When are names offensive?

We've been very busy working on our new content expansion, which is scheduled for December. But a very unfortunate incident occurred recently that has spun out of control.

If you guessed this is concerning 4S and SAS, you guessed correct. This all started some days ago when a junior night shift GM changed the names of these corporations based on petitions. We use a “Notice and Takedown” system because we can't possibly police all character and corporation names coming into the game. A simple name filter is only so capable, but it is our first line of defense and catches the majority of offensve names.

The problem started there. Only senior GM's are allowed to change names, especially corporation names. None of the senior GMs were on shift, and the feedback loop started to grow very long. Later, the incident became even worse because the senior GM handling the case got sick. Throughout all this, our support system was going up and down like a yo-yo.

When we started researching the corporation names, there were a number of legal documents which referenced the "4S" as insignia tied to war crimes. At the time, that was deemed sufficient reason to justify keeping the name change in place. Standard procedure when a name is changed is to give the person or corporation a chance to select a new name.

However, 10 days have now passed from the initial change, and four days since the latest reply from us to the 4S CEO. That is in no way acceptable in a priority case. No matter what the circumstances, it's unacceptable.

At this point in time, after seeing the feedback on the origin of '4S' ('4C' in cyrillic and the original translation) we researched deeper. This quickly led to far more source material on the 800 year old motto of "Samo sloga Srbina spasava" or "Само слога Србина спасава".

The research continued to grow. The coat of arms of the Serbian Orthodox Church uses this '4C' insignia, and so does the national flag, which also happens to be in front of the United Nations building.

Based on this, I can only deem that '4S' or '4C' has far more historical precedence and background as a nation’s motto than of something offensive enough to warrant a name change on our behalf.

This was all a result of breach of procedures, communication failures, lack of understanding and last but not least, a case which demonstrates that the universe we live in is complicated, and what can be a proud symbol for one person can also be considered blatantly offensive by someone else.

An ironic example is right in front of me. The biggest hot-dog manufacturer in Iceland is called 'SS', short for Slaturfelag Sudurlands. I don't find it offensive, but I know a number of people do. However, they are just two letters and we can't simply ban two letters combined ... or can we? Should we stop there perhaps? I believe you see where this is going.

I apologize for our bad handling of the situation, and I apologize to the people that may feel the name is offensive. However, I would like to point out that the world is getting smaller every day, and we surely can't protect everyone from seeing an acronym that they might consider offensive.

Effective immediately, 4S has its corporation name back.