's an oddly clinical word to censor in the first place.
Aion Online famously had this problem in its open beta—particularly as there is an Assassin class. Lampshaded in notes for the repair patch: "***ins can now talk about their cl***."
The actual game Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory's messaging system censored (among other stupid things) anything with the letters "spic" in it. Anything. And it did so by preventing you from sending the message with no explanation beyond a generic "something bad is in your message" statement.
Also, it censored the letters "halo". HAH! Hilarious, right? No. Even less funny when, a couple of years later, an update to their game would actually prevent Halo 2 from working on XBox 360.
The MMORPG Free Sky Online has or had a very odd filter. It censored system, but didn't censor whore, as at least one player found out while venting about his mom.
The online game aetolia introduced one of these filters as an April Fool's joke. Talking about assassins became quite funny.
The Brazilian version of Grand Chase took this trope to a whole new level by censoring "cu" (ass). Nevermind that this is a very common syllable in the Portuguese language, and it is contained within so, so many other words commonly used in the game, like "escudo" (shield), "executor" (one of the jobs in the game), "cura" (healing), and many other dictionary entries.
On Furcadia, there used to be rampant problems with the filters in lower-rating maps — these problems have long been fixed in updates, but for years there was an issue in the popular dream "Lost Lakes" where words like "assassin" or "tithe" would be censored. Particularly annoying, as Tithe was the username of a dream regular...
On Mega Ten Imagine, while it's possible to turn the filter off, it's weird enough to censor the word raccoon, replacing all but the first and last letters with asterisks. Said word is an old racial slur against African Americans usually in the Deep South.
A Korean MMORPG called "Thang Online" which relaunched in a closed beta after the first publisher quit two or three years ago. In the beta try saying that the Peacock "Pea(Bad Word)"upper armor +9(a level 120 item) dropped from a level twelve mob in the game.
On this game's forum, one can say "shit" uncensored on an OP title.
Bakugan's MMO "Bakugan Dimensions" works off of a set dictionary of words. If what you type isn't in there, it's bleeped out. However, the dictionary is VERY poorly made and words such as "Four", "True"(But not "tru") and "Rematch"(It's a battle game) are censored out.
World of Warcraft has a somewhat overzealous chat filter that apparently also censors words that sound like bad words (making conversation about the 5th of November or Dumbledore's phoenix kind of odd, for example).
Humorously, AdventureQuest Worlds once muted you if ended a sentence with the word grape followed by a period or space. Yet, they have failed to censor semen from their swears list.
One of the words censored in The Lord of the Rings Online (though it is possible to turn off the profanity filter), is the word "queer". Naturally, this becomes a bit of a problem as the word was used quite frequently in the books that the game is based on. It becomes even more noticeable when NPC:s can't use the word.
Frodo: Have you been in Rivendell long? Sam thinks it's a *** place, but I think he likes it too.
DC Universe Online is bad with this. Among many frustrations with the filter, it's inconsistent. If a string of letters has a bad word in it, no matter if it has a space to denote that they aren't words, it will censor (i.e. " Wish it" would become "Wi#####" because of the filter.). However words with a bad word in it (Such as Scunthrope) can get by. It's even possible to say the word "bitchass" even though both words would trip the filter on their own. "Ass" itself is a special word in that "Ass" is used in game content (Wonder Girl uses it in her cut scene). To compound the problem, at the time of writing there is no way to turn off the filter to avoid this problems, and the devs act shocked that the players are asking for one.
An area in Gotham City came up as Amu#####tpark in the description. It meant Amusementpark
zOMG! used to have one of these. And then Gaia Online's developers realized it was censoring Bass'ken Lake, one of the major areas in the game. It also censored words in other languages, which would annoy English-speaking users who didn't understand why several mundane words kept getting censored.
Wizard101 has three levels of chat. Menu chat which allows play to only say things from a list of phrases. Open chat allows all words except ones on a small list of obvious curse words. But the fun comes in on text chat. Text chat players cannot say or see any word not from a very large list of words, this list does not include any numbers except "one" but it does include order numbers so players often refer to needing to beat "fifth more enemies." For a while players took advantage of this by swearing using capital letters (ex. Go to HELLo) until Kingsisle finally stopped allowing capitalizing letters.
The Chat filter of Luna Online is so notoriously terrible, not only for completely blocking your intended words and replacing it with "LUNA users use more refined language. Stay classy, San Diego!" but having what seems to be no sense at all. Typing something as innocuous as "class" will result the filter message, but typing "ass" works just fine. This not only makes communication in the game practically impossible, but in a bit of irony, typing the filter phrase into the chat block also results in it being filtered. It's so awful that the publisher allows and instructed Luna players to go into the game files and disable it themselves.
One of the developers of Toontown Online, wanting to get around this problem while at the same time allowing players to interact, suggested using a list of approved words that and sentence fragments that a user could string together to form full sentences. This idea was shot down by one of the other developers who had tried the approach in another game. The 14-year old boy who was testing the software was able to, within a minute, construct the following sentence: "I want to stick my long-necked Giraffe up your fluffy white bunny".
Call of Duty bizarrely censors custom class names—despite the fact that these are only visible to the user. If a name is considered obscene, the game will pop up a warning and refuse to change the name. Unfortunately, the game considers, among others, "Basic" to be an unforgivably profane name.
Evony-spinoff WAR 2 as well as its multiple variants, suffers from this in its chat system. Words like "circumstance" and "assume" show up as "cir@#$stance" and "%#@ume" respectively, for example. "Call Of Roma" (previously known as "Caesary") even censors its own internal item names if typed out by a player. For example, you cannot refer to the "De Architectura M***cript", as well as several other items. Neither can you mention that "Wine" is made from g***s. Oh, and good luck pasting the URL of this page into the game chat.
Vendetta Online, a spacefighter MMO, has a filter which renders the word "cockpit" as "***pit" - even within the mission dialog box.
Kabam has filters in its Facebook game chats, like Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis. Besides profanity, it's also said they filter references to cheating, like things relating to userscripts and bots.
You better not express your interest to do something on "Sa***ay" in chat on Facebook version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Yes, it censored "turd"
A smuggler trying to make setting-appropriate boasts about the speed of his ship in Star Wars: The Old Republic could be rather surprised to discover that he'd just claimed to have made the Kessel Run "in less than twelve ***." The fact that the game censors entire words, not just the "dirty" parts, can make this especially mystifying for someone who lives in a part of the world were "arse" (the middle part of "parsecs") isn't really on their profanity radar.
White Knight Chronicles has a censor filter that is a mix of a couple different languages, which makes the english language very hard to use, and some may argue is the worst censor in an online game ever. Any word containing things like "con"note which includes "Congrats!", which is one of the pre-made default messages one can use, "street", "load", "after", "upgrade", "until", "future", "ing", "Xbox", and lots of other things, which makes the in-game forum be written with random accentuations to avoid getting censored. It doesn't help that the forum not only censors but doesn't allow posts with said censored words to be posted, and doesn't even tell you what is wrong with your post. Just made a Wall of Text, but there is one filtered word in it? Good luck finding out what's that word.
The censor also applies to in-game chat, so if you don't have a mic, you'll have to get used to using random accentuation while typing in the middle of timed missions. Ëveryőne spëaks lďke thďs ďn thďs gâme.
When the chat filter censor was first implemented in the US server of Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, replacing the filtered words with question marks, there were some really ridiculous censors, such as 52note yes, you couldn't even say "I'm level 52" and powerlevel, while some swearing words weren't filtered, one of which was widely known, and people said it just because they found it funny how it wasn't censored. This was changed after screenshots of someone saying "can someone powerlevel me?" in the shout chat of the most populated town started appearing in the official forum.
A couple months later, they completely remade the list of filtered words, and made it so players can turn the chat filter off in-game.
Aeria Games' official forum had a filter that censored the names of certain skills, demons and items, such as Reshape Sexnote an item used to change the gender of an equipment, Hellfire, Hell Biker, and Cockatrice.
One person was known to be banned temporarily because he used a failure in the forums system to say some filtered names such as the oens mentioned above. Apparently, saying "H3ll" to avoid the censor was allowed, while using a fail in the censor to avoid it was a bannable offense.
The Atlus Online forum has a less stupid, yet more funny, filter. During the time of migration, many old players would append an "EDIT: forum censor is funny" on the end of editted posts after realizing this.
SD Gundam Online (SDGO) replaced its old feature of replacing a sentence with any bad language to the humorous but annoying: "I fancy SD Gundam Capsule Fighters". Now it uses conventional censorship, but is overzealous in its application to be sure.
In the Kidz Bop Forums, the word "milk" was censored. Users ended up spelling it as "m ilk"
Warframe has an oddly inconsistant version of this- the lobby chat has a typically draconian filter which encompasses all the cl***ic example and which won't even let you say "jerk" without censoring it, but the ingame chat function when you're on a mission has NO filter at all and lets you swear to your heart's content.
The filter in the Star Wars-based MUDLegends of the Jedi turns "document" into "do***ment," to give just one example. Thankfully you can turn the thing off.
Apple iTunes' automatic censorship can get pretty ridiculous. Here's an example from the MythBusters episode Sinking Titanic (a direct quote): "Find out if a sinking ship will s**k passengers down as it goes under." (Yes, they starred out "suck").
An episode of a podcast talking about vampire movies was filtered out to "They Vant to S**k Your Blood."
It gets really hilarious when applied to non-English titles; e.g., iTunes is under the impression that the 19th movement of Orff's Carmina Burana is called "Si puer c*m puellula". (Given what the movement is about, this is actually oddly appropriate.) And it appears that iTunes doesn't know about actual Latin dirty words, because it doesn't censor the title "Ameana puella defututa" (from Orff's Catulli Carmina).
iTunes also offers at least a dozen settings of Shakespeare's well-known lyric from The Tempest, "Where the Bee S***s".
In the Law & Order: SVU episode descriptions, "rapist" is censored but "rape" is not.
The word "Playboy" is also filtered to "P***y", making it look like the title is much more naughty than it actually is.
"Jailbreak" is censored thanks to the iDevice modding community, affecting albums and songs entitled "Jailbreak".
Battlefield 2 servers with the profanity filter enabled will call you out for saying "assets", as in "Commander Assets" — the widely used term for certain structures that can be destroyed to hinder the enemy team.
SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 falls victim with its new "create a story" mode. When shared online, stories are run through the censor filter, which is clearly more sensitive than the source material's own standards. Title, as in the one for which you're fighting, and Christian, the wrestler, both get censored.
A fairly casual Team Fortress Classic server kicks players who say "HWgay," not for being offensive so much as for being whiny. Fine and dandy, except that it does so if it detects letters in that order, regardless of how many letters come between them. So if someone says "I have a baby shower to go to today", they get the boot.
Rock Band has a filter preventing bands with offensive names or slogans from posting their scores to the online message board. It once censored "Laissez les bons temps rouler" without comment, possibly because "les bo" looked like a censor bypass.
Lego Rock Band is designed to be family friendly, and so the filter is more severe — to the point at which girls named "Cassie" cannot name their avatars after themselves.
Zwinky chat filters out "ass", as people discover when asking around for the "p***word" to play a game.
Tetris Friends live beta's chat censor was incredibly inconsistent in the beginning. "Ass" was perfectly acceptable, but "lust" was not. This was made even more irritating by it ignoring spaces and punctuation, so "Well us too" turns into "Wel* ** *oo" alongside warning against profanity.
A Safari 5 security extension called Cuss Off also has this problem. When this extension is installed and enabled, it ignores context: For example, "grasshopper" becomes "gr***".
Inklink, a picture charades game, includes "cocktail" and "pussywillow" in its limited word list. If they come up on your turn to draw, you'll have to pass it, because correct guesses are blocked as inappropriate.
This sort of filtering is not limited to profanity. In World of Warcraft, the moderators of the game banned the display of a number of website names that were notorious for violating the terms of service (mainly selling in-game gold and items for real-world money). One of the banned names was "ukow", and it has been banned in all forms, including with spaces in the middle. The result was a rash of humorous, faux(?) outrage that it was no longer possible to say that one's "talbuk owns" (a talbuk is a type of animal in the game) in the in-game chat. A forum moderator with a sense of humor responded to the "controversy" by suggesting an extensive list of alternatives to the word "owns" that could be used to describe an exceptional talbuk.
Also on the forums, the word "rape" is censored. Why is this a problem? Linking an item with drape in it (i.e. http://www.wowhead.com/item=87159) gets censored on the forums. It would appear as Daybreak D$#@% instead of Daybreak Drape.
The filter in the avatar mode of Kingdom Hearts Re: coded censors all sorts of things out of your username, including, for some reason, the word "race". Good luck to you if your first name is Grace (or Tracey). If you're Dick Tracey, don't even bother playing.
Race could be a misspelling of racy, which would explain that example. It's the better to be safe than sorry principle being taken too far.
Spiral Knights has a few filters. One turns all your capital letters into lowercase ones if there's too many (rendering something like "YES, WE DID IT" as "yes, we did it"). One - the only one which can be disabled - turns certain cuss words into random punctuation, even if they're in the middle of a word. And one simply destroys posts containing strings like 'rape' and 'viol'. So, no, you cannot talk about grapes or your violins.
In an amusing, non-swear example, a man bought Crime and Punishment to read on his Nook tablet, and was confused when he came across the word "Nookd" several times. He found a print version and checked the word; apparently all cases of the word "Kindle" (their main competition) were replaced by "Nook". This appears to have been the result of an overzealous search/replace when they created the Nook version directly from the Kindle version (to change the details about the store, etc.)