Perspective, Pontification and Propoganda about Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, brought to you by David Hornik of August Capital.

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Depends a lot on the business model. Some have higher requirements for pro-active controls, others can be reactive. Reactive systems can have issues with scalability with a higher overhead in terms of management/monitoring/etc.

Cookie cutter approaches don't always apply :p

Lateef

Agreed, wasting cycles stressing about swearing is bullshit. There are social benefits to swearing, particularly if your audience is young and male - swearing can actually facilitate trust. However, there are significant social costs to swearing if your audience is old and/or religious. With all communication, audience is everything.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/oZcIXFt.1MOpSk3pxvqQgDxo8bXmNKQhnAuF#61c64

Like Lateef and Dasher, I think audience and context are everything.

On the other hand, there is only so much you can do technologically to solve what is essentially a cultural problem. In the on-line gaming industry, there a quantity known as TTP or Time To Penis, which is how long it takes real users to create something obscene in your perfectly nice game world.

There are some great examples in this article:

http://habitatchronicles.com/2007/03/the-untold-history-of-toontowns-speedchat-or-blockchattm-from-disney-finally-arrives/

It contains one of my favorite stories on this topic, where a team spent weeks building a chat system where you could only pick words and phrases from menus, and all of the words were safe, wholesome ones. But a few minutes after they let their first 14-year-old boy at it, he created the sentence, "I want to stick my long-necked Giraffe up your fluffy white bunny."

For user-generated content, swearing is a red herring. Entrepreneurs don't need to solve the problem of bad words; they need to solve the problem of bad content, bad actors, and, when they arise, bad cultures.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/sYDC_n8RouA7zThH4ofk0RLWBo3tiKdbKLSBtg--#59284

David, I completely agree. Peoples' oversensitivity to swear words is fucking ridiculous.

But, don't worry about developers' time. A system to filter swear words is really easy to build. Most startups hand this project over to a free summer intern in order to teach them how to use regular expressions.

PS: another thing that's fucked up is your comment system. I was given the option to sign into TypeKey, Vox, Yahoo, OpenID, or Wordpress. Seriously? half those services are obsolete and the other half are on their way out. I can't sign in with Google? FB? Twitter? or how about just my email address? You should switch to Disqus or FB Connect (full disclosure: I used to work at USV, which is an investor in Disqus).

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I completely agree that many sites are too concerned about swear words, but that's not the only reason users mark content as offensive.

If you've ever managed a UGC site or community, you know that content can include threats and harassment. Policing and moderation are important so that users feel safe to participate in the community, otherwise they'll leave. Community managers decide which "offensive" content to remove, and have the option to set independent policies for swear words vs. other issues.

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I agree that we entrepreneurs and finance people are largely not offended by vulgarity, but many people are. David - do you swear to your Mom or Aunt?

The fact is, many people are offended by vulgarity. So why berate an entrepreneur for trying to build an online community where people feel comfortable hanging out, creating UGC and hopefully clicking on an ad or becoming a lead? Would the Mommy Blogs, recipe communities, animal lover communities, etc do as well if they were laden with curse words? I bet the community would be a lot less comfortable on some sites if that were the case. I could be dead fucking wrong, though.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/UfGO9cUMioWFi8XTub6Z8rQx0vEm#e484d

Fuck yes, mother fucker. ROFL

For years my blog has been peppered with the unmentionables, scantily clad girls, profane speech, and even the occasional beer bottle, or poker table. The funny thing is that everything on my blog is about ethics, doing good, helping others, and family.

My site is even blocked from some people from reading it at work due to the content.

On the other hand, sites like CNN or the New York times which often promote war, and destruction are considered to be holy.

So nice article. Gave me a warm mother fucking feeling all up and down my spine. :)

https://me.yahoo.com/a/UfGO9cUMioWFi8XTub6Z8rQx0vEm#e484d

David:
For fun, I scrolled through ten VCs who ID their portfolio companies. I could be wrong, but I didn't see a single Porn site portfolio company. Do you know of any VCs who have invested in porn-sites? Why is it? Surely it isn't because there isn't room for growth, or low barriers to entry. Could it be that VCs don't want their names associated with certain other names? Maybe something is more important than immediate short term gratification?

I direct a B-plan competition. We had an entry that described itself as "family friendly" content. The site ws not--quite a bit of mysogony, along with more rude slang for women than I care to discuss. We dropped the site from our competition. Why? because we did not want to seen as endorsing mysogonistic commentary. When we post winners on our web-site, we didn't want to be embarrassed. I don't think we're the only ones out there.

During college I worked in consumer lending, and I had landed a nice sales dealer who gave us a lot of business. Come Monday morning, I got into work, and saw a Sunday newspaper article taped to my chair--my client had been busted for improper relations with a minor. The post-it note simply said "cancel all his deals". It cost us at bonus time, but my bank didn't want to be known as the banks who financed child molesters.

Don't get me wrong; I fully support people to have the freedom to display their faux-kuhl with profanity; but no one thinks their posts are clever or witty, or intelligent. When you encourage posts that display profanity, you are by extension saying you are not clever, nor witty, nor intelligent. Perhaps you're comfortable sending that message about yourself--I am not comfortable sending that same message about me.

In closing, I would ask you one question: is this a post you'd want read at your funeral?

I apologize if this post is a downer--but it seemed important to post a reply.

The Lobby

I would be perfectly happy having this post read at my funeral. I think it is a bit of a stretch to equate swearing with improper relations with a minor. Swear words are words. They may or may not be the best words to use at any point in time. But they are just words and my sense is that people make way too much of them. I am not advocating misogyny. I'm not advocating using hate speech. I'm just saying that I think too much time is wasted on worrying about swear words and it comes at a cost.

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