Anyone that reads this blog often enough knows that I’ve no love for censorship. I down-right loath it. Freedom of speech is the apex of [*hr*].

There is not a situation I can think of whereby I feel a person should have their ability to speak on any topic they desire taken away from them.

I don’t care if you are regurgitating the most vile and racist profanities that your ignorant mind can think of – there’s not a person on this planet that should have the power or privilege to tell you what you can and cannot say.

Unfortunately, the robots that govern the country I call home often see things differently. And so it is I am happy to announce my first WordPress plugin:

(as in, don’t be so damn censortive).

I’ve been denied access to my own site a number of times because something I’ve written, or something someone’s said in the comments has been deemed “unfit for the eyes of the peons” by the dorks that govern “The Switch”.

However, I’ve found a way around it. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and they may damn well be right. This plugin uses text-to-image technology to convert pre-defined words into image files that look darn similar to the original text. By doing so, the robots that censor Web pages are unable to “see” the offending words (as they’re not words, but images).

This plugin is perfect for anyone that tends to get caught in the cross-fire of what vocabulary is Commie-kosher and what is tripping up the censors. Now when I want to speak about the [*dl*] and [*tib*] or what happened on [*j4*] in [*TAM*], I can and my blog’s not going to get shutdown because of it.

If you blog via WordPress and you suffer from the same censorship woes that I do, I encourage you to check out this plugin. There’s more information on how it works on the official Censortive homepage, including an explanation of how it uses codewords so that the offending words don’t ever touch your database or URL (for an extra layer of blocking prevention).

It’s still very much in beta testing, and I welcome any feedback or bugs you may find.

Cross posted at The Humanaught


  1. Ryan,

    Like the idea for the plugin – but you don’t really think a country like China with such an abundance in ‘natural’ human resources would not be able to read pictures as well, do you?

    Months ago a disproportionate amount of traffic was coming from Beijing – and then it kind of died out… maybe they stopped carrying. Thanks for the hard work and useful plugin, it should keep most bad stuff away.

  2. I’m going to go on a limb and say that most countries whom block English language content do so with the use of automated filtering systems, mostly at the ISP or local level.

    This is certainly the case with most every time I’ve had a problem of being blocked. Delete the offensive word and no problem. I’m sure there’s no guy sitting there hitting refresh on his browser waiting to see if I clean things up.

    Incidentally, Lonnie at OneManBandwidth found an added creative use for it – displaying his e-mail without fear that spambots will grab it.

  3. This is a amazing! In the way that BLDGBLOG fantasizes information to new proportions, I am just imagining the ramifications of this plugin on expression in China. I hope people make use of it.

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » China: WordPress plugin subverts keyword filters

  5. I would like to send you a picture of this text, but here goes: Unfortunately there is in fact a whole army of GongAn manual web deleters who “clean up” the stuff which gets passed the machine filtering.
    The only 100% solution is client-side anonymizer software, such as tor, which gets around all blocking and filtering by removing http headers

  6. Hey Forro, this plugin isn’t meant to be a fail-safe solution (as the disclaimer on the plugin’s site indicates). It is meant to stop mass blocking at the automated level.

    I’ve had my sites blocked a number of times due to use of keywords. Once the keywords were deleted, the site was unblocked. It is very unlikely that the site would be “cleaned up” by a human censor and permanently blocked at the IP level. Army or not, there are just too many sites to monitor and too little reason to block a site like this.

    ISP level censorship, whereby HTML is scanned for the keywords and bounced if it is shown to contain a high enough concentration (or right keyword combination) is what this plugin will help bloggers get around.

  7. Pingback: laura & tony » leaning gently against the machine

  8. @Gionata: Just checked out your site – cool stuff man. Long ago it seems were the days of you hanging out in my chilly school-supplied apartment in the outskirts of Dalian waiting for your bike to clear customs. Helluva journey.

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