www.whyville.net Oct 17, 2002 Weekly Issue

Safe Through History

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Safe Through History

Times Writer

If you have been a Whyvillian for even a bit of time, you will notice that Whyville is ever-changing. With the arrival of a new beach, to the introduction of a new waiting room, Whyville has made some significant changes in a short amount of time.

One of the most controversial topics is the Safety Patrol -- a group of citizens trusted enough by City Hall to have special 911 reporting powers. Some citizens agree with it, while others dislike it. However, when you think of Whyville, one of the words that might pop into your head is safe. Not if's, and's, or but's about it, Whyville was designed to have the safety of its citizens come first. This got me thinking. I mean, there must have been some changes in Whyville's safety aids over the years. The Safety Patrol only began a month or so ago. So I thought back to when I first joined Whyville and what the safety tools were back then.

Do you remember the warning method? When citizens would have a big X marked over their faces? The first warn someone would get would be yellow, the second would be red, and the third time someone was warned, they were kicked out of the chat room. The good thing about this was that City Hall would keep track of the people who were warned (as well as those who warned). If you were warned or warned someone else too much... you heard from the Whyville workers. However, there was a major drawback with this method of keeping Whyville safe. Most commonly, people would warn too much (especially for frivolous reasons).

Then Whyville changed the rules slightly. When you got warned, they would tell you the name of the person who warned you. You would have to get warned by at least three other people before you were kicked out of the chat room. I remember when Guest used to travel from room to room warning everyone in sight. That was a long time ago. Not to mention that your X vanished after you stepped out of the chat-room and came back in. Eventually, there was too much complaining from citizens about this approach and it was kicked to the curb.

Whyville also introduced a silence tool (which is still used today). Have you ever used this? Sometimes you have people who just keep bothering you. No matter how hard you ask them (nicely) to leave you alone, they won't stop. Well, by adding them into your address book and clicking the option "silence", you can rid them of your life forever. Of course, you can change your mind -- this is something that is only temporary. You could also block mail from this person. This will prevent them from writing Y-mails to you. However, with the new and improved mailing system, you can just as easily 911 report someone for inappropriate behavior.

Which brings me onto my next topic; 911 reports. These are probably the most tricky and most important out of any of the safety methods out there. For you see, these can protect and punish you. If you don't use the 911 report in the right manner then you might just find yourself fined or muted for a few days. So be careful. These are only for serious cases (if you are being threatened, feel threatened, in danger, etc.) This is a quote from the Whyville Call Box: "Use this tool when:

  • someone is asking for personal information like phone numbers or home addresses.
  • someone asking to meet outside of Whyville, in real life
  • you believe someone is really an adult pretending to be a kid
  • someone using EXTREMELY lewd, offensive language that makes Whyvillians feel scared, worried, or threatened.

It is my opinion that the new WSP (Whyville Safety Patrol) is a good idea. It is another method of awareness on Whyville. I don't think that the members of the patrol sit around and hunt for people to report. If they make a report that isn't necessary, then they will lose their status. They have to be careful to be good citizens as well as the rest of us. Not to mention that they are people around the same age as you and they have your best interests at heart.

I believe that try-outs for the Patrol might even happen every few months. It is a position that you must not take lightly. Also, with the addition of more Patrol members, it gets more and more difficult for a child predator to slither around Whyville. With all of these tools, equipment, and people that Whyville has to make it safer, it is very hard to be bad and get away with it. Even tiny offenses will get you punished, so it is good to try and not bend the rules.

I suggest we all choose to celebrate our safety. If something bad were to happen to you, I think that you would probably wish that Whyville had more safety measures. If you are not satisfied and want Whyville to loosen up their safety precautions, I suggest you find yourself a new website. I don't see "caterer" on the Whyville worker's job description. I am not trying to sound harsh, just keeping it real.

Keep yourself safe,



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