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On Being Silenced

by mischief (Hermit)
on Jun 29, 2002 at 03:55 UTC ( #178199=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Since I got a job as a PHP developer, my perl usage has basically stopped and I haven't posted anything on Perl Monks for quite a while (my last post before this was on 20th December 2001). However, I still come back every now and then to read some random nodes and blather away on the chatterbox. My contributions to the CB are mostly nonsense that I'm sure some people won't want to read, but I amuse myself at least and there are sufficient measures in place to filter out unwanted noise so I've never worried about annoying anyone too much.

Now, about 20 minutes ago I was happily typing away to myself in the CB, and up comes a message from tye:
<tye> Nope, it doesn't appear to be working.
"Very mysterious", I thought to myself. "What can he mean by that?" Nobody except me had said anything for a while, so it wasn't replying to anyone else. What wasn't working?

Well, apparently he was working on a new feature for Perl Monks: the ability to take away a user's ability to say anything in the chatterbox. Becasue soon after the above comment, my CB form disappeared.

Here's the next few comments that came up:
<mischief> fix it!
<tye> Won't be an "it" until after we fix him
<mischief> who?
<mischief> stop being all mysterious tye
I then started to talk about how he should be cryptic because it doesnt suit him, especially on fridays, in fact nobody should be cryptic on fridays, fridays should be open and happy days, etc. (There's a few more comments after this which I'll happily post if asked.) Not exactly a valuable contribution to the world of Perl really, but like I say I amuse myself.

So, anyway, then my CB form disappears. (Ironically just as I'd submitted an apology to theorbtwo for a couple of previous comments made solely so I could use a weak pun.) No private message beforehand to warn me, no official email to my account saying that I'm A Bad Monk and please stop wasting people's time, no explanation in any way at all. Just no way to talk on the chatterbox anymore.

There's an /ignore feature built in to the chatterbox (see the 3rd Answer in the Chatterbox FAQ). People don't have to read anything anyone else writes. And there are, as far as I know, no rules, guidelines, hints, or precedents about what's allowed and not allowed on the chatterbox. So I think this kind of sucks.

The thing that gets me most is the lack of any kind of warning or attempt to communicate with me. Perl Monks is a place where people discuss ideas and share opinions, right? It's an open, friendly forum used by all all types of people, from all around the world, right? Not somewhere people get told to sit in the corner until they can behave like everyone else.

Well, whatever. I suppose I'm taking it all a bit too seriously and am being naive to expect anyone to sympathise with this post. It's a shame though; there's not many things like Perl Monks that can be taken seriously.

I just previewed this post, and it looks like I can talk on the CB again. But I'm a good boy; I only have to get my wrist slapped once to learn whatever valuable lesson is being taught. People get punished for a reason, after all. No more CB for me.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: On Being Silenced
by rob_au (Abbot) on Jun 29, 2002 at 07:34 UTC
    Having been witness to the quoted events, I really think you are reading far too much into this - At the time when all of this happened, you were chatting at a mile per minute and I think the problem which you experienced is more likely to be some sort of anti-flooding or caching issue rather than an active removal of chatterbox permissions.

    Anyhow, the feature to remove a users' ability to use the chatterbox has existed for power users for quite some time - When this happens, the Nodereaper swallows them whole and the users reside in Borg's Belly for a period of 15 minutes (IIRC) before having chatterbox permissions restored.


    By the way, you did get tye's permission to quote him in this post didn't you? Because quoting from the chatterbox without permission really isn't a done thing ... :-)


      You're probably right, I am reading far too much into this. It's the PHP getting to me. In my defence, I did think that there might be some automatic block in place, and looked around the site to try and find out if something like what you described might have happened.

      And no, I didn't get tye's permission to quote him, but isn't it acceptable to quote something that someone actually said?

      Maybe I should go back to lurking for another 6 months.
        "isn't it acceptable to quote something that someone actually said?"

        I quoted you right after your post, so people reading it can see its context. But quoting really needs a context, because it can be dangerous.

        maybe tye was talking about a completely diffrent thing there, but quoting him in your context makes him trying to pull off something nasty here..

        He who asks will be a fool for five minutes, but he who doesn't ask will remain a fool for life.

        Chady |

      Specificly, that didn't happen -- as already mentioned, I was around at the time. IIRC, tye was making some changes related to (other) forms at the time; it's possible that some mistake was made. (OTOH, things seemed to be working just fine for me at the time.)

      I'd look for a simpler explination then "tye shut me up".

      We are using here a powerful strategy of synthesis: wishful thinking. -- The Wizard Book

        Oh, ok then. I actually favour the auto-removal of chatterbox functionality myself, it makes sense. Plus, to be honest, I'm not sure that tye would do something like that.
Re: On Being Silenced
by Mr. Muskrat (Canon) on Jun 29, 2002 at 05:10 UTC

    Are you sure it wasn't just a random bug that caused the CB to disappear?

    Perhaps your PHP overdoses has made you a bit paranoid?

    Could it be that the lack of Perl has shriveled your brain?

    * Mr. Muskrat ponders the possibilites... :)
      Perhaps your PHP overdoses has made you a bit paranoid?

      This is a very real possibility. After all, PHP is a very dangerous drug.

        "PHP is a hypertext preprocessor, which sounds very dangerous. It is believed that many users started by using Perl and moved on to the more powerful PHP"

        Argh! Kill maim murder.
(tye)Re: On Being Silenced
by tye (Sage) on Jul 02, 2002 at 16:57 UTC

    It wasn't me who silenced you. I was just going for a bad pun as well (and gave up). I didn't see you (or anyone) mention that just before you were silenced you said the equivalent of "screw you" (broken between multiple lines of chatter which I won't quote because I don't have them handy and I haven't asked your permission to quote your chatter).

    Much later, when I found out that you hadn't just run out of things to say, I figured one of the gods had noticed you chatting extremely fast and rather strangely and wondered "where is this going?", especially since trolls often talk a lot, making jokes, before they start getting offensive. When the "NAIL you" was changed to "SCREW", that person felt you had crossed the line and gave you your warning. You were put on suspension from chatting for a mere 5 minutes. Nothing permanent was done.

    The person made a mistake (that they admitted to me when we happened to discuss it yesterday) in using the "stealth" silencer instead of the usual /borg which publically announces that you have been temporarilly silenced (in a whimsical way). Had I and other witnesses been made aware of what had happened (by the usual chatter from NodeReaper), then we probably would have commented on the incident and things would have been better resolved. But I don't fault him for choosing to silence you and he has no qualms about that part of his decision.

    Sure, there are other options available for issuing warnings. Trolls often love to get those. I know you from way back (I keep a /msg from you in my chatter box still) so I was very curious when I saw you chatting like that but not very worried. Had I not recognized your login name, I would have been worried. Had you just said "screw you" w/o the super-rapid chatting, then you'd probably have just gotten reminded to watch your language.

    We could also be more explicit and clear about what the methods of dealing with trolls are and about what has happened in each individual case. Instead of something whimsical from NodeReaper, we could have "root says mischief has lost chatterbox privileges for 5 minutes for (insert reason)". I don't really want to go there and I get the impression that many others don't either.

    I could go for a "What happened?" link inside the chatterbox of the silenced user that takes you to a page explaining reasons why one might get silenced. I don't have time to write such but perhaps one of our many documentation volunteers will.

    So I hope we can all get over this incident without any long-lasting grudges. I certainly still like both mischief and the guy who shut him up. (:

            - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
On Being Silenced: The Facts
by mt2k (Hermit) on Jul 01, 2002 at 20:26 UTC
    Actually... the power to silence a user in the chatterbox *does* exist. I would know! Now I am not saying it was unfair that I have been silenced out a few times (since it has only happened when I had been using html in the CB), but I do agree that this great power should be used in a very limited fashion. As mischief said, we already have the /ignore feature...

    And by the way, the disappearing CB input box does disappear when you are silenced (or "borg"ed as they say). And yes, tye has the power to do this. And yes, it is a complete silencing from the chatterbox, because using a different client than the CB will not allow you to post either (such as fullpage chat or framechat).

    So in conclusion:

    1. Yes mischief, you were exluded from chat for a period of time.
    2. Yes, chances are it was tye who did so.
    3. Yes, it was maybe unfair (but since I was not around at the time, I cannot judge solidly).
    4. Yes, the /borg feature is useful during extreme measures, such as me (well not anymore, but it had been useful I suppose ;) ) but on the other hand, /ignore exists for this very reason! Just because one higher-level monk does not like what someone in the CB is saying, should not give them the right to silence that person. What one higher-level monk may find annoying/offensive, another monk might want to discuss, but if that higher-level monk excludes that user from chat, then that conversation cannot take place!!
    5. All in all, I do not believe the /borg feature should exist. In a post from a while back, this entire feature was discussed. One suggestion was to make it so that if a certain number of monks /ignore'd a specific user, then an automatic borg should take place. That's what I am agreeing with right now. It should not be in the hands of one person, but those of many users (perhaps 5?)!
      I don't really care anymore whether I was silenced or not. But I can't agree with your reasons why the feature should even exist. What are the advantages of /borg over /ignore? As far as I can see, it's only that the god gets to a) save some effort on the part of other monks, and b) force their opnion on other monks. For users other than the borged monk, both commands have the same effect -- stopping that monk's comments appearing on the chatterbox. For the monk h(im|er)self though, it's a not even something they can question. They can't apologise, they can't protest, they can't ask whether anyone else disagrees: their opinion has been been cancelled and sent back for a refund. Like I said in my post, isn't the whole point of somewhere like Perl Monks the exchange of information and opinion?

      Maybe it would be OK to make the monk's comments not appear to guests viewing the site, who don't have an option to ignore people. And I can think of situations where someone losing the ability to use the chatterbox would actually be warranted (perhaps the situation I was talking about before was one of them?). Shutting someone up without explanation or the opportunity to appeal, however, is not so cool.

      But hey, you know, if I had a site I'd probably do it all the time.

        There's two important differences between /borg and /ignore: the latter lasts indefinitely, while the former expires after 15(? I think) minutes. And the important difference is that a /borg is a tangible admonishment. A monk who is the subject of thousands of /ignore's might still not even notice - not so with /borg. Sometimes, rarely, people do get far enough out of line that a slap on the wrist is called for.

        The question, really, is whether those who have been given the power to /borg are responsible and impartial enough with it. tye may not have been; I don't know. At any rate, so far I have been witness to very few /borg's even though I am a frequent visitor. I don't think we're looking at a big abuse of power issue that would warrant doubting the feature's value. Feel free to disagree, of course; I'm only speaking from personal observation.

        What I can say is, remember that /borg'ing is temporary. You did acknowledge you were not in the most rational of moods - maybe a /borg was not really justified, but it wasn't completely uninvited either. So - not a big thing really happened, in the grand scheme of things. I tend to be very sensitive to issues of power abuse and irresponsibility but this seems to have been an isolated incident, so let's just chalk one up on the crap happens board and get on with life.

        There's more important stuff to worry about :)

        Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: On Being Silenced
by BUU (Prior) on Jun 29, 2002 at 19:43 UTC
    I vote we blame tye. Its just that simple.

    And on a different note, i really dont see why tye would need to invent yet another way to bar monks from the chatterbox.

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