Warning: this post contains words that are forbidden in Derby.
I sent an e-mail about a school play script to a customer at a school in Derby. I received an automated reply that said:-
Offensive Words Lexicon Found the expression “bottomless” 1 times, at 2 points each, for an expression score of 2 points.
Total Message Score: 2 points.
The e-mail has been blocked and has not been delivered.
Now, I recognise that in some contexts, the word bottomless can have connotations of immorality, but in this case, the context was the title of Raymond Blakesley’s school play “Santa Claus and the Bottomless Sack”. E-mail filtering systems are good with words, but very bad with context. Unfortunately, context is important. In describing a play to a school, I can’t say that the adult roles are written to be performed by children, as “adult” has been hijacked to mean “pornographic”. Instead, I have to use the childish expression “grown up”. Even worse, I can’t say that a play is written for teenagers as “teen” is blocked because it is used to mean “nubile” (though not in the sense of “marriageable”, unless marriageable is a euphemism).
The final insult from the automated message from Derby was the footnote. It said
The views expressed in this email are personal and may not necessarily reflect those of Derby City Council
So the things I am not allowed to say are dictated by the personal opinions of an automaton.