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Tycho / on Wed, Apr 29 2009 at 12:00 am

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A Reasoned Assessment

Between the time this comic was written and now, the natural motion of the Internet has shifted the story somewhat - let me catch you up to speed.  Everything more or less started with a discussion on the Star Wars: The Old Republic boards about their profanity filter, which included words like “gay” and “lesbian” along with garden variety naughties like “fjorded” or “hamhocking.”  No doubt the spirit of this act was was to keep such language from being used as a cudgel.

As I suggest in the podcast, irrespective of any particular detail, telling people what they can’t say sur le web just isn’t something that works.  To compound it, the censorship was automated, without regard to the context.  The perverse undulations of arbitrary power just don’t sit right with digital entities, especially in a place ostensibly designed to facilitate communion.  Plus, these boards are full of Jedi, a group with some experience overthrowing tyrants.

After the conversation had gone on for a few pages, a mod entered the fray and did something truly remarkable.  He closed the thread, which isn’t the remarkable part.  Here’s what he said:

As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars.

I’m sure that what he meant to say (again, from the podcast) was that he didn’t feel the Star Wars: TOR boards were the venue for a discussion of this sort.  What he did in actual fact was to do something truly dangerous: he entered into a discussion of canon on a Star Wars board.

Intimations of romance between Juhani and a female Darth Revan were apparently a “scripting bug,” the sort of bug we might call a “feature.”  Our friend Karen Traviss offered up a fairly robust retort to the notion of a sanitized galaxy in the form of Goran Beviin, if you want to approach the conflict as a war of trivia.  Let’s not.  This is only the most recent conflict in a series - as Joystiq rightly notes, this is something that has happened before.  Policies crafted ostensibly as a bulwark against discrimination had, as their real-world outcome, the effect of deepening that margin.

The mod has since apologized, as none of this was even remotely his intention, but there are unforeseen consequences every time you restrict communication.

(CW)TB out.  

one less is nine

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