www.whyville.net Dec 19, 2002 Weekly Issue

911 Reminder

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911 Reminder

Bigfoot Bill
Times Writer & City Worker

Hey hey Whyville! I'm just finished stuffing the last of my Thanksgiving turkey down my gullet, and whaddya know? Here comes the winter holidays! And with them, good cheer, glad tidings, figgy pudding, and... 911 reports?!?

That's right, folks. Every year around this time, city workers see a definite rise in behavior that doesn't belong in Whyville. Whether it's people trying to see if Santa will put them on his bad list for cursing blue streaks, asking for personal information like email addresses (not good) and phone numbers (REALLY bad!), or cases of sexual harassment, I'm sad to report, it will probably happen, in Whyville and out. Fortunately, in our town, we have the tools to help everyone deal with people like that.

First of all, there's the filter. As most citizens have discovered in their explorations of Whyville, you can't say anything and everything you want in Whyville. This can be a pain sometimes, as some folks have observed recently, but in the end, the benefits far outweigh the troubles -- especially since the filter is constantly being updated and upgraded!

If you'd like to add words to the filter, just go to the bus menu and select "Change Passwd/Email". At the bottom of that page, you can enter in words you don't want to say or hear.

Did you know that existed? Hey, I wonder what else there is in Whyville -- in and out of the bus menu -- that you haven't found yet...!

Next, there's the muting system. My buddy cyranojoe did a great job of describing this, and he's updated his article with the latest changes in the system. Read up to see how City Workers keep an eye on what you're saying!

At the next level, we find the "community" tools. These are the actions -- mute, silence, vaporize, and permanent vaporize -- that you can take to deal with folks you just can't get along with, in spite of all your efforts to be decent.

Again, that pesky cyranojoe has kept us pretty well informed on these tools. Check out his old article, "Tools and Rules". It's an oldie but a goodie. And of course, you absolutely MUST read the Callbox Instructions, which explain in better detail what the tools are and when to use them.

As indicated in those articles, there's one last, most important tool: the 911 report!

If you ever see somebody say something sexually offensive, don't just vaporize him immediately -- start with a 911 report! There's no better way to guarantee this person will be removed from Whyville rapidly. The same is true of racism and people who ask for your personal info. Even if they're "just" asking for your e-mail or your MSN or AOL instant messaging username, they may simply be looking for a way around Whyville's safety net. Don't let them dodge! Protect your community -- hit that report button first, ask questions later.

Perhaps the most consistent 911 report we get is about password asking. This is certainly a good thing to report, but city workers have noticed that sometimes sexual predators will get ignored -- until they ask for your password! That sure seems out of balance to me... what do you think?

And finally, one more important point: when it's all said and done, YOU are our first and best line of defense!

Our tools are fabulous, it's true, but you are the one who protects our community better than anything and anybody. We've all got the responsibility, the awareness, and the necessary skills to keep ourselves safe, and in so doing, we keep our community safe. Fortunately, the tools we provide you are pretty much the best in the business!

Remember, we need you to report crime when it happens if we're going to stop it in its tracks. The Whyville filter is one of the best and will catch all real crooks, but it doesn't work as quickly as YOU do. Also, the Whyville Safety Patrol is made up of great citizens, but you can't be sure they'll be around all the time, nor will they always see what goes on.

Just like in real life, everyone in the community needs to pitch in to keep our community safe -- if you do it right, you'll take care of yourself and your fellow citizens, too. That's what it's about.



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