‘Prankster’s’ Racial Slur Found In Minecraft Won’t Be Removed Until Next Update

‘Prankster’s’ Racial Slur Found In Minecraft Won’t Be Removed Until Next Update

Minecraft‘s head developer has elaborated on how a racial slur made it into a “snapshot build” of Minecraft‘s PC version, noting that it was not pushed to all users. As such, Mojang, the game’s maker, won’t remove the offensive language until the next such update.

“Snapshot builds”, as Jens Bergensten explained, “are intended to give eager users a preview of the update to come” and updated about once a week. Users must opt in to receive the builds, so what comes in them is not a true, full update sent to all five million premium users.

The furor arose when it was noticed that switching the game’s language option to Afrikaans, a language spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia, returned a button option that said “You are a NIGGER.” Mojang immediately apologised and Bergensten blamed crowd-sourced translation for the inclusion of the offensive language. He elaborated on that in a statement to Kotaku.

“In these snapshots there are about 50 language files translated by the community, and it happens that they are ruined by pranksters,” Bergensten said. “Players are quick to find and fix these, so they are removed in the next snapshot.”

Snapshot builds are useful to Mojang because they help identify bugs and provide feedback on new features in progress. It’s also a way to show eager, avid users what is coming next.

However, as snapshot builds are pushed out weekly, this code won’t be fixed to remove the offensive language until the next build rolls out, which Bergensten said will be Thursday.

“I usually only do panic updates when there are severe bugs, such as bugs that corrput save files, or make the game unable to connect to servers, and such,” Bergensten told Kotaku.


    • Come on Weresmurf – At least now people are looking through all the language for more issues due to pranksters rather then fix one only to find 10 more that could be far worse or as bad.
      Imagine if the German or French translations were filled with Wartime Properganda – best to find it now rather then later.

      • Because ‘you are a NIGGER’ isn’t a big enough reason potentially to deploy a tiny, miniscule patch to just change that text to ”start”?

        Dude, I know what you’re saying but that patch alone would be so effortless its not funny. Plus leaving this runs the risk of MC alienating gameplayers, gaining bad publcity etc etc.

        • Yes I get it is Racist – But I also get it is not their fault it was placed there.
          I don’t understand programming so I don’t know how easy it is to patch out – so I’m not going to claim it’s easy.

          I don’t see it costing sales in the sense that anyone updating to the snapshot patch is an opt in – those who own it are not going to buy it again – and it has been clearly shown on most news sites that it was not their fault and now they have put a time frame on when it is due to be fixed.

          Even Blizzard with World of Warcraft had to spend years changing their code to allow for hotfixes in general – but they still spend a lot of time being cautious bug fixing.
          Skyrim fixed some easy bugs and broke the game for many.
          I get it is just a language issue – but what if it breaks all language in the game – or somehow makes chinese the default. Then they have to fix that – so yeah it’s a rotten position they are in but I personally can understand them being cautious and no doubt looking for further problems.

          • Actually, it is their fault. Whether they wrote it or not is not the question. They allowed it into their product. If I write a magazine and allow people to submit stories, if those stories are offensive I deserve part of the blame. A quick gander at this could have revealed this to them.

            Sure, if it wasn’t in a language they spoke fluently, I could understand. If it was actually written in Afrikaans then fine. But they should look over everything they put into their game because that’s how it works: if you make money off of a product, you are responsible for it.

          • I can’t surf the net that freely thanks to Surf Control at work – but seriously LOOK at the Language menu – are you telling me they were meant to read through EVERY LANGUAGE AND CHECK EVERY WORD?
            Dude do you even comprehend what you are asking?
            This is why they have Beta patches (aka snapshots) for people to find stuff like this so it can be fixed in one go rather then a little here or a little there and bogging down the improvements or additions to code.

            Again I get it is racist and I approve them being honest even saying “I thought we had banned the guy responsible” Accidents happen it will be fixed in due course. However if it isn’t fixed by next snapshot then anger is justified.

          • Yes. Language text files, can be filtered with a very basic search option for very basic offensive words. Mojang has quite a few employees… If they’re putting something out there on this scale, they should most definitely quality control it, especially when they officially release their product. Cy, seriously, text based searches are not hard, especially with the resources at hand. Filtering for certain words, the F word, C word etc, is one of the most basic processes in spreadsheets, web design, programming etc. Im amazed this wasn’t even contemplated.

          • “If I write a magazine and allow people to submit stories, if those stories are offensive I deserve part of the blame.”

            So, let’s change that statement up a little.

            If I run a website and allow people to submit videos, if those videos are copy-written I deserve part of the blame.

          • While I appreciate the sentiment of comparing to me to those who proposed SOPA, there’s a key difference you’re forgetting: people don’t pay for YouTube.

            YouTube is a free service, Minecraft is a purchaseable product. I think it’s fair to expect a lot more quality control for the latter, and besides, if a copyrighted or illegal video shows up on YouTube and they are alerted to it, they take it down immediately. Mojang has not.

            And a distinction between a magazine and a website: a magazine, like a video-game patch, has the opportunity to be checked and edited before publication. A website like YouTube /could/ do that, but it would be extremely unpopular and unfeasible because every single video would need to be individually checked. Not to mention that text is a hellavalot easier to check than video.

            You did make one good point though: there’s no such thing as a perfect metaphor, and I was wrong for trying to use one.

            Also, +1 to WereSmurf for that point.

          • “While I appreciate the sentiment of comparing to me to those who proposed SOPA, there’s a key difference you’re forgetting: people don’t pay for YouTube.”

            I don’t think your original statement had anything to do with who paid for the product but rather the fact that:

            “if you make money off of a product, you are responsible for it.”

            Also, you do realize that the build with the word ‘nigger’ in it is not the retail version of the game? You realize that if you pay for the finished version of Minecraft it doesn’t contain this racial slur? I think you should re-read the entire article.

          • “if a copyrighted or illegal video shows up on YouTube and they are alerted to it, they take it down immediately.”

            That’s a very favorable view of how youtube works. But it’s not true.

          • I’d like to see evidence to your point on the YouTube comment. There are numerous tales of videos being taken off by fake copyright claims, so it’s obvious that proof isn’t needed to take a video down. Yes, there are copyrighted videos on YouTube, but a quick report could easily get them taken down. Additionally, when was the last time you found porn on YouTube? The only incident I can think of that happening was on the Sesame Street hack, and they were taken down quickly, if I remember correctly.

            RE: Not the retail version
            Yes, it may not be the retail version, but you need the retail version to do it, so I believe my point stands.

            RE: My ‘contradiction’:
            YouTube doesn’t make money from the video it hosts, but from the advertising on the site (as far as I know; if you have proof to the otherwise, please enlighten me) and the preference a few videos get. If that advertising or those videos promoted by YouTube are irresponsible, then sure, blame YouTube.

            Also, I’m curious as to why you seem so aggressive towards me. Could we please calm down the discussion.

          • Aggressive? Nope, I haven’t been aggressive.

            There’s loads of videos on youtube that violate copyright. The sheer number of videos on youtube drives usage.

            I don’t look for porn on youtube. That’s like going to McDonald’s to get a medium rare steak.

            The version of Minecraft that contains the offensive slur is an ‘opt in’ build for testing the game and it’s updated weekly as things are found wrong. So, it was tested, something is found wrong, it’ll be fixed. What’s wrong with this?

            Of course, as you said, it’s not the retail version of the Minecraft that has the slur, just as same as it’s not the copy-written videos on youtube that generate the advertising revenue. Pick a principle and stick to it.

  • The company has millions upon millions of dollars, and they crowd source translations… There was that update that added Endomen (fine, they’re tall black things) but also added fried chicken and watermelon as the title update… That was something else. This is just disgusting.

    I hate Mojang.

      • He’s trying to make it seem that mojang are racist, because In one update, a black creature was introduced, and so was cooking (not frying) chicken, and watermelons, which are seen as foods that African Americans love to eat.

        So basically, he’s either a troll, or incredibly stupid.

        • Yeah, okay, that’s what I thought. I just hoped that’s not what he was getting at, because, well… it’s stupid.

  • I do understand what you’ve said but given the variables of the game will not be changed by altering a tab on the frontend, it will not in anyway affect the gameplay. Having done website design myself and a tiny bit of game design, I’ve dabbled with frontend menus and the collision between text on the front end and the actual gameplay is rather minor. I just find it amusing. It’s not a ”wont someone think of the children” thing, it’s more a case of why wait and leave it out there when they can remove the most apparent problem whilst hunting for other problems on the backend. It’s been done before and will happen again. Though you are right, who knows what else this moron has left through the game…

      • Yeah I gathered.

        A little programming and website authoring is no where near the level of a game of Minecraft’s magnitude. Small changes can have big repercussions if done in a rush.
        I’m not trying to pick on you I just want to point out that it’s not unthinkable for them to take time and do some damage control and find everything first rather then quickly do something and get smashed somewhere else or break the whole game.

        • Find Afrikaans.lng
          Change offending line.
          Push snapshot with every other file exactly the same as past snapshot.

          Problem solved.

          There is no reason why pushing it now will break everything but pushing it in four days won’t.

          Mojang are entirely responsible for their refusal to quick fix what is seen to be a highly offensive issue.

          And before you start: yes, the fix is exactly that simple to do.

  • it might be easy to change, but it’s not like holding it off is going to have a massive impact, considering that people who only speak africaan probably won’t understand it anyway

  • You also need to realise that this remark is only in the SNAPSHOT and not automatically pushed to all users.

    You have to physically find the link to the snapshot (which isn’t available via their normal website) then copy that updated file into the game folder and run it. It’s not something that most of their users are going to do.

    So they’re waiting a week, I have no issue with that as it’s not an official product release.

    Now, if it was in an official release, done via their auto patcher and available on the Minecraft website, well yes, that would be a BIG issue.

  • More apologist responses for this indie neckbeard detritus.
    It’s not a game people, it’s a shitty digital version of lego.

    • Go back to swearing at 12 year olds on Modern Warfare 3 and leave us to play with our digital Lego in peace.

  • “I usually only do panic updates when there are severe bugs, such as bugs that corrput save file’

    I’m PRETTY sure this would be considered a severe bug.

  • In retrospect, it may have been a good idea to do a rainbow table of offensive words and match them against the crowdsourced translations

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