This page collects discussion about the banning policy on KGS and covers questions such as: How many assistants, and how much/how often should admins and assistants police room chat.
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tartuffe I was banned after about 10 seconds on KGS after saying ONE thing, and I quote: "How many stones could Kerry give Bush?" Unfortunately, I hit enter just as Drimgere warned the game room to move the discussion to the chat room. With no warning whatsoever I was banned, probably by Drimgere (if this is wrong, please correct me). This was EXTREMELY irritating, because I really do not try to cause trouble on KGS (I'm generally pretty quiet). I'm sorry if my ONE comment "flooded" the game room, but election night in the US is a pretty big deal, and that is where the discussion was. You ruined my night of go-playing on KGS for this??? Assistants: please get a sense of perspective.
(Sebastian:) Disclaimer: I wasn't there, and I only know tartuffe's side of the story. The following is my opinion under the assumption that it was exactly as he describes.
The time delay was unfortunate, but this is a fundamental phenomenon on a chat server which happens all the time; any assistant should be aware of it and wait a second or two before booting someone. Also, this sounds eerily like a "one strike you're out" policy. Please, instead, issue a policy that assistants give a personal warning first in such harmless cases. At least this should apply to registered users in good standing. OTOH, tartuffe, why not swallow your anger and pride and log on as a new user "tartuffe_furieux"?
Note: After I wrote this, I realized that there is a huge related discussion already, which I moved here under the headline "Steve's Case". I'm not sure what we should do with it - it certainly should be shortened, but I don't feel like doing it. Any volunteers?
(BTW, I checked the English Chat room at about that time, and there was no discussion whatsoever. I'm not so sure if the concept of the two rooms is accepted by KGS users, but I must admit, I don't have a better idea either.)
tartuffe: To follow up on my complaint, my account was unblocked within a few hours. If it was a result of admin action, then thanks! Sebastian, I could not log in with other accounts (I tried); my ip address was probably blocked (I don't remember the exact details of the error message). Aside from the assistants, KGS is still my favorite place to play go.
ilan: I have closed the English Game Room window for good and am only interacting in the English Chat Room. Since that time, I have never been banned, and I believe that I am one of the most bootable people around. In the wake of the US election, I made an effort in the ECR to prove that Kerry supporters who claimed Bush supporters were ignorant, were themselves ignorant. Since the discussion degenerated into moderate insults by above supporters, I can only conclude that I succeeded in proving my point. I later noted that Drimgere was defending me and my right to appear annoying. All this goes to show that sticking to the ECR is best. The common complaint that there is no traffic in the ECR can be solved by creating it yourself, if you have anything to say, that is. I just found out that someone else I know was recently banned from KGS, which is regretable, if it happened in the ECR.
One more thing: Since people can get banned from KGS for profanity in the chat room discussion, why aren't people booted for similar statements in game chat windows, if the opponent complains? This seems a much worse offense to me, since it affects an actual game in progress.
Anonymous: People are booted for such actions afaik.
(Sebastian:) It is certainly possible to get booted for comments in a game, as well and I'm not sure what ilan means by: If the opponent complains (to whom? how? when? Are you referring to a specific case?). I do think he has a point though: Chances are less that there is an assistant who sees the perpetration. What would you guys think if people who are buddies of one of the players could ban chatters from making comments in the game, thereby setting a flag that assistants can see?
Anonymous: An KGS assistant called me "a..hole" (you know) today (07/05/04) during a chat. After asking him what he would do if another user uses this term he answered: "I would compliment him if it is justified like in your case". I won't mention my nick or his in public, but that really raises the question about the selection of people to this position.
I have witnessed some other impolite behaviour of this person against users.
ilanpi: Hey, things over at KGS must be improving if an assistant says that you are being an "a..hole (you know)" but doesn't boot you. This guy has my vote as assistant of the year for his restraint regarding the eject button.
Hu: There is a simple remedy: email a d m i n @ igoweb dot org with the full details and it will be reviewed. Include the text from the incident that you thoughtfully saved in a file. If you did not have that foresight, email anyways with as complete and accurate a description as you can provide. The admin will appreciate receiving the feedback about an assistant.
wms: Even better advice than Hu gives: If anybody ever sees behavior like this from an assistant, immediately email email@example.com about it. I take it very seriously. But make sure that you are being honest - I take a very dim view of people who try to misrepresent what happened to get pity or revenge after they have a difference of opinion with an assistant. (Yesterday, for example, a user complained that they were booted for 24 hours just because they didn't stop chatting when an assistant asked; the chat logs showed that in fact they'd been swearing repeatedly at the time). Also, email me immediately - the chat logs only last a couple of days, and if I can't see it in the chat logs, I have no real choice except to believe whatever the assistant tells me.
Hu cont'd: Now, Ilan Vardi, what do you care, since you are boycotting the server and using other servers instead? Or are you logging in under another account or planning to return to KGS soon? Or are you conducting a vengeful vendetta?
ilanpi: Well, I was wondering how the KGS administration ranked smart versus hole in the ass expletive hierarchy, being the butt of the former epithet.
wms: ilanpi, I'm pretty sure that English isn't your native language, so I'll take you seriously here. "Smartass" is not usually considered to be much of a putdown. It just means somebody who acts like they have all the answers and doesn't need information from other people - as, for example, when I was trying to talk to you about your borderline racist comments, and you answered with non sequitors. "asshole," on the other hand, is most definitely a putdown, as well as being an obscene reference. (It's pretty likely that you knew all this already, and your comment was just a bizarre attempt to act a martyr, but what the heck I'll answer seriously anyway).
Begin ilanpi: WMS, thanks for finally answering me, I appreciate it! You are correct that English is not my native language, it is my third, which goes to prove something, I suppose.
WMS, I understand that you are very busy, and, believe it or not, I really appreciate the fact that you spend so much of your time directly addressing the issues of your KGS users, as does everyone here. In fact, during the latest wave of self-righteous indignation and fruitless discussion, I made an effort to stay neutral (except for some sophomoric humour which I hope you took in this spirit). I did so because I felt that it would be a shame to drive you away from this site and your close relationship with your users by continually rehashing sensitive issues.
But, since I finally have your attention, I would like to take the opportunity to ask you one thing: Could administrators and their assistants stop patrolling innocuous behaviour from faithful yet idiosyncratic users? I spent a year on KGS playing about 4 hours a day with hardly a problem before this new policy made it impossible for me to log on for more than a few minutes before being booted. If you have been reading any of my varied posts on this site, you might have observed that it is possible for someone to be very smart and very stupid at the same time. This dissonance was the very spirit of the English Chat Room making it a special place for many people. These people now regret the lack of intellectual silliness and fun on KGS (for example, my initial interaction with TheCaptain about his belated relationship with Tenille, and later discussions about his interest in WWF wrestling).
That said, I understand that you wrote the program, so it's up to you to decide how it should be run. However, I believe that many people agree that it would be a good idea to return to a kinder gentler KGS.
wms: I'm glad you appreciate my answers, ilanpi. I'm pretty sure you read rec.games.go, so you probably read my message there - I think that the patrolling of EGR has been a success, EGR is now a place where people can go and hear go chat with less (although still some) offtopic chat. But I agree that ECR has pretty much been a failure. So please, check the KGS Status page - I am working to fix that in the upcoming release. I'm adding another list of games, the "active games" list, that includes all in progress games. Now, with the "open games" list and the "active games" list, there is no reason to be in the EGR unless you like heavily moderated chat. You can be in the ECR and see every single open game, and every single exciting-to-observe game. I really want KGS to be many different communities of people in different rooms, where people can go to the place that suits them, and I know that the EGR does not suit a lot of people. After the split, the most reasonable complaint that I heard was "But if I go to the ECR and leave the hateful EGR, then I don't see all the games I like to observe." Well, now people can stop complaining, that reason is gone. So please give it a try when 2.6.2 is out, I am trying to let people return to a kinder gentler KGS if they want, or stay with the harsh justice KGS that is the EGR.
ilanpi: Thanks WMS, it sounds like you may have found a solution. I will check it out.
SirLyric: Seconded. WMS, I appreciate your willingness to compromise a bit with the community over an issue that people seem to come down on two sides about. I've always hated it when people say, "It's free, so if you don't like it, leave." I think it's much better for everyone to work towards a solution that satisfies all parties. Thanks for working to allow that to happen.
ilan: I started playing again on KGS again. Lots of nice upgrades in the last 3 months! As you suggested, WMS, I am staying in the ECR and I even closed the EGR window, which should eliminate the possibility of further problems. I generated so much drivel in the ECR, that it will either attract all the chatters from the EGR, or drive the ECR people away to the EGR.
Anonymous: wms, Hu, there were numerous witnesses present and I have copied the whole discussion. I have not insulted him or any other user before that incident. And true, I have not been booted for any reason. By the way, all that did not take place in the English Game Room with it's off topic chat restrictions, but in the German Room. I am not calling for the removal of the assistant (that's why I am not mentioning his name here), maybe he just had a bad day and misunderstood something. Sometimes it is easy to lose your temper in an online chat. But whatever he was thinking, using this language against another user (if you are not joking) is normally a reason to get a warning or a boot from an admin if you are a "normal" user. Showing a lack of restraint is not really a demonstration of professional behaviour.
I know that he is reading (and writing) Sensei's frequently, and I guess this discussion has already caught his attention. Maybe he can respond here anonymously?
Again: I don't want anybody to be booted or removed from any post. If there was a misunderstanding before that incident, this assistant has my apologies.
Update: I have tried to talk to him today. He has read this discussion here. Instead of an apology he threatend me with his "assistant powers". Well...I guess I won't comment it further now, seems that there is no civilized discussion possible. Sad.
Hu: As it stands now, three peoples comments have been removed by two people. I am on the point of restoring them all so that the guts of the conversation is not ripped out, but I entertain some discussion.
wms: Assistants can throw a user off of the server for up to 48 hours. When they do this all recent chatter from the assistant or the troublemaker is logged and sent to the admins. The idea here is that admins will very quickly spot if an assistant isn't acting in the best interests of the server, so it is OK to make lots of people assistants.
Neil: Why does that make it OK to make lots of people assistants? Admins are volunteers, as has been said repeatedly. There's no guarantee that they will be responsive to a case of abuse, and in some cases an abuse might have context that can't be seen in the logged snippet.
Zarlan: Good point. After reading this I'd like to add that an Admin shouldn't make all too many assistants or he will be overwhelmed by logs.
Anon: That is a specious statement. Assistants will (should) only use their powers on users who are abusing the system. The number of abusers is independent of how many assistants there are. Therefore, the number of assistants will (should) not increase the amount of logs.
Neil: The difference between "will" and "(should)" is the entire reason that the logs of the kicks are made in the first place, and in fact is the reason kicks are needed in the first place. People don't always do what they should do, so accountability is needed. So if Mr. Shubert is giving just any flooder Assistant powers, then KGS has a problem.
TJ: This seems to be a tempest in a teapot; is it? In other words, has there been a problem with there being assisstants acting badly because Mr. Shubert is giving just any flooder Assistant powers? As long as Assistants are people who can help keep abusive people out of our faces while being reasonably tolerant (in my experience, the usual state of things with KGS assistants), the more assistants the merrier! If they become abusive, any of them, then worry about it and bring it to wms's and the admins' attentions.
TJ: Me again. Perhaps there is more of a problem than I thought. Some newer assistants (I think they're newer) do seem to jump rather fast and hard to give friendly reminders to people to not be obscene in even questionable cases. It's not any one assisstant or event I'm talking about; several times I seem to have found myself telling an assisstant to ease off with the jack-booted behaviour in the last little while. Might I suggest that assisstants be told to only speak up when they would have if they weren't assisstants to begin with, or if someone else complains or seems offended? After a while, hopefully any decent assisstant will start to know that most small problems will take care of themselves and vanish if left alone, while they may blow into a gale if you try to crush them immediately. I find a crushing environment much more offensive than an occasional "hell" or "damn" (hope that's okay HERE, but feel free to censor it if you can figure out how to keep the meaning without it), myself; I hope the admins of KGS feel similar and will steer things away from the shoals we seem to be turning slightly towards.
geno: Maybe the admins are supposed to crush the 'occasional "hell" or "damn"', or just don't know one way or the other. Are there written standards of required admin behavior?
geno: The relevant passage seems to be: "... there are certain behaviors that are absolutely not tolerated at KGS... Swearing..." I think most people would consider "hell" or "damn" to be swearing, so it seems the admins are supposed to stop this behavior.
Notochord: I might disagree on that. There is a broad range of profanity. Even if the vastest vast majority of people agreed that "hell" or "damn" constitutes swearing (in the context of kgs), I doubt that many would put it in the same category of offensiveness as other choice words. Putting a lot of people in the role of assistant will naturally make for a lot of variability in implementation of policy, and, given the current formulation, there is a wide field for that variability to roam. I would not want to see a "SUCH OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE IS ABSOLUTELY UNNACEPTABLE HERE. STOP IMMEDIATELY OR I WILL BE FORCED TO TAKE DRASTIC MEASURES" when most of the time one would see (for a single "hell") either an amicable chiding or nothing at all (save for an admin turning a more watchful/stern eye to what indescretions may follow...) If anyone were booted for saying 'dammit' twice I think that there would be many people ten times more incensed at the booting than the words.
Not to say that I don't think the assistants should be there. They absolutely should, and I agree with the why. Things can (and on many an occasion, have) easily get out of hand in that little english room chat box. I'd hate to see them get out of hand the other way, though. Some sort of codification/collaberation on the 'assistant method' might do well to ensure a tactful (and appropriately measured) use of power. I hate to speak like an activist, but I can see how a two-worded formulation "no swearing" could easily get things more toward black and white than they are in reality. 'hell' is by no stretch equivalent to even 'slight' racial slander, but racial slander can make a Hell on Earth. Assistants can't adequately play by the rulebook as it stands, nor would I want them to look always at the letter of the law, in any case; I'd hate to see an authoritative ambience blossom on this server. Assistants should have a 'feel' for how to enforce as surely as normal clients should for how to behave, and that feel should be more or less consistent throughout the assistant body. If you make everyone an assistant, then the most stringent standards will tend to prevail, even if they begin to lose grip on a reality that is necessarily not rigid.
The assistants, as they currently are, have changed the server much for the better, but thats not to say that the way in which some might sometimes operate would be wholly good. I'd hate to see animosity grow, and spiral things into a situation at the other extreme of the spectrum (open/offensive->'closed'/inoffensive) that no one really wants, either.
TJ: It was pretty much my point that assisstants maybe need to be warned about the dangers of "jumping the gun", that assisstants need to know when/how much to enforce, and that they need to not enjoy enforcing (or feel bound to enforce) every possible questionable thing. More rules aren't needed, just guidelines for assisstants who've never been in such a role before, to help them find the necessary balance both going in and while figuring out their roles.
ilanpi: Hey guys, don't forget that this is all taking place in the context of the game of go, which can be considered as a way to resolve conflict in as precise a venue as possible (I pretty much agree with Emanuel Lasker in this sense, modulo the choice of game). So, to all the people who believe that "go is like life" if not "go is life", I say that I find the arbitrary nature of the new KGS rules to be completely contrary to the spirit of the game (though all the bitter aguments concerning it are perfectly consistent with the fighting aspect of the game).
The old censoring rules could be applied in a somewhat objective fashion, since offensive language can be more or less identified through a list of keywords, while flooding can also be defined fairly rigorously, e.g., by contribution of more than a given amount of text. However, the new rules entail a subjective interpretation of content of conversations, and I believe that this cannot possibly be done in a fair or consistent way. Case in point, an administrator recently warned a user that he would be banned if he again used the word "ass", when that word was used in an official KGS error message banning a user (by head administrator WMS). Such inconsistency is the rule rather than the exception with many warnings by administrators unqualified by any term of politeness, contrary to the KGS terms of service which encourage friendliness and tolerance in the face of conflict. I believe that such generalised misbehavior on the part of the administrators must be attributed to their leader, who has revealed himself combative and intransigent in the face of conflict and criticism. The final straw was his defense of the indefensible banning of a professional player whose supposed offence was completely innocuous. This professional player, by definition, should have been given every professional courtesy, not to mention his previous goodwill in helping and teaching users. Moreover, the language and culture barrier made it difficult for him to understand what the problem was (even without any such barrier this might present a challenge) while every convention of polite conduct points to the obligation of the host to make his honored guest as welcome as possible.
I believe that this last point gets to the heart of the problem: The KGS administration and their defenders adhere to a "my house my rules" attitude, while most of the rest of the civilized world believes in hospitality with the host taking responsibility for making guests feel at home. Indeed, hospitality and politeness are fundamental principles of the cultures where go has developed, so the new KGS policy has the distasteful effect of presenting lack of manners to these cultures.
But all of this is quite useless -- once one witnesses a professional player banned for no good reason, one realises that it is impossible to reason with KGS administration.
Cheyenne: Yes a host is responsible for making guests feel at home, in the same vein however the guests should also respect the home. I doubt that you would be telling a host that it is your right to be able to walk through their home with muddy shoes on. Swearing and inuendo because it's cute, holding major conversations that are not related on hot topics (politics, religon, etc.), are not things a polite guest should be doing. All that has really been asked is to move the conversations elsewhere and respect other people. There are kids on KGS. Some people are offended by swearing. Some people would really like to not see discussions that are basically ment to ruffle feathers. Yes -- it's all about respect and manners, but it is a two way street.
ilanpi: Thanks for you comments, Cheyenne, since they are a good exposition of the other point of view. However, they do not explain nor excuse what I believe was the most egregious fault, the banning of a professional player. If you read the reasons given for this action, you will note that there was no offensive language and the content was go related, it was about KGS (Korean Go Servers, that is). The reason given for banning was "flooding", in fact, a refusal to stop repeating the same information. As has been pointed already, it is natural to give the professional the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he simply did not understand what was being told to him by administrators. As I said before, giving the benefit of the doubt would have shown professional courtesy and would have been the polite thing to do. (DrStraw - no, the reason was not "flooding", it was "spamming".)
Hu: If I understand it correctly, the pro was given about 15 lines worth of benefit of doubt, and then another 15 lines of continuation, whereas most users are warned after about four lines. Seems like professional courtesy was extended. (DrStraw: plus far more requests to stop it than would have been extended to anyone else.)
ilanpi: Thank you, DrStraw for directly confirming here what I wrote above: The KGS administration is completely inconsistent. In particular, WMS wrote in /English Chat Room: "This was not an English Room "new rules" boot, it was a clearcut case of the player flooding the room with essentially the same information over & over" while you just wrote: "no, the reason was not flooding."
Notochord: ilanpi, That's precisely what spamming is (the player flooding the room with essentially the same information over & over) in the context of a chat room. Or maybe my understanding of the term is from the planet Zombax, dunno.
Hu: You have just proved that the pro, wms and Dr Straw are human. Congratulations on your insight, ilanpi.
"This is all taking place in the context of the game of Go", sayeth ilanpi above. KGS excels at its primary purpose: providing a great place for playing Go. Chat is secondary. One hundred percent perfection in administering a chat policy is tertiary. I suspect that neither wms nor Dr Straw were there at the time, or perhaps only one was. Some minor inconsistency over one incident does not mean that the "KGS administration is completely inconsistent", as you write more than once above.
Give it a rest and relax, ilanpi.
ethanb: Personally, I feel the same as ilanpi does, I just felt that he was making the case strongly, so I didn't feel it necessary to interject. Perhaps I was incorrect in doing so, seeing the number of contrary responses he received over the course of the conversation. My recommendation is that if you want to keep chat out of the room where everybody congregates to play go, remove the chat functionality from the client in the special case that a person is in that room. As people gather in any place, the background volume from conversations will rise, no matter how quiet you tell them to be. That is a simple fact, and no amount of (non-technically enforced) censorship will change it for long. I also would like to see an apology issued to KGS users for being made to feel that they are unwanted, but I understand that may be a little too much to ask for. If you don't want people to talk, just make it so they can't. Simpler for everybody.
ilanpi OK, I guess this is partly intended to show that I am human too because I can't resist a couple of further comments. ethanb, KGS did apologize to users for any inconvenience their new policy might provoke, but this message was removed after a few days. Hu, you correctly pointed out that I overstated my case, but I feel that there is continued misconduct on the part of some KGS administrators. In particular, on this very page DrStraw emended his reason for banning a professional player after I pointed out an inconsistency, but he did not follow the temporal order of the discussion. The actual order of edits can be seen by looking at versions 46, 47, and 48 of this page. This covert action already served to give Notochord an incorrect impression of my criticism, as can be seen in his message above. I believe that the correct approach on the part of KGS administrator DrStraw would have been to first admit the inconsistency and then resolve it.
domi: Since a few months, the admin are able to read private chats. I wish a technical system to avoid possible abuses. wms and I exchanged about it, I also talked with some admin. It seems it would be easy to set up a system : people whose private chat needs to be read, get a window to tell them. + I wonder why though wms seemed to be concerned by the problem,nothing has been done yet.
DrStraw As one of the admins who has been granted access to the private chats I would like to make a comment. This access has been proctected now for many months (today is 12th May 2004) and if a privileged admin does access the private chats the fact is logged and the admin has to justify it. I have never had to do it and because of this I cannot even remember how to do so (it is a special command which logs everything done). I think it is highly likely that if an admin did access the logs without good reason then that person would have their admin status questioned. Remember, also, that not all admins even have this access. In short, no one will ever have their chats looked at unless either they complain to an admin or someone complains about them.
blubb: Perhaps all these kibitzing actions by admins should be logged to a publicly readable file.
wms: Helger, a) censoring doesn't work against people who keep logging in as guests with different names (and yes, troublemakers *have* done this just to torture people who were censoring them), and b) what you describe as a way to handle this is almost *exactly* the way it works now. The only difference is that instead of being automated, all the people with chat log access have been explicitly told to only look at the private logs when necessary because of a case like this. True, an admin could decide "what the hell I'll look at all of helger's chats whether I get complaints about him or not," but I trust the people with chat log access to be responsible enough not to do that. If I can't trust people enough to treat the chat logs responsibly, then I wouldn't have given them access in the first place.
tasuki: privacy is nice thing, I agree with domi, and especially with helger :)
JuhoP: What wms says sounds pretty reasonable to me. Anyone who needs to chat with perfect privacy can (and should) find some better tools than a go server anyway.
blubb: Afaik, the "basic democratic principle" Helger mentioned above, mainly has to be applied by courts of criminal assize. I canīt see why permitting those snooping actions should judge kgs users to be "guilty". If feasable, an admin has to intervene in severe situations like the mentioned one, and auto-logs provide a suitable basis to do so. However, like wms has pointed out, Helgerīs suggestion would work alike. Supposingly, there are different cultures about dealing with the privacy vs. monitoring question. I am european, and I donīt feel quite comfortable to know that my private chats are recorded and various people may read the records even without me being able to notice this. - wms, what makes you trust a person enough to give him/her access to these chatlogs? People can constantly behave very well - and have some "very special interest", too. The "auto-log" way lets those trusted persons decide whether or not they read a chat, instead of the afflicted ones. It hardly increases userīs security (compared to the logging-initiated-by-users-way), while it multiplies privacy vulnerability. To discover the fact of hidden readers by accident only (at SL) doesnīt seem to be the best way to me, either.
Cheyenne: Just a couple of comments. First I would not assume that KGS is a place to have a private conversation. View it as a fully public forum with some ability to have a closed conversation with someone else. If you want a private method of conversing with someone use another facility (email, IRC, IM, phone, FAX, etc.) Second, as a possible suggestion, have a "reverse censor" flag that basically means that "I will allow a private unlogged chat with this person." In addition, I would put some restrictions on this type of chat.
DnF: I find this discussion a bit weird. Obviously, some people seem to assume that if you communicate unencrypted over a server, there might be privacy. It is obvious that you have at least to trust wms not to read your chat; and here it doesn't matter if it's logged or not. If you want real privacy, you must use a different form of communication anyhow. By the way, there are many more people than just some admins on kgs which can read your private chat.
blubb: Thatīs quite true. The only point I strongly disagree with is that it doesnīt matter if there`s even another (compared to snooping by anyone without official chatlog access, not less likely to happen) risk uselessly beeing added or not. (Btw, Helger, I think your comparision with USSR, not to speak of Nazi Germany, is far too far away.)
Fwiffo: Have we reached Godwin's Law so quickly? The suggestion of only allowing admin access to recent conversations doesn't really solve the problem - if an admin really wanted to snoop on a user, they could just copy the logs to their own computer every 30 minutes or whatever (it could certainly be automated if somebody really wanted to put in the effort). Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy here? Are communciations with the KGS server even encrypted? While it's good to maintain a healthy level of paranoia when it comes to privacy, if you're really concerned it might be better to choose a different means for private conversations.
Rich: What a fantastic example of a minor matter reaching a state of hysterical hyperbole. KGS is a games server: the chat is an additional feature unrelated to playing the game - there are already rooms and you can chat in-game. Games are publically recorded; is that also an invasion of privacy? Personally, I find the comparison of allowing server admins access to an additional feature like this with Nazi/Stalinist politics revoltingly self-indulgent, and in very bad taste. If you want private chat, use a chat server, not a games server.
domi: as I initiated the conversation; I hope you will forgive me for not understanding everything 100%, my english is quite poor. Well WHY should we assume that no privacy is possible on a server ? Cause this is just the way it is ? As the spring comes after the winter ? I am totally confident in wms. Admin are human beings so as it seems easy to implement something to avoid abuses, why not do it ? KGS is a very special place which doesn't look as the others. I like the idea KGS owners and wms are concerned about privacy as they were to create such a nice server.
DnF: You need to trust wms anyhow that he doesn't read the log (he could just keep them without telling us -- this cannot be changed). Furthermore, the communication between KGS and your computer is not encrypted, meaning that many more people can read the chat also (changing this would make a lot of work which is by no way reasonable). Thus, I think it does not make much of a difference if a few admins picked by wms can read the logs as well.
ilanpi: Helger, if you want more privacy in KGS chat xju fp,(y upi idr upit ^tpgrddop,zm dlommd yp dpmbr yjr ^tpnmrų !=
mafi: Rich, your commentary is not helpful in any way. There are people, who have other priorities than only playing online games when meeting with friends on a Go server. One of these is to talk privately. I would never have the idea to use another chat system to talk with a close friend and Go player, when I can do it at the Go server as well, with the additional feature of playing a game with him or her. What I want to point out is, that the possibility of admins to access private games belongs in the same issue like the discussed points above. Admins should only be allowed in special cases to access them. Otherwise private games should be renamed to something like 'non public' to make clear that they are not private within the Go community. And generally speaking, it is a big difference, whether something is not private in the internet (not encrypted while transmitted for example) or not private within the Go community (where admins who know who you are in real life may abuse this knowledge).
Hu: helger removed several of his or her replies here and suggests that we should remove the replies to his replies. Ripping the guts out of the discussion as suggested only makes the problem worse. I think helger's remarks should be restored.
Steve Urick: I got suddenly cut off without much reason for talking about non-go topic in english game room.
I wasn't warned or anything.
jfc question: after you were cut off, was it obvious you had been booted? for example, do you get the same pop up window that is seen with a loss of connnection due to internet problems or do you get a different you have been booted pop up window?
I know you are hot under the collar about being "unjustly booted" but I'm trying to focus on a tagential issue here. When someone is booted it should be easy for them to distinguish this from simply losing a server connection due to internet problems.
if this is not currently the case perhaps this should be added to the feature wish list.
I think I just ran into a short-tempered administrator, possibly named wms. Does anyone know him?
Has anyone had problems like this?
I found out it is William Shubert. I have emailed him to ask for an explanation or apology.
Anon: The booting policy is explained elsewhere on Senseis. There is no sense of humour about it on the admin/assistant side, they'll just boot you. I find the problem with it is that usually assistants do it and people don't realise that isn't the usual Mr Grumpy Pants complaining about chat; but here you've got booted by wms so you should have known better ;-)
ilanpi: Be careful what you say, or you might get cut off from this site or even from you own computer! wms is everywh
Anon: This policy is explained in the motd of the English Game Room, everybody who joins gets this text printed in bold:
"Discussion of go and KGS is welcome here, but please don't have long non-go-related discussions in this room. The "English Chat Room" is the recommended place for chitchat."
Demanding an apology from wms for enforcing this is funny...why don't you just rest the topic and respect that policy in the future?
Steve: Let me see here... Um Anon, are you saying that it was right for him to do that or that there is no point in challenging it? Are two comments a long conversation?
And alanpi, I am afraid of no one. I am only asking this wms fellow to be reasonable. If doing so gets me cut off from this site or kgs, so be it. I am only asking the man to be reasonable. And I haven't heard back yet, so I'm still assuming he'll be decent.
I do have to admit that ilanpi's cowering and Anon's inability to state his own name do not forbode well..
But this Shubet guy has accomplished quite a lot and he can't be all bad. I'll give him a chance.
I don't accept any authority that abuses its power. You folks don't have to either, on line or in your life. Try it, you might like it.
I understand what you're saying, Schubert's policy is in effect booting all who contribute to a long running conversation, even if they've just joined in. Nothing wrong with complaining about it in my view, but this probably won't change. I must admit I suffered a similar experience after joining in a conversation I hadn't been following. Perhaps this was because I asked the assistant to stop flooding the chatroom with his negative caps-locked sentiments, it's hard to be sure really. It's the last time I try to steer a long running conversation off on a new surrealer tangent though. ;-)
ilanpi: I am telling you, wms is all powerful, he can remove you from computer access at any ti
Ho Ho H-AAaargh
Remember folks, wms earned his tyrant's position (by creating an awesome Go server ex nihilo). You are free to take up the gauntlet ( by creating your own go server) and try to prove that you are a better tyrant. With the NNGS source freely available you don't even have to do as much work as wms to get up and running.
Steve: Here is my email exchange with wms. Am I wrong? Please let me know what you think. My name is stoner there.
Exchange between wms and stoner
You just kicked me off KGS. My name there is stoned. You didn't warn me and I made only two comment about an ongoing conversation. Everyone uses the English Game Room chat for non-go topics.
Maybe you were just in a bad mood, or something. In any case I would greatly appreciate an apology or explanation.
Wms: For an explanation, read the English Game Room info message. When an admin or assistant asks for a chat to move to the english chat room, please move. If you don't, you will be blocked from the server for an hour. This policy has been in place for a couple of months now.
You won't get an apology because I'm not sorry - I asked the chat to be moved, you kept chatting, so I blocked your for an hour.
You didn't ask me to move. If you had, I would have realized something was going on, and probably asked you a question about it. When I joined the room I noticed that someone mentioned telemarketing. I wrote that it is the worst, unless you are pushy and insensitive. At that point you said "I was going to ask you guys to leave." I didn't know you were an admin or who you were. You never asked me to move.
My next and last comment was that a telemarketer had interrupted a go game of mine before.
Then you blocked me. Please let me know if you still don't feel you made a mistake.
I have really enjoyed using your site, but I don't feel right about participating in a system where those in authority don't take responsibility for their mistakes.
From the logs, here is the chats leading up to your block: wms Good thing that lame joke killed the conversation... wms I was going to ask it to be moved stoner telemarketing is the worst stoner unless you are insensitive and pushy wms oh, I guess it didn't kill it. :-) wms *** please move the non-go conversation to the english chat room *** bakanogo what if you are trying to telemarket go boards bakanogo would it still be that bad? goinpeace i telemarketed go boards once stoner telemarkting interruptede my go game
As you can see, I did indeed say "I was going to ask it be moved" (as you pointed out), but when you started chatting about telemarking I explicitly did state that all non-go conversation should be moved to the ECR. Then you and a couple other users jumped in with more about telemarketing. I booted you.
I did not make a mistake. When somebody asks the conversation be moved, move the conversation. I'm sorry if you can't abide by these rules. If it makes you feel any better, the next release will allow admins & assistants to make bold announcements so it will be more obvious that it isn't some joker asking the conversation be moved, but for now all we have is trying to make it clear by surrounding the conversation in asterisks.
If you still think I'm not "owning up to my mistakes," whatever they were, then I'm sorry but that's that. Your boot was 100% on target, 100% called for, and I'll do it again if the same situation shows up.
Please tell me if this is wrong but your policy appears to be to boot anyone who makes even one or two comments about a non-go topic, depending upon the disposition of the admin. Do you also feel that you needn't have identified yourself as an admin? You seem to realize that not identifying oneself as an admin is a mistake and you have addressed that in your next release. Good. Was your faliure to realize this sooner not a mistake?
You also ignored the fact that my last comment was about go.
Finally, the arbitrary nature of the guidelines which allows you and others to boot someone for making one or two comments is a huge problem. There appear to be many other users who are frustrated about this.
I realize it is probably very difficult for you to use the term "mistake" in reference to your own behavior. I sympathize with you. However if you are the one who makes the rules, and the rules are flawed, you have made a mistake even if you follow the rules.
The policy is not boot after one or two comments. The policy is, when an admin or assistant asks people to stop talking about non-go topics, you must stop or be booted. I don't see what is so hard to understand.
Now you say your discussion was about go. I see it as being still about telemarketing. Whenever we ask a conversation to be moved, there's always a few jokers who keep chatting but just stick "go" in there; for example, if people are talking about dogs and we ask, then somebody says "My dog can play go" and then get all righteous claiming they were talking about go.
I think it was pretty clear to anybody that when I asked the non-go conversation to be moved, the telemarketing conversation was what I meant, since it was the only thing that had been going on. So stop telling me I made a mistake, own up to the fact that you were booted fairly and stop whining.
I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this chance for us to deepen our mutual understanding and move forward in our relationship. However, when you say that I am whining, I tend to question your sincere intention to act constuctively in this regard. Let us refrain from such insulting language.
What I didn't understand was that an admin was asking me not to talk about telemarketing. You apparently realize this is a problem as you are changing things in your new release to make it clearer. The easiest way would be to insert "This is your admin." in the warning message.
You say "The policy is not boot after one or two comments." But this is what happens in many cases. A policy that allows that is flawed. This is my point. Here is the meesage which appears in the game room window:
Discussion of go and KGS is welcome here, but please don't have long non-go-related discussions in this room. The "English Chat Room" is the recommended place for chitchat.
It mentions long discussions, which is why I feel it was wrong to boot me in this case.
You say you "don't see what is so hard to understand." You have two choices. You can listen to what I am saying it, think about it and possibly understand. Or, you can assume that since you don't understand there is no important issue involved. I hope you choose the former.
Blake: This does not belong on Sensei's Library. Check out rec.games.go instead.
anonymous: I'm at an Internet Cafe where I think I will be in greater safety. I don't have much time before they find me. OK, this is what I know: CGoban2 is actually a Trojan Horse program that takes over your computer and records your keystrokes. It sends this information to the KGS mainframe computer located deep below the offices of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. In this vast underground complex, WMS sits alone monitoring all this information for non Go related material. When it is found, WMS sends a warning, usually an electric shock to the keyboard. The pain level is initially set to 1 or 2, but if the user persists, it can go up to 9 or 10, and the KGS proprietary technology even allows 11. At the same time, the global network of KGS administrators is put into action in order to locate and neutralise the troublemaker with the help of the direct link to KGS spy satellites established by CGoban2.
No one has ever seen WMS and some believe that he is actually a computer program, because he is everywhere, knows everything, and never makes mistakes. I believe that he actually existed at one time, but he decided to download himself into a computer in order to perfect CGoban2.
Oh no, I think the person behind me just logged into Yahoo Games and KGS controls all game servers! A late model Japanese car just pulled up in front of the cafe and some geeky looking guys are getting out. I have to go now before it's too
Javaness: You're all nuts
Hu: The good news is that Ilan continues to have a sense of humor about the situation, which is great considering that he is standing by his vow to not return to KGS.
Now, stoner, (or is it stoned? your own writing uses both, which may not be surprising), the stoner account was registered two weeks before this incident. Please be kind to yourself and realize that you joined an established system and were not familiar with it. You made a simple error, and had your privileges withdrawn for the minimum time possible, one hour. Please don't assume that a huge injustice has occurred and that tyranny is taking over the planet. There are plenty of examples of blatant tyranny with more severe consequences in the world for you to fight against without blowing this incident out of proportion.
You were so unfamiliar that you did not know to check at the time who is an admin (so easily verified by looking at user info). So unfamiliar that you were oblivious to wms position as your benefactor in creating the server that you clearly enjoy judging by the number of games you are playing and by the fact that you have returned to play more. You are to be forgiven for this since you are new to the server. Perhaps you can find it in your heart to forgive wms and yourself.
If you want to be respected, which seems to be the essence of your grievance, you might begin by respecting others enough to not mangle their names, as you have in three cases above. If you are going to try to be a barracks room lawyer and fuss about, you must get your facts straight first. If you are going to enjoy the free service given to you out of kindness by wms, you would do well to realize that KGS is a Go server, that chat is secondary, and that 100 percent consistency is tertiary. Enjoy it for what it is, a free Go server.
Your understanding of the situation will be eased if you realize that since KGS has thousands of users logging in on any given day, the admins and assistants have lots of issues to deal with. Some of those come to wms' attention. He has given you the courtesy of engaging in an extended email exchange on your issue. Can you imagine how many people would like to have such an exchange and how much time it would take to do that for everyone?
I predict that when six months have passed you will have had many great games and reviews and kibitzes and chats on KGS with many new friends and you will have forgotten that you once got your knickers in a twist.
Random Admin: i have been playing/ watching/ learning/ interacting with great people on KGS for more than 3 years now, including admins and assistants. In fact i am myself an Admin (not wms:). The fact that KGS is free AND excellent shows how much effort wms put into it. We (admins and assistants) try to regulate it to the best of our ability -some better and some worse, i agree, but nonetheless a LOT of effort is being put into managing the server. Can everyone be happy? I believe this is not possible. Can everyone be reasonably happy - this in my opinion is achievable and this is what we all are trying to do. Server w/o rules (some less important than others) -again i am not saying that booting for non-go related discussion is the grievest offence, would result in chaos. Take KGS for what it is and if you have a problem - find an admin and ask him to interfere. If wms is not around - ask any of the guys/gals whose names are bold. Also remember that admins/assistants have different ways of approaching the problem, but most would talk to offender in private and warn him before action is taken. Do all admins/assistants do this? - no. Do i personally agree with the fact that they don't - no. Again, Take KGS for what it is - a very well established server with solid evolving traditions to make all participants satisfied and enjoy the greatest game of all times.
Steve Urick: So many different issues have been raised that it is hard to address them all. I will try to respond a couple of Hu's and Random Admin's points ang to the overall thrust of the response from kgs associated people.
First of all, though, lets remember that I didn't start this incident. I was suddenly and unexpectedly booted from the server. I didn't understand that wms was an admin. I didn't understand that I was being warned. I only entered two sentences and one of them was about go.
The general message from kgs folks is to put all the blame on me for this incident.
to focus on blame misses the point. If you want to play Go on the internet KGS (and IGS) is a great place to do it. A lot of people volunteer their time so that KGS can exist and exist for free.
On the other hand, if you want to focus on who was right and who was wrong in a social context, you've come to the wrong place. KGS is not about being a 100% politically correct chat room. It is about playing Go.
Folks like hu fail to see the flaws in the booting policy and practice. Yesterday I went to the English game room to ask users their opinions on the booting practice. Many were not happy with it. In fact so many folks wanted to talk about it, I was warned by an admin not to talk about it. Supposedly, it was flooding the room.
well, you put your foot in your mouth again. You should have sent a one line message to the "game room" asking interestested folks to come to the chat room to discuss KGS booting practices.
your description above sounds like you wanted to kvetch in the game room which, you should know by now, is verboten.
I don't see much point in discussing this any further with people who can't recognize there is a problem here. I think the above speaks for itself. Those who read it may judge the situation as the want to.
However I did want to respond to a couple of hu's comments. As to wms' "courtesy" in communicating with me, I don't consider it courtesy to communicate if the purpose is to stonewall and refuse to admit a mistake. His last comment to me to stop whining was not particularly courteous either.
Charles Come on, you were treated with courtesy and given an extended explanation. Please take this sort of consumerist attitude, that it is all about you, elsewhere.
Yes, Hu, being respected is the begining of any decent human relationship, but my purpose here was not obtaining respect. I wanted to address a problem at kgs that many others are aware of. I can see that wms's inability to take any responsability for my and others dissatisfaction trickles down to folks like you.
By the way, I wasn't trying to be a lawyer, fuss about or, untwist knickers either. I don't feel that I am a victim of huge injustice, either. It's not a matter of me forgiving wms. The issue is you folks' inability to recognize and take resonsability for a highly flawed policy and practice.
DnF: This will be the only time I respond to things like this (because I try not to feed trolls). I am happy the Game Room is reserved for go related chat. I completely fail to understand many of the comments here. For example, I fail to understand why you cannot ask in the Chat Room about the booting policy. I beg the admins to continue their policy and keep the game room chit chat free. Thanks.
Hu: You did start it, Steve Urick. You disregarded the policy clearly stated in the brief room blurb that is in bold and is the first thing you see when you enter the English Game room. You disobeyed an order phrased as a request, but clearly distinguished, made by someone empowered to enforce such orders. That you did not understand it at the time because you were two weeks new then is to be forgiven. However, you can't expect to be treated specially, the sanction against you was the minimal one possible, your grievance has been heard, you have been responded to, and you now understand the policy and who is empowered to enforce it. There is no need to make mountains out of molehills.
Yes, you can find a vocal minority who are not happy with the policy or the way it is enforced. You can join them and wage a war of grievance and perceived ever increasing slights to your dignity. Alternatively, you can relax and join the great majority on the server who are happy at the great environment for Go playing and learning, and who happily chat on many different topics on the server in many places.
Please do not be so rigid in expecting everything to run one hundred percent the way you want it to, so be a little flexible and accept this great gift that you have been given to use. When you have been around for a while you will see some of the traffic and the issues and the immature cases of arrested social development that the admins have to deal with. Additionally there is much traffic in chat, messages, and email that you don't see, that they have to deal with. When you consider all of that you will see that the admins are not rigid but are flexible enough that almost always everything flows very smoothly.
Yes, the policy is "flawed", i.e. not perfect. It is also true that the practice is "flawed", i.e. not perfect. It is not "highly flawed". If it were "highly flawed", it would not be as popular as it is. KGS has voluminous and boisterous chat, compared to many other servers. Are they "highly flawed"?
Finally, the universe is not centered around you. Getting back to the original incident, you can't expect the admins to look up in user info to see, "oh, this user who just disobeyed a clear order is a two week old newbie so I will handle him or her with kid gloves", especially when you yourself don't have the initiative to look up who is issuing the clear order. There just is not enough time for them to do that in real time and the account might be new while the user might not be. You didn't post something like "I don't understand, how can you make such an order?", you didn't think to yourself "Oh, this is what the room blurb means", you just went ahead and disobeyed it. You made a little mistake and got a little reprimand. You are not special.
Face it, life on KGS is not going to be organized around your idea of how to run it, and nobody, not even you would have the time to run it perfectly according to your ideal. So get over it and get on with enjoying the many great things you can have fun with on KGS, as thousands do daily. If they can have fun in such large numbers, I am sure you can easily find a way to let yourself enjoy it too.
blubb: By being hard boiled we can (possibly) adapt every single new user who runs into those problems. But we can't adapt the fact that the average new user is not familiar with such a banning policy. I suggest kgs should focus on lessening (the risk of) frustration induced by this. Else the faq needed to be supplemented by something like "If you get booted for one hour right after you answered a non-go-related question coming up when you joined the English Game room, you shouldn't bother asking for an apology - you won't get any."
Neil: Really, people, if you think KGS is so bad, there's a simple plan to follow.
If you want to effect change at KGS, making trouble on the server isn't the way to go. Try to leverage the sponsor to your side if you want to have any effect.
Steve: Hu, now you accuse me of making mountains of molehills. You suggest I may wage a war against kgs. You suggest I expect "everything to run one hundred percent the way you (I) want it to." You inform me that the universe is not centered around me. I am not special. You advise me to get over it.
I think there is not a lot to gain by continuing this discussion, but I will repeat my point. The booting policy and practice is highly flawed. I don't think I will be able to make you understand this. It's a shame.
Neil,I don't think kgs is bad at all. I think it's great. It's only the booting policy that is bad. That and the inablilty of hu,wms and others there to realize this fact. Oh, and the somewhat patronizing and insulting attitude they use to respond to criticism.
Zarlan: This discussion has gone far too long without even getting anywhere. The problem is that everybody is saying "you made a mistake, ok, now stop whining" while Steve is saying "I didn't make a mistake, wms did".
Nobody is going to get anywhere this way. It's like when kids are arguing by repeting one single word (usualy yes or no or something like that).
So Steve, you claim that your comment was about go? Well ok, sure. One could say that is was (although I think it is a coment about telemarketers, with Go merely mentioned in passing) but would you claim it to be totaly go-related? Hardly. You also can't say you wheren't warned. Sure you didn't understand the warners status, but that doesn't make your booting less legitimate.
Making the warnings be bold seems like a nice idea to me, altough I don't know how necessary it is, as I haven't been on KGS for a while now. I see no flaw in the booting system. It isn't perfect though, so it can be improved.
Blake: Guys, please don't pursue this discussion here. Mr. Urick has copied the page to Usenet (rec.games.go); if you're interested in continuing the debate, please continue it there. If you don't have a news server, use Google Groups. I think the argument is likely to prove just as fruitless there--but it is the proper place. Sensei's Library is not affiliated with KGS, and I don't think that this is the place to argue its faults.
ilanpi: I believe that there is a very simple reason why this discussion is not appropriate here: This website is a record of accumulated knowledge, that is, contributions are meant to be used for future reference. If this is the case, then previous information deposited here should be referred to when relevant. In particular, most of what is being said here was already brought up on the pages /English Chat Room and /Policy Discussion, yet one fails to find references to these in this discussion. I don't see the point of contributing to the discussion if what was written before isn't referred to.
The correct place for repeating the same discussions over and over again is rec.games.go
DougRidgway Another great place to discuss KGS Room policies is the English Chat Room. This page should be for discussion of the SL page, KGSRooms. I don't see a single on-topic comment here, and I'd suggest it all be deleted.
ilanpi: Your first statement is definitely incorrect. The reason is that a discussion in the English Chat Room would require all interested parties to be present at the same time, and it would not leave a record for further examination and thought.
ilan: Even though I agree with everything Steve Urick said, I believe that he should have made more research on this site before engaging in this discussion, as almost all the points on both sides had been brought up previously. Though the relevant pages are easy to find, the information contained in them is spread out in rambling discussions.
Since this website is meant to be a resource to help go players, my suggestion is for people on both sides of this issue to summarize their arguments on a single page, so that in future, people who are faced with this problem can find a reference that will address all the relevant issues. More importantly, these people can be pointed directly to this page, thereby preventing constant renewal of these tiresome discussions.
I suggest that Steve Urick begins by summarising his own position. Steve Urick: Looking back at this issue after a few years, it seems great that KGS changed its procedure to make admin warnings in bold. This and the more understanding way that admins are doing things has made KGS a better place. Also, I, for one, am happy that wms does not function as a admin very much these days. He is an excellennt programmer. As one can see above, I have some qualms about his ability to function as a calm and helpful admin.
Anonymous Right: Wouldn'it be easier just to ban the player from EGR or the place he's making trouble instead of banning? I think a ban hould be used for very erious offense, but if a player is being a troll or swearing it wouldn't be bad just to ban him from wherever he was making trouble. He can play a go game, but not chat in the EGR for 24 hours, and the rule of why you we're banned would be helpful: not everyone can exert 100's of pages of rules.