I think that one point needs to be clarified here, as it seems like the various posters to this thread are coming at this from two different perspectives and may not realize it. As I stated in this node, there are three types of communication here, with varying degrees of formality: creating a node, using the chatterbox and /msging someone. As it stands now, all but /msging are world readable. The thing that I think we're getting hung up on is that the dynamic of the chatterbox is such that it's essentially a conversation among friends / peers / community members. When you're talking to a group of people in any context you realize that things may be repeated, however you're less likely to say certain things when talking with a group of friends at a restaurant that you might say to the same people if you were in a more private place. The chatterbox is structurally a public place to a greater degree than any restaurant is, as any faceless person can drop by and listen in. Herein lies the problem.
Due to the structure of this place if you want to communicate to more than one other person you are forced to either /msg each participant in the conversation, take the discussion public or go elsewhere (email, whatever). Anyone posting to the chatterbox knows and implicitly agrees that they are posting to a transient public forum. This particular discussion was sparked by a higher ranking (than myself) member of the monastery posting a conversation in the chatterbox to a node. This changed only the transitory nature of the conversation, not it's accessibility for random members of planet Earth.
As stated above, although this partcular exchange of verbiage was sparked by one of our fellow monastery dwellers, I think that we could preempt a lot of future discussions of this sort if we require that someone be logged in to see the content of the chatterbox. Doing so, while not making any conversations inherently more private (as all someone must do is create a dummy account to listen in), it would at least serve to raise accountability somewhat, while giving participants a feel for who else is potentially listening in on the conversation.
Having said that, I feel that I need to also address the other side of this. A fair part of what made me first create an account here was the sense of community that I felt in browsing some of the nodes and overhearing what was going on in the chatterbox. It would detract somewhat from the "monastery experience" if people were not able to get a feel for this aspect of perlmonks before joining. I know that introducing a full blown monk collaboration system into the workings of this place would probably be overkill, but perhaps having a public and a "private" chatterbox would solve at least some of the problem. The private chatterbox would be only be able to be overheard by logged in users as mentioned above. Restricting this to users above a certain rank would prevent dummy accounts from popping up too quickly if that proves to be an issue.
As tye (who was elevated to pontiff mere moments ago) stated above, I would really hate to have any hard and fast rule or policy governing what goes on here. The freedom and accompanying sense of responsibility that goes with that is a major facet of what makes this place unique. Whatever changes the future brings, I sincerely hope that a Monastery Terms Of Service isn't one of them.
And no, I don't own 27 pairs of sweatpants.
In reply to (brainpan) RE: Who owns your words? A resolution is needed.