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Disemvoweling is the practice of removing the vowels from a discussion post, either deliberately by the poster herself or forcibly by a moderator. This makes the text more difficult to read, but usually not impossible to decipher. It is often used to make a post less inflammatory (or at least to make it so difficult to read that by the time the reader finishes reading it, it's harder to be upset).

Forcible disemvoweling is only possible in forums where the moderator can edit other people's posts, such as Wordpress or Movable Type blogs or some message board forums.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden is credited for coming up with the technique in November 2002,[1] and she still uses it on the comment pages she moderates both at her personal blog, Making Light, and at BoingBoing. While TNH was the first to actually disemvowel, Arthur D. Hlavaty coined the term to describe what she did.[2]

Will Shetterly expressed concerns about the legality and ethics of disemvoweling after being disemvoweled for disagreeing with a moderator.[3]


  1. ^ TNH disemvowels a comment, and then explains what she did.
  2. ^ Arthur D. Hlavaty coins the term "disemvowel" in response to TNH.
  3. ^ disemvoweling and the law: copyright, fair use, and defamation[Dead link]