proposed rule for IRC

does this rule sound like a good idea to you?

  • yes

    Votes: 7 58.3%
  • no

    Votes: 5 41.7%

  • Total voters
    12
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avery

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i'm not generally in favor of lots of rules and regulations. but it's happened twice now that friends of mine have had extremely sensitive, private, personal information spilled in the public channel by people who have gotten ahold of it by shifty means. in both cases, the operators felt powerless to act without a lot of internal discussion and pontification back and forth.

in most situations, the cautious approach is best. but when there's a risk of sensitive information being given out on the internet, ESPECIALLY in a mixed-ages group dealing with sexual themes, i think it's extremely important that action be taken right away. i propose that mods be given the power to immediately ban someone from the channel if they're giving out personal information on someone. perhaps we could say they get one warning, and if they continue they're instantly banned before they can do any further harm. maybe depending on the situation they could be reinstated after they've formed a written agreement with the mods to respect people's privacy.

what do people think about this idea? i only propose it because it's happened twice now, and it's extremely frustrating to see the moderators fail to take any action in such a critical situation.
 

Trevor

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I don't know how I feel about a rule, per se, but I had assumed that making judgment calls in cases like that was part of a moderator's job. Seeing as how it's been consistently allowed to pass it seems to either send a message that it's okay, or something isn't functioning properly. I can think of four instances where it seemed really wrong, although probably two of them are the ones you cite. I've seen others which I'd call either innocuous or slips of the tongue (fingers on keyboard?), so there's a range, which leads back to the judgment thing.
 

Peachy

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The problem here is: How do I, as a moderator, even recognize personal information? As you two have seen in the chat today: I had no clue what was going on simply because I did not have the information that was leaked and thus did not understand what had been said.
Obviously, private information should remain private. I always thought that rule was implicit not only in internet chat rooms, but also in real life. We all know the phenomenon of gossip, but how does one battle it? So while I'm all in favor for a rule saying you should not give out personal information, I worry about how to enforce it. Private information means I am not aware of it and cannot recognize it as such in most cases.

This is exactly what happened this morning - I considered what had been said this morning a joke, until people took the time to point it out to me.
I - as a moderator - will always be an external party to the two parties the leak of private information affects. I am unaware of what they have agreed to do and not do. For example, one person may consider her location private information and would not want it to be mentioned in the chat room, others however may have mentioned their own location a dozen times before and don't mind anyone else talking about it. So it's a bit tricky.

As far as this morning's incident is concerned: There was more involved than just the leaking of information. There was also a problem between the two parties involved, and while the victim of the incident has my full sympathy for his personal situation, the two parties also have to work towards resolving their conflicts. A ban will not solve that conflict and may cause either side to find more aggressive means to battle one another.

After seeing what the person who caused the trouble did in the blog section, however, I feel that I should have acted differently. Once again, it's not easy for a moderator to grasp the entire situation in a minute (in my case in between stuffing my face with breakfast), and I generally don't believe in the idea of shooting first and asking questions later. However, the blog entry made me realized someone crossed the line to abusive behavior, which should not be tolerated here.

And finally, let me once again repeat my warning: Think carefully who you trust with your personal information. Make sure the person is not a blabbermouth and knows the value of personal information. And do not under any circumstances give personal information about friends to third parties. The internet is a cruel place, and no moderator can protect you from things like these. It's best to take precautions yourself and choose your friends or contacts carefully!

Peachy
 

avery

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i guess what i'm curious about then is what the moderators need, if not a rule, to feel comfortable taking action when action needs to be taken. in both of the situations i'm aware of, the moderators had been informed of what was going on by multiple people. the person giving out the information had been asked nicely to stop several times. and yet the mods still felt that they didn't have enough information or authority to do anything about the situation.

the whole reason we have moderators in the IRC channel is to protect people. luckily they're hardly ever needed since most people in there are pretty civilized. but when someone's private information is being exposed, something needs to be done to protect people. communication is always better than a banhammer, but there's only so far you can get with some people by asking nicely. this is a situation in which the moderators have totally failed to protect people over and over again, and i wonder what they're even doing in there at all if they don't feel like they have the authority to take action in a situation like this. we may as well not even have moderators if they can't protect a person from having their personal information deliberately exposed in a public channel. we need to take measures to ensure that what happened last night never happens again.
 

Martin

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That actually is already the case. No one can spill private data about others. But I agree with peachy.

In this case though it's different as I know the situation well here BUT by time I realized it it seemed already over. and I left for a second because I had to do something else. Right when I left stuff broke lose again and peachy was there but didn't know about the situation.

This morning I should have taken more action. It's as simple as that. But that's hindsight, at the moment everything was really logic why I didn't do it but right now I can't even defend that point to myself.
 

Darkfinn

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Why don't we just shut down the IRC channel? It's not nearly as popular as flash chat... and I have seen some pretty disgusting and personal information posted in there myself.
 

Pojo

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Why don't we just shut down the IRC channel? It's not nearly as popular as flash chat... and I have seen some pretty disgusting and personal information posted in there myself.

I don't like that idea at all...Not everyone can use the Flashhchat...And there are actually more people (at least signed in) in IRC...I'm in there now, and there are actually people in there unlike the Flashchat...Just because something doesn't seem as popular, doesn't mean you should just get rid of it...
 

Charlie

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Why don't we just shut down the IRC channel? It's not nearly as popular as flash chat...
Haha!
I'm looking forward to replies that will get! :biggrin:


Anyway, on the subject... I think that this proposed rule is just common sense anyway. I wasn't in the chat room at the time, so I can't really comment on how it was handled.
 

Peachy

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Why don't we just shut down the IRC channel? It's not nearly as popular as flash chat... and I have seen some pretty disgusting and personal information posted in there myself.
Let's shut this whole site down. It's full of disgusting information. And on top, everyone has a profile, and they often give out personal information like age or birthdate. :tongueout:

Peachy
 

Martin

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Let's not do that. it may not seem as popular but it is very lively. Also you're judging the whole channel by a couple events, there have happened bad things in the flashchat too. Is that a reason to shut down the flashchat?
 

Darkfinn

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Actually if we could get back the little bar at the top of the screen showing who was actually in the flash chat... I bet we'd get a lot more people.

IRC is not more active just b/c people sit in there and idle.
 

mizzycub

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It depends when you are on there. European evening time is usually very busy from my personal experience. Also flash chat disagrees with my computer and I doubt I am the only one. At the moment I can't even get in it for no apparent reason.
 

Trevor

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Actually if we could get back the little bar at the top of the screen showing who was actually in the flash chat... I bet we'd get a lot more people.

IRC is not more active just b/c people sit in there and idle.
The situation in question could have happened just as easily in Flashchat, so it's not really relevant to the question. If it's keeping you up at night, maybe you should start a poll to question IRC's existence.
 

Martin

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The thing is people don't always idle. Everyone that's in there talks every once in a while. Evenings it's really busy. During the times the flashchat is empty everyone just idles (I actually think there is a small difference in time that it's active)
 

Pojo

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Actually if we could get back the little bar at the top of the screen showing who was actually in the flash chat... I bet we'd get a lot more people.

IRC is not more active just b/c people sit in there and idle.

I would like that back too...But IRC doesn't have something like that, and it's usually more full than the Flashchat...
 

Ben

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Irc's overall activity i think is greater than flashchat though at times flashchat may have more people active you will find that the irc chat is very active if you hang around it. And tbh irc is easier to moderate since its much easier to have the separate irc program open and keep an eye on it than it is to leave a browser window open all the time at least for me and have alerts set up so all people have to do is say my name and i get a ping +flashing on my screen so i know to take a look at the chat. Thats why i don't use flashchat much and like irc so much better. I forget i have it open and don't see conversations or i get logged out when i forget which window its in and close it. IRC has alot more customization etc for notification of messages etc.

As to the thing about personal information mods do not instantly know exactly what is going on. It can take some time to review logs and talk to the people involved and as people have said at times its difficult to tell if someone is violating privacy information and well tell what the hell is going on. Also in general we don't go banning people without warning. It has to be really bad for them not to get a warning.

In the latest case it appears that at least some stuff took place in private chats of various sorts so we wouldn't be aware of that until people told us etc. I wasn't online at the time other mods dealt with it. In any case once it became clear that it was malicious and some of the background information on what was going on had been told to the mods the person was moderated in the forums and banned in the chat and discussions as to what exactly should be done are ongoing in the mods forum.

In any case we may not get it right immediately due to these and a host of other problems that can occur, but once all the information is available and the dust settles i think you will find that things generally end up being fair and right. Any place you go is going to have problems like this once in a while.

In general what is done is the person is warned to knock it off whatever is going on and if they ignore the warning they are generally kicked, banned etc. Obviously if something is a blatant break of the rules then they may be banned quicker, but for the vast vast majority of things we try to warn first and/or steer the conversation in a different direction. In the last 5 months i can only think of around 4 bans total... The vast majority of the time situations are resolved without banning.
 

Martin

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To end this whole argument I counted them:
4 June 8PM to 5 June 8PM (local time)
IRC:2375 messages
FC:121 messages

I think that's the end of that discussion.
 
F

FullMetal

Guest
I am not going to play this game.

If someone thinks that a member is 'leaking privileged information' about someone, all they have to do is come up to me. I will talk to the member and tell them to stop, if they don't they get banned. I usually do not ban or warn just because my gut tells me to. Members are people; you are people, how do I know what is supposed to be secrete to you guys without you telling me.

I do not know about the other mods, but I can read minds...just not over the computer :)

So, if anyone thinks a member is doing something wrong, just come up to us. We are there to listen to what you have to say. And yes, sometimes we don't know what's going on (well, other than Peach :D) so we need YOUR help to fill us in on whose doing what.

Again, I do not want to play mind games. My rules in chat are never set in stone and are (except for the majors) flexible. We are not just going to ban someone because he might have, maybe, by some chance offended someone, it really doesn't work that way.

Just communicate with us, that is my #1 rule.

FullMetal
 

Vladimir

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In my opinion, giving away someone's personal information is unacceptable and people who do that shouldn't even get a warning.
 

avery

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Why don't we just shut down the IRC channel? It's not nearly as popular as flash chat.
where on earth did you get that idea?! o_O

if i had to guess i'd say that the IRC channel is at least 10 times as active as the flashchat. if marty's numbers are at all representative it's more like 20 times.

on topic: in both of the situations i'm aware of, the mods were given full background information about why the information was private, and yet still chose not to act. in one situation the mods chose to just sit back and "wait to see how the situation developed," with the result that a friend of mine had to endure watching his name and his family slandered in public on an almost daily basis for several weeks. it made his life miserable, and came very close to driving him out of the community. i think we can all agree that's not the sort of environment we want to cultivate.

my intention is not to criticize the mods, but to open a dialogue about what they need to feel more confident making a quick decision when that's what's necessary, given that they've been debriefed on all the background information. since private information has been leaked several times now, it seems pretty clear that it's a problem that needs to be solved before it can happen again.
 
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