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Censorship can be so banal.

"It's well documented in official records that the city's original name was 'Snottingham' or 'home of Snotts', but when the Normans came, they couldn't pronounce the initial letter `S', so decreed the town be called 'Nottingham' or the 'home of Notts'. It's easy to understand why this change was resisted so fiercely by the people of Scunthorpe."
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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 (***uming, of course, that the filter doesn't outright censor the whole message and automatically 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. 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.

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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.

While most filters will remove offending words, a few have attempted to replace the words with less offensive alternatives, resulting in a rare variant of this trope known as the "clbuttic mistake". Examples include "buttembly", "consbreastution", "loveual harbuttment", and "buttbuttination".

Compare Censored for Comedy. See also The Problem with Pen Island. If this is invoked for humor, the mods and admins may be having Fun with Autocensors. May overlap with Have a Gay Old Time. For any actual problems with Scunthorpe, see Place Worse Than Death.


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Fictional examples:

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Real-life examples:

    Forums/Websites 
  • That there is a legitimate variety of sword called a bastard sword,note  which shows up in many RPGs, makes discussion of said weapon somewhat annoying if the website in question thinks you're trying to swear. There is also a similar problem in metalworking where any workshop worth its name will hold bastard files. Likewise if you're trying to use "bastard" as a description rather than an insult, e.g. when talking about illegitimate children in Crusader Kings.
  • 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!
  • 12 oz. Mouse had a character named "C.J. Muff", or "C.J. *****", as the [adult swim] forums would render it.
  • 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).
  • Anime News Network has censored Niconico Douga. No, seriously. Example here.
  • 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, which becomes 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, "Osama" and "Nazi" are 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.
    • This led to some minor hilarity when You Awaken In Razor Hill was originally being published on the forums; the signature "scrape" of Pyramid Hogger's sword had to be written as "scr@pe".
  • On July 4, 2010, YouTube "fixed" a JavaScript injection bug by simply filtering the word 'script' out of all comments. No, not even looking at word boundaries. This led to issues with the words "transcript", "description", and "subscription" among others.
    • Their anti-spam algorithims have also gotten caught up in this issue: one incident in 2017 saw videos containing references to "New lunar" in their titles being flagged automatically due to a certain type of video spam frequently containing those words. This caused headaches for the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom, as the "New Lunar Republic" is both a meme and a popular subject of Alternate Universe Fic within it (in addition, a popular fan song is "For the New Lunar Republic" — meaning that the musicians who had remixed it were getting their accounts flagged and banned), and even a Terraria video discussing "new Lunar items" in an update got caught up too.
    • A more prominent variation of this incident occurred in February 2019. In the wake of a controversy surrounding pedophilic activities in comments on videos containing minors, filters flagged a number of Pokémon GO videos for containing sexual content prohibited under its terms of service. Said videos mainly contained both "how" and "CP" in the title — which refers specifically to "Combat Power". Club Penguin videos also got hit with false positives too.
  • 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 contraction of the word "douchebag" 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 Bored Panda, all slang words for penis are censored, including milder ones like "knob" and "willy". This applies even if the comment is on a post about the body part in question.
  • 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.
  • Capcom Unity's forums can censor many things, including names. For instance "Jim Cummings", (or any intentional misspellings (except for "Jim C+ Ummings") will be rendered as "Jim Mings".
  • 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 awkward 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:
    • The Profanity Filter is hilariously over-the-top. 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.
      • The site 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.
      • 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."
      • And the "i" and "c" in "spices".
      • They censor the term "homo". This means Homo sapiens, Homo erectus and Homo Superior are blocked thanks to the space, but what about Homophobe?
      • They also censor the "spic" in "suspicious."
    • Even worse, they do not post any comment on an article with a link. Doesn't seem so bad, they want to cut down on spam, sure. Except that it simply deletes the comment instantly, meaning it's lost forever with the commenter having no idea where his post has gone. Okay, that's a shame, but it shouldn't come up much... except for the fact that Cracked has an original web-series called Rom.com. Which means anyone posting the name of the series in the comments will have their message immediately deleted forever.
  • 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!
    • Former comic book website Newsarama also used to do this on its forums, censoring the name "Dick". Notably, it did NOT censor the word "penis", meaning that it was possible to evade the filter by turning an innocent name into something blatantly sexual.
  • The DDRFreak 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.
  • Facebook had to revise their censor for people's names at one point, because they blocked people whose last name was "Gay".
    • 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.
  • Fanfiction Dot Net seems to hate the Nazis. Not enough to censor the word itself in private messages, but good luck trying to say, for example, "Third Reich" without it coming out as "Third R***". They also blank out anything that resembles a URL, presumably to deter spam, which includes direct mention of their own name including the initialism FF.net.
    • The latter appears in My Immortal: there's a bit where Tara tries to include a link to an image of the costume she's describing but it comes out as "http/".
    • If you've ever private messaged anyone on FFN, this comes up pretty often with words that aren't even swearwords, i.e "corpse" will become "c**pse" or "destroyed" will become "d***ed", etc.
  • Fark.com has various filters which censor out key words (and even between words, not counting the spaces, so "wish it" would become "wishiat"). "Shit" is replaced with "shiat", "bitch" with "biatch", "fuck" with the site name, "nigger" with "attractive and successful African-American", and "nigga" 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. note 
    • 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 replaced with "Fonaibung"note .
    • While not profanity, the phrase "First Post" is filtered to "boobies"note . This eventually leads 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".
  • Good luck linking to this page from the Frontier Development forums, which automatically deletes any offensive words from posts, regardless of use (even if they're in links). For example, one person talking about the swear filter on ship names in Elite Dangerous (which replaces the offensive word with asterisks, and also suffers this problem) mentioned the Scunthorpe problem and found the name of the city shortened to Shorpe. Another person resorted to a URL shortener to link to the Wikipedia page for this problem.
  • Over at the GameFAQs forums, Japanese names 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.
    • The swear filter makes exceptions for certain words containing what would otherwise be banned words — such as "cockatrice", "lustful", "wristwatch", and of course "Scunthorpe" — as listed in this archived link (alongside the banned word list)
    • 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'.
    • GameSpot has (or had) the word "class" censored out thanks to it containing "ass", which makes talking about character jobs/classes in games that have them, like Golden Sun, Team Fortress 2, Mass Effect, Fire Emblem, and more than a few Final Fantasy installments annoying.
    • 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 the Italian 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 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".
  • "Google+ doesn't like my surname. Profile is suspended pending review. Had this problem with FB. But I'm stubborn and won't change my name." — Matthew Cock
  • Honest John's forums censor every mention of the word "arse", which makes you able to tell that you've recently bought a hea***, or that you support the London-based soccer team A***nal.
  • The IMDb boards keep mild swearing but replace worse words with *beep*. For example, "ass" is allowed, while its derivative, "asshole", is beeped (though strangely, "Goddamn" is left alone). As a further result of this filter, talking about Alfred Hitchcock is more or less impossible. The censorship policy also beeps certain Japanese words with worse English swear words within them, such as "dashitara" and "Odago"note , 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  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, around 2012, installed a word-filter that turned "lol" into "I lick old ladies", in an attempt to curb overuse of the acronym while making fun of those who do. However, not only did it completely fail to prevent clueless newbies from spamming the phrase in every one of their posts, but it also caused problems for a certain user who LPed the Adventures of Lolo games.
  • LiveJournal blocks interest searches for anything that squicks Moral Guardians, such as "baby carrots with cumin."
    • 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 "finish it", or Simpsons Hit N'Runis 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 assembly programmer who can't find any do***entation.
    • And another, from someone having a problem with Se***emCount() (SetItemCount).
  • A Myst-related chatroom that bleeped the innocent words "manuscript", "Uranus", and "shell". Some forum members still use "m***script" or "mcript" as an Unusual Euphemism.
    • When the developer released a game expansion called 'Path of the Shell', for a while users were getting bleeps and bans for mentioning the company's own new product in their chat.
  • Neopets has been known 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". The fact that SpongeBob SquarePants was often said to live in Cardigan Bottom was rather less than optimal. And not only does Neopets do this with profanity and other such "inappropriate" content, they also ban discussion of "controversial topics", which means one can get in trouble for saying the word "politics".
    • It got worse, where the filter for Neomail (private messages) played this trope painfully straight. Words such as "something", "document", "circumstances", "facepalm", "'hello", "skill", and so on would be blocked. Another such word is "birdy", which is unfortunate since not only is it a logical thing to call any pet or petpet based on a bird, one of the games on the site is Tyrannian Mini Golf, which does indeed use golf terms such as "birdy" and "bogey".
    • "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. And you shouldn't talk about that time you explored the basement, or mention grapes or drapes.
    • Neopets has a large number of unlockable avatars you can use on the Neoboards (read: forums). A well-known fansite called Jellyneo has a tool that generates a list of avatars you haven't unlocked yet, and this tool also generates HTML code that can be copied and pasted onto your pet's page to give you more convenient access to this list. However, if you don't have the "Let it Snow!" avatar yet, you'll need to edit the code slightly to remove the image for said avatar before you can put the list onto the page, because the filename for the avatar itself is "letitsnow.gif" and Neopets' filters can find inappropriate words inside of the names of files on their own site.
    • For a while, anything Twilight-related was filtered and changed to various silly things, such as rendering Twilight itself as My Little Pony and the author Stephenie Meyer as Krusty the Clown. This caused problems for someone named Stephanie, as mentioned in this editorial
    • One day, as the people who run the site were moving offices, there were no people moderating the Neoboards and most of the usual systems for dealing with inappropriate content were down, leaving nothing but very rudimentary filters for that section of the site; these filters contained very few words and were easily thwarted by creative spelling or spaces. This quickly opened the floodgates to the opposite problem, as users started swearing, having NSFW ropleplays, posting porn, spamming, posting entire movie scripts just because they could, exchanging Nintendo 3DS friend codes, and discussing serious topics that were usually off-limits due to being likely to incite flame wars.
    • On the pet pages, you're not allowed to mention "documents" or "snigger".
    • While talking to petpets, if you say something that trips the filter, the petpet will say, "Oi! Don't swear! This site is family-friendly!" even if you hadn't sworn. Drug references are banned, so you'll get this if you talk about "seaweed" to an aquatic petpet.
    • One user had trouble because of the forums censoring their pet's name, because it had "peni" in it.
    • They disallow naming a pet after things related to computer hacking, so "Hacking", "Hacker", and "Datacorruption" aren't allowed, but strangely, "Corruption" and "Hack" are.
  • A Nickelodeon-related forum once censored the word "fag", reasonable enough, right? Except anytime that someone mentioned Bill "Patrick Star" Fagerbakke, the last name became "f*gerbakke" (without the capitalization, either!), along with the less risque Rodger "Squidward Tentacles" Bumpass.
  • 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.
  • Ninja Kiwi, of Bloons Tower Defense and Bloons Super Monkey fame, has "M.O.A.B. ******in (Assassin), ****e (price), and "doumo arigatou gozaima****a ne" (doumo arigatou gozaimashita ne, which is Japanese for "thank you very very much") in the BTD5 and BTD Battles chat functions.
  • The fundamentalist Christian news website One News Now (run by the American Family Association) automatically changes "gay" to "homosexual" in wire reports to suit their conservative position. Of course, there was a time when the site had to cover the Olympic journey of one "Tyson Homosexual".
  • 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.
  • 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 MySpace changed 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.
  • Good that fantasy author Michael Moorcock (probably) never was on phantastik-news.de, as his last name gets castrated...
  • 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 filters only for unregistered viewers to make the forum uncomfortable to read for them, as well as to prevent SA from popping up in strange google searches. 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.
    • At some point, obvious typos would be changed to "[NOTE: I AM TOO STUPID TO SPELL THE WORD "(word)" CORRECTLY]". Which gave rather strange results whenever someone tried to use the word "ingenious", since the entire latter part of the word was interpreted by the parser as a misspelling of "genius".
  • 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 directly 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. At least it's possible to use a URL shortener such as TinyURL to cir***vent this problem.
    • It's particularly problematic when talking about certain games such as Stealth Bastard. Or with Crusader Kings, where "bastard" can be a factual description of a character instead of an insult.
    • Valve does have some Fun with Autocensors, though, in that "piss" is turned into "jarate", leading to people saying they're "really jarateed off" by whatever happens to have earned their ire.
    • The filter also makes it tricky to post excerpts from the config files for Farming Simulator, because internally they refer to the oilseed crop "canola" by its proper name, "rape".
    • The same filter affects community guides for Scribblenauts Unlimited - lists of the object shards in the game include one named Scribble Cum Laude... or rather, "Scribble♥♥♥♥♥Laude".
    • "Whore" is also censored, which means that an item in The Binding of Isaac is dubbed the "♥♥♥♥♥ of Babylon".
    • The literary inspiration for Nantucket appears as "Moby ♥♥♥♥♥" in reviews, with occasional Lampshade Hanging from the reviewers.
    • In the Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich board, the thread where the creator of Pulp Adventures advertises the mod contains the list of pulp-era characters who can be played. One of them is "♥♥♥♥ Tracy".
  • 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, etc.) 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.
  • Among its other technical problems, Wikifoundry, home of the Closing Logo Group Wiki, has a notoriously unreasonable censorship filter. So good luck trying to talk about Dick Van Dyke or logos from Niger...
  • The Other Wiki doesn't have an edit censor filter, but it does have a filter that flags usernames containing certain words. A surprising number of legitimate accounts get flagged, especially those with proper names containing an embedded obscenity or slur (Nazir, Takeshita, etc.).
  • 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.
    • Wizards publishes Magic: The Gathering, which features a Cockatrice as a creature. "Cock" is legitimate (if potentially naughty) shorthand.
      • Early versions of Magic Online had a notoriously restrictive swear filter; words that contained a censored word within them appeared as blank spaces. This got silly because several card names were among the words that were censored. For example, "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 cards "Deep Analysis" and "City of Brass" 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...
      • It's got some odd standards.
  • On the World of Warcraft information board, Wowhead, the censorship renders "cock" into a line of asterisks. This shows most clearly in discussions about cockroaches. The word "snatch" is also censored, leading to interesting discussions when discussing an ability featured in the game.
  • 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 used to do this? 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.
    • The Mexican Yahoo News site seems to be suffering from this as well in the comments section. Comments in this article show that you can't write "vehículo" (vehicle in Spanish) or "cucaracha" (cockroach) because it censors the partial match for "culo" (ass, specifically the anus) and "cuca" (pussy).
    • Not really related to censorship, but Yahoo once introduced a filter to Yahoo Mail designed to defeat cross-site scripting by hyphenating javascript, jscript, vbscript, and livescript, but also replacing eval, mocha, and expression with review, espresso, and statement, respectively. True to the trope's spirit, the filter ignored not only word boundaries but context entirely, because Yahoo wanted to stop any potential loopholes. The result was nonsense words and bizarre "Blind Idiot" Translation-esque phrases appearing all over the internet and print media for over a year, including Indian newspaper The Hindu talking about "medireview Mughal emperors of India" and scientific papers talking about "gene statement".
  • YTMND used to have this problem. This page pokes fun at it.
  • Zug.com uses a profanity filter that substitutes 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 BeluShakespearehen 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.
    • DeviantArt'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 Linux 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.
  • 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.
  • Nintendo of America's forums had this issue as well. As it turns out, one could not have a discussion about the Nintendo GameCube component subcontractors. Specifically, the optical drive was made by Matsushita.
  • Some users of the now-lost Ion Storm forums had difficulty talking about The Chronicles of Riddick game; others were just confused as to what the hell 'Chronicles of Rid****' even was.
  • Some Instagram users got angry because of a policy prohibiting the phrase "born again follower of Jesus", which is because it contains the phrase "gain follower".
  • Non-profanity example: In protest of the renaming of Mr. Satan to Hercule, Kanzenshuu used to rename all instances of Hercule to "The H-Word". Predictably, talking about Hercule Poirot was fairly difficult.
  • Due to incidents surrounding its discussions of a particular sports radio host, a Michigan media forum censors the word "Huge". It makes it quite awkward to discuss the h*** changes someone did to their lineup.
  • A message board devoted to American Top 40 automatically rendered the phrase "kiss my ass" as "I disagree". Which resulted in a bewildering reference to the famed tribute album I Disagree: Classic Kiss Regrooved. It also filters artist names with hilarious results: Pussycat Dolls becomes "girl thingycat Dolls", Donald Fagen becomes "Donald f*gen", and Spoon becomes "Sthingy".
  • For April Fools' Day 2016, streaming website iVlog censored certain words in amusing ways. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the Scunthorpe Problem existed with the filter, so (for example) Scunthorpe became Scabbagehorpe.
  • ProBoards allows an administrator to customise or turn off the automatic censor, but the default settings used to be not only absurdly overzealous in what words and phrases they censored but also downright bizarre in what they changed them to, e.g. "penis" and "dick" became "thingy" while "pussy" and even ruder synonyms became "girl thingy" (yes, really). This could result in mentions of the famous Victorian novelist "Charles Thingyens" or a reference to a feline being rendered as "girl thingycat". Similarly "my assistant" would become "I disagreeistant".
  • This even happened on Encyclopedia Dramatica of all places, when for a brief period the former site owner attempted to make it SFW by purging offensive articles and automatically swapping out offensive words for benign ones. Among thoroughly breaking piping (any word linked to an article with an offensive name would be changed, causing Engrish-like articles) but also changed innocent terms leading to articles claiming the Resident Evil series took place in "RacBlack Person City".
  • A website called Wetbusters, which was meant to help kids and teens cope with bed wetting, had a bit of trouble with users going on about diapers in the forums, so it extended its profanity filter to disallow words such as "diaper", that even disallowed "wear" and, rather inconveniently for a website about bed wetting, "wet".
  • In an overzealous effort to enforce their ban on firearms sales, Google Shopping returned zero results for queries containing gun-related substrings. This caused a bit of embarrassment when searches for burGUNdy tipple and BAYONETta 2, as well as anything relating to young male horses, got hit as well.
  • While not necessarily profanity-related, bots on Reddit can sometimes be triggered this way. This user got a Wall of Text debunking common myths about sushi safety when their post about paintball and tornadoes contained the phrase "selfish parasites". The bot creator apologized.
  • Facebook has been causing issues with groups made for players of Animal Crossing: New Horizons because its algorithms are flagging posts containing "weed" as in the plants that grow on players' islands, and "Molly", who is a villager in the game. It thinks they're selling illegal drugs rather than playing a video game. Administrators are asking players not to use "weed" and "trade" in the same post or find a euphemism for the word.
  • Twitter once permabanned a Luxembourg-based user for tweeting about birds. And not just any bird, but the great tit.
  • On This Very Wiki:
    • A filter intended to stop an attacker flooding the site with bad attempts at SQL-injection attacks accidentally locked out all editing of several pages, due to overlap in SQL code and wiki markup making certain innocent examples listing something and something else in a third thingnote  look like attempted attacks. Since any edit to a page technically submits the entire text of that page, pages which already contained such false positives couldn't be edited at all until the problem was identified and the examples removed.
    • Following The Second Google Incident, the site restricted several Sexual Harassment and Rape Tropes due to concerns with advertisers about prurient content. However, both Mind Rape and The Rape of the Lock got caught due to having "rape" in the title, despite neither referring to sexual rape.
    • More than three astrisks in a row get shortened, requiring workarounds (for this page, we added an [==] every three asterisks in general).
  • A YouTube video about The London Underground had one commenter complaining about the announcer "swearing" at one point — because he'd misheard the announcement as "last effing train". At least one amused respondent pointed out that announcement was actually "last Epping train".
  • In 2021 it was reported that Facebook had been censoring posts harmlessly referring to a park in Plymouth (England) that is called Plymouth Hoe, due to confusion with the US use of "hoe" as a misogynistic insult derived from "whore".
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons trading site Nookazon has a pretty bad case of this. "Something" and "Embarassed" are flagged due to having "meth" and "ass" hidden in them respectively, though "Hello" gets by despite "Hell" on its own being flagged. "Entrance" (referring to the entry area of an island), "Money" (referring to bells), and "Strange" are also flagged, despite having no hidden naughty words.
  • Subeta has an odd non-obscene version. Its annual masquerade ball requires users to wear a mask to "dance", but this simply means any wearable item with "mask" in its name, spaces be damned, which means one could actually wear a mask, or just put up some Pearlescent Damask Wallpaper.
  • In 2021, the Facebook algorithm briefly deleted the official page of the French town "Bitche" without official explaination. A confusion with "bitch" is suspected.
  • The discussion board of the French-language website L'Encyclopédie du Paranormal(The Encyclopedia of Paranormal) uses a censor bot to replace a few vulgar words by formal synonyms; one of the censored words is "bite" (which means "dick" in French), replaced by "<membre viril>" ("<male organ>"). It usually makes sense, but the posters of said forum often share articles in English, and the website has a whole section related to cryptozoology, which occasionally results in incidents, to the amusement of the users. Such an incident happened when one of the admins shared in the cryptozoology section a copy of an article (in English) about the megalodon shark, turning a paragraph about "bite marks" into bilingual non-sense.

    General English Examples 

Common examples

  • Anal picks up words like "analysis", "canal", and "analogue". One college in the early days of the Internet, trying to use a word filter to block out porn sites (being the biggest traffic waster in an era when Internet was expensive), had to disable the filter to buy a bunch of components from Analog Devices. When you include spaces, it also picks up phrases like "can always" or "can also".
  • Ass is such a common string of letters found in innocuous words that The Daily WTF calls it the "clbuttic mistake". Among things you can't say without saying "ass" are:
    • "Class", causing issues when discussing certain School Tropes or Character Classes;
    • Anything to do with "mass", including describing something as "massive", as well as anything to do with the state of Massachusetts;
    • Anything to do with assassins or assassination, so you can't talk about Assassin's Creed or Who Shot JFK? — and it shows up twice, which makes it sound even dirtier;
    • Anything to do with bass fishing or bass guitars, which is only to be expected because Nobody Loves the Bassist;
    • Anything to do with assemblies, including the programming language;
    • Anything to do with grass, including Bluegrass music;
    • Anything about making assumptions;
    • Anything involving passing someone or something, or being passive.
  • Cock, as found in examples such as:
    • People whose last names end in "cock", such as famed director Alfred Hitchcock, British Speculative Fiction writer Michael Moorcock, or prominent signatory of the American Declaration of Independence John Hancock (and you also can't talk about the film Hancock either).
    • Words like "cockpit", meaning you can't talk about anything involving piloting on certain places on the Internet. It's been a problem for a long time, making "cockpit" an Inherently Funny Word; George Carlin observed decades ago that airlines were already trying to avoid this by referring to the cockpit as the "flight deck", especially when you consider all the Sexy Stewardesses who frequently go in and out of it.
    • The animal "cock" and anything derived from it — while you can easily use synonyms for "cock", it's more difficult with a peacock or cockatrice. You also can't talk about the very different animal the cockroach, but most people wouldn't want to.
    • Being cocky, which means overconfident.
    • Cocking one's head or gun.
  • Cum shows up more often than you'd think:
    • A few people have names containing the word, many of them named Cummings, like E. E. Cummings the poet, or Dominic Cummings the British Conservative politician, who was portrayed in Brexit: The Uncivil War by Benedict Cumberbatch, who himself triggers this filter. The latter Cummings in fact cannot trend on Twitter for his antics without triggering the filter.
    • It pops up often in Latin, as cum means "with" — so you can't refer to the phrase summa cum laude or anything similar.
    • Words like "circumstance", "circumrefence", and the already-slightly-dirty "circumcision".
    • Also, "document."
    • "Cucumber". This has led to the joke riddle, "What is long, hard, and has cum in it? Cucumber!".
  • Dick: Excludes discussion of basically anyone named Dick. These could be creators (e.g. Dick Cavett, Philip K. Dick), politicians (e.g. Dick Cheney), or others with "Dick" in the name (e.g. Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson). Poor Dick Van Dyke also triggers any filter against the word "dyke", leading to the joke that the Internet can only render his name as Penis Van Lesbian.
  • Rape is a fairly common string, showing up in words like "grapefruit" and "scrape". The latter is a particularly interesting one, as it can also trigger from "crap" (and also means you can't talk about skyscrapers).
  • Sex: usually, any word containing the string of characters has to do with sex, but there are a few exceptions, like the sextant (old-school navigation equipment), Sextans (name of a constellation and dwarf galaxy, as well as a Roman bronze coin) and all those Romans named Sextus (being Latin for "the sixth").
  • Shit:
    • Shows up in words of Japanese origin. This usually happens with things like "shitake mushrooms", but also with proper names. If it reads through spaces, that can also be a problem as many Japanese names end in "-shi", so you wouldn't be able to say, for instance, "Takashi took the last piece of pie." It's also a problem in transliterating the language, as many verbs conjugated in the formal past tense end in -deshita or -mashita. The company Matsushita had to develop a new name for the Anglophone market, which eventually became the name of the company as a whole: you'd know them as Panasonic.
    • It also triggers often when the filter cannot distinguish spaces, leading to an inability to say things like, "I wish it were Christmas every day."
    • Amusingly, the village of Shitterton can actually base its name on excrement, deriving from an old English name for "farmstead on the stream used as an open sewer". The villagers were so exasperated at people stealing the town's sign that they eventually had to carve it into a 1.5-ton block of limestone.
  • Tit is another three-letter string that often shows up. Oddly, a good chunk of them are also kind-of dirty, even if they're not etymologically related to the word "tit" (e.g. "tittillating", "prostitute"). Among the other words picked up are "Constitution" and "title", which can make it particularly difficult to talk about Professional Wrestling. If it can't distinguish spaces, that can cause problems saying things like, "isn't it" or "doesn't it".
    • Birds of the "tit" family, including the Great Tit are common in many areas, so censoring the word on a birdwatching or nature forum would also lead to hilarity.
  • Hoe, which is another one of those promiscuous-woman insults, a la "slut" and "whore", but by itself, it's a gardening tool, and it shows up very commonly in words like "shoe".

Less common examples

  • Arse is more or less the British equivalent of "ass", and it doesn't show up nearly as often, but it does make it difficult to talk about a big arsenal, which might show up in works that enjoy that sort of thing. It also makes it difficult to talk about the London football club Arsenal FC (as well as its longtime manager Arsene Wengernote ), although it has led to a common joke:
    Can you name three English football teams with rude words in their names? Sure I can: Scunthorpe United, Arsenal, and Manchester Fucking United.note 
  • Clit, short for "clitoris", usually found in more archaic names, like that of the sedate Lancashire town of Clitheroe.
  • Effin: The town of Effin in Ireland was banned entirely from Facebook (in one of its more risibly bowdlerizer moods). As one poster put it:
  • Nigger: A very nasty slur with a fiendishly complicated use case, featured in a few archaic words like "snigger" (and a few more like "niggardly" catch variant spellings). For the most part, the word is so toxic that in general people avoid using words like this anywhere and stick to synonyms. This goes back a ways; All in the Family's resident racist Archie Bunker once sarcastically insisted that the proper term was "snegro". "Snigger" still pops up in Britain, which can cause problems across the Atlantic.
  • Pussy: Doesn't show up in very many other words (except the term for cat), but it does make it difficult for fans to discuss the James Bond film Octopussy. Then again, it may have been an Intentionally Awkward Title.
  • Porn: Doesn't appear very often in English, but it's common in languages like German (e.g. anspornen, "to cheer") and Thai (where it seems like a third of the country has a name ending in "-porn").
  • Twat: A profane term for the vulva, but it occasionally shows up in some surnames or place names that have "water" at the end, like "Sweetwater" or "Lightwater", and the word "wristwatch". If spaces are included, it also can blank out "night watchman".
  • Stfu: Internet slang for "Shut the fuck up", but shows up in words such as "boastful", "lustful", and "restful".

    Video Games 
  • The Xbox Live Arcade has a very enthusiastic filter that will pick up words that vaguely share letters with naughty words, leading to censorship of words as innocuous as "help", "train", "start", and "dice". There are a few more words that don't make sense in any way, like "basic", "epic", "glitch", "mystery", and "puzzle". It also ignores word boundaries and spaces, leading to a ridiculous number of false positives. The Arcade version of Quarrel was left almost unplayable by the filter.
  • The chat room for the online Transformers game Battle for the Allspark had such an enthusiastic filter that you couldn't talk about the scene where Sam is on top of a skyscraper or the character Bumblebee, and you couldn't even say that the game was fun.
  • The City of Heroes profanity filter is rather weird, sometimes censoring words almost at random. Luckily, the in-game filter can be turned off, and the official forums have a much saner filter. The filter is particularly sensitive to religious topics, leading to words such as "Jew" and "God" being filtered — so you can't discuss any God Tropes that may apply. It also censored "45S", which occasionally came up if you and your team were fighting enemies in that level range — apparently this is a holdover from an earlier NCSoft title whose players used the string as a substitute for "ass".
  • 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 has an enthusiastic filter that not only ignores spaces, but also other punctuation. It can even drag your username into it, meaning that if it ends in "t" and the first word in your message is "It", it thinks you're trying to say "tit". Despite this, it doesn't catch replacement letters, meaning you can say "t1t" just fine. Among its weirder blocks are "sperm" (meaning you can't say "whisper me" in reference to the "whisper" chat function), "ass" (when there's an assassin character class), "Christ" (which affected usernames like "Christopher" or "Christina"), and "blow" (which is included in the names of several skills). MapleSEA adds the string "cb" (an obscure and rude initialism in Singlish), meaning you can't talk about the "Angelic Buster" or "Angelic Blessing". Most infuriatingly, if you trigger the filter, it brings up a pop-up that admonishes you for swearing, and you can't control your character until you close it — which can be fatal in higher-level areas.
  • Runescape has had some bizarre ones over the years, like:
    • "Fletching", which sounds extremely similar to the name of a sex act, but also happens to be one of the in-game skills;
    • "Milk" and "eggs", which are cake ingredients in one of the quests;
    • "Yahoo", apparently because it's an obscure slang term for breasts, so you can't talk about the search engine;
    • ".com", ".net", and ".org", ostensibly to remove spam but way more pervasive than it should be;
    • "Quid", again to combat spam and advertising, meaning you can't talk about "squid";
    • "pw", short for "password", to prevent players from sharing their passwords;
    • And a number of random letter-number sequences that look suspiciously like British postcodes, ostensibly to prevent players from sharing their addresses.
  • 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.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features very strict profanity filtering. Not totally unreasonable even for an M-rated game, but it does get a bit silly when one of the blocked words is "Hell", which is the name of a stage in the game and where one of the characters actually hails from.
  • 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, so erasing the file means you can fill a chat room with profanity for all to see and nothing can be done about it.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a chat filter to prevent the code words to a certain quest from being spoiled. It made discussing spotted plovers difficult. And it made the code word more obvious. It also made it difficult to talk about yohohoyos, an in-game item containing another code word. Other than that, you're free to use profanity, not that it helps. The game's forums, as a joke, censor the common misspelling "alot", which makes it frustrating to link to Hyperbole and a Half's coping mechanism for seeing the word.
  • Gunbound has a few weird examples, a few of which affect discussion of the game itself — for example, "tai" (for whatever reason) is censored, meaning you couldn't say "mountain" (in an artillery game no less); "suck", preventing you from talking about one of the mobiles who has an attack that does just that to its enemies; and "spic", preventing you from talking about Spicule, one of the guild members.
  • 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 that may not have 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. Both are French words for "penis".
    • This censorship carries on into its sequel, Guild Wars 2. Also included in the list is "reputation" (where puta is a Spanish word for "whore").
    • When Guild Wars introduced a game-supported forum, they turned every swear word into "kitten". Lots of users will talk about how something is "kittened up".
  • The filter in Air Rivals is particularly aggravating. Although it only bleeps out the offending word, but at least you can turn it off.
    • Subagame's version of the swear filter in Ace Online is the same in that respect.
  • 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 triggered the censor.
  • Many online games, such as RuneScape, censor "ich" for its connotation to "bitch", presumably. Quite unfortunate for those who live in Wichita, Kansas, and all German people – as ich is the first person pronoun.
  • 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.
    • Among other things the name Teancum from The Book of Mormon is banned as a name which makes some Mormons sad because he was a pretty awesome Badass Normal.
    • 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 Star MMORPGs 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 a common weapon prefix. 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".
    • PSO also censored "cola"note , which was an item in the original Phantasy Star.
      • It's not just prefixes, even some weapon names are censored, the most hilarious example being the Frozen Shooter. Even better is that it's considered practically mandatory for any Ranger due to its extremely high chance of freezing enemies, so you'll be seeing it a lot.
    • 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"note  being censored).
      • Let's not forget the classic Twin Handgun Photon Art, "Twin %!&@#$*@%!$" (Penetration).
    • The language filter isn't quite as stringent in Phantasy Star Online 2, and permits the word "hell". Even still, there are a number of words that still get censored, such as "pork", "blow" (but not "blows" or "blower"), "screw", and crack (but not "cracked"). This is also bizarre, considering that the game has largely remained a Japanese-exclusive game (the reviled SEA version by PlayAsia notwithstanding).
  • For quite a while the EVE Online official forums censored the word "crack", which led 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.
  • Genshin Impact Co-op chat is particularly overzealous in censoring words, due to the heavy censorship laws in China. This gets especially ridiculous when seemingly innocent words in English, such as "nerd" or "home", get picked up by the chat filter. Many ingame items get censored in Co-op chat, making text communication a bit of a hassle.
  • Champions Online has a particularly bad filter. Not only does it block out words that aren't swears, but it doesn't recognize the space between words, so you end up with really bizarre cases of censorship such as:
    • Not letting you use the fragment "hero in" or the word "heroine" in your biography because it spells "heroin". In a game that's about superheroes.
    • The language filter censors "puta", because it is a rude Spanish word for prostitute. But when you play the game in English, this means you get such lines like "The city owes so-and-so a debt of gratitude after he %$&@ stop to the alien invasion!"
    • "Isn't it" appears as "Isn'#$&@".
  • 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 of a certain word.
    • 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 common issue in Nexon games, to the point of becoming a bit of an in-joke within its playerbase.
  • MMO golf game Pangya changed hosts in North America at one point; 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.
    • Fly FF also censors 'cu' in character and shop names, despite one of the items in the game being called an Upcut Stone. Strangely, 'cu' wasn't censored in the normal chat box.
  • 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...
  • 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).
    • In an odd inversion, the game has a filter that slurs speech when the player character is drunk. At release and until a patch remedied this, the filter would even alter programmed emoted actions. This meant that players using the "sit" command would often unintentionally announce that they were doing something beginning with "sh" instead, visible even to those with the profanity filter active. The patch notes referenced the sit command specifically by promising that drunk characters would no longer be said to be doing something vulgar.
  • World of Warships has a Japanese battleship named Ashitaka. If the filter is turned on her name is rendered as "A****aka," doubling as an Unfortunate Name.
    • There is also the American aircraft carrier Essex. You can probably guess what happen when the filter is on.
  • 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 NPCs 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 Scunthorpe) 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 it 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 was censored from Amusementpark for this reason.
  • 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.
  • Wizard 101 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.
    • At one point they had to rename an NPC from "Ahn Fu" to "Ahn Nao" because his last name needed to be filtered from chat.
  • 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 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 WAR2 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 where "arse" (the middle part of "parsecs") isn't really on their profanity radar.
    • Kira Carsen is censored because of this.
  • Worms: The wordfilter applies to common swear words, common words like "toss" and "bandit", and a long list of very specific euphemisms.
  • 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 , "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.
  • 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  and powerlevel, while some swear 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. 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.
    • 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 , 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 ones 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 funnier, 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" or "mi lk" to get around this.
  • Warframe has an oddly inconsistent 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 MUD Legends of the Jedi turns "document" into "do***ent," to give just one example. Thankfully you can turn the thing off.
  • As of late-2013, by the "advice" of David Cameron, all major British ISPs "must" voluntarily have content filtering enabled by default. And then some filters started blocking patch files for League of Legends that contained the substring "sex" in their file names (i.e. VarusExpirationTimer.luaobj)
    • League's own profanity filter covers the usual set of swear words, but also abbreviations like 'FU'. This includes if you want to name a custom item set something like 'Full Attack Damage'.
  • Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III have a whole list of words that are censored for use in usernames during multiplayer, replacing all appearances of these words/letter sequences with asterisks. Notable due to the fact that "ead" (an acronym for "eat a dick") is censored, in a game about the undead. Many players didn't even know this acronym existed until they saw it censored in the game! Another one of the censored letter combinations is "nig", which means one can't even call themselves a knight in a game about knights! Even more ridiculously, they're case-sensitive, meaning typing the offending word in all caps will get it through the filter. Many have questioned just what the programmers who made this filter were thinking. The PC version of Dark Souls II can be uncensored as the censored words lists for every language are easily accessible files in the game's directory so you can just replace the one for your language with a blank one, but this is sadly not the case for Dark Souls III.
  • The censor in Star Trek Online's Foundry Level Editor has one that basically just tells you that you've got a banned word in there somewhere, which is supremely unhelpful when you weren't actually trying to write one. Case in point.
    starswordc: I wasted fifteen minutes last night randomly deleting sections of text before I finally realized what set it off: the word "c**k", in the sense of "cocking one's head". *eyeroll*
  • Love Live! School Idol Festival's filter carried over in the English version from the Japanese version with no editing whatsoever, resulting in not only sloppy searching for swear words, but also some completely innocuous words blocked for presumably copyright or trademark infringement. For example, "green" is blocked, presumably because of the Japanese social networking service GREE. The biggest backfire of all is that it scans for the word "ho" with no context, meaning that users can't say the name of the series's main protagonist, Honoka Kousaka, or the name of the game itself.
  • The chat filter for Kixeye's games - such as Battle Pirates and VEGA Conflict (which is Battle Pirates IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE!) - is notoriously restrictive as well. You can't, for example, say "i only need 600k points" (because 600k can be read as "gook"), nor can you discuss the fact that VEGA Conflict's Mark II Metaphase Shield has a capacity of 1488 shield units.
  • In Slither.io, setting "Scunthorpe" as your snake's name will filter it to "Srunthorpe". "Shuttlecock" becomes "shuttlerooster", and "horsemen" becomes "horwater".
  • A strategy MMO of The Godfather featured a profanity filter that deleted any perceived cusswords as if they were never there, inconvenient for any mobster hoping to "inate" a rival. Unless you inserted a censored word between the letters in such a way as to make it come out right after the system censored it: "asasssaassssinate" would become "assassinate," for instance.
  • Gems of War: "rape" is censored with asterisks, even inside words, leading to "grapes" turning into "g****s".
  • WWE Video Games has rigid but somewhat odd filtering in that one would expect someone who is an Un-person such as Hulk Hogan or Chris Benoit or political terms such as Iraq/Iraqi or Adolf Hitler to be verboten, but no these can be freely downloaded and uploaded. However as well as the typical examples being censored even common or safe words to the point of support is considered rude and will be blanked out.
  • As a customizable option, Elite Dangerous allows you to name your ship in a way that's visible to all players. It also replaces all potential swears with asterisks when anyone else views your ship, resulting such silly things as "Ambassador" becoming "Amb***ador". When players realized this, their reactions ranged from annoyed to amused.
  • The MMORPG Naruto Online is painfully liberal with its chat censors. The word it's should pretty much be avoided at all costs because you will find it's highly apt to be censored due to a coincidence like the word preceding it ends in T, which it will register as a bad word because it sees "__t it's". Another example is a word or a pair of words lining up to spell "anus", i.e. "He's stronger than us". A third example happens in the case of the word document. Same thing goes for anything that happens to spell out "anal," "cunt," "cum," or "sex". Other innocuous words that are censored include "suck", "hook", and "stupid" ("dumb" is allowed), among undoubtedly tons of others yet to be discovered. The words "shit," "fuck," and "twat", interestingly enough, are A-OK. Players continuously mock this filter by purposely abusing it. Those who do not toy with the filter to purposely make appropriate sentences inappropriate cite this as one of the biggest things that needs to be fixed.
    • On a side note, parts of the filter have been fixed, but it still very far from perfect, much less free of Unfortunate Implications...
    • The forums for Naruto Online use the exact same censor filter as the game itself. Even the mods who post about the game's weekly events cannot type things such as "snatch" for the event "Lucky Snatch" without having to spell it as "Lucky S*natch."
  • The profanity filter for Webkinz is particularly strict for the few chat platforms that exist in this very, very child-targeted game. One particularly egregious example: Presumably to keep people from asking "how old are you?" the word "old" is censored. If the animal you have chosen to be your Player Character is an Old English Sheepdog, you can't even say what kind of animal you are without getting bleeped out.
  • Battlerite's (thankfully optional) profanity filter has been reported to give false positives. For example, its earliest version had "snowball" as a blacklisted word. Even with the filter turned off, many players have reported that their username was flagged as inappropriate, in which case the only options are to change their name (which can't be changed back without paying real money even if the original name is no longer considered inappropriate) or to contact a staff member and wait for the issue to be cleared up (you can't play the game while waiting for this).
  • Warhammer Online seems to have built profanity filters for its localized versions off of the English one, leading to rather bizarre examples. For example, "Der Anführer soll das Tor reparieren" ("The (group) leader should repair the gate") would be depicted as "Der An*** soll das Tor rep***en". The reason? "Führer" in English is strictly a reference to Hitler, while in German it just means "leader". And "Arier" translates to Aryan, but is of course far more likely to turn up in a more completely innocuous word like "reparieren" (to repair).
  • The clan chats in Angry Birds 2 prevent use of milder English words such as "god" and "razor" and delete any and all messages containing such strings for profanity upon submitting them. With the clans allowing for many different countries besides the United States to be set to them (such as Germany, France, Croatia, Latvia, Spain, you name it) and the filter likely not being adjusted to suit a clan's spoken language, this opens up the opportunity for an entire message to be deleted over an innocuous foreign word that just so happens to contain a forbidden substring (for instance, the Croatian word "razoriti" will trigger the deletion due to containing the aforementioned "razor", even though "razoriti" actually means "to destroy" and is nowhere near being profane). Even worse is that in alternate-language clans, it may also allow actual profanity in the clan's language to pass through, spelling and all (depending on the language in question).
  • Moshi Monsters censors a bunch of seemingly random words, including "but", "dung", "skypony" (a type of Winged Unicorn), "hello" and "psychiatrist".
  • Uniracers on the SNES has a Take That! towards SEGA where if you try to enter "Sega" or "Sonic" as a name for your player or league, it considers the name "Not Cool Enough". What brings this into the Scunthorpe problem territory is most swear words and certain other words/names like "Satan" were also deemed "Not Cool Enough", and the detection ignores all other letters in the intended name. So you're out of luck if your wanted name contains an "uncool" word.
  • The PlayStation 3 comes with peer to peer chat software, but the filters are so insanely conservative that any sort of communication is pretty much impossible. Users can't type more than a couple of sentences without using a word that contains a blocked string. This can actually be used to learn new swear words.
  • Pokémon:
    • 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. "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, so you could trade for Yamask instead if you don't want a nickname. 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, Game Freak. This was later patched to make the Pokémon's name an exception to the rule, but issues with other Pokémon were not.
    • Pineco, has the same problem and is not an evolved Pokémon. (At least for Ho-Oh, you must have owned one to trade for it.)
    • Weedle, Marshtomp, and Skuntank are also banned because of their names.
    • Nosepass, Probopass and Froslass 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 in 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.)
    • Germany also banned many Nazi-related words and phrases, including two-letter abbreviations such as SS (Schutzstaffel, Nazi Germany's State Sec), SA (Sturmabteilung, the Nazi Party's original paramilitary wing), and KZ (Konzentrationslager, meaning concentration camp).
    • Pokémon GO gained a profanity filter when trading was added. It's smart enough to make exceptions for official mon names that happen to contain naughty words, but not for anything else with an obscure swear buried in it; and it won't tell you what the offending word is, only "this name contains inappropriate text." Some of the banned words are also pretty ridiculous—you can't name a mon "Button," for example, because it contains the word "butt." "Evil" is also forbidden (maybe they don't want any Team Rocket members sneaking in). Anything nicknamed before this was added gets a free pass, though; the system only checks attempts to set new names, making illicit nicknames somewhat collectible.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield have this problem as well; they don't even allow you to nickname your Pokémon "Rock of Ages".
  • The Nintendo 3DS has an automatic word filter which is used in some of its games, and it has its flaws.
    • The most infamous banned word is "Violet". Sorry, girls named Violet, maybe go with "Vi" or "Vio" for your Mii and/or in-game avatar. The reason is that Viol means "violate" or "rape" in French. "Viola" is also banned, which makes it funny in Pokémon X and Y where there's a Gym Leader named Viola, in a region based off of France, and you can't give your character the same name! In Animal Crossing: New Leaf there's also a gorilla named Violet, and in Tomodachi Life one of the suggested female baby names is Violet, which you can keep, but you can't trade or share her.
    • Pokémon X and Y got hit with this hard when it comes to nicknaming your Pokémon, far moreso than the GTS in Gen V. This is because the game now outright prevents you from giving your Pokémon a nickname which contains an offensive word, instead of simply preventing it from being traded on the GTS. This is likely because the nicknames of your party members can now be shown to other players during online battles. Worse still, all offensive words from all languages are banned, no matter which is the language you use in your game. For example, "Spike" is banned because it contains the Dutch word "pik" which is slang for "penis". note  (Once again, wanted to name your new Flabébé Violet? You can't, sorry.) This will undoubtedly annoy players who want to name a pair of canine mons "Lady" and "Tramp" ("tramp" being a banned word), or try to call a Burmy "Corkscrew" due to the shape of its head. They eventually improved this filter somewhat, thankfully.
    • Tomodachi Life has a rather inconsistent filter, as Vinny learned during his stream of the game: he tripped it by typing "of a giant space turtle", and ended up having to change it to "massive space turtle" instead.
    • Despite all this, if one types the word "hero" in the 3DS web browser, one of the suggested ways to complete the word will be "heroin".
    • The Wii U has a similar problem. One dad was quite angry he couldn't name his son's Mii Killian.
  • Miiverse used to automatically ban people who discuss Project M for discussing "criminal activity". This included the abbreviation "PM", which could get you banned even if you're talking about the time or Paper Mario. There's also this user who mentioned the first case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, "Turnabout Trump", and was promptly banned for "political discussion".
  • Super Mario Maker and its sequel will reject course titles and descriptions that include profanity, and don't even bother trying to insert a space in the middle of a four-letter word, because it's too smart for that. Unfortunately, that means it will also reject such innocent titles as "Yoshi to the Rescue."
  • Good luck talking about "heroes" or "zeroes" in the chat or the names and descriptions of tracks/carts/characters in ModNation Racers, because the censoring software censors "ero", even if you didn't intend to type "Erotic" or "Erotica".
  • Mario Kart 8 ignores spaces, as Vinny discovered when he tried to set the greeting for his tournament to "Gettin Iggy with it".
  • Love Nikki is a mobile game based around dressing up the player character to get high scores in certain categories, such as "Cute" or "Elegance". When it introduced its player chat function through Associations, it censored any player who used the word "Sexy". The problem is, Sexy is one of the major clothing categories needed to win a lot of the game stages. If a player tries to ask fellow Association members what categories they should use for certain stages, you have to Leetspeak it just to give the person advice.
  • 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 "talb***uk ow***ns" (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. the Daybreak Drape) gets censored on the forums (in this case, it would appear as Daybreak D$#@% instead).
  • 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.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, you have no choice but to nickname the Dream Eater known as Pricklemane.
    • Kingdom Hearts χ has this problem with the party chat - from the start of the game, the censorship reached memetic levels with words like Orichalcum (a rare crafting item), Jewel (the in-game premium currency), and skill, the last of which also happens to censor the name of some administrators. Thankfully, the problem is being gradually fixed with update patches.
  • 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.
  • LittleBigPlanet is notorious for censoring the word "happened", seemingly because it contains "pene" (Spanish for "penis") in it. The full extent of the list is unknown, but one other known victim is "swank(er)".
  • Onmyōji has an incredibly obnoxious chat filter that censors a truly bizarre range of words- the Chinese and Japanese builds don't allow the letters "death" 死 and "kill" 殺, some fairly normal (albeit still stupid) examples like others on this list (you can't say "button", for example), some just plain mystifying (for some utterly inexplicable reason, you aren't allowed to say the words "cheat" or "system", despite them being in no way curse words). What makes it truly insufferable is that whenever you use one of the forbidden words, the game doesn't censor it out- it completely blocks your message and chastises you for it, without telling you which word is banned, which not only wastes your effort typing (whatever you typed is deleted from the chat field so you can't just change it and need to retype the entire thing again) but, considering the baffling array of banned words, can leave you with no idea what you even said wrong in the first place! Adding insult to injury, quite a few words managed to slip past the radar, perhaps most notably "damn".
  • Out of all examples, perhaps the filter in Shiwuyu/Tale of Food is the worst – it doesn't recognize spaces for one, meaning players chatting in most languages outside of Chinese and Japanese have to resort.to.different-means-of-spacing, stars out seemingly random sequences of characters, some only consisting of two letters like "me" or "in", and in the Japanese build censors the word アイス (ice in ice-cream) even though one of the monsters is a blob of ice cream, etchi in hiragana えっち but not katakana エッチ, all while not censoring ero エロ, among other bizarre cases.
  • Mega Man X DiVE has this problem in both English and Japanese, censoring the names of characters Massimo and フェラム (Ferham)note , earning the latter the Fan Nickname of "***ム" among Japanese players.
  • My Time at Portia: Due to the developers being Chinese and taking every single action to prevent crossing the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the game has word filters implemented when it comes to naming chests, the workshop and pets, blocking out words that would otherwise get them in trouble with the Chinese government. However, the implementation is very pedantic. For example, you cannot name your workshop Fairfax (after the Californian town) because it contains the letters RFA in it, which the Chinese Government has problem with due to the initials connoting Radio Free Asia, an anti-communist radio station.
  • Among Us is another game with a filter that ignores spaces. It's not so bad in the in-game chat, as the filter can be disabled, but some enterprising players have tried to call themselves "Hit Me" because someone accusing them in chat will say "it****me" instead of "its hit me" when trying. It's worse with the display name, because a name that has parts that will trip the profanity filter will bar a player from even entering a room. "Spoon," "ItsCat," and many other names will result in an error message when the player tries to enter an online game, even if it's private.
  • When the remaster of Nier came out, sharing footage of it on Playstation 5 was forbidden due to the full title. Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... The PS5 filter saw ".1." as a penis emoji and thus banned all use of it, and thus banned any footage of Nier from getting shared.

    Other Software 
  • iBoss Network Security. Often used by schools, it does not allow the word "gang" to be searched (you know, the criminal meaning). This can lead you being blocked afterwards for searching for someone named Wolfgang.
  • 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: Special Victims Unit episode descriptions, "rapist" is censored but "rape" is not.
    • And the Pogues album "Rum, S****y and the Lash".
    • 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". However, the Steven Universe episode by that name managed to get through by being called "Jail Break", with a space, instead.
  • 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.
  • A small backlash erupted in 2008, when Richard Gaywood was banned from Xbox Live for using his real name as his gamertag. Microsoft eventually resolved this issue by removing the prohibition against "Gay" and related words in gamer tags... and then history repeated itself in 2010, when another gamer was banned for being from Fort Gay, WV. Cracked's 6 Spectacularly Failed Attempts to Be Politically Correct explains further.
  • 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"note  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.
  • On the now-defunct Zwinky, the chat would filter out "ass", as people discovered 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***".
  • In an amusing, non-swear example, a man bought War and Peace 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.).
  • The Google Chrome extension Swearing Substitution is planned to replace swear words with other words. However, it has a few problems: It turns all words for the privates (even technical terms like "vagina") into "reproductive body part", which leads to someone saying that roosters say "reproductive body part-a-doodle-doo!" or referring to a cat as a "reproductive body partcat". It also censors "bastard" into "clouds" for some reason and inexplicably turns "spicy" into "brothery" and "suspicious" into "subrotherious".note 
  • In 2020, the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology had its annual conference online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The virtual platform they used, provided by Convey Services, came with a preinstalled naughty word filter that censored such words as "bone", "pubic", and "stream", making it difficult to talk about finding pubic bones in stream beds at Hell Creek. A Chinese-American scientist also pointed out the racial bias of the filter banning "Wang" but not "Johnson".
  • The Daily WTF story "Bessy Keeps You Safe" involves an overzealous school filter which, among other things, censored pages about health hazards of smoking (since smoking is considered inappropriate for children) and documents about safe material handling (due to the word "explosives"). The article comments contain more anecdotes about misbehaving filters.

    Other 
  • The web can be a pain in the ass for Kaspersky users to surf; just ask, for instance, those who try to view the Closing Logo Group's page for the independent producer of Halloween, Compass International Pictures.
  • In North Germany there are a lot of village/place names ending on "-nis" (you may read: nose - it means a peninsula). Nobody ever bothered to rename Espenis, but Olpenis is now Olpenitz, although they are in walking distance. Hmmmm, maybe the fact that the latter was a German Marine base played a role? Imagine soldiers snickering all day long...
  • Due to automated censorship, a graduation cake ordered online ended up bearing the message "Summa --- Laude"
  • An early web project called KA-Worlds managed to invert the trope. They tried to make it impossible to say anything obscene on their site (the target audience was children) by restricting users to a tightly preapproved word bank accessible from dropdown menus. They thought they had finally solved the Scunthorpe Problem, until they brought in a 14-year-old boy as a beta tester. He promptly beat the filter by using no offensive words to say something thoroughly obscene: "I want to stick my long-necked giraffe up your fluffy white bunny." The project was scrapped. Among developers, this is now sometimes known as the Reverse Scunthorpe Problem: If users really want to say something offensive, they will find a creative loophole to do it.
  • Non-profanity example: once upon a time, a certain RPG company decided to find and replace all instances of "mage" in an AD&D supplement with "wizard". This led to sentences like "The user may look into the ball, concentrate on any place or object, and cause the iwizard of the place or object to appear" and "The tower can absorb 200 points of dawizard before collapsing."
  • Scunthorpe Sans is a font that can automatically censor certain swear words. They included an exception for "Scunthorpe" (because it's "suffered enough"), and nothing else.
  • In 2014 the United Kingdom instituted a "porn blocker" that had its four main service providers search for and block pornographic content...in the stupidest way possible. Most notorious among its early missteps was blocking a League of Legends patch for containing the scandalous files named "Xerathmagechainsextended" and "Varusexpirationtimer".


Whoa, I've spent this much time on TV Tropes?! Better get back to my U.S. History homework and study the Consbreastution...


Alternative Title(s): Clbuttic Mistake

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