Absences and Presences in the Era of Radical Transparency – the MyGR6 Censorship List Deconstructed

Screen Capture of the Banned Words List in the MyGR6.com Entry Form Pulled from the Script on the Page
Screen Capture of the Banned Words List in the MyGR6.com Entry Form Pulled from the Script on the Page

Courtesy of Grand Rapids social media maven Laura Bergells (@maniactive), there’s now a screen capture of the full list of words/phrases banned by the MyGR6 contest entry form.  Or, at least, this was the list banned when the contest originally debuted earlier this week.  Mark L. Curtis (@Mark_L_Curtis) observes that the site appears to have switched to a paid service for content filtering.

Some of the words banned are to be expected; profanities, racial slurs (although the list there was disappointingly incomplete; virtually no terms for Hispanics were included which is a bit of an oversight given the racial tensions in West Michigan over the burgeoning Hispanic population).  Some seemed intended to block spam from marketers.  Some were bizarre (geek? nerd? prosumer? phone?).  The rest were primarily focused on criticisms of Amway (such as):

  • amway.com
  • amwayglobal.com
  • suing
  • pyramid
  • contact
  • racketeering
  • wire fraud
  • rico
  • house of cards
  • qixstar
  • qixtar
  • quicksand
  • quickstar
  • quixstar sucks
  • quixstarsucks
  • robbed
  • robber
  • scam
  • scheme
  • pipeline

In the radically transparent now, what one seeks to obscure about oneself is often times of more interest than anything one reveals.  Just as Wikipedia Scanner shone a light on the dirt organizations ranging from the CIA to Diebold were trying to hide, and the McCain campaign attacked the Obama campaign in 2008 with website edits caught by Versionista, an absence can be as illuminating as a presence.  If anyone wasn’t aware before, the dirty laundry list for Amway is now codified in the script.

Laura joked that she has a T-shirt that reads “Take a Screen Capture; It’ll Last Longer.”

It’s actually a very prescient observation.

Here’s the thing: the ability to discover these absences is only going to increase as our technological capacities improve.  Some day soon, someone will release an app for Facebook that allows users to see hidden conflicts based on friends with similar friend networks who aren’t connected to each other.  Or, how about an app that looks for conspicuous absences in your Foursquare check-in history (hinting at when you’re trying to keep a low profile)?  A tool that monitors tweets for missing attributions (outing plagiarists)?  A widget that compares different lists of contacts to see what contacts are missing from what lists (perhaps catching an unfaithful spouse hiding the digits of a lover)?

There are myriad ways to tap into the steady deluge of data flowing through the Internet every second.

Something to think long and hard about.


3 thoughts on “Absences and Presences in the Era of Radical Transparency – the MyGR6 Censorship List Deconstructed

  1. Robin Luymes says:

    Wow … that list IS bizarre. Maybe some sort of automation was used in the creation of this list, based on blog spam received at Amway. Not sure why the correct spelling of Quixtar would be banned, however, as it’s a legit part of Amway’s past, or why “contact” “Sandy” “Wood” would raise flags. Hopefully nobody wanted to reference nearby “sandy” beaches or the beautiful “wood” furniture that is part of Grand Rapids’ history in their six words!


  2. Laura Bergells says:

    Who else thinks it odd that words like “amway.com” are on the same banned list as George Carlin’s 7 dirty words?

    I imagine the contest brainstorming meeting, “Let’s come up with a list of filthy, disgusting words that no one should say in polite company.”

    “Shit! Fuck! Piss! Amway.com!”

    But geez. Amway’s a sponsor! I can’t imagine that they appreciate their brands being included with all the doo-doo/ka-ka words… why would they pay good money for brand degradation?

    It doesn’t make sense.


  3. Joe Spivey says:

    Well Laura, it’s just that you don’t really understand the system that is at work, here. When my wife and I first heard about the censorship list, I’ll admit that we didn’t understand about doo-doo/ka-ka or Amway either. But once we met with one of their IBO’s and his wife, they explained everything to us in a clear and measured way, and in a very short time, we came to understand and appreciate Amway’s doo-doo and ka-ka. We would be happy to do the same for you. If we can do it, I know that you can too. I’m sure that before long, you will be able to shovel Amway’s doo-doo and ka-ka into the lives of everyone you know or have ever met. What evening next week will work for you?


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