Inversoft

22
Aug/2013

Is a Profanity Filter Just for Kids?

Brian Pontarelli By Brian Pontarelli
Google+
@bpontarelli

Profanity Filter

The short answer: No

The long answer: All online communities, including those targeted towards adults, can benefit from an advanced profanity filter. By looking at some of the key objectives of all online communities and how filtering profanity benefits each, we can paint a clear picture of why profanity filters aren’t just for kids.

User Acquisition

One of the primary objectives of an online community is user acquisition. Get more users to join your community and it will grow, improve, and ultimately give you a broader reach. This might increase your revenue or allow you to spread your message to a larger audience.  In either case, having more users is a key to success.

Using a profanity filter can increase user acquisition by promoting constructive conversations within the community and prevents offensive and negative language that detracts from the overall user experience. If prospective users feel your community promotes constructive and positive conversations, they are more likely to join.

User Retention

Once a user joins your community, you don’t want them to leave. If one user leaves for every two that sign up, you are only growing half as quickly as you could be. User retention is a key to ensuring your community grows successfully.

Just getting users to sign up and not delete their account isn’t enough to build a thriving, active community. One of the main motivations for users to leave your community is a conversation that has offended them. Flame wars and trolls intentionally offend other users and often cause them to leave the community and never return.

Profanity filters ensure that the conversations stay positive. They help prevent flame wars and get rid of trolls. This allows you to have better conversations that retain more users.

User Protection

Actively protecting younger users from bullying, aggressive behavior, and sexually explicit content is extremely important for communities that include a younger audience. To provide parents with the security they demand for their children, this content must be removed and filtered as quickly as possible.

Using a profanity filter that has been configured to target aggressive and sexual language, in addition to profanity, can help protect younger users. Additionally, pre-filtering content before it is publicly viewable removes the possibility of that content being viewed by younger users.

Brand Promotion

Online communities are tools that help promote brands. In some cases, they are the brand. The conversations that happen in the community impact how your users perceive your brand.

Most brands prefer to promote constructive and positive communication in online communities. In order to ensure that the conversations are positive, you must be proactive about preventing language that could negatively impact your brand. Using a profanity filter is an excellent way to ensure your community doesn’t contain language that you don’t want associated with your brand.

The Result

Based on these objectives and the help that profanity filters provide, it is apparent that nearly every online community, not just the ones for kids, can benefit from using a sophisticated and configurable profanity filter.

 

 

Further Reading:

How to Build an Online Community for Your Business

Gated Chat: All Ages Online Community

Profanity Filter Best Practices: Customize in Real-Time

  • http://signozodiacalcosas.wordpress.com/ Carmelo W. Mack

    The approach I’ve gone with is to allow a user to “Opt-In” to their profanity filtering. Basically profanity will be allowed by default, but if my users don’t want to read it, they don’t have to. This also helps with the “l33t sp3@k” issue.

    • http://www.inversoft.com sean@inversoft.com

      Thanks for the comment Carmelo. It sounds like you have created a solution that works within your community. It makes me think of two solutions we suggest as well – ‘Gated Chat’ and ‘Profanity Filter: On or Off.’ Do you currently have an online community you work with?