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CB history - not an hour any more?

by merlyn (Sage)
on May 21, 2004 at 17:10 UTC ( #355355=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I thought the generally-agreed-upon timelimit for publicly available CB logs is one hour. And now I see that diotalevi has extended this to 24 hours. Has there been a change in consensus?

The point of the CB is to talk to the people that happen to be around. I object to my conversations being recorded for the permanent record, given that such statements might be taken out of context. Yes, I have this as a personal beef, since my statements taken out of context during an interrogation helped make me a felon.

Please, let us confirm that the CB is ephemeral, and not to be recorded.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

update: Also, keep in mind that recording the chat conversation of anyone in New Hampshire without notification is illegal.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by hardburn (Abbot) on May 21, 2004 at 17:20 UTC

    There was some CB discussion on this yesterday. I believe tye thought that it definately shouldn't last forever, but that 24 hours was acceptable, which I also think is reasonable. There is a problem of not setting a defined limit (just look what happend to "reasonable length" in terms of copyright in the US). This seems as good a thread as any to discuss that.

    If anything, I'd be more worried about people putting CB comments on their home nodes. For instance, arden has used to have a CB quote by me which isn't in context at all. In that case, I think the only problem is that the humor value is lost, and I severely doubt that it could be used to convict me anything (unless the government becomes incredibly tyrannical, in which case I'm screwed anyway). I don't mind the quote being there, but it does lack the context of the CB at the time.

    send money to your kernel via the boot loader.. This and more wisdom available from Markov Hardburn.

      I'll note that I do feel that 24-hours is appropriate at least for certain situations. I don't see much point in viewing the last 24 hours of chatter and told diotalevi so. I don't feel strongly that such should be banned, but that is in part because I just don't see why anyone would implement that since there isn't much point to it. I don't even think diotalevi feels there is much point in it, just that it was easier than implementing something more sensible and probably will be replaced by something more sensible when such is implemented.

      The situations I would like to see addressed are:

      1. What was said after I asked for help late yesterday and then had to leave suddenly and so didn't see the answers?
      2. I was chatting publicly yesterday and got a private message in response that I didn't notice at the time. Please show me this private message in context of the public chatter from around that time so I can understand it.
      3. Give me more context for this discussion that I'm reading (which I got to by asking for more context for the discussion I was reading...) up to some point (such as 24 hours ago).
      (1) is addressed (a bit awkwardly) by one of diotalevi's new features.

      (3) opens up the potential for seeing 24 hours of chatter, just with more effort required. But then, we already only require a small amount of effort for people to log chatter and store it forever. So, if you are worried about your employer using chatter against you, there is nothing stopping them and very little discouraging them from logging every CB utterance you make forever. So I think the whole point of this discussion is fairly small distinctions on the point of 'ease'.

      Long-running archives of chatter should not be made public. Why? Because it makes it too easy for someone to use old chatter against a member and we want the CB to remain a place where members can feel "free". So it should be "difficult" to get to old chatter, on some sort of sliding scale (you can see the last 500 seconds of chatter by just visiting this site; you can see the last 1 hour of chatter by knowing where to look).

      As for policy, I could support a policy that ties access to chatter from more than one hour ago to either seniority or to "presence" around the time of the conversation. I think it makes sense for senior members to be able to see the previous 24 hours of chatter as part of their involvement in the site (especially those who work on the site). But I'd also like brand new members to be able to access (1) above. But I see no real reason to not deny Anonymous Monk access to chatter that is more than 1 hour old.

      Of course, don't think that I or anyone else is deluded into thinking that we really have any power to enforce such a policy even if there appears to be a consensus and such a policy is declared in effect.

      Anyway, I've been wanting these features for some time now. Yesterday(?) I threw out the wild suggestion of allowing access to 24 hours of chatter (in the spirit of the CB being a "free" place). Someone wondered in response if people would disapprove of such. I responded (freely) with something very close to "Who the fred cares?!". I was joking (and hope most viewers were savvy enough to at least suspect that I might have been). But the topic of conversation never returned to that point.

      I don't want a free-for-all on access to old chatter. I see those 3 features as useful and appropriate. I understand that there probably aren't trivial means of enforcing access control to such features if they are provided somewhere other than the PerlMonks server. So I'll encourage diotalevi to disable (or modify) a couple of his features in the mean time. Perhaps he'll even help implement (1), (2), or (3) at PerlMonks (and perhaps the consensus will be that they are reasonable). These and many other questions will be answered on the next episode of Soap.

      - tye        

        I've been more concerned with a separate issue which is attempting to get a better handle on what an otherwise incompetent communicator is trying to say by looking at their previous statements. A lot of people come asking for help here and only give us bits and pieces at a time but if you string together their statements over hours or days the complete picture comes together. For those people I want to do a grep of everything they have said, ever. I sometimes do this.

        I've also often used a similar program to to catch up on what was said while I was out for an hour or so (usually because I was interested in what was there when I left). This would be nicer if paged but it was easier to just display everything at once. I don't know what else you were looking for other than displaying less on a single page.

Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by diotalevi (Canon) on May 21, 2004 at 17:25 UTC

    Other people suggested 24 hours to me, I think 4-6 hours is a comfortable number. I'm open to getting some stats on where an average comfort level is at.

    I'd also like to note that in the future making a log of the chatter will be no harder than this:

    nc 53511 >> permanent_log
      I'd also like to note that in the future making a log of the chatter will be no harder than this:
      nc 53511 >> permanent_log
      But not everything that is easy to do is legal or moral. {grin}

      Sure, someone can do that, but let's agree that it's not public. That's all I'm asking.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
      Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

        someone can do that, but let's agree that it's not public

        In this case, I don't think it matters if it's public. If it's that easy, the FBI could setup a system to run that command all the time and grep through the log as needed.

        send money to your kernel via the boot loader.. This and more wisdom available from Markov Hardburn.

Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by jacques (Priest) on May 21, 2004 at 17:35 UTC
    Yes, I strongly agree. I like to joke around and sometimes my jokes don't work or what I say can easily be taken wrong, especially when taken out of context. Furthermore, I am afraid someone -- an employer, a colleague, whoever -- might use the CB record to build a profile on me. I try to be careful with my posts and I am glad I can go back and edit them. Let's keep our CB conversations ephemeral.
Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by eric256 (Parson) on May 21, 2004 at 18:06 UTC

    Wouldn't a full history be better because then it would provide the neccesary context? I'm concerned that this could be used in any legal sense anywhere. It would be like me printing out my online bank statment and using that as evidence. Anyone could save the source, edit it, and then load it up and print it. Is our legal system realy so stupid as to accept this as evidence?

    Would you mind sharing what role CB conversations played in convicitng you? Or are you refering to conversations in some other medium?

    Eric Hodges
      The full scoop on what merlyn said and how it came back to bite him is on his web site. The short story is that "JAPH" has the word "hacker" in it.
Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by jonadab (Parson) on May 22, 2004 at 02:12 UTC

    In principle, what you want might be reasonable; in practice, I don't think it's entirely realistic to expect anything posted in a public location (whether on the internet or IRL) to necessarily disappear entirely after a set time (however long that set time might be). You can point out all sorts of reasons why it *ought* to be that way, but people have put forward all sorts of reasons why usenet cancels and supercedes *ought* to work, too, and they mostly don't, largely because in practice nothing public is enforceably deleteable. You can ask people to please not log it, but copies are inevitably going to exist anyway, IMO. Once you've said something in a public place, the feathers are out of the pillow and blowing around in the wind. This may be unfortunate, but I don't know any cure for it (other than to never say anything in public... for some reason that solution doesn't seem popular).

    As far as things being taken out of context, I certainly can sympathize with that, but I would think the best defense against that would be to have the entire context at hand -- i.e., to log everything. (In practice, however, this also may be impractical; life is full of security tradeoffs.)

    ;$;=sub{$/};@;=map{my($a,$b)=($_,$;);$;=sub{$a.$b->()}} split//,".rekcah lreP rehtona tsuJ";$\=$;[-1]->();print
Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by diotalevi (Canon) on May 21, 2004 at 18:23 UTC
Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by Zero_Flop (Pilgrim) on May 21, 2004 at 20:21 UTC
    First, I’m split on merlins concerns. Yes, anything posted here could be used against you like anything else that is published on the net. As with anything you do, you should be aware of your audience and their potential stupidity. You take a risk writing any post, should you drop your guard just because it is in the chat?

    On the opposite side of the coin I think that we as a community we should agree that we should minimize any potential risk that may impact any of our group. In other words if by minimizing the chat history will protect someone’s free speech, minimize it.

    Here is my penny solution: Create an option in user nodes which will allow the user to request anonymous – Chat in the chat history.

    When someone posts on in the chat their name is posted as normal, when the post goes to the CH the name is replaced by “Anon Post.” The only danger this raises is if someone is recording the chat in real time. In that case having a history of 5 min or 24Hr does not really matter.
      No. In effect this means allowing Anonymous Monk to chat. Not only is it technicaly infeasible the social consequences are undesireable.
        No, it does not allow Anonymous monks to chat. You are still forced to post who you are in the real time chat, it just means that your identity is only tied to what you say while it is fresh. Those in the Chat will be able to tie you to what you have said, but it would be harder for anyone to legally tie you to it 1hr later.

        As for the technical feasibility, you have to log in to chat. During the chat the system is capturing who you are. A 0 identity bit can also be passed in the post. As the Chat updates with a new post, it checks 10 posts prior ( one that has already scrolled off the screen), and clears the identity if Identity=0.
Re: CB history - not an hour any more?
by ambrus (Abbot) on May 21, 2004 at 21:15 UTC

    Let me suggest something.

    Quote from im2's home:

    I also try to remember the last thing someone said, you can ask me what that is by /msging me with said <name>?. And for anyone that would rather not be remembered, just send me a /msg with the text dont remember me, and I'll forget you ever said anything, honest!

    Maybe something like this should be implemented in the 24-hour log too. If someone asks, his posts would not be logged. I don't think this would solve all problems, but it might be good for some people to be able to stop or start login apon one's will.

      No, that feature would be really uncool. You implement it. I'm not going to.

        Personally my view is that if you are going to write a publically accessable CB log that goes beyond a very short time you should provide users a means to opt out.

        Observant folks will have noticed that on certain sites that monitor the CB there is no record or sight of me. This is because I asked the authors to opt me out.

        So now im asking you. If you are mirroring the CB beyond an hour I humbly and formally request that you filter out any conversations from me.

        Of course you dont have to do so, but I think its a matter of respect, both for me, and for the fact that this is a community and you cant just do whatever you want in one.

        I realize there is a bit of a flaw in my logic, anyone that wants to can log everything, but the fact is that my bosses and a lot of folks bosses have neither the time nor the wherwithall to do so. However by _you_ making it easy for a boss to monitor a larger time slice you put peoples employment at risk and you also in my eyes compromise the utility of the CB. All of a sudden becuase you dont like an opt-out feature its far more risky to be in the CB at all.

        And frankly diotalevi with all due respect, that is total BS. I have no intention of letting your feelings about a given feature let you compromise my job, and I think its a tad egotistical to compromise so many peoples jobs. If you want a full log with my stuff in it then keep it to yourself. If you are providing it publically I dont want anything of mine accessable past one hour.


          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
          -- Gandhi

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