Words Hack and Hacking are Blacklisted from Yahoo Group Descriptions

by Mark Finnern

Related link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bafuture/



Long overdue, this morning I updated the Future Salon Yahoo Group Description, announcing that our March 19th Future Salon Speaker will be David Sifry founder and CEO of Technorati.




I loved his Etech Technorati Hacks session and I wrote about it in the Yahoo Group Description, but they would not let me save my text, because it contained a word that Yahoo perceives as not appropriate. The word is "Hack". Who would have thought?
hack_not_permitted.jpg
Wow and that just when O'Reilly is giving the word hacks a positive spin and coolness by coming out with a whole Hack series, and I hear that it is very successful.



Of course I had to check which other words are banned. From George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words that you can't say on television or radio two make it through: Piss and C*sucker.



Society has agreed to ban the dirty seven, because people are offended by them, which I don't have a big problem with.



Hack on the other hand is different. I don't think anyone is offended by the word hack, you may be if someone calls you a hack, but not in a description of a Yahoo Group. Fear is the motivation for blacklisting that word.



In the media hacking is often portrait as a criminal activity and the capabilities of hackers are greatly blown out of proportion. For example Kevin Mitnick said, that he was denied access to a pay phone in prison, because prosecutors argued he might launch a nuclear strike by whistling into the handset.



There thinking, I assume, goes like this: Don't give Hackers a place to bond together and exchange ideas. Or if they do, don't make it easy for others to find them. Just ban the word "Hack" and no search engine will index that group under that term. If you are not in the search index, no one will find you and your reach is limited. Subtly, but very powerfull.



Let's not forget, that there are so many other definitions of the word hack. (Check Google with "define:hack") The funny thing is, only the last one is mentioning to malicious hacking: "...refer to a program that's clever but not very useful, to the process of breaking into computers--which more properly should be referred to as "cracking," ..." (The Wikipedia definition is way better then all the ones that Google lists)



Of course "crack" or "cracking" is not banned, but "hacking" is. By the way "Hacks" is not banned, so I used that.

What other words are blocked?


5 Comments

salz
2004-03-02 12:26:31
Blacklisted? Well...
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/john_doe_and_friends/


Just a small hint: Since you can use html in the description field...


I didn't try to use javascript, but I think they do allow that, too, so it would practically be impossible for them to filter any word...

finnern
2004-03-02 13:22:02
Blacklisted? Well...
Hi Salz,


They can't filter, but they don't index either.
If you search for 'Hack' in the yahoo group area you come up empty:
http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=hack&ss=1


If you search via Google for "Hack Yahoo Group":
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=yahoo+group+hack


You find out, that there are very active yahoo groups example: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dot-hack-SIGN/


Yahoo is censoring all hacking groups out of their search results :-(


This is the sad truth, Mark.

philhibbs
2004-03-03 04:28:50
Names
Sherril Babcock had this problem.
_smaic_
2007-06-08 23:52:12
hacking is not a game its a much fun ! keep it up !
chhatrapal
2007-07-24 01:19:14
give me motivation mail for mlm