[Bob Zelin]"When did FOOT BALL become an inappropriate word ?
I'm going to expand on Abraham's succinct answer to give you a bigger picture.
The filter started when spammers around the world began offering pirated streams. Which of course are fraudulent schemes for things much more nefarious.
This was one of our biggest spam words during the World Cup, but will actually increase as the NFL season goes on as well. The spam usage of that word also skyrockets during college Bowl season. We get POUNDED with bogus offers for watching your favorite team without paying for cable or DirecTV.
We actually first introduced that filter when spammers started inundating us with spam offering March Madness for free. I can't even begin to stress the scale of this. INUNDATED.
The demand for sports is what's enabling cable companies to pay multi-billion dollar deals for LOCAL sports in markets like LA. They know they'll make that money back in spades. It's why the YES cable channels is worth more than the New York Yankees baseball team that it covers. It's why cable operators are paying nearly $6 per subscriber for ESPN. It's how a cable company can afford to buy a major movie studio.
Spammers are very aware of this, and will continue to exploit the demand to try to get sports without paying for cable and satellite. It's getting worse and worse as time goes by.
The fact is that we might catch a user or two in a post or two, a couple of times a month across the entire COW with filters like this. But the fact is that we might fend off THOUSANDS of sports spam posts PER DAY, with spikes during the year that are even higher.
We've had this filter for years, and the one for hoops much, much longer, but you've not noticed until now. Most people have never noticed at all, and likely never will.
It's a small, virtually painless solution to what was formerly one of our biggest problems.
Probably more answer than you were looking for, but I gotta tell you, I was fascinated to see it emerge as a problem maybe 7 or 8 years ago, and it's definitely getting worse.