back to article Microsoft accuses kids of bullying Santa into sex chat

Gigantic global software beast Microsoft has blamed two young girls for killing Santa. Now that it has pulled the plug on its oral-sex-obsessive MSN bot, the firm's spinners have tried to deflect scrutiny of its sloppiness by claiming that the outrage was caused by users. Our story of how Santa turned nasty has been picked up …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't know what the term "pizza" refers to whereby it might be misinterperted as something sexual.. but I want to know.

  2. Philip Lord
    Thumb Up


    Fnaar! Fnaar!


  3. Mike Smith


    Probably just my gross imagination, caused by reading too many of Lester's stories, but maybe "pizza" (as in"pavement pizza") might be slang for vomitophilia? The new kink for folks tired of snowballing.

    Eeeurgh, whichever way you look at it (and TBH I'd rather not!)

  4. Dam

    Reminds me of...

    That MS spokesman that said: "the world was not ready for Vista" ...

    Isn't it the contrary ?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Duh Huh

    Why is "Oral Sex" in Santa's vocabulary to start with???

  6. Anonymous Coward

    How can MS be suprised

    that users will be "pushing this thing to make it do things it wasn't supposed to do". - surely that happens all the time in their Software!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    It's an appropriate metaphor for Microsoft software

    Well OK software in general you never quite what you want. It almost does what you want, just almost. You want an on-line Santa for kids to chat with, you get an on-line Satan for kids to chat with.


    Pizza in Slavic languages is a VERY rude word for lady bits....

  8. Robert Harrison

    @How can MS be suprised

    "that users will be "pushing this thing to make it do things it wasn't supposed to do". - surely that happens all the time in their Software!"

    Except that users are typically pushing this thing to make it do things it was supposed to do, only to find it didn't.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    I guess Santa must be able to learn.....

    Not only did it talk about oral sex and make references to Brass Eye, but according to this link it's a Douglas Adams fan too:

    MS may have a point if the bot was anything like Jabberwacky and could actually learn. But what exactly were they expecting? They should have been surprised if people were NOT trying to make santa talk dirty.

  10. Gordon Barret

    Seems Plausible

    I remember using a 'intelligent chat' program years ago that would 'learn' from what was typed into it, so later in the same conversation or even in a new conversation on a different day it would randomly introduce previous comments into the conversation.

    Why is it so difficult to believe that this Santa chatbot can do the same thing?

    E.g. the 2 young girls (or even someone before them) thought 'Lets have a laugh' and typed in some comment about oral sex, the program responded by playing back the comment, they then wrote a comment about eating - if it was able to the program could then associate the two comments with each other, therefore it thought 'Oral Sex' = 'Eating', so in a later session talking to some other random user about eating it may then introduce a comment about Oral Sex.

  11. scott

    A.L.I.C.E chat anyone ???

    Seems to me MS ripped off the A.L.I.C.E irc chat bot if you ask me..

  12. B.H.
    Paris Hilton

    Another whining Brit

    Chris, at some point people just stop listening to you because you're so repetative. I mean come on, so we all know how much you have BigBill's little company. But it's getting stupid now. I hate Paris Hilton and after talking about her insane behavior, oh I don't know, 10 times, I just shut up and shake my head cause NO BODY"S LISTENING ANYMORE. How about you use some of the journalistic tendency to actually talk about something useful instead of whining every moment of your life about MS. Better yet, if you want to work with them so bad go put an application in and see if you can do better. You know what they say, we complain the most about those we envy.......................

  13. Karl Lattimer

    Switch off the learning mode!

    Simply put, after you've spent months training a "santa bot" AIML MSN thingimy bob. It isn't wise to leave the learning system switched on for two reasons;

    1) It will eventually churn out unrelated crud to all who try to have a conversation with it when the confusion factor gets large enough

    2) People can teach it new and exciting things like oral sex tips for bots

  14. Samantha Clinton

    well... would appear that whoever provided was well aware that people would try to make it say bad things...It said I was a category C person. When I asked what a category C person was it gave me it's definitions of A, B and C. Go check it out and see which one you are!

    Surely, M$ should have thought of this....oh, silly me...

  15. Law
    Paris Hilton

    RE: It's an appropriate metaphor for Microsoft software

    "Pizza in Slavic languages is a VERY rude word for lady bits...."

    Bit like Kebab in english then....

  16. XML slave


    Pushing software into doing things it wasn't supposed to do? Isn't that what we in the software biz call 'Testing'? At least the question of where kids are learning how to swear and how to have sex before the age of 12 are getting their information.

    Santa is corrupting our children! Where's a paranoid soccer-mom (football-mom) when you need one? Down with Santa!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gordon Barret

    "I remember using a 'intelligent chat' program years ago that would 'learn' from what was typed into it, [...]

    "Why is it so difficult to believe that this Santa chatbot can do the same thing?"

    It isn't difficult to believe, it just seems that if that were the explanation then it would already have been wheeled out.

    Unless MS are embarrassed that they did something so foolish as to put a supposedly child-friendly bot on the net without locking its vocabulary.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Another whining Brit.


    You can't say anything now without Another Whining Yank moaning about Paris Hilton...

    Poor girl.

  19. Oliver

    At the end of the day...

    Some AI programmer was sitting at his desk

    Probably bored, like most AI programmers at work

    And thought, "Hey, this would be funny - ORAL SEX"


  20. Steve

    @ Another whining Brit

    And what are you doing exactly? Oh yes, whining. You say nobody's listening and yet you're the twelfth person to comment. You can't stand Paris but use her picture.

    "You know what they say, we complain the most about those we envy........"

    What exactly does that say about you?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @BH & Steve

    >What exactly does that say about you?

    Sounds like you both want to get down and do the M$ Santa on Chris Williams.

  22. Dimitrov


    This is ridiculous, but not without precedent, RIAA already threatened a little girl. I wonder if this is enough grounds for making MS products illegal in Europe if someone complains to the European Comission (now where did I put that e-mail address). Oh well, one can dream...

    "Pizza in Slavic languages is a VERY rude word for lady bits...."

    It's the first time that I hear that, and I'm Slavic. Maybe I should go out more...

  23. Player_16

    I'm somewhat glad... didn't say "Now that it has pulled 'santa off' its oral-sex-obsessive MSN bot,..."

    That might not have went over too well.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    RE: Bit like Kebab in english then....

    More of a sound a like, rather then a look a like.

    Older people preferring to call it Italian cheese bread rather then the P word.

    Good fun if you know Slav's though just try a few Pizza double entendre and watch them try not to laugh.

    Bring a whole a new level of Danger to eating out at the Pizza Hut.

  25. JR
    Gates Halo

    yeah right...

    From now on, ONLY TALK TO SANTAS YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!! Because even Bots can be percs, even if they dont want to or made to one...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ask Santa

    What he thinks of M$'s cockup

  27. Anonymous Coward

    "innocently" my foot

    Hey, I read that first article. You were just, like, all in the robo-dude's face, going like "Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!". What's he meant to think?

    Here's an experiment for you to try. When you head down to the Vulture Arms after work this friday afternoon, before you settle down with your hard-earned pint, try this: go up to the biggest, drunkenest bloke in the pub, then stand right up close, look him in the eye, and repeatedly tell him to "Eat it". See what happens.

    Then, when you're leaving the pub, look back over your shoulder from the stretcher (assuming you can still safely move your neck without risking spinal paralysis, that is) and ask him what he *thought* you were talking about.

    I'll betcha a pound to a peanut he doesn't answer "Pizza".

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Dimitrov

    I wonder if AC mistook peachka for pizza. Could be entertaining!

    Paris - obviously.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    It's a lesson in life

    Of course Santa's going to talk dirty he only comes once a year, that's why his sacks are bulging.

    I've always been a little suspicious about some weird bearded guy bribing kids to sit on his knee in exchange for presents anyway.

    Microsoft should be commended for warning children about the dangers of being taken in by this disturbing old man in a funny costume.

  30. Steve Browne

    Prior art

    Erm, are M$ really that dumb, to put something out in public that can learn to talk ? Now, IIRC, people used to put parrots in pubs, and the pubs customers used to take great delight in teaching said parrot to swear.

    Finding the same thing happening with an electronic Santa is hardly a surprise, is it ?

    Besides, there is nothing more attractive to children than getting away with extreme naughtiness !

  31. Edward Pearson


    Am I to assume that at some point the programmers sat down and said:

    "Yes, at this particular juncture in conversation, we should mention oral sex, it'd be irresponsible not to."


  32. Joe Stalin

    @Another whining Brit

    B.H. Which part of "Biting the hand that feeds IT" don't you get?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It wasn't what vocab it was programmed with.

    This likely was not some employee joke or anything.

    I can't vouch for MS's Santa but many bots pick up word associations from other conversations and store them away for later use. Its also common to have "stretch" associations to avoid repeating itself too many times. I'm betting somewhere some other person had an unusual conversation with Santa where it stored away an association between "eat it" and "oral sex". Later in a new conversation when pushed not to repeat itself on "eat it" it pulled out this association from a previous conversation.

    Some other chatter taught it the association, not some programmer. It's like teaching somebody's parrot to say dirty words.

  34. PJ


    <i>Here's the whopper that Microsoft spokesman Adam Sohn told AP: "It's not like if you say, 'Hello Santa', he's going to throw inappropriate stuff at you."

    Erm, yes it is, Adam. It's pretty much exactly like that. When we innocently asked him to eat something, Santa said: "It's fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else."</i>

    You have the guts to call Microsoft liars, when anyone can go back to yesterday's story and see what you actually did said to the bot? Talk about a set of big brass ones...

    I guess journalistic integrity and credibility aren't too high on your priority list. You've done quite a bit of work just to be dropped lower on the trustworthiness list than Microsoft, not an easy feat.

  35. Bevyn Quiding
    Gates Horns

    he's not santa

    he's just a very naughty boy.

  36. Ian Aberle

    This is funny....

    Unless you are the parent of a child who asks you "Mommy, what is 'oral sex'?"

    Mom: "Where did you hear that?"

    Child: "Santa"

    Mom: "You weren't on his lap a the time?"

    Child: "No, I was playing with him online"

    Mom: "I'm calling Chris Hansen"

    Later that week...

    Chris Hansen: "This week on To Catch a Predator, our worst predator yet.....
Santa Claus!"


  37. Robert Armstrong

    Pizza, it's not just a food anymore

    It's a lifestyle choice.

  38. tom

    Microsoft's "Pride"

    "Would it really have hurt Microsoft's pride so much to admit the cockup?"

    Ahem. "Pride?" Microsoft? I very nearly spit hot tea on my screen there.

  39. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Liars


    My conversation with "Santa" was a direct replication of what two young girls said to him, and he replied in the same way. As I wrote in this story (which I assume you read before commenting) asking the bot to "eat it" - i.e. the pizza the user offered it - prompted it to bring oral sex into the conversation.

    That to me, and to the reader whose nieces brought it to light, is unnacceptable for a product aimed at children, and frankly piss poor.

    Claiming it happened because users pushed it to do so is even worse.

    If you want to question my integrity or credibility I suggest you present some evidence. TTFN.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    @I guess Santa must be able to learn.....

    > MS may have a point if the bot was anything like Jabberwacky and could actually

    > learn. But what exactly were they expecting? They should have been surprised

    > if people were NOT trying to make santa talk dirty.

    Agreed. I must admit that I was responsible to telling Jabberwacky "abstract philosophies" once (A friend once told me that Life is a box of durians- it's smelly on the outside yet sweet, bitter, mushy and yellow on the inside. I relayed that to Jabberwacky), followed by various Beavis and Butthead quotes as well as my own brand of quotes derived from various animutations and Beavis and Butthead quotes. I wonder if it's going to start splurting them out soon.

    > Pizza in Slavic languages is a VERY rude word for lady bits....

    Seeing how many companies outsource their programming to East European contractor, I see that as somewhat plausible.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Oral sex

    Seems like many of you here have a problem with oral sex... Have you ever actually TRIED it?? :-)

    coat, taxi...

    p.s. Pic is the naughty slavic word, at least in Czech and Slovak. It's pronounced like 'peach' --- I wonder how much s/w Peachtree sold here :-)

  42. DZ-Jay


    >> Larry Page, the multi-gazillionaire co-founder of evil^H^H^H^H search empire Google

    There, fixed it for you.


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