SPT Wispers & Iptscrae

If you're reading this, you're clearly some combination of curious, thorough, paranoid, and evil-minded. Okay, join the club.

This section talks about some Iptscrae possibilities. It presents no code, so it has no place in the House o Bots. It just mentions a couple of ways that the intent of the whisper commands could be subverted by the unscrupulous. Forewarned is forearmed.

Personally, I would consider the use of any of these methods to be a shooting offense. Is this a moral dilemna? Can I be offended by other people's subversion of privacy, using coding ideas that I myself have presented? Am I endangering privacy and free passage of information while simultaneously waving the banner of free speech?

No. The price of information freedom is also its prize: Awareness.

Room Scripts OUTCHAT

It's possible for an unscrupulous palace operator to write room scripts that will trap whispered comments. Room scripts are actually executed on the distributed client machines (for the most part), not on the server. Thus, the room script could either trap the OUTCHAT of a whispering user or the INCHAT of the receiver. Whispers could be diverted in a number of different ways, either spoken aloud, scrambled, whispered to some other user...

How could you tell if you were the victim of such a script? It would be fairly obvious to anyone looking at the log window if an echo were being relayed, because things you said (or received) in whisper would appear twice. A clever sleazoid might preface each relayed line with ";" to make it invisible in the room view, but it would still appear in the log.

Another scheme would be to simply redirect all whispers to a secret receiver, and then set the OUTCHAT CHATSTR to "" what you would see would appear like a normal whisper. The tipoff would be that your intended recipient would never hear you. Another way to test it would be to try a "disappearing" OUTCHAT command like "msay" such a command would fail when whispered in such a room. Identifying the secret recipient might be quite difficult, especially if the receiver was in fact nothing more than a relaying robot.

It might be worth mentioning that a room script that simply erases CHATSTR whenever WHOTARGET is nonzero (in other words, when someone has been selected by mouse click) results in a room where whispering is not allowed at all. Which is exactly what happens in "L'Onyx" at The Palace That Never Was).

Most insidious of all, a room script could pass characters as codes into the states of spots in the room, and a receiving script could synchronously decode them and quickly reset them. This last method would be invisible to the speaker, but it requires a terrific amount of trouble on the part of the jerk who had built the room, and would require a significant amount of local Iptscrae processing on your computer. Many characters, or whole lines, could be lost in transmission due to lag or just a slow CPU on your end. So while the spot-state method can trap whispers, in practice it's a poor way to do it.

To bypass any room-based OUTCHAT trap (other than by just leaving!), use Iptscrae escapes. Find out your intended recipient's id number (returned by their own WHOME value), then pass everything in strings like so:

/ "Here's the Workaround" idNumber PRIVATEMSG
Iptscrae escapes are equally useful in "benign" robot rooms, like The Beach, Harry's Café, or Wuthering Heights.


You could certainly write code that would trap incoming whispers and relay them to someone else, or even everyone else, preferably via PRIVATEMSG so that the whispering victim is left unaware as long as possible. Using PRIVATEMSG, the receiver may even be in another room.

A Confederate

Similarly, you could have a friend be the relay receiver. This friend might be a robot, though it's hard for me to imagine why anyone would want to whisper to a robot for any length of time.

Such a sneak or robot could try to hide in a lockable room and relay things said "on open channel" (unwhispered) in that room. Such a (`hidden) robot would be detectable in the status bar listing. Since the robot would be in the room before other users, waiting for them, it may be hard to see on the screen it might deliberately maneuver rapidly to always hide behind you. This would be especially effective if it worked in concert with the room script. But in the end, it would still be obvious that a third person was present.

Iptscrae cannot be used by Guests, except through room scripts.
Incoming ESP is completely invisible to Iptscrae, and no script can ever trap it.