There are several words that MSN Messenger doesn't allow you to use as a display name. Most offensive words are banned, but there's a set of words (mostly business-related) that aren't offensive (unless the title network administrator is offensive to you), but banned nonetheless. So far, I've found that:

are banned. That is, they can not be in any part of your display name. So what does this mean? Is MS afraid of users posing as Bob from Accounting, a sysadmin, or a message? Using l33t sp34k or some ãltérn@te lé+te®s is an easy workaround if you really need to use one of these words, but why disallow them in the first place? Some of them (administrator, Microsoft, etc.) do have some potential for trouble. For example:

MSN Administrator says:
We're having server problems and we need your password, or you will be banned from the system.

However, some of them puzzle me. What would you do it you saw:

Network says:
This is your network speaking. I need your password!


Your email says:
Hey, I forgot your password, could you tell me one more time, so I can retrieve your mail?

Apparently, it's just Microsoft covering all the bases it can, protecting the extremely gullible. But, as aozilla has pointed out, it can be quite irksome if your real name contains one of these "banned" words.

I've also noticed two other prohibited words: www and http. In other words, they're stopping you from typing traditional URLs. Granted, they don't block the top level domains of com, net, and org (and so forth).

So, in other words:
  • is blocked
  • is blocked
  • is obviously blocked
  • is allowed

This probably has something to do with the Microsoft Word-esque way that Messenger automatically creates hyperlinks out of anything that starts with www or http. That, or some strange way of stopping people from free advertising.
I've just found out something weird.

I was sitting in my room, on the internet, as you do, when I decided to chage my MSN display name to suit my mood. I decided to enlighten those who cared to look by quoting some Iggy Pop. From his song "I'm Bored", I decided to quote the opening lines: "I'm bored. I'm the chairman of the bored." when I'd finished it popped up:"The display name you chose was invalid. Please choose another display name and try again."

Initially I thought it was too long so I just changed it to "Chairman of the bored". It wouldn't take it. It was at this point I was thinking that someone at Microsoft had such a massive disliking for Iggy Pop they had systematically gone through all the lyrics to all of his songs and barring anyone from using them as their display name.

I then tried entering just "Chairman" on it's own. It won't let you. Try it yourself. Anything with "chairman" in it, even Chairman Mao! What if he comes back from the dead and decides to get and MSN account?? Will he have to write to MS and ask permission to use his own name?? And what about my friend Alex, chairman of a Welsh chapter of furries, will he have to assume a different title if ever they decide to meet online?? These are questions that need answers dammit!!

I wonder why it's barred? Maybe the chairman of MS has reserved it, who knows?

Chairman of the bored. - I have ammended the spelling of Chairman Mao, my apologies.

Microsoft has its reasons to stop you taking various screen names in MSN messenger, I'm sure. But they aren't always that obvious, or consistent. Here are some examples:

You can't be President, but you can be Prime Minister.

You can be a bastard but not a bitch

You can be AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo, but not MSN.

Help is banned; assistance, though, is fine.

You can be home but not at the office.

While fuck is far too rude for Microsoft, shit isn't.

Penis and vagina are blocked; you'd have to resort to the allowed cock and pussy. And there's no problem with testicles and clitoris.

Faggot is out; dyke is in.

You can be a criminal but MSN won't let you commit any crimes.

Sensibly, you can't be password. Username is allowed, though. Login is banned.

You can ask for a dollar or a pound -- or even piles of cash -- but not for money. Also, debit is fine but don't expect credit. However, a Visa or Mastercard will do nicely. Don't expect to be able to pay into an account, though. Finance in general is a problem.

A driver's licence is good ID, a passport is not.

Finally, you can't have boobs or tits. One boob or tit is OK; more than one is obscene. Nipples, on the other hand, are quite acceptable.

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