[MUD-Dev] Censorship

Ben Greear greear at cyberhighway.net
Thu Apr 29 06:20:59 CEST 1999

Greg Munt wrote:
> > [Ben Greear, on new additions to ScryMud]
> >
> > Added some censoring code to purge the 4 or 5 words that
> > I feel have no contribution to human discourse.  Beats
> > freezing or locking their sites I think...
> In my experience, a global implementation (applying it to all users)
> achieves negligible effects. I may be misremembering, but I'm sure I've seen
> something somewhere that someone has written about this. Maybe some
> Tiny-related site, or maybe just a needle in the DejaNews haystack.

Yeah, I generally don't like it.  However, it was a quick and dirty
hack.  I don't generally think of myself as uptight or stuffy, but
after a few times of having players log on and set their client's
in a loop spouting vulgarities...well...I dunno.  I definately
plan on keeping the list very small, and I will probably add a gag-list
type of functionality soon to allow players to not be harrassed.

A better method would be to flag players as being suceptible to 
censoring (a right they earn by pissing me off :)).  That should
allow worthwhile conversation to exist.

It's not that I personally care if someone types bad things at me,
but I feel kind of responsible for the welfare of my players, and I
don't want some young lad or lass to be exposed to senseless vulgarities.
It would be kind of like having some guests over and then one of them
being a total jerk...embarrasing for all involved!

> or disruption to your game. I'm         aware of some people who have been led to
> challenging the managers of the game, because they      are insulted by the
> removal of their freedom of speech. (Not to mention the fact that people
>       get annoyed at censorship of their comments about cats.)

I'm not too concerned about any legal ramifications.  I mean, if you go
to the local bar and start yelling obscenities at strangers, I should
hope that they throw you out on your arse.

> you willing to take it? By how much do you wish to restrict the number of
> people attracted to     your game? Note that although the mud in question had

I don't think I'll be losing to many...  But if they care enough to discuss
the problem with me, then I'm definately open to suggestions.

> hurt, all that.         Clubs will always find a way. You can divert the course of
> a river, but you can never stop it      flowing downhill.

True, but if you give the person down hill a few tools, they may be able
to build a nice dry island right in the middle of the river.  That would
be my ultimate goal.  Just to give the tools, both to destroy and to protect.

>   3.  You can get around ANY censorship code. Clubs can still p1ss people
> off. People will always         find new ways at hurting others.

Yep, but somehow it looses it's bite.  It's kinda like dang instead
of damn.  Both mean pretty much the same thing, but dang just doesn't
carry the force.  Online, you have no inflection, only letters.  So,
if you see fsck, it somehow doesn't bruise the psyche quite as hard as
other...versions.  At least in my opinion...

>   4.  When you put yourself in the position of protecting Hearts from Clubs,
> it can be a never-      ending and thankless job. It will become infinitely
> complex and difficult.

Good comments snipped.  I don't know the perfect solution, and I bet it
doesn't really exist...

> The coder of the mud I managed did implement censorship code. The majority
> of administrators disagreed with it, principally because it interfered in
> freedom of expression. Plus, you don't need to use bad language to cause
> disruption. The implementation was not global, but was a flag, which could
> be applied to rooms or players. Public rooms were censored (private ones
> weren't); disruptive players were also censored (everywhere).

I like that, but will probably not censor by rooms, only players.  Maybe even
put the ability to censor certain individuals in the player's hands.  That
would be a pretty strong island, and yet the river might not even notice :)

> than through the code. This will encourage a culture that doesn't even try
> to use these unacceptable words. (Assuming that this is something that you
> want to encourage.) You would then have culture clashes between people from
> the 'safe' and 'bad' areas, which could lead to NPC conflicts, etc. (I'd say
> war, but I may be being influenced by Babylon 5 reruns.)

I'm not concerned about players that care to have a stake in the game.  It's
the newbies w/profanity scripts that bug me.  It's like spraying uncreative
grafity everywhere.

> On my mud (eternally in the planning stages), people will be able to
> block/gag characters they just don't want to hear from, removing the need
> for censorship. Hmm, but now I think about that, it sounds less than
> satisfactory.

Question is, do you let the censored party know they are being censored? :)

> England, but am further south than the deep south, in the Bahamas, preparing
> for marriage. If hell exists, cockroaches live there. (I said "Y'all",
> things *must* be getting to me.)
> Greg.

Congratz...grew up in Georgia myself.  When someone tries to feed you
grits, put some butter and sugar on them.  That way, they are like
mana from heaven.  W/out it, kinda like mush..  Oh, and there are some
resturants that can somehow make bad grits.  I don't know how, I mean,
it's only salt, grits and water and boil for 10 minutes....but they can...

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Ben Greear (greear at cyberhighway.net)  http://www.primenet.com/~greear 
Author of ScryMUD:  mud.primenet.com 4444        (Released under GPL)

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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