Posted April 24, 2007 5:57 pm by with 12 comments

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PC World reports on Scansafe’s Monthly Global Threat Report for March 2007, which states that up to 80% of blogs contain “offensive” content. This includes porn, offensive language, hate posting, and malware—6% hosted active malware.

PC World describes the methodology behind the report:

The figures were gleaned from an analysis of real-time traffic passing through the company corporate proxying service, designed to filter out the worst content. A total of 614 sites were chosen at random from sites reckoned to have blogging as a significant activity.

One incidence of offensive content was enough to flag the entire site. According to
Tamar at SERoundtable, even a user comment containing offensive content was enough to set off the “offensive” rating.

The PC World article anticipates the obvious argument:

The figures look sensational, but overstate the seriousness of the content on many of these blog sites. As the company admits, a single swear word doesn’t in itself mean the site is a problem. What is does indicate is the extent to which the Internet has become a channel for what Nadir suggested might be a long tail of minority interests that encompass interests others would deem ‘offensive”. Companies needed to be aware of the issue, however.

Okay, now for the fun part: the little tidbit you can drop at your next dinner party (or geek dinner, whatever the case may be):

“There were as many blogs with the ‘F-word’ as the word ‘China'”, said ScanSafe’s Dan Nadir.

That really surprises me. Since when was ‘China’ a bad word? I’ll bet we’re in the 80 percent. 😉

  • I think it’s fair enough to exclude any site that has just a single curse word. If you’re watching a TV show, just one F-bomb is enough to make it a minimum of PG13, so the same should apply to blogs.

    I certainly try to avoid any bad language on MP, but will tolerate isolated incidents in comments.

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  • I guess I see your point, but the internet, being a somewhat uncontrolled wild west at the moment, has no place for an adults only internet section – places like HBO or Showtime – where people can view the reality that many people in the real world do in fact use the F word to accentuate their points.

    Although many argue swearing is a substitute for bad vocabulary, I still think it’s wrong for people to impose censorship based on the use of the F word. If the internet police do start patrolling, I’d rather see hate filled rants targeted instead of a simple search for the F word. A few miles away from me, a teen just got arrested for posting a “hit list” on her MySpace page. That seems appropriate and fair, while saying the F word once or twice… should be tolerated.

    But – If the site is half swear words, then yeah, ban it. I guess i think the extremes that should be looked at closer.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Personally, I don’t use the F word at all (or any other “swear” words) and I actually do find it highly offensive. An occasional use might not turn me off from a site personally, but repeated use will keep me from subscribing or returning.

    But the study (I believe) was in the context of sites being accessed by people at work. As Brett Tabke said on WMW, “I think there is a big lesson here for those that want to target corporate readers. That is if you use profanity in your postings, you will be tripping corp proxy filters.”

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  • As vulgar as swearing is, I highly doubt that isolated instances which call for it it would lead me to leave a blog.

    If someone keeps it up instead of using a more mature tone, then that would force me to leave. I believe that if someone can convey a point as forcefully as someone who doesn’t swear, they have better communication skills.

    So, next time you feel the need to swear, try holding it back and improving your conversational skills.

    Thankfully, I’ve never read anything offensive on here. The worst I’ve come across are the odd opinions that rub against me but that’s another story.

  • ejacka

    Fuck Off!

  • That’s pretty funny.

  • Is SEO a bad word?

  • Jordan McCollum

    Survey says . . . yes!

    I surveyed some Diggers real quick.

  • I’m surprised spam wasn’t mentioned.

  • Lawrence

    I believe the operative word here is extreme – whether in thought, words, or action. That has and always will be the bottom line. But this goes for those who operate in seemingly moderate and acceptable modes of behavior, but mask their true intentions and ultimately do more damage than those who in one sense are more honest about their feelings and motives. To me it’s like what happened with Prohibition; everything just went underground. If the thought police were really smart (?) they would monitor really obvious extreme or bizarre behavior, allow most of the stuff in the middle, and really pay attention to things that don’t add up – that’s where someone or something would hide, before springing something completely out of the blue. Screeching obscenities draws attention to you, like a child throwing a tantrum, but unless presenting an obvious danger to self, or anyone else, observers will just go around this self-centered display, shaking their heads, pointing out the apparent lesson to their inquiring minds want to know child in tow.