www.whyville.net Sep 5, 2003 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Taking Out the Trash Talkers

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It's a job nobody loves, to drag that hefty bag of trash out to the curb. Well, it's garbage night and you know your parents are going to make you take it out. You avoid it as much as you can because you don't want to be anywhere near the foul-smelling garbage that occupies the garbage can. But soon enough it builds up and you can't ignore it. You have to take it out or you will suffer its stench that is consuming the household. Well, it's the same case here on Whyville. Not with virtual trash, but with dirty, trash talking Whyvillians that are like those flies around a McDonald's dumpster -- they're multiplying and taking over Whyville. Nobody has the heart to shut them down. Well, this is BabyPowdr here, with a simple and fair solution... fair in theory, at least, but who to choose?

Let's all wander back in time to the days when Whyville was mostly swear-free. I remember there were a few rude people who were excessive with the bad language, and others for whom it was a mild slip of the key. Or in context to the conversation. But, even so, it wasn't minded. It's when people started to swear AT people that problems really started to come around. So, what did we do back then? Simply type in Warn *user screen mane* and they got a yellow X across their face. Then, if they did it again, someone else could warn them, and give them a red X. Then, after three warnings, the offending fellow was sent out of the chatroom. Well, that was mighty fine until people started to abuse that system. In the end, after many attempts to solve the problems, City Workers had to just take away swearing completely. Hmm... good call, or no?

Now people can deceive the system with punctuations, numbers, symbols... and what happens then is that people see it and report for swearing. Well, guys, I hate to say it, but that's not what 911 report is for. Sure, you're being helpful, but -- in all honesty, the 911 report tool was supposed to be thought of like 911 on the telephone. for EMERGENCIES ONLY. I mean, you don't call 911 every time you fall off your bike, do you? (If you do, you need to speak to your parents about some discipline measures....)

This is straight from the instructions in the callbox about the 991 tool:

"City Workers will check the chat logs and investigate this case immediately. Perpetrators of wrongdoing will be punished swiftly and soundly, but if the report is frivolous or false, the reporter will be penalized..

Use this tool when:

  someone is asking for personal information like passwords, 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.

Do NOT use this tool to:

  punish someone for swearing or cursing a few times
  win an argument
  get back at an enemy
  punish someone for saying something mean like "You're ugly."
  report projectile fights "

There are other tools, let me remind you. This is part of the main problem with frivolous reports. You need to use the warn, vaporize, and silence tools more often.

First- Warn.

I think that warn is definitely the mildest of all three. I would advise you use this tool when someone is saying rude things, more than once. Anything from continually calling someone an 'ugly noob' to swearing. And, in my opinion, it should be swearing in a bad way, not the occasional "what the hell?" or "oh crap". Something bad like, serious name calling and stuff. Before you do it, ask them to stop. If they won't, warn them.

Editor's Note: As I understand it, the Warn tool no longer works. You can check with City Management to make sure.

If you feel this is not enough, click Vaporize.

Vaping a person is totally okay. Don't be afraid to do it once in a while, or more often if you need. I would say this is for when you have asked people to stop, you've already warned them, and yet they still persist. So vape them. They can't tell you did it, but you can no longer see or hear them. I think, however, if they come back into a room, you can see them again if you vaporize them normally. Permanent vaporize mean you can never see them again, unless you change it in your address book. While people vaped, they can still read your bubbles, but can't reply back because you can't see it. But, if they continually come back after you vape them, it's time for stage three -- Silence.

This tool is mighty cool. You can silence people and never hear a thing they say, until you unsilence them from your address book. I have actually never used it. It's like the block on most chat services. (The main difference between this and Permanent Vaporize is that you can still see them, so you know they're around.) But if it's called for, go for it!

I am interviewing a good Whyvillian friend of mine about what he thinks we should do. He came up with a neat idea, and we're going to expand on it.

BabyPowdr: Hi HolySock; mind if I interview you? It's about the changing ways of Whyville, and what you think should be done.
HolySock: Sure, why not?

BabyPowdr: You have been on Whyville for a while?
HolySock: Yes.

BabyPowdr: In all the time you have spent here, what do you find to have changed the most?
HolySock: Probably the way Whyvillians treat each other.

BabyPowdr: I noticed that, too. What has been, do you think, the biggest turn downhill in terms of respect towards your fellow Whyvillians?
HolySock: The way some people insult other Whyvillians by calling them 'newbies'. Or insulting people because of their looks

BabyPowdr: Would you say that bad language and hostility is a factor too?
HolySock: Yes, I think that as hard as City Hall tries to stop bad language, it is still there. I also think that City Hall should punish those who substitute letters in bad words, because it is still swearing.

BabyPowdr: Yes. It is! But that aside, what do you propose gets done? A squad of trash talker-busters?
HolySock: Yes I think that would have a huge impact, and maybe like the WSP get a special tool to punish.

BabyPowdr: What if that tool was given to people instead, with a longer 'lifespan' if you will, at Whyville? That weren't usually in trouble and are active members of the community?
HolySock: Yes, but what if they abuse the privilege. I think it should be given to people that show the qualities needed. But, unlike the WSP it should have a lot of members. That way the majority of the time a member is on Whyville.

BabyPowdr: I agree -- that's why I say basically clean records... and someone who is ALWAYS on. Well, thank you for your ideas, HolySock, I hope to talk to you later!
HolySock: No problem.

Well, there you have it. City Management -- we are asking you to please consider this. Make a squad of Whyvillians with the authority to warn, kick from the room, and even tape in the most severe cases, the ones misbehaving. Choosing wisely may not be an issue -- there are many people who have clean records -- but choosing those who will not abuse the privileges could be challenging.

Well, thank you everyone for your time in reading this, and please remember to use the tools wisely, and stop reporting things that are not listed under 911 report. Oh, and it's not a crime to be ugly, so people, please stop saying you are reporting me for being ugly... it's not a concern.



Editor's Note: Please let City Management know about these words that slip by the filter, so the filter can be improved. Thanks!


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