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I just noticed a(n unregistered) user on Super User who'd set his/her/its display name to the famous four-letter English word for "fecal matter".

I've manually edited the offending display name to something G-rated (...I think...), but I don't really have any means, short of suspension, of preventing the user from changing it back.

Perhaps a blacklist for display names is in order?

(Diamond moderators can check the list of recent annotations for a direct link to the user.)

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Was it "Beck" or "Rush"? And do they really translate outside of the US? –  random May 4 '10 at 10:43
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@random: spotted another one using the acronymized form of the name of a Van Halen album. (also, say what you want about Beck, but you better watch what you're callin' Rush. :) –  quack quixote May 4 '10 at 10:49
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The only problem with this I can see is that apparently innocuous words in one language can be a swear word in another. It would be an ever growing list. –  ChrisF May 4 '10 at 11:01
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yeah, that does get into some thorny how-do-you-tell issues. the only alternative i can think of is to periodically do a manual sweep... or maybe an automated-report-emailed-to-the-mod-teams. hmm. –  quack quixote May 4 '10 at 11:10
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Maybe his name is Steven Hit? –  balpha May 4 '10 at 11:13
    
Jeff hasn't implemented the tag black list yet and you ask for one more? –  Ladybug Killer May 4 '10 at 11:13
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@balpha: with an email of f---@f---.f---? yeah, i'm gonna go with "probably not". –  quack quixote May 4 '10 at 11:15
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SO accepts E-Mail addresses from the .f--- tld? –  Pëkka May 4 '10 at 13:20
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@Chris: to that I'd say that since English is the language of choice for the trilogy, that's what the list should bounce against. –  squillman May 4 '10 at 14:30
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@squillman: what about words in other languages that sound offensive to someone in English? –  perbert May 4 '10 at 15:11
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@voyager: I know where you're going, and I agree with you. I'm just saying that IF any kind of blacklist were to employed that it should work against the English dictionary, as it's been made clear that the official language for the trilogy communities is English. –  squillman May 4 '10 at 15:30
    
Maybe his name is Steven Henry Ian Thompson. Must be hard going through life. –  smci May 2 '12 at 9:46

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

We already have a regex blacklist for global terms on the site, and there is a username category.

We wouldn't attempt to put curse words in it, though, right now it just has certain patented pharmaceutical names in the form \bfoo\b which are very unique and unlikely to ever conflict.

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Any chance of adding that mythical tag blacklist/whitelist? –  alex May 7 '10 at 7:13

I'm against any kind of automated blacklist.

See the Consbreastution of USA and I'm going to insert my long necked Giraffe in your fluffy bunny.

May be an auto flagging system for notification of mods, so they can check it case by case, but I'd fear that they (you) would feel compelled to use it for increasingly innocuous words.

Remember, I get offended by people and the word compassion. Would I have to change a Red avatar? A white one? If my name was pelotudo? John Fuk?

This case is probably just a kid, but on other cases it might be not so clear cut.

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+1 just for that quote –  Earlz May 4 '10 at 17:09
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That sort of stuff is known as the Scunthorpe problem - which by now has really become a clbuttic sort of mistake: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem –  Michael Madsen May 4 '10 at 19:37
    
There are a surprising number of individuals in America who have names that aren't simply words with curse words embedded within, but standalone curse words. John Fuk is a good example, but I've seen the same name with the proper spelling. Usually, these types of names get rejected by whoever issues the birth certificate, but sometimes they slip through. –  crush Jan 9 at 14:39

I'm against any kind of automated black list. I think moderators are the best approach to dealing with such circumstances, since they are better able to interpret "appropriate" names than some script would be. Some examples:

  • Consider a poor, unfortunate fellow with the moniker "Richard Head". He may actually choose (for some reason) to go by "Dick Head", so shouldn't he be allowed to use that as a display name?

  • In the same vein as the above, there's "The Dick Swett Incident". Yes, real people actually have names like this.

  • The name "Philip Oliver Holes" is likely not to trigger any automated filters, but would probably be construed as sounding somewhat inappropriate (for those not getting it, sound it out... it would be a good porn star name).

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Let us not forget the infamous Charlotte Greene "Jack Tuat" incident on BBC Radio 4 - see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Green –  nb69307 May 4 '10 at 18:29
    
@Neil: not to go any further, there were some misunderstandings not so long ago for a word that I didn't even know could be perceived as an insult. Even after googling it, I don't understand how you could feel aggravated by it. –  perbert May 4 '10 at 18:53
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There was a teacher at my old high school named Richard Hohl. Yeah, that's "Dick Hole." –  Carson Myers May 4 '10 at 20:45
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@Carson: A friend of mine had a high school teacher named Dick O'Dour. He insisted it was pronounced "oh door", but kids being kids, they pronounced it "odor". –  gnostradamus May 4 '10 at 21:28
    
that's priceless –  Carson Myers May 5 '10 at 19:21

I think we should have a blacklist for the obvious ones (which of course can't be shown here as examples). It will still take moderator intervention for the edge cases, but at least the moderators won't have to deal with every situation directly.

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Maybe a list with 5 - 10 no-question-about-it words. I mean there are some words nobody can come up with a proper reason to use.

Then, as mentioned, the mod community can clean up any remaining problems.

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if SO doesn't censor BrainF*ck, then why bother about user names?

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It does. –  perbert May 4 '10 at 20:59
    
in that case, censor away! –  Steven A. Lowe May 5 '10 at 0:54

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