www.whyville.net Jun 20, 2003 Weekly Issue

Times Writer & City Worker

What's Bad Behavior in Whyville?

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Hello again, folks. This article follows "City Hall & Duct Tape", and comes before "Banishment: The Last Frontier". I encourage you to read through them all thoroughly, and in order! Don't forget to check out the Callbox Instructions and your user agreements, too.

Bad Language

Clearly, Whyville punishes citizens that use bad language, and especially those who use it over and over. Sometimes, City Hall gets complaints saying, "That wasn't really a bad word!" We try to be as culturally sensitive and politically correct as appropriate for this day and age. We are a group of adults, and as we try to keep up with the changing slang language nowadays, we still reserve the right to say, "Hey, that's not appropriate."

There is a way to keep from getting punished for bad language: don't use any! How do you not use any? For one thing, there's always another way of saying something without bad words. For another, if you can't think of another way, you probably don't need to say it anyway -- why say something nasty, probably making enemies, when you can spend your energy on someone else, making friends?

Fact is, if you can't say the word to your parents or any of your teachers, you probably shouldn't say it in chat in Whyville; this especially includes racism, sexual offensive language, and gratuitous (repeated) use of other bad language. This is not to restrain your freedom of thought and speech but to keep the website clean and safe for all citizens. The fact is, your 8 year old little sister or brother should not have to deal with the potty mouth of an older citizen. We have folks of all ages and maturities, and we need to do our best to make the environment ok for every single one of them. We won't wash any one's mouth with soap, but we are counting on all of you to protect every member of your community.

Password Exchange

One of the worst crimes in Whyville is hacking, which is brought on usually by password exchange. I don't know how many times I can reiterate this: NEVER GIVE YOUR PASSWORD TO ANYONE. Have any of you ever wondered why we don't allow users to type their password in chat? It's to protect users! Once you give your password to someone else, that person can take over your account and change the password so that you've lost your account. Makeovers may be fun, but do any of your really want to risk losing the account you worked so hard on? Also, people who exchange passwords in order to get their salary raised disappoint me: salaries are to be earned, not handed out. I can't think of a more fun way of making money other than by playing games, but on top of that, the citizens are risking losing their account to a heartless hacker.

Therefore, asking or giving our a password usually results in being silenced if not more. If you ask for a password, you know you are doing something wrong and that just hurts each of us at City Hall. And we duct tape people who give out passwords because they encourage password trading and hacking and whatnot. It doesn't matter if the two users exchanging are best friends who live right next door to each other -- it's just not safe! On top of losing your Whyville account, your safety is compromised because now all your personal information is open. If someone were to take your account, wouldn't it be horrible if someone got on your username and started chatting with your best friends, "Hey, where are we hanging out again?" or worse, "What's your address? I want to retype it in my address book." So, keep your interests in mind and never give our your password!

Personal Information

The most important thing to us at City Hall is to protect all of our users. To do that, all citizens need to keep their personal information safe and intact. Obviously, when you chat, you may want to get to know your other Whyvillians a little better. So, while we don't necessarily recommend it, it's OK to ask for general information such as first name, country/state, just not specifics such as full name, street address, phone number, etc. The idea is to never give out or ask information that can allow someone to find you in real life. However, please please please do not ask for or give out personal information such as full names, addresses, including instant messaging or email, schools, or phone numbers in Whyville. Each one of you should talk to your parents to decide what is okay for you to give out and what isn't! Even on Whyville we cannot guarantee the absolute safety of all citizens, so we need your help. If someone steps over the line of what's OK and not OK to ask, please remember the 911 Report.

Inappropriate Behavior

This topic is a rather broad one -- it could include cursing to "virtually" participating in acts that I'm pretty sure most of your parents and teachers would disapprove of. It also covers misuse of community tools like the 911 Report, BBS, and City Hall petitions. I don't really want go into the specifics of what can get you punished because I know that most of you know when something's wrong. For those of you who may not realize that you're doing something wrong until City Hall Y-mails you a punishment, you can at least learn from the experience, as I said earlier. The fact remains that Whyville is an educational website designed for children and young adults. It's supposed to be the fun learning environment that not everyone gets at school -- where you learn by playing games and chatting safely with people all over the world. It's a happy place where people can get along and have some good clean fun -- we didn't make Whyville so you could make out with your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend.

Though Whyville may not have the physical walls of a school, we do have certain restraints that we expect our citizens to abide by. Again, if you can't do it in front of your parents and all your teachers at school, you probably can't do it in Whyville. Besides... there are so many better things to do with your time -- like play Mancala! (I'm still undefeated against Bigfoot Bill!)

Click here to read about what what happens when some citizens go too far.



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