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Friday
Dec152006

"Lesbian" in Blizzard's Profanity Filter

I just learned that the word "lesbian" is in Blizzard's profanity filter on the World of Warcraft forums (in-game as well?). The code of conduct furthermore states that bypassing the filter (such as typing "L esbian" or "lesb1an") will result in a temporary ban from the forums, depending on severity.

So, why would this word be profane? It is a proper term, not vulgar. Blizzard Community Manager Tseric had this response:

The same reason any word might end up on a filter. It tends to be used pergoratively. Please stop nit-picking and trying to call me out. I'm sick of locking posts. If you want personal attention, request dialog with a GM.

I'm not sure what he's referring to there exactly, but "tends to be used perogatively" is not a very good reason. I looked up the word 'lesbian' at dictionary.com and it said to see the usage note for the word 'gay':

Usage Note: The word gay is now standard in its use to refer to people whose orientation is to the same sex, in large part because it is the term that most gay people prefer in referring to themselves. Gay is distinguished from homosexual primarily by the emphasis it places on the cultural and social aspects of homosexuality as opposed to sexual practice. Many writers reserve gay for males, but the word is also used to refer to both sexes; when the intended meaning is not clear in the context, the phrase gay and lesbian may be used. Gay is often considered objectionable when used as a noun to refer to particular individuals, as in There were two gays on the panel; here phrasing such as Two members of the panel were gay should be used instead. But there is no objection to the use of the noun in the plural to refer collectively either to gay men or to gay men and lesbians, so long as it is clear whether men alone or both men and women are being discussed.

I do not think Blizzard is intentionally shafting or mistreating lesbians, but I do think they a) are giving that appearance with decisions like this and b) are unintentionally shafting them. Putting the correct name of a group on a "profanity" filter sends the message (intended or not) that that group is a marginal, "less than" group. I ask Blizzard to reconsider this issue.

Thanks,
--Sirlin

Reader Comments (2)

lol@update.

There is a very high chance that the Cal. Court will overturn prop. 8 again. I don't know if they would be right or not because I'm not a lawyer. I really no longer respect the US court system after some asinine rulings by the US supurme court. (Like being put in a SuperMax for life is better then getting killed.)

November 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMJW

The acronym 'LSD' is also filtered. Although references to 'illegal drugs' are not allowed this is ironic since in the game LSD can refer to a 3v3 arena team consisting of of warLock + Shaman + Druid.

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeroen
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