I'm creating this conversational thread here in the free for all section to reference my FAQ topic in the BBS etiquette re: the use of chatlogs on the BBS. I think this is rather important and well covered territory over recent years making a FAQ thread well justified. Recently we've had some interpersonal disputes where some people have felt free to dump chatlogs onto the BBS. I recognize the fact that #virus chatlogs are open to public perusal if one knows how to properly search them through the BBS. However I think it's valuable to keep in mind that #virus chatlogs ARE NOT searchable via google or other web search engines. Given that, the publicity expectations of chatting in #virus are completely different than chatter on the BBS. If you post something on the BBS, sooner or later it will get picked up by an internet search engine without any intervention of others quoting you on such materials. I didn't just make that up, it's already the way our interface with Google and the rest of the internet world already works, therefore I think an etiquette FAQ is completely reasonable to inform others in our community when publicity/privacy lines are being crossed. I completely understand that some in our community may become aware things said in the #virus channel which may offer insight into other conversations they may more publicly be involved in the BBS on. That, however doesn't mean that every casual remark in the #virus chatlogs is intended for Google search engines.
I've made some points on the FAQ thread about context, which are entirely relevant to using chat logs, but they are ESPECIALLY relevant due to the technically different searchable/non-searchable nature of #virus chatlogs. If I were to make an analogy to formal media sourcing, chatlogs are more like "off the record" leaks, at least in regards to Google searches which are completely "on the record". Of course a journalist/blogger/commentator in traditional media could theoretically violate such distinctions in their pursuit of a gossipy edge without any legal ramifications, however they would also necessarily be undermining their own future reputation for discretion in such matters. Since on the the Church of Virus we've imposed this Meridion system for members to self-police or provide community feedback, I think this fairly falls in the realm of "etiquette" rather than a hard and fast mediating policy which would of course require an actual mediator which we seek to avoid. I think there are probably appropriate ways to properly leak such information if it is truly important to some discussion, as well as inappropriate ways. Certainly I've made the point that if I am actually directly involved in chatlog, then it's probably entirely appropriate to just post the chatlog myself. I've not run into any complaints about such things personally, and with a bit of contemporaneous notice it would still be something I could edit if other participants object. Frankly that hasn't ever really happened with me yet, but given the time periods between Google caching it's something which could likely be addressed with some timely edits before the Google makes it part of any permanent search record.
These uses, however, can be completely different where the person using the chatlogs did not actually participate in the the live chat themselves. In these cases the usual contextual objections to hearsay and gossip could become much more relevant. In such a case, where the person posting a chatlog made no effort to actually contact the live participants, I think it would be entirely expected that the poster should be downgraded in the Meridion system, possibly to the point of making their postings unviewable should their rating fall below a "3".
In any case, I think this an entirely appropriate subject for a FAQ, as it reveals not any particular policy of the Church of Virus, but a simple fact of publicity and privacy already manifest in our online environment. People may have different opinions on how to deal with that fact, but regardless of such opinions, it remains a stubborn fact. So feel free to check out the FAQ http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=31;action=display;threadid=43700;start=0;boardseen=1. I will be presenting my final edit there. If anyone else has any opinions or observations about it, please post them here and I will consider them in my final edit as well. I seriously thought much of this went without saying until about a year ago, and even though we've been testing the boundaries a bit with our recent shitfests, nothing about our online environment has really fundamentally changed. If you simply have something personal to add to the shitfests, then please keep that on this free for all thread, but otherwise I still think it's a valid FAQ.
I'll specifically call out Hermit and Mermaid on this one, since this is the free for all section. Hermit made some good gripes about how unnecessarily personal I made my FAQ. While these gripes change nothing in the big picture, I'm figuring they were pretty well owed to me from Hermit by now, so I thank him for paying up. I've noticed no counter to my points about chat logs being less public than the BBS. I've seen Hermit's counter to my points about context and relevance. I'm not impressed, and in any case Mermaid has made some followup attempts to comply with some sort of citing standards which seems to indicate she understood that argument regardless of her intent to spread further detritus from the chat logs. Incidentally, I've reciprocated her upgrading me to a 5 by likewise upgrading her to a 5. I still think you're kind of trollish, Trollmaid, but I'll call a truce on it. I even gave Hermit a 5.
And while I probably shouldn't have made it so personal on a FAQ - which I've now long ago edited, I think in the free for all section it's fair game to discuss this more personally. When we have an active IRC channel it works well in combination with an active BBS. Indeed I've seen Hermit make good use of that combination in the past. So I don't imagine he's tone deaf to the idea that chat logs are not as public as the BBS therefore some discretion is expected when crossing that boundary. I haven't actually seen him argue against that point yet, so I won't assume he disagrees. In fact it wasn't his indiscretion anyways, but rather Mermaid's, although he did publicly applaud her so the question remains for him as well to some degree.
I really should give Hermit a 6, though. He's a good host and he throws a good party. So while I respect our 5/5 truce, I have to give Hermit that bonus. Really it probably belongs to Hermitess, but Hermit did have the good sense to snag her her in his grubby claws.