Why are web searches filtered?

I’m not under 13 and nobody else is going to read my search and get offended, so I don’t understand why they are filtered. Can an admin explain this?

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So the filter has to be applied everywhere on the website/in-game where there is user-generated content, so also on the search query. For example you could be linking people to this through your profile, through a group shout, through social media, etc:

https://www.roblox.com/games/?Keyword=%46%55%43%4B
(search for “F***”)

They haven’t filled in that query themselves, yet they do see what was filled in that way if it wouldn’t be filtered properly. That has to be prevented because the search page is part of the website.

I understand its not very practical though, just explaining why it happens.

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I don’t think that’s the reason. ROBLOX can parse the URL for the true content before filtering it, so wherever it got posted (ROBLOX chat, PMs, forums, etc) it would have gotten filtered already.

I wouldn’t be surprised if ROBLOX is storing user searches for analytics purposes, and is filtering them in an effort to be 100% COPPA-compliant. COPPA isn’t just preventing users from giving out their personal information – it’s preventing it from being stored as well.

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Isn’t that solved by not storing searches made by younger users?

They just want people to avoid posting inappropriate usernames and places, methinks.

True.

Not usernames. If someone named themselves something inappropriate, someone else could find it by searching for it and then spreading the url of that user

Think about the children

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Yeah I’m not talking about the link, I’m talking about the query that shows up at the page itself. The point is, you don’t want a kid ending up on a page that says “F**K” assuming as if they put it in themselves when they didn’t, so queries have to be filtered since you could land on these pages via a link as well. And added on what you were saying of course.

There’s no need to filter search terms when you can filter the links when they’re distributed.

Original: https://www.roblox.com/search/users?keyword=echoreaper
Filtered: https://www.roblox.com/search/users?keyword=echoreaper

Original: https://www.roblox.com/search/users?keyword=
Filtered: ###########################################

Original: https://www.roblox.com/games/?Keyword=FUCK
Filtered: ################################################

Case and point. Filter the spread of the url, like above, and not the actual search term.

Here, go to https://www.roblox.com/. Filter averted. That’s too ineffective of a reason for search terms to be filtered.

It should filter the display of the query and not the query itself. If it wants to filter “builderman” then it should still show the results for the search query “builderman” but it should say “Showing search results for ##########” instead.

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You’re grasping at straws here. “But technically… the address bar isn’t the site”, “But technically… it leads to the roblox.com domain”, “But technically…” The semantics you’re arguing for are a really weak reasoning to filter search terms. If that truly was the reason, ROBLOX could have selectively filtered links users went to directly rather than all search terms. If ROBLOX filtered search because they specifically didn’t want profanity on their domain, they would have filtered more than the main site’s searches as well.

https://blog.roblox.com/?s=
http://wiki.roblox.com/index.php?title=&search=

COPPA just requires parental consent for the usage and collection of data from people under 13.

Yeah, but there’s no parental requirement for signing up as an under 13 user on ROBLOX. In general, it’s a hassle to get parental consent from every user under the age of 13 on your website, so the “unless you have parental consent” is effectively disregarded in most companies.

Then it can’t be considered COPPA compliant to collect their search history, filter or not filter (Unless maybe their terms of service say something about filtered input). Chances are the search filter is just a quick band-aid to prevent kids from searching up potentially inappropriate stuff and having their parents get mad.

Also, it looks pretty evident that the filter is just so the user can’t look up stuff that might be inappropriate. You can even stop the webpage loading and see the text before it is changed into hashtags.

[ Image content deleted ]

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Sorry to necro, but I 100% agree with removing the filter from the search bar, especially for 13+ users (like me). I do not see why it is filtered, as it is a client-sided feature. No one else can see your search except you. Here are reasons why it should be removed:

  • Is client-sided; no one sees it but you.
  • Many appropriate keywords are filtered, therefore making it hard to search something
  • Usernames are blacklisted despite when the user’s account was created, the name wasn’t flagged as an inappropriate username.

Some devforum members have been saying that if someone searches up an inappropriate word, they can get inappropriate results. Most inappropriate items (assets, shirts, etc) are NOT named after what they describe or any bad word. Besides, to be COPPA compliant, Roblox could just not collect search results and data, at least from <13 users and it would save data space.

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There is literally no reason why I, an adult, can not find things in the library or catalog because the words aren’t part of roblox’s extremely small clean word library.

There is no reason why I should not be able to search “scabbard” to find models of scabbards (where they are named scabbard) and be greeted with hashtags instead and an empty results list.

There is literally no reason why I should not be able to find some clothing because it has a foreign word or name in it.

For all of the good changes roblox is making in both the development realm and the child safety realm, I won’t be able to respect it as a true and capable game development platform if imaginative and creative freedom is shackled by the legality presented when a game is marketed as a kid’s game.

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If you think about what EchoReaper said in his first post, this is currently possible.

Imagine you could search for “Jailbreak” and then replace Jailbreak with a swear word in the query. So it’s already possible. I don’t know if it’s possible to post that with the swear word in it but you can do it right now.

So, if you google a bad word and take a screenshot of it, you can say “Google is inappropiate and bad!”?

Definitely sounds silly when you phrase it that way, but Google’s systems are generally better understood by parents than the Roblox website, because parents actually use Google themselves. Google is much more ubiquitously present compared to Roblox. I can easily see how a parent could be taken aback by a screenshot of the Roblox website showing bad words when they know they’ve set their child’s privacy and safety settings a certain way.

I’m not sure if that’s for sure the reason searches are filtered though. :slightly_smiling_face: