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Archives of old talk pages[edit]

I've just archived the old talk page, as we seem to have resolved most of our differences now. The old talk page can still be retrieved at the link below:

Per request, I'm archiving again:

Please consult the archives for the history and issues involved before making major changes to the article, or discuss them here first. Thank you. -- Karen | Talk | contribs 04:16, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Use for speed, not censorship?[edit]

Would this term also apply to the techniques commonly used in Instand Messaging and Text Messaging to speed up the input of a message? Mwv2 04:51, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Our research for the article found exactly one instance of it being used in this sense, in a humorous newspaper article. So, while the word can be used to mean that, it isn't common. The censorship meaning is by far the most common one. JulesH 12:07, 1 August 2007 (UTC)


For those looking for examples of this being used to silence or shame people with dessenting views: Th gtstcl d tht t s 'hs st' s wrng. Tht s Thr r thrs n th sndbx bsds hm.

W rdrs r llwd t ffr crtcsm. Ds t bthr y tht sm f s dn't gv p nd wnt bttr BB?

hv lst lt f rspct fr th st d t n prsn's slf g-rb. Prhps h shld lstn t hs rdrs.

That was taken from this page:

The other examples on the page are interesting as well.

Dystpias Dystopias (talk) 20:20, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Oh, we know. Disemvoweling is used almost exclusively to silence dissenting viewpoints. There are certain lackeys who will wipe any attempt to mention this on Wikipedia, but it's not hard to find hundreds of examples of the truth of it. -- (talk) 05:25, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Here's a particuparly cogent comment on dismvowelling[1]:

Reading (with emphasis added):

I have to say, in all honesty, that to me disemvowelling reads as an act of public humiliation. Used out of season, it is flatly abusive. It's uncomfortable for me to go back through this thread because Teresa has seized the moral high ground and made it effectively impossible for me to assess things for myself. Yeah, I could decode the stuff; in practice, and especially among 500+ comments, it isn't practical to do so. Mind you, I'm not rising to the defense of anyone here except maybe Tamara. And it's not about rights at all, as far as I'm concerned; there's only what one can do, and what one cannot do. The thing is that I've seen this get out of hand on every blog on controversial topics I've seen, with but a couple of exceptions. Every blog I've seen run by someone with a passionate commitment to one side of controversial issues has pile-on outbursts where the coterie attacks new posters who appear as dissenters.

I find this article non-neutral in that it seems to dance around the censorship-component of vowel-stripping.Yeago 04:58, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

It's a form of censorship and not to be taken lightly. Supporters claim that it's "easy" to read, but I'd like to see someone create a RE-voweling program. Another programmer and myself scoped out the possibility and concluded that A) it's not a trivial task and B) short of making it completely capable of understanding human language, it's going to require human intervention to work because some disemvoweled sentences simply have too many viable options for how to reconstruct them, even if you program in a reasonable ability to make guesses based on sentence structure. And that doesn't even account for disemvoweling of posts that may have had incorrectly spelled words to begin with. It's censorship and like most censorship, it's a lot easier to do it than it is to undo it. --TheCynic (talk) 04:51, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
I really, really don't want to get involved with this yet again, but the thread referenced in your recent edit discusses at length the reasons for the disemvowelings, and specifically denies being about opposing viewpoints. If you can find an example that really does silence opposing viewpoints, then fair enough, but this doesn't appear to do so. In fact, if anything, the "opposing" comments seem to have multiplied and become more vociferous as a result of the disemvoweling. Regards, --Karen | Talk | contribs 06:04, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Maybe your critical faculties are blunted, but just because the silencers give a pretext that claims legitimacy doesn't necessarily make it so. Even still, it doesn't necessarily make any of this encyclopedic either. =).Yeago (talk) 20:13, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Take the time to read the disemvowled posts, Mavarin. There's no doubt that they are simply an opposing viewpoint. There is nothing foul or "trollish" about them. If we're going to use the web to cite "support" for this method of censorship, we should also cite the web to give an example of how it's ALSO being used. --TheCynic (talk) 23:03, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Right, Cynic, but that still doesn't make this notable. =). Sorry.... Meh, lets see where this goes. I think the main problem here is that this article only represents the BoingBoing editor standpoint that Disemvowelling is always a justice device. NNPOV. Yeago (talk) 18:35, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I can see the merit of mentioning that some people take offense at being disemvoweled. At the same time, it's a relatively petty form of censorship which functions within a forum operated on an invitational basis. Freedom of speech does mean freedom to scribble anything, anywhere. That's a total misread of human social norms. MaxEnt (talk) 04:38, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
  • As with any social community where a select group wields special powers to establish or enforce social norms, claims will arise that this tool is used unjustly as a form of censorship, or to win personal arguments. As a form of censorship, disemvoweling is relatively modest: it does not eliminate evidence of dissent, and functions only within a particular forum. Dissenters can establish their own forums where they impose their own standards of conduct. In some instances, a forum might put forward a social contract welcoming all reasonable comments, but then appear to practice disemvoweling on the basis of arbitrary favoritism. It is also possible that comments are unfairly disemvowled by mistake.
What part of this text isn't original research? Wouldn't it be better to just say that "disemvowelling is a mild form of censorship" and avoid writing what can't be verified? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:58, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree, though I'd go a step further (and probably will -- I'm thinking of how it can be better worded). What I tried to do with my added section was find an example of a disemvoweled opinion and quote that as an example of how disemvoweling is used in the real world. Whether it's "mild censorship" or "relatively modest censorship" or used to "win personal arguments" seems like an opinion best left to the reader. I'm doing my best to express the usage of this technique while maintaining NPOV. To me, "mild censorship" is something more like removing foul language -- the original message is still intact but some of the "colorful metaphors" have been removed. Disemvoweling is far more severe since it renders the work largely unreadable. You certainly wouldn't look at a disemvoweled copy of Lord of the Rings and say, "It's really a relatively modest form of censorship".
My latest attempt: "Disemvoweling can be used as a means of suppressing unwanted comments in online social communities and to discourage further such comments from being made." I think that's the literal truth of the matter, at least when it comes to the sub-topic of "net censorship". The unwanted comment has been suppressed by making it difficult to read. Perhaps the last half of the sentence is still arguable, though: "to discourage further such comments from being made". I belive that's the INTENT of the disemvoweling although in order for it to actually work, we have to assume that people actually do take the time to read the disemvoweled comment and say, "Ah, that's the type of opinion that isn't wanted around here". I personally believe that most people see a disemvoweled comment and skip it, thus never finding out what got it censored. I'll see if I can't find a quote from TNH or Xeni to that effect, though. --TheCynic (talk) 19:31, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Well they don't care what was said. What happens is the moderator gets to ridicule whoever it is and run them off. It's the the Internet rendition of the Puritan "stocks' treatment.Marky48 (talk) 23:35, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

thnks fr th mmrs[edit]

thnks fr th mmrs is a song by fall out boy. (thanks for the memories) so this could be under a "popular culture" section or something, if there are any more songs or anything like this.

also, this is used for speed when texting, or to save space if the text is long so the user doesnt have to use another text Cheesypot (talk) 17:57, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I wouldn't associate this word with texting (as on a cell phone). In that case the goal is to be as clear as possible while using as few letters as possible; that method doesn't involve removing all vowels unless that's the easiest way to render a word short and readable. For example, in texting, "u" = "you", "ur" = "your", "thx" = "thanks", "2" = "to/too/two" and many things are simply abbreviations such as "omw" = "on my way". Disemvoweling is the practice of removing ALL vowels either without regard to how easy it is to read it or with the express intent of making it hard to read.--TheCynic (talk) 18:58, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Net Censorship[edit]

A couple of anonymous editors are attempting to be apologists in the Net Censorship section. That is not the purpose of an encyclopedia. An example of real-world usage is highly fitting (just as the section on nebula has many actual pictures of real nebulas and not just an explanation of what they are) and the wording is as straight forward and NPOV as I can think to make it. The point is not to suggest that disemvoweling is "right" or "wrong" but rather, to demonstrate how it is used.--TheCynic (talk) 15:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I applaud that. Unfortunately the guardians of the founders of this technique are unlikely to allow it.Marky48 (talk) 01:43, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, your phrasing suggests that the use in this situation was for the purpose of "suppression of opinion", which is I feel original research, and at least not particularly NPOV. JulesH (talk) 20:28, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Well "suggests" is not "say." It's suppression of speech as dicated by the moderator for any reason. Are there written rules?Marky48 (talk) 01:24, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

My recent changes[edit]

I've removed the example of use from Boing Boing. It is impossible for us to say for what reason this comment was disemvowelled (as, as far as I'm aware, no reliable source has publicly discussed this comment's disemvowelling), but its placement in the text provided implications of what the reason might be.

This left the "use as censorship" section rather spartan, so I rolled up the remaining content (basically, a clarification on what forum moderation involves) into the lead section.

I've also fixed a few grammatical / consistency errors, and tagged the statement about forming an abjad as potential original research. I think we'd need an expert linguist's opinion that this is in fact true to include it, although I don't understand the finer implications myself. JulesH (talk) 20:06, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

I added it back with minor modification. It is, in fact, net censorship. This is not a debatable point or subject to NPOV rules since it falls within the literal definition of "censorship". For example, the fact that the Chinese government censors their internet is not a debatable point. It's just something they do and can therefore be documented in a factual way. The reason WHY it was censored is up to debate which is why the entry does not and should not argue that point. Disemvoweling IS used as a method of internal censorship by various websites and the fact of this need not be hidden or obscured. If the Boing Boing reference troubles you for some reason I'm sure we can find another, though I'd be interested to hear the specific reason for objecting over that particular example.
I think your point of confusion is that you are assuming that "censorship" necessarily means the evil suppression of political opinions by governments. The literal definition, however, as defined by Wikipedia is "the suppression or deletion of material, which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor." It could be deleting unsolicited advertisements (spam) or deleting hate speech. It's still "censorship" by definition. Not all censorship is bad. Wikipedia engages in censorship on a daily basis. Failure to do so, in fact, would ruin the value of it. --TheCynic (talk) 19:28, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The issue, to me, is that the content in the section has been rendered redundant. The main section of the article covers it. Include a quick reference to disemvowelling as a form of censorship in the main section, and boom -- you're done.
I'm removing the section under discussion, not as censorship of a discussion of censorship but for the simple reason I've stated: it's redundant. (See exceptions in linked section.) --GGreeneVa (talk) 16:43, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
After reading more carefully I'm pretty sure the section was, in fact, entirely redundant. Defining disemvowelling as a form of censorship is taken care of in this sentence, from the first paragraph of the article (emphasis mine):

In the fields of Internet discussion and forum moderation, disemvoweling ... is the removal of vowels from text either as a method of self-censorship (for example, either "G*d" or "G-d" for those whose religious beliefs preclude writing God in full), or as a technique by forum moderators to censor Internet trolling and other unwanted posting.

That pretty much covers it. --GGreeneVa (talk) 16:50, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Its NPOV, but if it were fixed it would cover it. The article takes as a given that disemvowelled text is a tool for good.Yeago (talk) 17:13, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
My issue with the example was the statement that it was "suppression of unwanted opinion". This is reading between the lines and second guessing why the moderator took the action, and as such is original research. JulesH (talk) 21:14, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I perused Cory Doctorow's article. I'd have to say, as was my original opinion, that this whole article is the hagiographic credit grab for a certain publishing segment who are a vocal presence online. I've seen him in person and he's a personable panelist. I haven't read his published work and won't. This is a nifty way to deal with any critic in a blanket method akin to, No soup for You! Whatever.Marky48 (talk) 04:29, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
I'd say that's fairly well put. Its a clique of inter-congratulatory amateur authors and wikipedia is an extension for their cruft. Oh grey-zone of notability....Yeago (talk) 20:48, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Something's wrong on this article.[edit]

The article gives G-d as a common example, also implying it's from the internet era or routine cultural self censorship, and so on. It isn't. Its completely of different origins, antiquity, and such, well worth distinguishing. Some WP:OR or assumption may have gone on here..... FT2 (Talk | email) 15:58, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Reviewed and fixed. FT2 (Talk | email) 16:03, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the "G-d" example really doesn't fit with this article. "Disemvoweling" is a special type of censorship meant to render text largely unreadable without completely deleting it. "G-d" clearly does not fall into this definition. --TheCynic (talk) 19:26, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, I think the whole "Religious Usage" section should be removed. "Disemvoweling" is the act of removing vowels. A statement about a language that has no vowels in it pretty well means you can't disemvowel it and I scratch my head over why someone thought to mention it. I doubt religious scholars ever used the term "disemvoweled" to describe such a thing. --TheCynic (talk) 18:44, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree, its kind of just article fluff.Yeago (talk) 18:51, 22 August 2008 (UTC)


Does that note about Kotaku really need to be in the main article space? (talk) 20:24, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I think it's a bit trivia-esque, in that Kotaku haven't defined the practice, nor are they one of the first to use it. I think including mention of them is similar to just including mention of all places that currently use disemvowelling but haven't contributed to the practice at all, you know? Dreaded Walrus t c 20:46, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
For that matter we could take out references to Boing Boing. In the "further reading" section its apparent that the concept has been in existence since at least the early 90s. Boing Boing is simply a known user and not much different than Kotaku in that regard. (Although BB gets some notability simply because they are probably the only ones who have been openly criticized by other publications for doing it.) --TheCynic (talk) 14:37, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm in agreement, but it seems that at least one contributor other than the one that originally added the information (i.e., User:Will Beback) considers it relevant. It certainly needs a citation, however, so I've tagged it as such. JulesH (talk) 20:36, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah, now its put in the context of Gawker Media and shortened to a single sentence, it looks a lot better. Thanks. JulesH (talk) 20:33, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
For the record, I'm not the one who added it originally. That happened here.[2] All I did was restore an unexplained deletion.[3] I have no opinion about the material itself. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:25, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

"Problems" section[edit]

The following section has been added recently. I've removed it, as it appears to me that the approach described is not in actual use anywhere. Some references to its use would be good. As it stands, it sounds like the idea is entirely theoretical. JulesH (talk) 22:05, 30 November 2008 (UTC)


There is a problem with disemvoweling, as a possible work around is to use;

  • 4 instead of a
  • 3 instead of e
  • 1 instead of i
  • 0 instead of o
  • v instead of u
  • `/ instead of y (Rarely used, except for sentence endings)

(Note - For more examples of work-arounds, using 1337, l33t Orthography

For example:

Original afore-mentioned example question:

In the fields of Internet discussion and forum moderation, disemvoweling (also spelled disemvowelling) is the removal of vowels from text.

The above sentence, but disemvoweled:

n th flds f ntrnt dscssn nd frm mdrtn, Dsmvwlng (ls splld dsmvwllng) s th rmvl f vwls frm txt.

Possible work-around version:

1n th3 f13lds 0f 1nt3rn3t d1scvss10n 4nd f0rvm m0d3r4t10n, d1s3mv0w3l1ng (4ls0 sp3ll3d d1s3mv0w3ll1ng) 1s th3 r3m0v4l 0f v0w3ls fr0m t3xt.

This is possibly venturing into l33tspeak, but it is readable by all. However, disemvoweling still remains moderately popular and successful, but is yet to be incorporated into a mainstream use.

Disemvowelment lacks[edit]

the other vowels: w, l, r, æ, œ. And I'll bet better workarounds would be to put marks on the regular vowels: á, à, ä, é, etc. And y ouhtn't be a vowel unless it's in Latin or Old English. -lysdexia 16:44, 9 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

References to real-world instances of letter substitutions to avoid disemvowelling: Leetspeak and other letter substitution methods have been used by commenters on Boing Boing. However, no illustrative instances can be cited because the moderators removed the substitute vowels, yielding results that are indistinguishable from garden-variety disemvowelling. ::: Concerning the assertion that disemvowelling has yet to see mainstream use: the technique is, by its nature, limited to moderated exchanges of electronic text. If "mainstream" means the hardcopy mass media, it's a sure bet that disemvowelling will not see use there. In the online world, places where it has been in common use include the letter columns of Boing Boing, Gawker, and the McClatchy online news site ( ::: While the letter forms w, l, r, æ, and œ do function as vowels in some English words, the effects produced by disemvowelling are not diminished by letting those letters stand. All it does is give speakers of Welsh and Middle English a very, very slight advantage. ::: (talk) 23:41, 10 June 2009 (UTC)TNH

Suggested external link[edit]

It wouldn't be proper for me to edit an entry in which I appear, but I suggest adding a link to the comment thread in which the practice and the term were both invented. The link is: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:04, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

re: censorship[edit]

I changed[4] the contentious term "censor", which is not used in the cited Macmillan reference, to the more neutral "limit the effectiveness of", which is what the reference actually says. The "criticism" section further down in the article does a good job discussing various sides of the question, with appropriate sourcing. (talk) 22:42, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

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