Web filter at British Library: Sorry, Hamlet is too violent


Honestly, it sounds like the filter heuristics made the right call on this one. You want to block “violence”? Hamlet is, in fact, nice and violent, so on the blacklist it goes.

The problem isn’t that the machine screwed up; but that the people who demand censorship don’t actually have a clear understanding of what they want to block; but they know it when they see it. Even a strong-AI level filtering system would probably have difficulty working with those rules. (And, of course, people who demand that the world be remade in the image of their basest fears should be kept well away from any switches that actually have a function; but that’s a different problem.)


Wait until the algorithm sees Titus Andronicus.


If it blocks Hamlet, what chance does the Bible have?


We actually have a second censorship device to protect the tender, virgin, regexes of the first censorship device from filth like that.

We’ve had some complaints recently, though, so we had to send out an RFP for a third censorship device to protect the second one.


Apropos of almost nothing, I want to know more about that book-bench. Pretty.


It’s been a while, but I would have thought the language of Hamlet to be so wholly obfuscated as to be perfectly camouflaged from such filters. What could it possibly have picked up on? Ear poison?

I guess Shakespearean English is no substitute for proper encryption.


maybe it’s picking up the “birth strangled babe” part.
i can’t remember enough of the actual WORDS to say anything else. i remember what happens and the words translated into modern english (no it wasn’t like that when i read it, that’s just how i remember it so it makes some kind of sense)

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At the Library of Congress, some of the electronic art resources may be subject to filtering. I didn’t press the issue, since my research interests lay elsewhere.

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I think the birth-strangled babe line is in MacBeth, also a pretty violent play.

placing a machine in between you and reality is not going to increase capacity for enlightenment. though enlightenment has almost never been a consideration of the ones making ‘rules for the slaves/citizens’.

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Reminds me of a certain Hospital group that decided to block gambling sites.

Turns out the system blocked both the internal and external sites of the hospital whenever Charity Lotto or some other Hospital site contains the word “Lotto”. Instead of giving up, managment decided to just go manual and directly block gambling sites.

So now, the users cannot access lotto.com or whatever deemed inappropate site by management. However, you can still access through third party sites or e-mail directly. Or heck, you even call them. Just pointless waste of money.

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It actually sits in the lobby of the British Library. On the other side is a small statue of Paddington Bear, with hat and suitcase. The British Library has some nice statuary.


oh fuck you are right. i thought this whole article was about macbeth.
i don’t remember anything about hamlet.

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Spoilers: everyone dies


No, it’s not. My kid is in high school, and can decrypt Shakespeare with hardly any access to the code books, which in this case are called dictionaries.

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And now you never will!

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Everyone… :smiley:

I guess the “nudie picture” filter will also block about 75% of Western Art.

Or perhaps it will follow the Hollywood model, encouraging most forms of female nudity but going absolutely apeshit at the appearance of a penis.