In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall


Boing Boing has an article called, “Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border,” which I was reading with great interest. The bizarre part is that the altercation happened when he way trying to leave the United States and return to Canada. Border officials tend to pay more attention to those attempting to enter their country than those leaving.

That’s not what I’m going to talk about, however. It seems that the Boing Boing comment moderators have started a practice that I’d never heard of before. I initially thought they’d lost their minds. This is one of the comments attached to the story I mentioned:


shld dd tht dbt vry srsly tht yr frnd dsrvd t gt btn. Hpflly y wll fnd t tht ths ws n nplsnt scffl rthr thn th “btng” tht s clmd hr.

Moderator note: Read this.

See what I mean? It looks looped. So I followed the link, and found number 42 on Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2008:

42. Disemvoweling

The great thing about the Internet is that people can say whatever they want on it. Which is also the terrible thing about the Internet, because comments on blogs and in other online forums can be incredibly annoying, not to mention hate-filled and obscene. How can moderators walk the line between unregulated anarchy and oppressive censorship? Some have begun discouraging problem commenters by simply removing the vowels from their posts, a process known as disemvoweling. The offending message is rendered less obnoxious, but it’s still possible for other readers to decipher it — f thy rlly wnt t.

A year or two years later and I haven’t even heard of this? I’m surprised, especially given how clever an idea it is.

I just hope there’s software to do it. While it wouldn’t be difficult to accomplish manually, it would be quite tedious.


Look away!




  1. Bradley

    There’s a plugin for WordPress!

  2. Rick

    Damn, that’s cool. As tempting as it is, I don’t think there’s much point in my downloading it. I did think about trying it on your comment though, Brad. 🙂

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