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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why do MMOs provide a profanity filter?

17 posts found

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/05/12
Posts: 856

Those who ask a question, are stupid for 30 seconds. Those who never ask, are stupid for life.

OP  2/16/13 2:43:50 PM#1

It makes no sense. Most MMOs have one, and most MMOs will ban you if you use profanity. So...why have one at all? Why not force the profanity filter to be on all the time. If someone doesn't want to see know...they can just turn the filter on. But people turn it off and complain that you use profanity and then you get banned...


Now, I'm not one to use profanity all the time. But before I unsubbed, my raid wiped at a WoW raid (think it was Lich King, and we were at end, and a few people left)...I said "f* this is stupid."...just the f word. Some dude said "reported, thanks for teaching my daughter profanity" (not word for word, but along same lines)




So...why do MMOs even provide a profanity filter, if they still ban you for it?


Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 213

2014 Watch List: World of Warships, EverQuest Next

2/16/13 2:48:57 PM#2
It's a combination of ESRB and COPPA compliance. The absence of a profanity filter or having it "off" by default could be seen as a negligent approach.  Of course, this would really only apply to games that "appear" to include children under 13 in their marketing and target audience.

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Novice Member

Joined: 7/10/09
Posts: 390

2/16/13 2:53:26 PM#3

its fucking stupid.

most profanity filters are on by default.

you have to actively turn the filter off... only to then complain that people are using the exact words you decided you wanted to see.


i wish mods had some balls in games and went "stfu and turn your filter on"


now if someone uses the filter and some asshat is typing so that it circumnavigates the filter like "fu ck er" then i can understand warnings and bans.



Joined: 11/22/06
Posts: 1151

2/16/13 2:57:10 PM#4
If the game is rated M, I agree there is no need for profanity filters.  I love Tera...but they are a joke when it comes to how weak they are with profanity, yet they say its rated M lol

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2/16/13 2:58:26 PM#5
Originally posted by steamtank

its fucking stupid.

most profanity filters are on by default.

you have to actively turn the filter off... only to then complain that people are using the exact words you decided you wanted to see.


i wish mods had some balls in games and went "stfu and turn your filter on"


now if someone uses the filter and some asshat is typing so that it circumnavigates the filter like "fu ck er" then i can understand warnings and bans.

 I wish the devs had guts as well.  IF you can filter on offensive language you can automate bans against those who violate the rules.


Novice Member

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Posts: 251

2/16/13 5:15:02 PM#6
Lol i have no idea myself.

Bitter Vet™

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2/16/13 5:31:04 PM#7
You actually know someone who has actually been banned for simple profanity? Or was it due to some profanity laced rant that may have been considered way over the top and a general annoyance to the community? I will agree with the OP, if you turn off the filter you really have no reason to complain.

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Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/08/06
Posts: 430

2/16/13 5:34:22 PM#8
Originally posted by Kyleran
if you turn off the filter you really have no reason to complain.

What he said ^

That's why i leave my filter on.  =)

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Advanced Member

Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 2430

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2/16/13 5:35:48 PM#9
Originally posted by steamtank

its fucking stupid.

most profanity filters are on by default.

you have to actively turn the filter off... only to then complain that people are using the exact words you decided you wanted to see.


i wish mods had some balls in games and went "stfu and turn your filter on"


now if someone uses the filter and some asshat is typing so that it circumnavigates the filter like "fu ck er" then i can understand warnings and bans.

Wish my filter was on right now... My eyes, my poor wonderful eyes...

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Advanced Member

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Posts: 2270

2/16/13 5:45:33 PM#10
So they don't get sued by soccer moms.

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Joined: 5/21/06
Posts: 1878

2/16/13 5:51:39 PM#11
Nothing about profanity filters makes any sense to me.  First of all, people are dropping F-bombs left and right on Ventrillo anyway.  And really, the games already claim a hands-off approach when they way "Online interactions not rated by ESRB."  But the real kicker is that the average gamer age is well over 30, so  devs are essentially creating an online virtual environment where a bunch of drunk 30 year olds can't curse in their own homes?  WTF?!

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Novice Member

Joined: 6/24/09
Posts: 611

2/16/13 5:53:17 PM#12
Totally agree. Know what would be awesome? If the person complaining has their profanity filter turned off, they should get a 72 hour ban for complaining and wasting the staff's time. :D

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Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 213

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2/16/13 6:00:36 PM#13
Originally posted by Souldrainer
Nothing about profanity filters makes any sense to me.  First of all, people are dropping F-bombs left and right on Ventrillo anyway.  And really, the games already claim a hands-off approach when they way "Online interactions not rated by ESRB."  But the real kicker is that the average gamer age is well over 30, so  devs are essentially creating an online virtual environment where a bunch of drunk 30 year olds can't curse in their own homes?  WTF?!

Folks, like I said earlier in the thread, profanity filters have NOTHING to do with profanity. They exist as evidence in favor of the game company should they be the target of an FTC enforcement. The FTC only enforces COPPA rules on game developers with money.

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  User Deleted
2/16/13 6:11:54 PM#14

Yeha i have never found or seen a ban of any kind that resulted from merely using profanity by itself. Though i have seen people try and say that they were banned for using profanity, while in truth it was their rampant, and deliberate use of profianity that was directed at offending others (yes even people that have their filter off can be offended by people like this.) that got them banned (or even another issue that was unrelated to it, but happened at the same time.). I have seen many people use racial or gender based slurs which got them banned, only to turn around and say they were banned for profantity. 


I also find it funny that people honestly think it is okay that since you have a filter it is okay to intwine into every post profanity between every words though. I am fine with seeing profanity, but not the kind of trully abusive kind of profanity usage where you see people using profanity in for the sake of it or even trully over baringly stuffing profianity into a post. If you have more profanity than you have actual non-profanity words, or even at a ratio of 1 non-profanity to 3 profanity words than in many ways i see it as a bannable or atleast suspenable offence. 


Elite Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 1989

2/16/13 7:21:27 PM#15

It is silly, isn't it. I'm trying to think of why someone would turn off the filter, the only thing I can imagine is that maybe they think it cuts down on computer resources used by the program parsing all incoming messages. 

I've never witnessed anyone banned for bad words but we all know it as being complained about in text. Maybe it's an urban legend and people don't really get banned.

I think it is hypocritical to complain if you take off the filter knowing you don't want to see cursing. If only people embraced curse words, they are so versatile. There used to be something about the F word online but I'm too lazy to find it. It's just a word. I make up curse words to offend less people but I think everyone still gets the idea, they just can't report them. Something like - well, doodlepinches - ah mcrapple - shove it up your kimpydimple - we all understand those right  - replacements work if you saw those lol The key of enjoying them is to make them up on the fly as the moment strikes, sort of a mood lightener at the same time.

This mimics that F word thing - a different F word with multiple meanings. That's why you can appreciate slang, it's versatile and requires you to really be paying attention to detail to understand the meaning behind it - use those big human brains. That other F word can be a symphony.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 1530

Let em put a slave ring thru u're nose u're prob not going to like where they're taking you. Think.

2/16/13 7:34:51 PM#16


To profane or not to profane, that is the question.  What is profanity?  Where did it come from?  Why is it in one generation the word ass means a donkey and next it means the part of the body that sits upon said donkey?  Is it truly an act of rudeness to use certain words?  Or is it the emotion behind that word that counts.  I'm an old fashion guy.  I must say I do find it offensive to hear small children cuss.  It seems to me a loss of innocence and a willingness to cause others discomfort.  But we all loose our innocence eventually and intent to harm can be coated in stylish words of haunting praise.  


I wouldn't worry about it, OP.  They're only words and you never meant his daughter any harm.  Perhaps it's himself he was mad at.  Just leave and forget it.  It's not important.


If you account is banned then the game moderators are not all that bright.

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Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14568

2/16/13 7:54:44 PM#17

Some games have filters that are excessively aggressive.  The filter in Guild Wars, for example, will filter the word "reputation", some NPC text, and even at least one mob name.  For a while, the official forum for an SOE game that I played filtered the words "black" and "white", supposedly to combat racism.

Or to go farther than that, Wizard 101 used a whitelist filter, which had about a thousand or so words that were allowed, and everything else was filtered.

There are also people who use profanity very excessively.  Even with a filter, seeing **** in the middle of a sentence often makes it obvious exactly what word was filtered.  Unless a filter gives you the option to not display filtered messages at all (which opens its own can of worms if someone is trying to communicate with you), it doesn't really block profanity entirely.

There are also people who go out of their way to evade a filter, such as intentionally misspelling words that would otherwise be filtered.

I don't think that people should be banned or even reprimanded for occasionally using a word that gets filtered by whoever has the filter on, unless a game is taking extreme measures to be kid-friendly (e.g., Wizard 101).  I also don't think that private chat channels such as guild chat should be moderated unless the guild is offended.  (If a guild chooses to allow profanity in guild chat and makes that clear to anyone who wants to join, anyone who joins anyway has no right to be offended upon learning that the warning was accurate.)

But going out of your way to evade the filter and put profanity in front of people who are trying to avoid it should merit a (temporary) ban, as should lengthy profanity-laden tirades in public chat.  If you go out of your way to try to offend people, then you have no right to blame others if you succeed.


To answer the question in the title more directly, a good profanity filter gives people who don't want to see profanity in your game ways to see less of it.  It's better to prevent an offense than to debate after the fact whether we ought to punish the offenders.