www.whyville.net Oct 17, 2002 Weekly Issue

Mind Your Manners

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Mind Your Manners

Times Writer

Mind your manners. This seems like something your parents would bark at you while eating dinner. Your parents expect you to have proper meal etiquette while eating at the table and besides, who wants to watch a person eat like a starving baboon, anyway?

Before you enter someone's house, it is expected that you take off your shoes or at least have the decency to wipe your feet before you come in. In some Asian cultures, it is polite to wash your guest's feet before they come into your home. This tradition was also practised several hundred years ago when people would travel on foot throughout the desert. Even at school, you have certain rules and regulations that you must follow. I know at my school we have a strict hands off policy. When you go into some stores they may have the slogan "no shirts, no shoes, no service", meaning that you must be properly dressed before you enter.

So should Whyville have its own code of conduct? Something that all citizens should follow for the benefit of themselves and others. We all know the punishment methods on Whyville; silencing (or taping) and fining. People dread seeing the tape slathered on their faces after they are bad, and I do believe that many of them learn from this experience. However, on occasion, things can get hostile. A third party must step in to act as a referee before things get out of control. It also seems as if the punishments aren't strong enough. Whyville should be a place of experience, learning, and opportunity. Not where you feel threatened or upset by the actions of an individuals or group of individuals.

If Whyville were to establish its own code of behavior, what could be included?

Let us ponder situations in our own picturesque town where we might make others feel agitated, upset, worried, or not liked. One of the main concerns is the relationship between newbies and more experienced citizens. Just because of the way a person's animated face looks, we immediately reject them. What is worse is that we take no time to assist these people in encountering the true experience of Whyville.

  • You shouldn't reject an individual based upon outward appearances.

Filtering is perhaps the most common methods of safety protection. Not being able to swear is a concern for many Whyvillians who feel that they should have the right to have freedom of speech. I just like to call those who take pleasure in saying bad words, rather than enhancing their vocabulary, potty-mouths. You sound extremely juvenile when the only thing that comes to your head is offensive to other people.

  • Inappropriate language will not be tolerated. Remarks that make a person feel belittled based upon their race, culture, or sexual orientation is banned.

Of course, this is already in effect because City Workers observe what we do, the language that we use, and our interactions with other people. I believe, however, that there should be some type of physical or tangible writing that states what people are and are not allowed to do on Whyville. This way, you could refer to it in hopes to explain why a person was punished. As a Y-Helper, I come across many citizens who are baffled towards the purpose of their punishment. Even after they thoroughly read their message from City Management and have observed what they said to get themselves into the predicament, they still do not understand. So would this new concept be a good idea?

If you answered no, then I will have to ask you why. If you feel that Whyville has too many safety tools and that this would just add to that list, I will explain that this is not a safety tool. Of course, punishments would result from it if you do not follow the rules, but that happens in any situation -- even in real life. If you do not like the other safety methods that Whyville has, I would also ask you to ponder your reasons. They are put in place so that everyone is safe, including you. If you find that you are muted or fined a lot, then perhaps you should evaluate yourself to see whether Whyville is for you. If you are constantly protesting against the safety methods, why are you doing so? What negative aspects arise from them? After all, you are being punished for something that you deserved. Whyville creates these safety tools so that its citizens feel safe when on the site.

Therefore, what do you think of this proposal? If we were to have a set of rules, who would establish them? Perhaps citizens themselves could collaborate on ideas for the conduct, or send articles on where they stand in this issue. Safety is a large concern that holds no exceptions in regards to citizens. Should our safety come first?

Thank you for taking the time to read this idea and hopefully more notions will come out of this. Remember that this is only an idea, however, citizens have the potential to change Whyville with their creative ideas and inventions. In conclusion, what do you think?

Always asking questions,



Editor's Note: Many moons ago, Bigfoot Bill proposed a very similar concept in his article, An Honorable Proposal, in which he suggested we adopt this simple honor code: "No Whyville resident shall take advantage of another resident, or make another Whyville resident uncomfortable through his or her actions." Unfortunately, his petition is long since gone -- it passed, though not without significant detractors. Bigfoot tells me that until we have a court system or something which could uphold the code, City Hall has decided to postpone any decision, though you're all welcome to continue the debate.

How *do* we get people to behave nice?



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