Shoot! eBay's got a new darn policy

No primary category set

If you’ve ever posted on eBay’s chat boards about your sales on Big River or Ratbaz, used the Powerseller Board’s favourite “donkey” or even told someone to piff oss, you may not be able to do so much longer. The Americans are cracking down on such naughtiness: have just announced a new euphemisms policy for their community boards to prohibit such circumlocutions: “if something can’t be said openly with the policy guidelines, using a euphemism does not make it acceptable.” Using “alternative ways to be disrespectful” now means you’re risking your posting privileges or even your eBay account.

Via Skip.

31 Responses

  1. I’m confused, is there a “new” policy? The link in the text goes to a pink post dated Mar-30-07.

    I’m not aware it’s not acceptable to say things like Amazon or Tazbar on the boards, quite why euphemisms are used for those two i don’t know, although even I do it. πŸ™‚

    A euphemism is Ò€œthe substitution of a more mild, indirect, or vague expressionÒ€.

    Should be fun policing that one. How can you tell? For example, If i tell someone to “Go away” or tell them they’re “Talking nonsense” who’s to say I didn’t really want to say something much stronger?

    How far is this sillyness going to go? You’d think eBay would have bigger things to worry about.

    Maybe eBay should go forth and multiply and work out why sellers are going over to the Big River rather than urinate off posters on message boards. πŸ™‚

  2. not a chance of me ever posting on an ebay chat board ever

    one warning is enough for me,

    bunch of nitwit ,know nowt ,moaning keyboard warriors who patheticaly justify their self importance aided and abetted by ebay

  3. Oops, yes you’re right Richard – it’s being touted as new on the US Stores Board, but it’s actually not so new at all. “FFS”, as I can no longer say πŸ˜€

  4. its not that new,
    long before ebay uk even existed
    US board pinks
    were warning about using ****** etc.

    just proving what an old fart of a walrus I am

  5. It feels rather like a hiding to nothing from a board management point of view (something I know a thing or two about). I think it would be better to ensure swift, 100% moderation on the stuff that really does matter: porn being posted, really bad flaming, high-level swearing etc.

    In fact, norf using xxxx, called shielding, has long been prohibited on the UK and US boards.

    The problem for me though lies in the assumption that a group of professional moderators are clever or more cunning than millions of members. I used to think it rather charming when ‘codewords’ or ‘euphemisms’ emerged for banned terms. The obvious one, and the most mild, was ‘carp’. (Ironically, crap wasn’t banned!)

    To imagine that the inventiveness of posters can or will be broken is absurd. I feel certain this new policy will simply drive for ever more absurd, clever and baroque euphemisms from the boardies. And also not a little resentment from those slapped for rather anodyne usage that doesn’t really hurt anyone.

  6. seriously though Dans post is very interesting ,as its an insight into how the moderators work,

    I have been around ebay boards for some years, no longer, they are now a potential threat to my ebay business

    I do not even lurk them now either I have grown up or ebay boards are now too childish

  7. I always felt like sending an anniversary card to the few people who posted a really naughty word on the boards and it was still there a year later… there are quite a few if you search for them πŸ˜€

  8. They removed one of my “fuckwit”s, Chris πŸ™ but I never got a slap for it and the other one on the same thread is still there πŸ˜€

  9. I just hope they don’t adopt the automated naughty-word prevention program thing they had/have(?) in the UPI console. It took myself & someone in phone support quite a while to figure out that one of my messages had been flagged for inappropriate language because it contained “who require” & their program didn’t recognise spaces. And it must have almost exploded the time I misspelled ‘account’…

  10. Richard, I have had 2 posts pulled for mentioning Tazbar in the past. Both threads had other posts with the same word that didn’t get pulled.

  11. Richard & Steve H: I’ve had posts pulled for mentioning both Tazbar and Ebid. Amazon seems to be more acceptable, I’d guess because it’s not an auction site?

  12. it also depends on whos sneaking and sniding around reporting,

    there are a whole army of sad buggers about, that use the report button for sport

  13. I was at the d.consruct conference a few months ago. One of the presentations was a talk called Human Traffic.

    Denise Wilton was talking about the early days at B3TA when they tried introducing a profanity filter. What they did was have the filer convert swear words into fruits. So you would see your text appear as

    “Stop being a pineapple”
    “Raspberry you”
    “I banana you not”
    “This is a big fat load of apple”

    etc etc

    Denise talked about the social behaviours and unintended results of this.

    One was that as soon as people realised they started searing profusely to find out what different fruits were available.

    Two, people started making up their own fruits. So for expample someone would say “You know, I really think vzaar is a satsuma site”, but Satsuma wasn’t a profanity that had been filted. So it just ended up creating new ways of swearing that no one could control at all.

    In the end B3TA realised that it wasn’t in line with their users or the character of the site, and dropped it.

    The final unintended consequence is that to this day people (well old timers as much as you can be an old timer on the internet) still use fruits to swear occasionally, which apparently entirely flummoxes the newbies.

    I think eBay, if they are not careful is going to lose some of the playful aspect that makes people enjoy it more than say, etc. eBay could do with a big “breathe in and relax” and let people be people. Like Dan, says, watch out for the big stuff, and let the normal social interactions take care of them selves.

  14. I feel flattered, Sue, as I’m pretty sure I was the last person to tell you to piff oss πŸ˜‰

  15. You were, Leo. πŸ˜€

    Just wanted to say thanks to Dan and Adrian for their input: it’s nice to see things from the other side of the fence, as it were.

    The B3ta fruit example – which was absolutely hilarious to read at the time – reminds me of the swear jar which got introduced in our office. We ended up saying things like “that customer was a complete quid”, which while it might have cut out the actual word, wasn’t really in the spirit of the thing.

  16. No problem Sue.

    You get the same effect in SciFi TV screened under the watershed. Battlestar Galacticca etc.

    Profanity essentially is “frak this” “frag that” etc. There is no need to use the very obvious word it replaces which means your brain reads it as the same thing.

    Or there was FireFly where all the swearing was done in creative chinese. e.g. Gao yang jong duh goo yang (“Motherless goats of all motherless goats.”)

    Alternatively there is a series like Deadwood where the swearing was so frequent, strong, it became almost poetic. Not a show for the easily offended.

    Of course in t

  17. I remember the watermelons at B3ta.

    I’ve still got the homerun of swear words in a post on the PS board πŸ™‚

  18. Sue,

    I’m not sure that naff was from Ronnie Barker. Cassell’s Dictiuonary of Slang (vital work of reference for board moderators everywhere!) has various meanings dating back to the middle nineteenth century including a few nice polari usages. ;O)

    A friend of mine works in an office that has what we call a ‘scunthorpe’ filter. My mails with fruity language are often stopped. So we have turned to archaic swearing to get them through. My particular favourite is ‘swiving’ or ‘swiver’.. as in fornicating or fornicator. ;o)


  19. Maybe everyone should switch to using Parliamentry swear words.

    “With the greatest of respect” = “You’re a big giant &^%$”
    “.. the respectable honourable …” = “You a big giant &^%$”
    “with due respect” = “You a big giant &^%$”

  20. Ooh, interesting, Dan: I’d always been told it was a word Porridge made up so they could “swear” on primetime.

    Must go look out my uni notes – my director of studies once said to me rather rashly “more English swear words are from French than Anglo-Saxon”. I disagreed. He sent me off to make a list of each, and I think he was rather shocked at the breadth of my vocabulary πŸ˜€

  21. Was this policy drafted up on a “bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”….?

    eBay T&S, now incorporating thoughtpolice!

  22. Evening All

    Just catching up with the news on Taming eBay πŸ™‚

    Whilst on the subject of swearing & etc, where does the word FUCK come from. One explanation I was given was it was a group fo American Paedophiles who campaigned “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” whilst another swore (forgive the pun) that it went back further an means For Under Consent (of the ) King

    Anyone know its origin?

    P.S. I don’t believe’s “History”:

  23. Checking my copy of Cassell’s dictionary of slang, it says that “naff off” has been in use since the 1950’s so I would guess that Ronnie Barker got it from the royal family rather than the other way round.

    Re ebay – silly, unworkable policy. BPs are bad enough as it is.



eBay Community pages update for better mobile & faster load times


Etsy forums to shut down for two weeks


eBay Community Forum Update UK & IE


eBay forums update (bye bye “Pinks”)


Saying Goodbye to eBay Chat Rooms and Neigborhoods

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars