I recently formed a gaming guild to serve the members of an online RPG which I play quite often. I have used a variety of free forums and sites across the internet to host this guild (FriHost being the next on the list).
As a guild grows, obviously so do the forums and sites which support it. The people and companies who host these free sites also gain a larger market share of hits, popularity, and growth for their sites. However I have noticed some very troubling trends that have started to develop recently. More and more sites are censoring and controlling the content published to these private and semi-private forums.
While I personally have never had this issue, two sites I know of are agressively scanning and deleting the slightest profanity which may be typed into a given topic. While I realize these site owners have a responsibility and liabilty concerning the content, I do think censoring messages in this way creates a problem for normal adults who want to express themselves in normal ways.
It doesnt stop there however, they are also attempting to censor by content as well. One case I have seen concerned an individual attempting to warn other players within his own guild of the threat of a predator who was attempting to stalk the young girls within that game. This published warning was deleted without further explanation. It is one thing to run an illicit site which promotes these types of behaviors. I personally think its quite another to treat a well intentioned warning as just as offensive.
Please post any thoughts you may have concerning concerning Free Forum/Site censorship here. Snafoo
When it comes down to it, it really is the host that has final say, because their the ones paying their own money to give you a free site. However, if you pay them, you should be able to control content, but that story for another time. When it comes down it with free hosting, there isn't much you can do, except get your own host or set up an independent server. That's always the best bet.
My personal (and Frihost's as well) policy is that you can put whatever you want on your site. The only thing we forbid on our servers are illegal things like warez, copyrighted material being shared/sold without the copyright-owner's permission.
Pornography and aother adult-related sites are also not allowed in some countries, and we don't allow such content.
As for Forum posts, Frihost does censor certain words but that's primarily because we have a lot of young members as members (Most of the members on Frihost are in their teens, I'd say), and we got quite a lot of complaints against vulgarity and profanity in posts. I personally don't really care about profanity, and I also use it on my own site at times.
I think that everyone should ban profanity. Sometimes younger players sneak in and see all that stuff and it is not good. I have also seen people join a clan or guild just to run a muck! They glitch all over the clan's own game server and since they are a member people think it is not a rule to glitch on that server. Then the players goes on to the forums and puts the f-word all over left and right!
Where the hell do you get that from? If a kid can't take this kind of stuff, then maybe he shouldn't be doing stuff like going into f*cking forums without consent from his parents, or being old enough to read and understand stuff like the ToS. Better yet, parents should really be responsible about the games kids play. There is a reason why Halo is rated Mature, because it's not for kids, and parents should understand this. Not only that, but the fact that people are arguing that the word Mature isn't clear enough is bullsh*t, because right next to the word is +17, and if that's not clear enough, then what the f*ck is clearer? About people going into random forums, that's the job of Admins and Moderators, and if they can't do their jobs, then what the f*ck are they running forums for?
Our WoW guild is hosted by FriHost, and we love it *grins*. But seriously, profanity/obscenity matters should be definitely policed, and not just because of the host. We ourselves have no problems with it since all the members are pretty much hand-picked, despite the fairly large size... However, out of simple sense of politeness to everyone, cursing and general rudeness should be forbidden. Especially if directed at people that are staying in the same guild or are reading the forum. In general, take as a rule that online isn't all that different from real life in sense of receiving of information - you wouldn't likely use foul language when surrounded by fifty other people, so try to avoid it in general.
(And "you" in last sentence is used as an abstract, not directed at the original poster)
Edit/add: Of course, the cursing and so on shouldn't be policed at an insane level, though. Generally speaking, kids know way more curses than us, anyway, so "sparing" them from it is kinda pointless - and the only people generally ofended are the parents that consider their babies pure and white.