Subject: Scunthorpe
Date: 15 May 1996 00:31:19 GMT
Organization: The Loop

Mesdames et Messieurs:

Another war story.

On occasion, I drop in to for some minor lurking --perhaps the topic has already come and gone, but, I have not seen any mention of AOL and a British town named Scunthorpe....

According to the Comp Risks Digest, AOL censorerd a British town's name: A Mr. Doug Blackie, from a town named Scunthorpe, wanted to sign up with AOL, whose indecency-filter rejected the town name. AOL subsequently decreed that the town would, henceforth, be known as "Sconthorpe" --which raises another problem: en Francais, le mot "cont" a une definition tres similaire....

The Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph (final edition) of Tuesday, 9 Apr 1996, issue #30111 also covered the story; it is printed and published by Grimsby and Scunthorpe Newspapers Ltd., Telegraph House, Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe, DN15 7RE, UK.

Interestingly, the "Am" in, for ironic example, America On-Line, has a similar meaning in Turkish, where the spelling of "America" is usually changed to "Omerica," with an "O"....

For a fuller description of the Scunthorpe Scandal, see the Comp Risks Digest, Issues #7 and #8:

From a small Irish newspaper:

SCUNTHORPE'S name has been changed to spare the blushes of millions of computer users on the Internet.

American and German bosses of the AOL UK service were shocked to discover the name of the town could offend..

Now AOL's five million-plus members in the USA and thousands of users in Europe have been warned to refer to the town as SCONTHORPE in order not to cause offence..

"There is an internal software problem," admitted a London spokeswoman for AOL which was launched in Britain three months ago by America Online and the German media company Bertelsman AG..

The spokeswoman said that by re-naming Scunthorpe -- Sconthorpe -- they might be accused of "over-protecting" their members from unscrupulous people..

She explained that there were safeguards built in to their system to prevent "crude language" going on the line..

"We have renamed the town in order not to cause offence. But our technicians between the UK and America are now working to remove the block on the name.".

The ban on Scunthorpe and that four-letter word was discovered by retired steelworks mill controller Doug Blackie, of Cole Street, when he applied to join AOL UK..

Each time he typed in the address Scunthorpe on his application he was met with the stock reply: "Your account cannot be processed any further.".

Then Mr Blackie used the free telephone service to speak to technicians in Dublin for around two hours..

"They were most helpful and suggested it could be a block on the name Blackie. But jokingly I suggested it could be something to do with the old toilet gag about Scunthorpe..

"So then I typed in my address as Frodingham and bingo the block was lifted."

The Scunthrope Evening Telegraph.
Final Edition, April 9, 1996.

Courtesty of the CuDigest mailing list.

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