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SJG Editorial - Use of language on Forum - Your cooperation please

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Mr Bob recently posted the following message complaining about us editing a message containing with "f" words. Our response is also pasted below. We feel sure that the vast majority of our users will agree with our actions on this matter. We will continue to monitor the Forum, and only intervene in VERY RARE circumstances such as this. Enjoy!






Now, I'm not normally one to complain, but I've just, after reading the editing job done by SJG people on one of my previous posts, started wondering about editorial control and what-not.

Of what do I speak?


Well, it seems they found the word, "f" distasteful for some reason and removed it from a post I made about wine (in the beer thread). But I am left wondering why they bothered.


Was it because they don't like the word, "freakin'"? How strange; it's hardly an unusual word and not even rated as obscene in many places these days.


What annoyed me most, I think, was that by removing that word they destroyed the whole tone of the post, which was meant to be ironic. Now it just reads like I'm a *total* goit, instead of just the half-wit that I'm more commonly accused of being. :-)


And yet they appear happy to let people post with sigs such as "vanks" - where's the justice, I ask you? Where's the editing for intent (why didn't they at least replace "freakin'" with, say, "freakin'"?)? (WE JUST DID, Ed) Where's the consistency? Where's the cluefullness that SJG staff showed last year?


Is it just that they've gone the way of all commercial sites: sanitised for the masses to provide that packaged experience that guarantees to offend no-one? How dull, if so.


I'm rather disappointed.


Mr. Bob!



[This message has been edited by Ski Japan Guide (edited 11 December 2001).]



Ski Japan Guide

Administrator posted 11 December 2001 08:25 PM


Just to quickly reply to this.


We - and the vast majority of our readers - do not want the board to be full of expletives, so just please refrain from using them. They are not necessary.


We apologise if you thought we changed the mail to make you look a total *goit*....sorry!


For your information, the number of posts on the site has increased considerably this season and we are putting systems into place so that we can keep an eye on what is posted....and will only interfere VERY RARELY - and will continue to keep this policy - in cases such like this.





Is it just that they've gone the way of all commercial sites: sanitised for the masses to provide that packaged experience that guarantees to offend no-one? How dull, if so.



Erm, no.

This issue has got nothing to do with anything like that. We deleted expletives from the Forum last season too. We do not think that we need to have posts full of expletives to make the Forum "not dull".


It just so happens that this season, like last, there is a wide range of people using the Board, and we wish to try to keep it suitable for all.


Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.





[This message has been edited by Ski Japan Guide (edited 11 December 2001).]

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My vote is for allowing, in general, any words to appear in posts, including all expletives.


Furthermore, regarding the "systems" that will be put in place to monitor this board, I hope they only do that--monitor--instead of automatically deleting or editing posts.


Automatic deletion of certain words that, more often than not, are among the oldest and most expressive words in our language, is a kind of false church-lady reactionism.


Maybe it's a topic for another BBS, but in college I used to enjoy going up to the library to read "Maledicta", the international journal of profanity and its etymology. Show me any century's greatest works of literature, and I will show you the dirty words.


Profanity is a real part of our language, boys, though we never see it in Time Magazine or on network TV. In order to keep posts interesting, instead of bland like you might expect from those who can't stand to see profanity in print, I hope there is no such mechanical, ultimately deleterious policing of this site's BBS.


That being said, I agree with what the administrator has said here. In general, I don't want to see posts that are "filled" with profanity.


I do think the site should rightly monitor posts and delete absurd, rudely ad-hominem, profanity-filled, spam-like, combative or other generally unwelcome posts, using human discretion and even-handedness...like they did in Bob's case. Here in this post we can see what happened and learn the reason why, and even comment on it.


Hey, that is pretty damn good if you ask me.


Bob, come on back. The water's not THAT cold!


Rather than simply delete certain words using a software routine, I would hope the administrators simply get e-flagged when certain words appear. Then they can read the entire post and context, and make their own intelligent and informed decision about whether anything needs to be edited or yanked.


What is the standard we should hope they use? How about the US Supreme Court standard on what constitutes obscenity?: "I'll know it when I see it..." and we have to leave that call up to the site's administrators.


Judging from what we've seen so far, we also have a chance to comment on their actions and let our feelings be known. These are early days, and as the administrator wrote, this year the number of posts has increased, so let's figure this one out together as much as we can.


If ya don't like it, make your own BBS and we can all check it out.


We are all posting here by the grace and goodwill of the Ski Japan site, which I think is a rare jewel of the WWW, a fantastically featured, accessible site crammed with the most unbelievably useful and interesting information. I don't know how such a great site can stay up. It doesn't seem real sometimes.


Frankly speaking, every time I click on the URL, I am afraid all I'll get is a "site not found on server" message telling me in plain terms that it was all just too good to be true! But here the site is, and I hope it stays.


So in conclusion I hope that any line that must be drawn, gets drawn somewhere where most of us can respect and appreciate it. So far it looks like that is exactly what is going on, so I think I will open up another Ginga Kohgen and get back to looking at pics of snow on the Daily Report.


badmigraine in Tokyo.

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Nothing to do with snow but interesting stuff.


What exactly is an "expletive" ?

The answer to this question differs depending on who you

are and what culture or subculture you identify with.

One persons expletive may be a normal and accepted part of another persons communicative style.

Censorship involves a party holding some kind of power (in this case the site adminisrator) making moral judgements

about the acceptibility or otherwise of various forms of expression.

I personally believe that this is quite wrong. If you are offended by certain words it is better to simply accept that your communicative style is different, ignore it and move on.

I tend to agree with Mr Bob that there is probably some commercial concerns involved and that is understandable.

The adminstrators claimed that the "majority of readers don't want expletives" Do you have data to back that claim?


I personally thought "clown" was quite amusing so

I'll start the poll off by saying I dont really care

what people write, if I dont like it I'll say so myself

or ignore it.

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SnowJapan.com is the independent guide to skiing and snowboarding in Japan and has been online since 1999.

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