Remember George Carlin’s bit about the seven words you can’t say on television?
Yeah, well DraftKings — courtesy of a list curated by a Carnegie Mellon University professor — is adding to that septet. Let’s just call it the 1,300+ words you’ll never see on the soon-to-fully-launch DraftKings Social.
A sampling, then: bombs, bondage, boner, bong, boobs, booty. (Who knew “bo-” was such a minefield? And wait until you get to the “di- section.” Whoa momma. I’m blushing over here.)
You know what else you won’t see? Stuff like “Donald Trump will be reinstated in August!” or “Joe Biden drinks baby blood at pizza restaurants!”
Nope. None of that. In fact, free speech does not — and will not — exist on DraftKings Social. It’s a no-free speech zone. Kim Jong-Un would be proud.
And you know what? I’m thrilled to hear it.
“We’re really conservative on this topic,” said Jordan Mendell, DraftKings senior vice president of product, who walked me through the full offerings. “When you type stuff on Facebook, they’re not going to stop you from posting. They’re going to moderate it later. We’re taking a far more aggressive approach to this. Carnegie Mellon actually maintains this global bad word list — we’re using it to basically block stuff that doesn’t belong here.”
Block away, babe*. (*banned)
“We’re not trying to make this Facebook or Twitter — this free, open, you-can-post-whatever-you-want, we’re-off-the-hook kind of place,” Mendell said. “The intent here is to make this sports-related and not get into stuff about Trump and Biden. I’m doing everything possible to make this not devolve into that type of scenario. We’re being very aggressive on what you can and can’t post.”
David Squires on … football and the cyber cesspool of social media https://t.co/UUBOdrm5mh
— The Guardian (@guardian) February 16, 2021
Awesome. My username on DraftKings is “nealcassady.” Come friend me, all you byatches*. (*also banned)
Making it easy to play
While the entirety of the DraftKings Social experience will be available within weeks, only a tiny bit of it is currently live, and you can find it on the DFS page under the “social” tab. Right now, you can find friends, invite friends, and “knock” on your friends’ doors to join their contests.
Which is why the whole experiment started in the first place.
“We started this project in 2015, primarily because we got so many complaints about what an exhausting experience it is to get into contests with your friends,” Mendell said.
And the problem — as anyone who has done this can attest — is that if you build a 10-person contest, it has to fill, otherwise it gets canceled. So if Roy from accounting forgets to put his fish lineup in, no one gets to play. (The reason for this, by the way, is regulatory, Mendell said.)
DraftKings Social was built with this in mind, making it much easier to, at the very least, remind people they have a contest to join.
But while that was the impetus, it didn’t build much traction inside the neon green walls of DraftKings. By 2018, though, it started to gain steam, and now it’s almost ready for primetime.
And make no mistake: The whole thing will resemble typical social networks. There will be posts and curated trending topics. You’ll also be able to see what DFS contests your friends have joined, and you’ll be able to see their bets — and, with one click, make the same bet, so you all can sweat out that 10-team parlay together.
There will be massive privacy controls and a messaging feature that will alert you when people you follow place a bet, so you can see what they did.
And, of course, there will be comments. Threads. The social network experience.
Minus, of course, watching our species become mouth-breathing morons*. (*one guess)
I think I’m in
A month ago, I was aghast at the prospect of DraftKings Social, and I thought the odds of my actually telling anyone my username fell somewhere between slim and none (or slime and nookie, two other words that will get you flagged). The idea of becoming part of another social network did not thrill me.
And what thrilled me the least was the idea of slogging through post after post, comment after comment, about politics and coronavirus and the border with Mexico and 5G towers and the fact — prove me wrong — that some people who took the COVID vaccine are now magnetic, and all the other stuff on which everyone is all of a sudden an expert.
Insanity—Anti-vaccine advocates attempts to prove false claim that #COVID19 vaccines cause magnetism at Ohio legislative committee… by using a *brass* key. Brass = not magnetic by the way. Hence it didn’t go so well. 🤦🏻♂️
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) June 9, 2021
So when Mendell reached out, asking to give me a tour of the site, I wasn’t exactly enthused. I mean, I know the dude has a job to do, and I kind of went hard against the idea of DraftKings Social, and I figured I’d accept the invitation because that’s what I’m supposed to do, but …
“That blocked word list is going to grow,” Mendell said. “If it’s at the risk of less engagement and less time on site, so be it.”
Music to my Jewish* ears. (*yep, no religious talk either)
And if someone manages to get around the system and posts something like “B!d@n eats bab!es!” they can be reported. And suspended. And if it happens three times?
I cannot sufficiently explain how happy I am to hear all this. DraftKings Social, instead of becoming a cesspool of bad taeks about the world at large, might actually just become a pond filled with bad taeks about the sports world at large.
Again: Username is nealcassady. Thrilled to meet you.
Photo courtesy of DraftKings