Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Innovative ignorance.

Not so long ago there was a bit of noise in the blogosphere over Blizzard's somewhat confused censorship policy. In a nutshell people were confused as to why Blizzard had chosen to censor some words while not censoring others. One of the words was transgender. I remember thinking at the time that this didn't make sense. (Bit if background) I am a white male who grew up in South Africa and have spent a lot of time in various all male institutions, as such I have heard a significant quantity of derogatory language in my time. Discrimination of pretty much every group imaginable and across a broad spectrum of maliciousness. And while I have heard many words used in a negative context transgender was never one of them. Maybe it's just a bit to weighty or long or benign sounding to work as an insult. It's a word that I would be much more likely to expect to hear from an LGBT advocate than detractor. As such I think it should probably not be censored. However a couple nights ago I witnessed something that might at least explain Blizzard's heavy handed approach. Please note I'm just playing devil's advocate a bit and I don't have all the details of all the language filter furore. But I was in an LFR where a player started berating people for not targeting properly by asking if they had AIDS. Now leaving aside the idiocy of the comment it was fundamentally clear from the context that this was intended as an insult along the lines of "moron" or "retard" and to the WoW player base's credit he was immediately challenged and accused of inappropriate behaviour, to which he offered the defense of "AIDS isn't a swear word, if it was it would be stopped by the language filter!" I was flabbergasted. I was overwhelmed with a desire to drive home to thjs individual the ignorance and downright illogic of this comment, but i couldnt even think where to start. Although in retrospect I suppose this was foolish, I mean I've SEEN /trade chat. All I could think to do was hit report and ignore him (or her - I have no idea - but as generalizations go I doubt the feminist community will be too upset with me for claiming this particular ). Now I accept that the language policy is disjointed at best and downright discriminatory at worst, but in the interest of hoping that it is at least well intentioned, I can understand the reasoning that leads to people making mistakes when it comes to designing a language filter to combat this kind of twisted logic.

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