Later update: Via commenters who are smarter than me, I have learned that WordPress doesn’t handle spell checking independently, relying instead on browser spell-check functionality. So my ire should have been directed at our dear old blue-nosed friends at Google.

Today I noticed that the dictionary used by the ErosBlog installation of WordPress knows how to spell the word “cunnilingus” and is perfectly happy to flag it when not spelled correctly. In order to do that, it has to “know” the correct spelling. But it refuses to suggest the correct spelling! The best it can do is to weakly suggest the word “ceilings”. I am not making this up:

wordpress refuses to help me spell cunnilingus

Almost certainly this was not a deliberate choice of the WordPress coders. I don’t have time today to research the source of the spellcheck routine and library that causes this result, but since WordPress is open source, it’s likely to involve logic that was coded elsewhere. This is hardly new behavior in a software product; Violet Blue caught Microsoft doing it with Word’s spellcheck way back in 2007. Nor is this the first time ErosBlog has covered search invisibility, search suggestion censorship, and arbitrary sexy-keyword “blue lists” that have been widely shared for censorship purposes in the tech industry. My guess is that WordPress is just one of the many software products that lazily or unthinkingly incorporates a library built around one of those ancient and stale blue lists.

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