Why Simple Blocked Word Filters Fail

from the so-many-false-positives dept

It's surprising that the big web companies still make use of simple keyword blocking filters for things they want to block out. A few years ago we noted that Google's SafeSearch feature was fairly weak because it banned things like ArkansasExtermination.com (see why?). Now, according to Threadwatch, at least part of Yahoo is doing the same, preventing someone named Callahan from registering their name as an ID, because it contains the word "allah." Now, obviously, this is a quick and dirty method for filtering -- but it seems fairly arbitrary. Shouldn't there at least be a procedure to request a review of a banned name that the user believes is perfectly legitimate? Update: Apparently Yahoo is paying attention to the buzz, having updated the policy to allow names that use "allah." Of course, that isn't really the point -- which had more to do with such keyword filtering, not that particular block.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 3:51pm

    No Subject Given

    Why would the term 'allah' be blocked anyway? That like blocking 'jesus'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 3:51pm

    No Subject Given

    Why would the term 'allah' be blocked anyway? Thats like blocking 'jesus'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 4:05pm

    No Subject Given

    Jesus? Why would someone want to block the name of my gardener?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 4:22pm

    No Subject Given

    Muslim Irish? I guess stranger things HAVE happened!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Johnny, 20 Feb 2006 @ 4:50pm

    Why should there be?

    I know this isn't the real meat of the article, but why should a company that offers a FREE service ought to hire people to review the who know how many rejected names that come into yahoo each day? Pick a new name and get on with your life. My last name is "Fuchs", and I obviously can't get a custom licence plate with my last name on it. Should I blame the DMV? Of course not. Yahoo would be sensible to keep things the way they are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      stephen pray, 20 Feb 2006 @ 5:00pm

      Re: Why should there be?

      try opening a yahoo group and mentioning pedantics in the description.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      stephen pray, 20 Feb 2006 @ 5:02pm

      Re: Why should there be?

      How about Dick Van Dyke? Maybe... Penis Van Lesbian would be ok?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Adam, 20 Feb 2006 @ 6:31pm

        Re: Why should there be?

        I'm fairly sure in Islam it's disrespectful to write or say the name flat out unless it's in prayer, and I'd assume that Yahoo doesn't really want to offend one of the major religions of the world. There's your explanation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Super Duper Fucking Smart, 20 Feb 2006 @ 7:38pm

    Keep those fat americand dumb!

    I dont see why people need filters. Just keeping us dumb, hell the News is filtered, all we hear is one sided opinions instead of news.

    and what the fuck is up with newspapers.. that shit is a day old.. how can it be NEWs.. They should rename it to Yesterday paper or Olds Paper..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Whatever, 20 Feb 2006 @ 8:40pm

      Re: Keep those fat americand dumb!

      Please notice the striking irony of that previous poster's name: Super Duper Fucking Smart.

      He claims to be "smart" while at the same time misspelling "american" and writing tired, repeated, irrational and vaguely paranoid conspiracy theories.

      How does blocking names like Callahan and my personal favorite Penis van Lesbian keep any "americand" dumb? Also, those Mohammed cartoons were pretty unfiltered...Finally, both Reupblicans and Democrats have been complaining about lefist or rightist news sources without rest, and therefore, the opinions are at least two-sided.

      Thanks, and sorry for seeming so conceitedly pretentious, but I am mearly human, and therefore subject to my emotions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Syuper Duper Fucking Smart, 20 Feb 2006 @ 9:08pm

        Re: Keep those fat american dumb!


        Hey Fucknut, I think you and America foregot the meaning of a theory, so here it is,

        a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"

        (((HERE IS WHAT YOU MENT TO SAY))
        hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"


        So, all you dumb ass redneck americans especially Republicans, Fox News and CNN including BUSH, now you have been eduMcated on what a THEORY is.

        SO if you think a theory is baseless or "bad", it means that you dont even know your ass from your mouth.


        >>Whatever Said:

        Please notice the striking irony of that previous poster's name: Super Duper Fucking Smart.

        He claims to be "smart" while at the same time misspelling "american" and writing tired, repeated, irrational and vaguely paranoid conspiracy theories.

        How does blocking names like Callahan and my personal favorite Penis van Lesbian keep any "americand" dumb? Also, those Mohammed cartoons were pretty unfiltered...Finally, both Reupblicans and Democrats have been complaining about lefist or rightist news sources without rest, and therefore, the opinions are at least two-sided.

        Thanks, and sorry for seeming so conceitedly pretentious, but I am mearly human, and therefore subject to my emotions

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          phlogiston, 20 Feb 2006 @ 10:47pm

          Re: Keep those fat american dumb!

          God, I'm glad I never have to leave the states.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Jerry Kew, 21 Feb 2006 @ 1:44am

            It was worse in Scunthorpe


            There is a story here in the UK that when Scunthorpe Council brought in anti spam software they stopped receiving any emails at all...

            Jerry

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          dani, 21 Feb 2006 @ 6:11am

          Re: Keep those fat american dumb!

          I believe I see "Whatever"'s point...

          Thanks so much for looking up the word "theory" in a dictionary and typing that definition for us! As stupid Americans, we couldn't have handled that task ourselves.

          Now, how about stating a theory? ...maybe thats a little too complex...take your time. We'll talk to you in a few years.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Whatever, 21 Feb 2006 @ 7:03pm

          Re: Keep those fat american dumb!

          I just have to add this to defend my honor. I hate to prolong this pointless exchange of barbs any further, but I must.

          I believe that I am as little an American redneck Republican as possible.

          Thanks for assuming something not only completely wrong but also entirely unfounded.

          On another note, thank you, oh so dearly, for "eduMacating" me on what a theory is. It's funny that you spent so many words trying to find fault with one of my possibly misused words while at the same time, ironically, further proving my original point that you are shallow, uneducated, unoriginal and very quick to assign incorrect overly-general roles to people and then spew out old and repeatedly disproven "HYPOTHESES" about how "the man" is keeping Americans dumb.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 9:19pm

        Re: Keep those fat americand dumb!



        GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST!!! A TYPE-O BEEN FOUND.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    da, 20 Feb 2006 @ 8:32pm

    No Subject Given

    This reminds me of a news item from a few years ago. A school teacher who requested the custom license "pedagoge" was denied because the request contained the slanderous term "dago".
    Somehow that seemed particularly twisted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mikester, 21 Feb 2006 @ 8:28am

    Specialist

    On a similar note, I remember reading a post once where the author was frustrated that their companies email filtered bounced any message with the word 'Cialis'
    The problem was he/she worked in the technical field and tended to get a lot of emails with the word, speCIALISt, which of course would get bounced for no good reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2006 @ 11:20am

    I believe they used the same filter matching algorithim AKA "*.*"in 2000 to remove 50,000 voters from the Florida electoral roles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GGGGUINT, 26 Feb 2007 @ 12:47pm

    RETADS

    ARE U CRAZY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    han phan, 27 Feb 2007 @ 1:01pm

    stupid and retarded

    diss is bullshit...i swear

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danny, 21 Mar 2007 @ 7:00am

    I am glad they block alah

    Actually, I am glad that they block allah. If you want the real truth about Islam, listen to Avi Lipkin. He has spent years studying the Islamic cult and all its rituals. I hope they never Block Jesus Christ.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    teacher, 1 May 2007 @ 7:10am

    access denied

    I'm a frustrated teacher who is just trying to check my home e-mail from work.

    It really bugs me that the kids can get to myspace and I can't even check my e-mail. They are so much smarter than me about computers!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    i dont, 9 May 2007 @ 2:14pm

    ?

    i dont get the topic the story,
    it looks like an amateur teenagerwrote this it looks pretty dumb to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Penis Van Lesbian, 2 May 2009 @ 7:15am

    My Name

    Please never block my name.

    It's all i have to live for!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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