www.whyville.net Jan 17, 2003 Weekly Issue

Cruelty on Whyville

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Cruelty On Whyville

Guest Writer

Hey people. I think a lot of you know me. I want to send my opinion in and get some feedback from people about the prejudice and cruelty I have encountered on this site.

I have met a lot of great kids here. I always go out of my way to help those in need, friends and newbians alike. I don't think it's a secret any longer that I am an adult and mother of 4 who loves to design and to help kids get started with games and advice. I have had my share of insults thrown my way about me being a mother and "What are you doing on a kids site?!" but I have also encountered kids that think it's cool that a mom would come here.

I have also had an experience with some individuals who went so far as to hack into someone's MSN account, read personal thoughts and letters, and then go around making fun of the people who expressed those very personal thoughts. They even went so far as to confront the individual and said very cruel things. Now, I know we have permanent vaporization, but you know, sometimes even when we can't hear it, what about the kids that do hear these personal things? No one takes into consideration the feelings of the child who is dealt this hand of cruelty.

These same people treat the newbians like they are from another planet and that really ticks me off, because these same people have nothing better to do with their time but be cruel and cause trouble. Why must these people be allowed to continue on these sites ? If a petition was written to banish them, would it work?

Whyville is supposed to be a site where kids feel safe and are able to have fun and just be "themselves", but how can this happen when these things are going on? I would like some feedback from fellow Whyvillians, and City Hall's, also.

This is S3crets, signing off.
Catch you on the Square.

Response from City Hall: It is indeed troubling that this kind of thing happens at all, let alone in Whyville. In trying to think if citizens should be banishable by vote, a number of questions come to my mind.

First, how would we verify the accusations? Some cases will be more clear, and other cases would be less so. Might it become a case of "his word against mine?" Worst yet, would it even become a popularity contest?

There are also a number of questions that would affect general Whyville policy. For example, when the alleged crime happens on another website (hacking on MSN), should we levy a punishment on Whyville? If we do, where do we stop? Do we start penalizing citizens for what they do off-line at home and in school as well?

Here's another hard one that I constantly struggle with: should Whyville penalize citizens for being mean? Like the legal system in real life, our main concern is safety. The "law" in Whyville is to keep Whyville a safe place for our citizens. Similarly, in real life, policemen do not arrest people for being mean. That's partly because what is "mean" can be very different from person to person, from community to community. It becomes very difficult to determine what the standard should be, and so it might be best for people to decide and to deal with "niceness" on their own. Should Whyville follow this? Or should we make it our business to make Whyville safe AND nice?

There are very tough decisions, and I don't have the answers. I would very much like to hear what citizens have to say. Please send in your thoughts! Perhaps the Times Editor would be so kind as to start a section on this discussion?



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