www.whyville.net Nov 14, 2003 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Lab Report #24935 - Crime Control

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Purpose: To find out how strictly city workers are punishing citizens for crimes.

Introduction: Recently it has seemed to me that the police have loosened up here in Whyville. I see a lot of people swearing and many petitions that contain foul language or bribes. I wanted to test the justice system for myself.

Hypothesis: If I create a petition in which I ask for passwords, either it will simply escape notice and die from lack of votes, or it will be reported and I will be taped for a couple of days.

Materials/Equipment: One testing account.

1) Create a testing account.
2) Log on to the testing account and go to City Hall.
3) Create a petition in which I ask for people to send me their passwords, "so I can give them a makeover."
4) Wait and see what happens.

Data/Results: Less than a day after I created the petition, when I tried to log on, it said "[Testing username] has been banished for Whyville due to inappropriate behavior."

Conclusion: My hypothesis was incorrect. My inappropriate petition was quickly discovered and I was banished instead of taped.

Discussion: I was very surprised at the outcome of this test. The result both pleased and disappointed me. First of all, I was happy to see how alert the city workers and citizens of Whyville are to bad petitions. It was encouraging to see how quickly my inappropriate petition was noticed. But I was also slightly upset at the seriousness of the punishment. Yes, I had asked for passwords, which is obviously a "felony" on Whyville. But I would have expected to be taped for this infraction. In cyranjoe's article, "Banishment: The Final Frontier", I feel he made it sound like banishment is only for people who repeatedly ask for passwords. So while I don't disagree with the punishment I was given, it surprised me.

I think the moral of this story is don't ask for passwords, even as a joke. You never know what may happen.

Following the rules,

Editor's Note: As I understand it, putting something in writing is more serious than simply saying it, in real life and in Whyville. That's probably why City Hall banished your test account. And by the way, thank you for the *excellent* scientifically-done experiment!


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