Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but it needs to be said. It’s a fucking slur filter, the developers have so far only put actual slurs in it, ones whose primary purpose to insult a (usually already marginalized) group of people. Yes, the slur filter is far from perfect and can cause some problems outside stopping those slurs, but I think it’s worth the hassle. It’s also not a general (non-slur) profanity filter which I agree might be going to far, but the amount of profanities in this post prove that’s not being removed. They say it’s against “free speech” that they’re not allowed to be bigoted assholes who drop insults left and right, even though free speech doesn’t even apply to private websites (and hate speech isn’t covered under free speech anyway).

It’s insane how many people are vehemently against Lemmy because of this one feature, but then again, I wouldn’t want any of them on my instance anyway if I ever create my own.

While I don’t think it’s that big of a problem in practice, at least not yet, I do fundamentally disagree with this kind of superficial whitewashing. Either you understand what a censored word means and sound it out in your head anyways, or you don’t and are just left confused. This is made worse when quoting, for example, historical texts because the writing style may be so unfamiliar that the meaning of censored words are obfuscated further by the lack of surrounding context. If blanket censorship of certain words are made universal it’ll eventually distort our understanding of history and how language and history have influenced each other. And a poorer understanding of history makes it more likely that we’ll repeat past mistakes.

I also think this is predominantly an artefact of American culture, where the influence of christian fundamentalists have normalized the superficial censorship of swear words. As an atheistic European this has always seemed like a strange and authoritarian approach that does little to address the actual problem, and this impression remains even when extended to words I myself consider insensitive and disrespectful. If you’re an American, I think it would be a good idea to try to consider how authoritarian this appears outside your own culture.

The bottom line is, from my point of view this seems like an authoritarian approach that does little to address the actual problem but causes quite a few other problems. At the very least I’d like to see a clearly argued justification for it. I’m not going to stop using Lemmy, or this instance, just because I disagree with some default though. That really would be ridiculous.

Just to add that I don’t mean to understate the problems that slurs cause either. I just don’t think that immediately reaching for the authoritarian stick is a great idea. It would be worthwhile to try to think about the actual problems and how to best address them in the specific medium we’re in.

So to try to be more constructive, here are a few less authoritarian solutions:

  • Flag posts that contain slurs with content warning banners instead of censoring the slurs.
  • Censor slurs by default, but allow uncensoring them on a user-by-user, post-by-post or even slur-by-slur basis.

Note that I’m not saying any of these are great solutions either. I’m just trying to illustrate that there’s a wider spectrum of possible solutions out there. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

I would say the main reason for having the slur filter is that it prevents right-wingers from using Lemmy. And it is very successful in that regard.

Is it really? The workaround is a one-line patch file that can be automatically applied to any commit. Not exactly a fool-proof system. I think even right-wingers should be able to figure this one out… eventually.

But if it helps you sleep at night, by all means…

I don’t think there is any metric that would show that the slur filter is working how it is presented here.

All they do is complain. There was one fork, but I think it was discontinued pretty quickly.

Is this really such a big issue that people are going to opt for some other corporate social media app? I feel like anyone who is that upset about it uses platforms for hate. If they really feel so strongly about it they can fork the code and make their own version of Lemmy.


TBH I don’t know how many there really are in the grander scheme of things; the kind of person who really wants the freedom to break out some slurs is the kind of person who’s gonna make sure everybody hears their opinion on the matter :face with rolling eyes:


For some its more about being allowed to break out slurs and choosing not to do so by their own disposition rather than having an authority make that choice for them. I personally am glad for the flagship to have a seawall up against polluted waters, especially during development but I would never want it on a mature platform.

I have never had or seen anything censored by a profanity filter here on Lemmy.

Tbh I did not know there was one lol.

It’s not a profanity filter, it’s words like the n-word that are auto-banned.

Is this just a site policy of or does the Lemmy software itself not allow this to be modified or disabled? I can understand people wanting it to be configurable, but people who won’t use this site because the filter is in place shouldn’t feel welcome here anyway.

Is this just a site policy of or does the Lemmy software itself not allow this to be modified or disabled?

It is hard-coded, but can of course still be changed by the person running the server, even though it has to be done in the source code, and it is not configurable, which is intended and publicly made clear that the original devs don’t want to make it configurable.

Lemmy is good because it is a FOSS Reddit alternative that is not centralized. That’s a really good thing. The way of “soft-forcing” the developers personal view on what a slur is and what is none is a bit odd, but shouldn’t prevent people from doing a fork and make it configurable. I guess most people prefer it that way. And if you ask me, it is a sane thing to do. In fact, hard-coding anything is stupid. Everything should be configurable, at least with a config file, not everything has to have a nice UI with explanations and all that shit. But at least configurable.

I find the slur filter to be bad, both in idea and quality. It removes words even when you meant to write something completely different. It’s a rather simple and blunt filter. If “ass” would be on the slur list, you couldn’t write “pass”, for example.

It actually happened to me, without me realizing. There is no alert or notification, they simply and silently change your post. Also, even after finding out which exact letter sequence was the offending one… I’ve never ever heard of that slur, and it was something that is only a slur in a specific region, and apparently even there not very common. If you can’t read the list, you can’t avoid using the words that count as slurs in other regions of this planet.

deleted by creator

Support / questions about Lemmy.

    Feel free to ask me anything here.

    • 0 users online
    • 8 users / day
    • 13 users / week
    • 19 users / month
    • 86 users / 6 months
    • 4 subscribers
    • 71 Posts
    • Modlog