I've been meaning to mention this for a while: this site keeps being erroneously blacklisted by various net-nanny programs. Several people have written to say they can no longer visit me from work and hence are being compelled to earn their keep for a change, which is demeaning for them.

What's vexing is that it usually turns out that it was a mistake and I shouldn't have been blocked at all. It appears that the various net-filtering services are about the worst bunch of cowboys in the IT industry and instances of innocuous sites being wrongly blocked are commonplace. This site has all the gory details, but in a nutshell the net-nannies depend on robot searches primed to look for keywords regardless of context, with hilarious results - e.g., Holocaust memorial sites blocked as racist because they mention the names of Holocaust deniers, sites providing counselling for compulsive gamblers blocked as gambling, and so on.

In my own case I've so far found I was blocked as porn by one net-filter and 'extremism or hate speech' by another, conceivably for the bloody 'Why I Hate Mormons' bit. It's highly annoying but they will at least change your classification and/or rating if you point out their mistake. So if anyone finds me being blocked for similar reasons please let me know.

(One amusing sidelight arising from this: it appears that some of our most prominent news-gathering organisations have taken to shielding their own journalists from all the nasty sordid ickiness in the world in this way. Someone quite high up in one of the bigger and more reputable newspapers in Britain mailed to say they were now blocked from reading the site. And the person who found me blocked for extremism and hate was trying to access the site from a top American TV corporation, who run one of the big four news providers on U.S. TV. So, if their journalists were researching a story on terrorism, or militias, or racial tension...?

The corporations are apparently in a quandary, because if people access offensive material at work their colleagues might sue the company for distress or unpleasant environment or what have you. And I presume that at need journalists can simply go to their boss and say 'I find I need to read some hate speech for purposes of research, because I hear, from time to time, that the world is not all sweetness and light; I promise to take anything I might find with a pinch of salt and not to let it corrode my soul, that I might retain the state of prelapsarian innocence and Polyanna-ish optimism for which you hired me in the first place, because I know you think of me as your little ray of sunshine; if you like you can stand over my shoulder and watch I don't turn the Protocols of the Elders of Zion into an e-mail forward or print off a cut-out-and-wear Klan mask. So please take down the bars of the playpen for a while.' is somewhat laughable, is it not?)

Anyway, if you're reading this at home but can't at work, or if you've sent the link to someone and they can't access it, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know, citing the classification or reason for blocking that pops up and if possible which net-filter the company system runs.

Only if I seem to be blocked for the wrong reasons, mind - porn, gambling, extremism, witchcraft or something. I can't really object to being listed as 'Mature Humour', for example, or 'Time-wasting entertainment that can have no conceivable connection to anything work-related.' Or for that matter 'High decibel whining in breach of the Geneva Convention', 'Gratuitous use of semi-colons', 'Morbid and unhealthy interest in Roy Orbison,' 'Establishing a Marriage Bureau for an immoral purpose,' 'Impersonating a Smiths album to pull teenage girls', etcetera.