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Fun with Autocensors

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Many Internet forums have an automated censor feature, the intended purpose of which is to bleep out profanity. But in the hands of a playful admin (or a Well-Intentioned Extremist determined to keep the forum clean), the results of the auto-censor can get... interesting.

Like more conventional censorship, this can lead to the Scunthorpe Problem, if the autocensor is designed to look for the prohibited string within longer strings. Compare Gosh Dang It to Heck!.


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    Fan Works 
  • A Running Gag in the later episodes of Friendship is Witchcraft replaces all swearing with a soundbyte of Apple Bloom saying 'Buy Some Apples!'. Subverted in Lunar Slander, where a note at the beginning explains a (fictional) copyright strike from Dole has forced the creators to censor all appearances and mentions of apples. Every time they show up, the word is replaced with a reference to a different fruit.

  • Some of the characters in Scary News out of Tokyo-3 are stuck behind filters that automatically go through their submitted posts and redact anything top-secret or remotely related to anything top-secret. Being on either end of this process can be a little infuriating.
    But, seriously, why does the Yossarian-22 keep redacting my name? What the hell is wrong with "Dr. Adam F. Black-Moon"?

    Video Games 

  • In Habbo, most profanity is filtered to "bobba".
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda has an In-Universe discussion board for the crew of the Tempest. One message on it:
    Gil: No need to panic about the drive core noise this morning. Just a stress test. There's nothing wrong with an 0500 wake-up call.
    Liam: [Profanity Deleted By InfoBoard VI—You're Welcome!]
    Liam: Adjectived verbing nouns, Gil!
    Cora: Liam, if the VI learns to censor ALL language, I'm making you reprogram it.
    Jaal: Educational, in a way.
  • Overwatch, in an effort to curb the toxic behavior of some players, instituted an automatic in-game filter that replaced any use of "gg ez" with phrases like "Great game, everyone!", "I'm wrestling with some insecurity issues in my life but thank you for playing with me", and more.
  • Puzzle Pirates has a chat option to turn profanity into pirate-y swearing (see this list for examples); some expressions are also autoreplaced (e.g., "wtf" is changed to "what in the seven seas"). Which led to hilarity when the devs booched and switched the lists.
  • In the original Runescape, any swear word was replaced with "cabbage".
  • Team Fortress 2: Medieval mode has an autocensor that replaces all text chat with Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.
  • The online social deduction game Town of Salem is set in colonial America, so the chat replaces inappropriate language with antiquated equivalents like "tarnation", "flummery", and "fopdoodle".

  • Allakhazam has fun with word filters (besides the standard swear filters), and the resulting in-community Memetic Mutation arising from such.
  • Amongst other words, the Allspark Transformers board changes "fuck" to "hug". This, combined with the site's purple coloration, led to a small purple Micromaster called Road Hugger becoming the site's mascot.
  • The Awkward Zombie forums will censor "money" to "cheddar", inexplicably. "Damn" also becomes "daisies". "Corrin" becomes "corn", and "literal" becomes "bodacious". "Happy" turns into "pop flyin'" and "Pokémon" becomes "Cockfighting Society".
  • The Elder Scrolls: At one point, the official Bethesda Forums replaced the word "ass" with "spotted owl" and "asshole" with "spotted owl habitat". They had other odd replacements for various swear words, but the "spotted owl" became so popular that people still typed it in even after the forums switched to just using [CENSORED] for everything. They even have a spotted owl emoticon. Other examples are typing "4chan" will give you a [CENSORED] tag, typing "In Soviet Russia" will give you "I am not funny", and "Oblivion sucks" will turn into "The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is the best game in the universe".
  • In Bob and George, the phrase "There is no Plot Hole!" is something of a Running Gag. The forums reflect this by automatically filtering "plot hole" to "spoon" (because, as The Matrix taught us, there is no spoon, either).
  • BZPower's censor replaced "idiot" with "cool dude", which could result in sentences like "you're an cool dude".
  • Many forums and other websites in the UK suffer huge amounts of spam plugging the Alleged Kitchens supplied by the innumerable front companies of Vance Miller, a notorious criminal and con artist who moved to China to evade UK law and employs an army of Indonesians to spam and shill for him on as many sites as possible. The forum "Chew the Fat" responded by using the censor facility to auto-correct "kitchen" to "dildo". Hilarity Ensued. At least one other forum was moved to copy the idea. The spammers - being humans rather than bots - quickly worked out means to subvert the filter, so Chew the Fat installed some much more robust software to detect kitchen spam which replaces the spammers' entire post with randomly-generated obscenities and insults directed at Miller. Further Hilarity Ensues when the spammers lose their rag and swear back in Indonesian.
  • Professional Wrestling promotion CHIKARA had a wrestler named Chris Hero leave the promotion under bad terms that are kept very hush hush. On their official forums, "Chris Hero" is autocensored to "John Kerry". Fans get around this by referring to "a certain Heroic figure" or by using the name he was given once he signed with a WWE developmental territory, Kassius Ohno. They also censor the word kayfabe, turning it into "grape jelly." Chikara is also using the autocensor feature as part of an angle involving the shady corporation that (in-character) owns it. The words 'Condor', 'Titor', 'Conglomerate' and 'Conrad' are all blanked out by the autocensor.
  • The forums of game developer D3 Go!, creator of Marvel Puzzle Quest and similar games, filter profanity into the word "tinykitty". They also have fun with the filters on April Fools' Day, changing the names of the game's superheroes and villains into silly phrases. For example, The Punisher became "LittleBunnyPunPun".
  • The forum for pro wrestling fan site Death Valley Driver converts "gay" to "manly beyond my wildest expectations" and, oddly, "product" to "stuffing instead of potatoes". Even odder, although perhaps due to prior overuse, the expression "Meh" now expands to "I take umbrage at your previous assertion but cannot be arsed to respond appropriately."
  • The Freakin Awesome Network board (formerly the original WrestleCrap message board) filters the usual swear words (e.g., profanity was changed to "Smurf" or "Snork"), and words that their mods don't want to hear (e.g., at one time, Kent Jones, self-proclaimed YouTube "shooter", was filtered into "Can't Shoot" or "I like tired fads", Batista was filtered to "Basketball Jones"note , and "Vintage" became "Vonage").
  • The Doctor Who forum Gallifrey Base automatically converts BRIAN BLESSED's name into the all-caps BRIAN BLESSED.
  • In 2003, the forums for the Gamers' Association of Trinidad and Tobago (G.A.T.T. for short) used to filter out any references to their competition, most notably replacing the word 'Java' (a rival internet cafe) with 'Sip N' Surf' (a GATT sponsored internet cafe). Cue in-jokes about people wanting a nice hot cup of 'Sip N' Surf'.
  • Genvid's Sailor Moon forum censors "lol" with "rantipole."
  • The forums of Grand Chase typically replace more offensive profanity with the phrase "Fire Bolt!" which is one of the character's abilities in the game.
  • One Guild Wars fan site replaces each letter of a filtered word with "RED ENGINE GO," with no space in between.
  • On the official Gunnerkrigg Court forum, profanities aren't filtered but certain bits of net-speak are, because Tom Siddell hates them. "LOL" becomes "LAUGHING ON LINE"; "OMG" becomes "gosh golly" (formerly, it was "OH MY GIRAFFES"). And "/co/" (as in, the comics subforum of 4chan) becomes "the Butt Zone".
  • The Hello Cthulhu forum used to have an autocensor which took phrases popular with spammers and replaced them with phrases popular with Lovecraft. This was deemed to have reached perfection when an actual spammer, with no moderation, posted:
    The only crypt shop you'll ever need! Dismembered corpses available with squirming maggots! Safe! Legal! Cheap! note 
  • Certain Imageboards do this on purpose and change various non-offensive words into offensive ones. "Source" was also wordfiltered to "sauce" for a time.
    • "Wapanese", a slur for Occidental Otaku, was once wordfiltered into "weeaboo" on 4chan. This substitution became so popular it completely supplanted the original term.
    • Another 4chan example; "soy" of all wordsnote  is filtered as "onions"
    • The LURKMORE wiki has more information (EXTREMELY NSFW) on the 4chan word filters.
    • filters "first post" to "boobies", which has become something of a Memetic Mutation. Especially since it resulted in things like "Benjamin Franklin was the boobiesmaster General of the U.S." instead of "first Postmaster General." It also changes "Fuck" to "Fark".
  • The Jack webcomic forums replace "Matt" with "dolphinfucker", referring to a stalker of the comic author's wife who had a fetish of performing sexual acts on beached dolphins.
  • The Kingdom of Loathing forum censors the "word" alot. It's smart enough to only censor the word when it's the entire word, but it isn't smart enough to avoid censoring it when it's part of a URL, leading to a Scunthorpe-like problem when people try to link, for instance, here.
  • The Landover Baptist Church forum replaces "fuck" with "piffle", and "moron" with "Mormon". Use of the latter will usually result in one of the True Christians(tm) saying something like, "We're not Mormons, dear, we're Baptists."
  • At least one LEGO fan board replaces all swear words with "Megablocks".note 
  • censors swear words as "Smurf".
  • Neopets:
    • Too bad if your RP character's wearing a bikini — it'd inevitably get switched to "cardigan". The fact that SpongeBob SquarePants was often said to live in Cardigan Bottom was rather less than optimal.
    • Among other words censored are fork (which the mods eventually changed their minds about) and hot tub (changed to "swamp"). In guilds, apostrophes are often, but not always, censored. The icing on the cake? TVT, a nickname for the board mods (stands for The Viacom Team, expressing displeasure at the fact that the site was bought out by Viacom), is now changed to "my socks".
      • TNT decided to do a grand Take That! at Twilight, wordfiltering Twilight into My Little Pony, Stephenie Meyer into Krusty the Clown, Bella Swan into Clara Chatham, Edward Cullen into Roxton Colchester III, Jacob Black into Jordie, vampire into Xweetok, werewolf into Werelupe, and at least one of the actors from the movie into Nick Neopia.
      • This one borders on 4chan wordfiltering, where "emo" became "bosnian" and where "noes" became "exploitable"...
      • The former phone number of Neopets HQ got changed to "Ghostbusters!", because who ya gonna call?
    • In addition every year on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, TNT activates filters to convert regular speech into pirate speech.
      • For example ''clean" becomes "swab", "yes" becomes "aye", "not" becomes "nay", etc.
  • The Nuzlocke Forum used to have word filters that changed certain words into Pokémon-related equivalents, but these filters have since been removed. However, according to the mods, there is one word that is still filtered, but they won't reveal which word.
  • The Paradox Interactive forums replace "bitch" with "complain", which can have interesting results. Most other English profanity gets asterisks.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic imageboard Ponychan likes to ponify people's language (changing "everybody" to "everypony", etc.) as well as make some creative replacements for some of the more unsavory words. "Vagina" becomes "wahaHA!", "sex" becomes "marshmallow", "cunt" becomes "femoral artery" (a play on "female organ", perhaps?)... this amusingly led to new writer Natasha Levinger's sole credit on IMDb being changed to "My Marshmallowiest Mistake". Stereotypical chan-speak gets put through the ringer as well: "lulz" becomes "schadenfreude", "u mad" becomes "u currently experiencing the emotion of anger", "jelly" becomes "marmalade", and "waifu" becomes "phantasmal significant other".
  • Rangerboard, the Power Rangers fandom board, once had "meh" filtered out as it was being overused, changing it to "gaygaygay". Which caused the word "sogaygaygayow" to keep popping up in every other sentence.
  • The forums of the LittleBigPlanet fansite Sackinima filter swear words to "ALMONDS", except for "cunt", which becomes "SHIVER ME TIMBERS".
  • The Starflyer 59 fan messageboard at copies Jason Martin's set of Unusual Euphemisms: "shit" becomes "shin", "fuck" becomes "eff", "damn" becomes "D", and so on.
  • One The Sims fan forum replaces most swear words with "kleenex". It caused a few problems early on, such as a "kleenex sword" (i.e. a bastard sword) in a post about medieval weapons, so the admins removed a lot of words with non-naughty meanings from the list. Forum regulars so rarely swear, though, that some people have posted for years without knowing there was a filter. (Those who do know about the filter will often type "kleenex" themselves on the rare occasions they feel like swearing.)
  • Something Awful has a word filter that replaces profanity with gentle alternatives ("gently caress" for "fuck", "poo poo" for "shit", etc.). The N-Word, meanwhile, is filtered to "friend of the family". The filtered words are only shown to unregistered users. Occasionally, new users will use the alternate forms because they don't realize they're allowed to swear and don't know there's a filter. You'll usually get chided and gently probated if you do.
    • "Gently caress" has become trademark Goon slang because of it, so you see it frequently even when the filters aren't applied.
  • A couple community forums of the Sonic the Hedgehog series filter mentions of TSSZ News into "Cute Fluffy Kittens". Sonic Retro changes "rape" into "I AM AN UNFUNNY SHITSTAIN", "Pinball Physics" (a nickname for the signature gameplay of the Sonic games) to "I HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE SONIC ENGINE", and "dying cats" (a term commonly used to describe Sonic the Hedgehog 4's odd synth sounds) into "orchestral masterpieces".
  • Until 2018, the autocensor on the official Star Trek Online forum replaced banned words with four asterisks. In late 2018 the admin changed the replacement text to "TRIBBLE". "STD", the hatedom nickname for Star Trek: Discovery, was added to the filter at about the same time (Cryptic was starting up a series of missions based on the series).
  • The Steam Users Forums replace "Piss" with "Jarate" and "Fanboy" with "Hammer Legion Member". Most other swear words are replaced with a line of pink hearts...leading some members to use "pinkhearts" or "pinkheartsing" as a swear instead.
  • The "Survivor Sucks" message board censors seemingly random words, such as "tears", "dudes", "petition", "ipod", "heart" and a bunch of random others. No actual curse words are censored.
  • The Talk About Comics forums will replace 'aroma' with 'Iron Maiden'.
  • The T-shirt website censors "cloud" as "FluffySpam" in the comments, for whatever reason. Hilarity Ensued when they put up a Final Fantasy VII shirt featuring Cloud Strife.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds originally started out as a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fangame that got Screwed by the Lawyers. As such, any mention of My Little Pony on its forums is automatically censored to "Lawyer Friendly Equines". Names of characters are also censored, such as Twilight Sparkle being replaced by "Book Horse". Despite this, the forum has an active forum thread discussing the show.
  • Truth And Beauty Bombs, formerly the Dinosaur Comics forum, had a number of humorous filters. "ladies and gentlemen" became "cats and kittens", "blowjob" became "lingering kiss on a CRAZY part of the body" and "cock" became "rooster OR reproductive organ (context permitting)". And, as a pun on the word 'filter', "saltwater" became "desalinated, potable water".
  • The TV Tropes forums filter "tl;dr" to "laconic version:". In the past they filtered it to "Sorry, I skipped some posts.", and earlier it was “I am too lazy, or possibly too incapable, to actually read anything. I resent the fact that this makes me seem like an inconsiderate person and hereby pledge to resume taking my ADHD medication.” It had to be changed because often the original post ended with "tl;dr: summary of the post", so "tl;dr" had two possible meanings.
    • "Titular", for a time, was completely filtered out of all pages on the wiki because of perceived overuse. It was very shortly undone for both the "perceived" part (nobody could agree on whether the word was actually being misused), and a variant of the Scunthorpe Problem (complete filtering only served to screw up sentences that used the word, and made it hard for editors who wanted to fix the issue to actually search for affected examples).
  • The anti-Twilight message board Twilight Sucks has replacements for each individual swear word, such as "Bella" for cunt.
  • On Warriors Wish, words get censored to types of fruit, so you'll occasionally get people saying something like: "What a grapefruit blueberry!"
  • automatically changes "hell" to "New Jersey".
  • The xkcd forums have been known to have fun with this. Among other things, words such as "lol" and "Chuck Norris" are filtered to suitably humorous alternatives. One xkcd IRC channels also considers AOL to be a swear.
    • The "suitably humorous alternative" to 'lol' — "This cheese is burning me!" — then became part of the forum's vocabulary. Posters will write "The cheese really burned me today" for a particularly funny strip, or "My cheese is lukewarm."
    • Another set of filters included the word "filters", replaced with "cheesegraters". And replaced any instance of "also" with "ALSO YOU GUYS:". If you decide to actually type "ALSO YOU GUYS:", you end up with "ALSO YOU GUYS: YOU GUYS:".
    • One section of the forums were also re-dedicated to "superabacus mysticism".
    • Once a year the mods have free rein to abuse their modly powers. This mainly manifests in hundreds of filter entries, such as "Madness" to "FURIOUS DOODLING". Full list of filters.
      • After the annual Mod Madness ends, a few of the new filters are always left in place.

Alternative Title(s): Fun With Word Filters