Fun_People Archive
15 Apr
AOL.COM took the *WHAT* out of "Country?"

Date: Mon, 15 Apr 96 14:46:50 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: AOL.COM took the *WHAT* out of "Country?"

[Despite all the jokes, I don't imagine anyone seriously thinks that being  
clueless is a sin (or a crime), but, on the other hand, trying to tell  
everyone else how to act, what to think, or what to say while you yourself are  
clueless is laughable at best...  -psl]

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Wendell Craig Baker <>
From: Computer underground Digest
      Thu  Apr 11, 1996   Volume 8 : Issue 29
      ISSN  1004-042X

((CuD MODERATORS' NOTE: From the folks who banned breasts, we have the
following. ... Dunno whether to laugh or cry)).

Date--Thu, 11 Apr 1996 18:46:20 -0400
Subject--Signing on with AOL

It has been suggested by "" that you may be
interested in my bizarre experience when trying to sign - on with Aol.

Using the Aol Disk I followed the instructions given.  I was asked to
type my name and address which I did using my name "BLACKIE"and my
home Town as "SCUNTHORPE". When entered, the response appeared "cannot
process your account any further."  Despite several attempts to ensure
the information was accurate the result was the same.  I then
contacted the help line in Dublin (fortunately a free-phone number) to
sort out the problem.

After some time on hold it was explained that there were safeguards
built into the System to prevent offensive or facetious entries being
made.  The only suggestion they could give was that it was my name
causing a possible racial connotation.

I then tried again using different spellings of my Name but to no
avail.  Back on the phone again,

The support Staff were very concerned and after talking to several
people who could offer no further solution I jokingly suggested it
could be the name Scunthorpe causing the problem. They doubted that
would be the case and said the matter would be looked into further.
Back on my Computer.

After trying several permutations I changed the town name to "Frodingham"
(one of the Town areas) and Eureka -- the program carried on as normal.

I know there have been many lavatory type jokes about the four letter word
to be found in my Towns name, but did not, nor did Aols Staff expect it
to bar it from the Internet.

The local Paper did an article on the matter and said that Aol were trying
to sort it out, but in the meantime SCUNTHORPE has become SCONTHORPE as
far as AOL are concerned.

Please note I am not being critical of AOL as a Service, I think it is
first rate, with superfast downloads and local access. Given time to
expand it will be a Main Contender in the UK.

Hope this is of interest

Date--Thu, 11 Apr 1996 10:50:37 GMT +0100
From--David G. Bell <>
Subject--AOL and Scunthorpe

 From the front page of the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph (final
edition) of Tuesday, April 9th, 1996, issue number 30111.

Printed and published by Grimsby and Scunthorpe Newspapers Ltd.,
Telegraph House, Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe, DN15 7RE.

Re-typed by David G. Bell (

Surfing the net in bonny Sconny

     SCUNTHORPE'S name has been changed to spare the blushes of millions
of computer users on the Internet
American and German bosses of the AOL UK service were shocked to discover
the name of the town could offend.
     Now AOL's five million-plus members in the USA and thousands of
users in Europe have been warned to refer to the town as SCONTHORPE in
order not to cause offence.
     "There is an internal software problem," admitted a London
spokeswoman for AOL which was launched in Britain three months ago by
America Online and the German media company Bertelsman AG.
     The spokeswoman said that by re-naming Scunthorpe -- Sconthorpe --
they might be accused of "over-protecting" their members from
unscrupulous people.
     She explained that there were safeguards built in to their system
to prevent "crude language" going on the line.
     "We have renamed the town in order not to cause offence.  But our
technicians between the UK and America are now working to remove the
block on the name."
     The ban on Scunthorpe and that four-letter word was discovered by
retired steelworks mill controller Doug Blackie, of Cole Street, when he
applied to join AOL UK.
     Each time he typed in the address Scunthorpe on his application he
was met with the stock reply: "Your account cannot be processed any
     Then Mr Blackie used the free telephone service to speak to
technicians in Dublin for around two hours.
     "They were most helpful and suggested it could be a block on the
name Blackie.  But jokingly I suggested it could be something to do with
the old toilet gag about Scunthorpe.
     "So then I typed in my address as Frodingham and bingo the block
was lifted."


"bonny Sconny" is probably a reference to the the local, and somewhat
ironic, phrase "sunny Scunny" used to refer to the town.  Scunthorpe
grew up around the steel works and is an amalgamation of several small
villages, including Frodingham.

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