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May 5, 2009 / Ben Chun

What in the Dickens?

From the files of the Circumlocution Office, here is the text of Helpdesk ticket number 87455 opened by me today:

SERVICE REQUEST TYPE REQUIRED: Internet / Web Filter

DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM OR QUESTION IN DETAIL: Go to readprint.com (which is, by the way, a fine site for classic literature) and click “Charles Dickens”. The overly-aggressive web filtering is picking this up in the GPORN category. Kinda embarrassing, really, not to be able to tell a dick from a Dickens.

I’ve since determined that anything with “dickens” anywhere in the URL is blocked by the filters. Nice.

May 7, 2009 update: Apparently this is not what the IT Department actually meant to do. I’m willing to cut them the benefit of the doubt that it was an honest technical mistake, while some of my colleagues here are less generous. Even an honest mistake impacts 55,000 students at once, and so I hope they’re not playing fast and loose with ever more restrictive filtering policies. Changes to our network environment and access have a huge impact on teaching and learning, which I don’t think is felt or understood very deeply.

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