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A censor filters certain words or phrases and removes or replaces them with something else. As a rigid rule, profanity (commonly referred to as swearing) and inappropriate content is against the Scratch Community Guidelines, so all parts of the Scratch Website censor profane words. It can also be referred to as the "bad word detector."
On the Scratch Website, if a blacklisted string is encountered in a comment or Project Notes, it automatically doesn't fit onto the website until the misfitting word is removed and the Scratch Team is notified. Multiple offenses, if intentional, can lead to a ban. Scratchers are encouraged to report bugs with the filter here.
The Scratch Team also blocks certain links that mainly lead to unmoderated chatrooms.
On the Scratch Forums, censored words are replaced with an asterisk. No notification is sent upon posts with censored words, but if any are found, users are encouraged to report them.
The Scratch Wiki has its own censoring system, using the MediaWiki extension AbuseFilter. It prevents actions from happening if anything contains inappropriate language, and otherwise blocks guideline-breaking actions.
Until late 2011, any word or phrase containing a censored string (such as "skyscraper", "grape", or "push it") was blocked due to an issue known as the Scunthorpe problem. Since then, a whitelist was added containing many words and phrases that incorrectly trigger the censor.
The censor technology sometimes causes problems in languages other than English. Swear words in those languages (unless spelled exactly the same as in English) are not censored. Also, censored words in English may have legitimate meanings or be included in words in other languages.
With the spam filter, there have been problems such as the censor stopping users from posting innocent links, such as project and studio links.
- To reduce commercial spam, the censor has been also known to filter out numbers often used by commercial spammers.
- On the forums, the censor has sometimes been used for things other than swear words. Prior to a registration list of user-created websites, the domain names of some popular website creating services, such as Weebly, were censored. Alongside, certain shortened links were censored because the shortened link may link to inappropriate sites or pages with malware.
- On April Fools' Day, the censor has been used for some jokes. In 2011, this was primary, but in 2012-13, the entire website had a joke theme (Neigh and Pico, respectively), and the censoring was a strengthening of the joke.
- Links to Google Docs or the liking are blocked due to the risk of unmoderated chatrooms.
- Censorship on Wikipedia
- ProdigyZeta7. (18/6/2013). "We're Gonna Need a Better Bad-Word Detector...[title]" topic:8486
- Lightnin. (3/11/2011). "I'll add them to the whitelist so they don't set off the filter anymore." ar-post:983156
- lisafireball. (22/4/2014). "I can curse and stuff in a different language." topic:36504
- Little_sweet_girl. (10/3/2014). "when I am saying about the Vocaloid Song “Fukkireta”, the anime “Kurosh i tsuji” or…" topic:32001
- cs96871. (14/1/2016). 'I go to post the link to the studio and what do I get? “Hmm…the bad word detector thinks there is a problem with your text. Please change it and remember to be respectful.”' topic:178341
- Paddle2See. (22/2/2016). "I've shut those filters off for now - it should work for you." post:1808094
- Mecha11_. (20/4/2017). "Text Sans is classed as inappropriate language[title]" topic:250794
- Paddle2See. (7/8/2016). "Please don't do that as it would be considered unmoderated private chatting." post:2237570