Not this particular site. Rest assured, your kids are safe with me. Don’t believe me? Well, simply test my site here. As of Tuesday, June 26 at 9:42 p.m., I rated:
Actually, I don’t know how I feel about this. Maybe my blog is just too tame. But the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians, though: they’re ice hot!
This is all part of a meme spreading across the blogosphere soon after an online dating site unveiled a fun little tool to rate individual blogs according to MPAA standards. I first encountered this on Colleen’s LiveJournal, who found it funny to receive a G rating despite previously having written a short story with a sex scene in it. Scott Tribe received an R rating and wondered what his parents would say (he then let me in on the BANPC’s NC-17 rating). Big City Lib has been having a lot of fun using this tool to rate various Blogging Tory sites and Suzanne at Big Blue Wave accepted her R rating with grace and humour.
All of this shows that you should never get a computer to do a human’s work. It’s like the time one of the Universities tried to crack down on porn by restricting access to all alt.sex.* newsgroups, finding to their chagrin that they’d blocked access to various rape survivor help groups. The toy put up by Mingle 2 is similar in that it works in the simplest way possible. It takes one page of your website (whatever you choose to specify), and then runs through it, looking for various keywords which it tallies up and uses to calculate your rating. The more keywords you hit, the more mature your site scores. This individual page on my blog for instance, gets a PG rating for five uses of the word sex, two uses of the word drugs and one use of the word pain.
And unlike the newsgroup gaffe, this tool is not intended to be taken seriously, but I still think I might have something to say about the criteria it uses. The text based rating system is one thing (sites which refrain from using the keywords could still obtain a G rating even if it contained sexually explicitly pictures), as the designers probably went into the design of this tool knowing this full well (and, as I said, this tool is not meant to be taken seriously), but the keywords that trip the ratings meter are a little bizarre, and some are not amused.
I should point out that the Blogging Alliance of Non Partisans received its NC-17 rating due to five uses of the word “gay”, three uses of the word “dangerous”, two uses of the word “pain” and one use of the word “suicide”, and yet this post gets a G-rating for one use of the word “rape”, even though it contains multiple uses of the words “homosexual”, “pedophilia” and “adultery”, along with the line “I especially don’t get it when critics are surprised that, after essentially saying, ‘I don’t hate homosexuals, but I think two men in a loving relationship are as bad as a monster raping a child,’ people take offence.”
This post on the other hand, got an R rating.
It’s the words gay, sex and queer that trip the meter. Indeed, I think you can expect this “dangerous” blog to hit NC-17 territory with multiple uses of the word gay.
Far be it from me to take the Mingle 2 tool too seriously, but I would recommend that the designers tweak the criteria a little. When it is so easy to trip the NC17 meter in one way, and not the other, one has to wonder how much thought went into the device in the first place, regardless of whether or not it was a bit of fun. And the innocent action words that trip the meter could well offend the innocent individuals the action words apply to. Just a thought.
(Update): Sure enough: the inclusion of this article vaults my rating from G to R.
Doctor Who on the CBC Update
Next week’s Doctor Who will be pre-empted thanks to scheduling concerns surrounding the Under 20 World Cup of Soccer, I believe. Instead, Gridlock will debut at its regularly scheduled time on Monday, July 9.
Did you all like The Shakespeare Code? You can read my full review here, and you’re welcome to add your own comments at the end of this post.