Category Archives: Digital

The Banned Words

从前有一位国王,他在一次事故中摔断了腿。他走路得样子非常滑稽,人们因为他走路样子而发笑,经常私下嘲笑他怪异的走路方式。为了避免被嘲笑,国王发布了一项皇家法令,禁止使用“腿”或“跛行”等词。起初,人们对这一奇怪的法令感到困惑,但很快他们找到新的词语来嘲笑国王。当国王禁用了一些词语,人们就找到同音字来绕过禁令。 国王变得越来越偏执,他认为每个人都在背后谈论他。所以他禁用了越来越多的字词,直到人们的日常交流都受到了阻碍。王国陷入了深深的沉默,但即使在一片沉默中,国王感觉被嘲笑了,因为沉默成为了每一个他禁用的词。

Once upon a time, a king broke his leg in an accident. He walks in a funny way, and people laugh at him because of his way of walking. They often secretly mocked his strange way of walking. To avoid being ridiculed, the king issued a law prohibiting the use of words such as “leg” or “limp.” At first, people were puzzled by this strange law, but soon they found new words to make fun of the king. When the king banned some words, people substituted them with homophonic words. The king became increasingly angry, believing everyone was talking about him behind his back. So he banned more and more words until people could barely speak. The kingdom fell into a deep silence, but even in the silence, the king felt teased because silence became the words he banned.

Context: The informant read this story online when people were discussing the banned words on the website in a forum. The website bans bad words and substitutes them with the “*” sign, but people find homophonic characters to get around the censorship. Because some of the homophonic words are used daily, they influence people’s daily life, and many of the homophonic words become bad words. Thus, some people questioned the act of using homophonic characters to express bad meanings, and someone wrote this story to reflect the negative aspects of online censorship and how it affects people’s daily life.

Analysis: This story reflects the value of free speech and the negative consequences of censorship on the Chinese internet. The king’s ban on words led people to seek alternative ways to express themselves. This story is a modern fable as many societies struggle with issues of censorship and control over speech and expression. The use of homophonic characters in online communication to bypass censorship is a common phenomenon on the Chinese internet, as Chinese is a language that has a lot of homophonic characters and words. This story reflects the issue of censorship and serves as a cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of censorship.

Minecraft Entity 303- Herobrine


M is a college student at the University of Southern California, he told me about a ghostlike entity on the online game Minecraft, which he has been playing for years.


“So there’s a game online called Minecraft and I’ve played for years, but I played when it first came out so I was around 10 or 11 years old. There used to be a supernatural entity in the game called Herobrine. Minecraft can be played single-player or multiplayer, but when you played single-player you are alone in the world you created with only the animal mobs. But this “person” Herobrine was supposed to resemble the main character, but instead of having pupils, his eyes were fully white. He was seen as something of an opposing force, or like a scary entity you want to summon. I was playing with one of my friends at the time and we looked up a summon on YouTube and we ended up doing it. Nothing happened initially but that world ended up being corrupted like things would be set on fire, and a whole bunch of random things happened. Herobrine was never seen in the game by me personally but things around me started changing in the game when they weren’t supposed to. In the subsequent releases of the game the developers mentioned that Herobrine was never in the game; they all said he was removed. He was never considered an actual person, some people assumed he was a bug in the game that haunts the system or world in the server. So, like, in my world, when I summoned him, trees would be set on fire, my stuff would go missing, and my house made of wood and stone was on fire even though my friend and I weren’t there, so I knew it couldn’t have been my friend. I believe I made the world on my XBOX 360, so a year ago when I booted it back up, I couldn’t find that world like it was deleted offline.”


The Minecraft entity 303 or Herobrine,is a creepypasta where an ex-employee from Mojang, the game’s developer company, created the entity to haunt servers in order to have his revenge on the game’s developers and the players alike. This is a classic legend narration in which a discontented person will take revenge over those who wronged them by haunting that which was taken from them or lost. This story fits in with a classic phenomenon in videogames where people make up legends about hacks and bugs, trying to scare people; this is an aspect of the postmodern era, as people that are scared of the new and unknown, try to make up stories about the Internet in order to make sense of that which they cannot understand. This trend is particularly notorious in creepypastas, a genre of horror-related legends that are shared on the Internet.

99 little bugs in the code

“99 little bugs in the code, 

99 little bugs… 

Take one down, 

patch it around, 127 bugs in the code!”

Genre: joke/song

Source: 20 year old USC student majoring in computer science

Context: The student doesn’t remember exactly when she learned this tune, but says it is the coders’ take on the classic “99 bottles of beer” song. 

Analysis: In this adapted version, the number of bugs increases many instead of going down by one classically. The student explains this is the focus of the joke, because the patching of an error frequently leads to the creation of more “bugs” in the code. Where the traditional version of this song is normally heard during monotonous tasks, or when killing excess time. In this 21st century rendition, the song achieves the same purposes, as fixing code is often a seemingly endless and time intensive process. 


The Informant is a video game player. They play multiplayer games online.

informant: If I got paired with a really bad player, I would say that this guy is such a bot. It means that they are bad at playing the game as if they are the practice bot that the game provides in the beginning stage. Sometimes I would say that they are Artificial Intelligence bot because they are talking to you in the chat, but they play like a bot.

Analysis: This simile is broadly used by video game players, especially when a player cannot choose their teammates. It’s a saying to express frustration. This also shows how people believe AI bot is worse than human when it comes to gaming, which is a debatable statement.

Video Game Taunting – Online Insults

Main Perfromance:

In the online game series called “Halo,” CS was exposed to the start of a long running insult to one’s opponent called “tea bagging.” The movement, crouching up and down over a dead enemy, was so infamous that it got its very own name.


This action of crouch spamming over an opponent that the player killed, has since expanded to pretty much all online shooters, but is less often called by the name. Instead, the action is by far the most recognizable part of the gesture.


When playing the online game “Overwatch” with CS, he got killed and “tea bagged” by the enemy team.


Disrespect and crude humor is a common occurrence in online video games, especially when it gets very competitive. The same way that basketball players might taunt each other before and after making shots, online gamers treat the sport with a similar attitude. With more and more humor coming from the internet, on occasion, this emote/crouch spam taunting makes its way even into the material world.


I found one other post about this online taunt/humor in our archive: