5.2.4 Privacy Issues
MUCKs is a charged issue, and making good decisions
about how to handle privacy issues requires making mature judgments in the face
of seemingly contradictory considerations.
On the one hand, there is no guarentee of privacy in an online
environment. On the other hand, there is no excuse for administrators
who abuse their position to pry into the online lives of players on
On the one hand, the subjective experience of
VR as a
`safe' environment often leads people to let down their emotional guard...
to reveal intimate or painful details of their lives to others online.
Administrators should take every precaution against violating the
implied trusts that lead these players to make such revelations. On the
other hand, people have organized illegal activities online, and the
administrators of worlds where this has taken place have been embroiled
in legal issues as a result. Administrators owe it to themselves and to
other players on the
MUCK to take reasonable precautions against
Doing a good job with privacy issues is primarily a matter of following
an important list of DON'Ts:
- DON'T read log files unless you have a specific, valid reason for
doing to. Filter the output so you only read what you need to read.
- DON'T set yourself
Dark and move about the
MUCK to populated areas, eavesdropping on conversations.
- DON'T use
Darked puppets to eavesdrop on rooms that
you would otherwise not be able to hear.
@teleport into private rooms without warning.
@teleport online players without warning them.
examine players' properties unless you have
a specific, valid reason for doing so.
Religiously abiding by these "don'ts" in conjunction with keeping a log
of commands issued by players is a reasonable compromise. Be aware that
if you do log commands, and players on your world are investigated for
illegal online activities (which includes using online worlds to organize
RL activities), your command logs may be subpoenaed. It
is not absolutely necessary for your
AUP to state that you log
commands, but you will be on firmer ground if you do so: players will not be
able to claim that they did not know that commands were logged, and would have
acted differently if they had known.