A Nation of Snerts
The Dumbing of the Internet
There are enough troublemakers in the Palace universe that they've
come to be classified. The classification system used here was
originated by jbum, who also provided many of the suggestions for
handling problem users.
In general, problem users are known as
snerts, a term supposedly coined by Kurt Vonnegut (a
heavy palace user?). Within the broad sweep of snert behavior, there
are many subclasses....
In general, problem users are known as snerts, a term supposedly coined by Kurt Vonnegut (a heavy palace user?). Within the broad sweep of snert behavior, there are many subclasses....
A Snert Taxonomy
or simply Psychotics
|These are users who enjoy
annoying others in the worst ways they know how, and will
typically intentionally try to provoke wizards into killing them.
Psychotics are generally the easiest to identify, and are probably the only case where a `kill without warning may be required. However, be careful not to confuse a "child" with a "psychotic". Psychotics will typically attempt to return immediately when killed, a fact that can be identified by `trackip and prevented somewhat by a judicious use of `banip.
|Children||A child is a young user (typically <= 15 years old) who
delights in the freedoms of the Palace, and gets a kick out of
seeing the word "fuck" appear on his computer, probably because he
is not allowed to use the word at home. Children can easily be
confused with "Psychotics" but there are important differences.
One big difference is that children can usually be "talked down".
Typical behaviors for children:|
A Child's level of abuse may vary greatly at different times, depending on the hormone levels. A Child's level of abuse may be borderline and may intentionally be just provocative enough to piss you off, but not enough to kick. Such is life. In many cases it is better to `gag a child (see below) rather than to `kill a child, thus confirming the Puritan notion that "children are better seen than heard".
|Breathers||A Breather is someone who continually propositions
every user with a remotely feminine name or appearance to have
sex, typically (but not always) using private messages. There are
In both cases, Breathers who use private messages to other members
present problems, because we can't monitor
chat. You are essentially taking the word of one member over
another's. In most instances, this is pretty clear cut, but
nonetheless, I would suggest asking for specific examples.
It is not enough that a member named "Jane" says "Guest 3412 is
being rude to me". It's possible that Jane is 12 years old and is
offended by words she doesn't understand, like "existential".
It's also possible that Jane has a personal vendetta against Guest
3412, or is playing a game (sometimes with others) called "Kill
the Guest" which aims to trick wizards into bumping-off random,
innocent guests. In these cases, ask Jane to give you more
specifics ideally quoting directly from her log window. This
would also be a good time to explain the 'mute and 'hide
commands to Jane.
|Depressives||A depressive is a user who is not very happy and is
using the Palace as a form of personal therapy/escape.
Depressives may act perfectly normal on some days, but on other
days may act exceedingly weird, and make unusual bids for
attention. Depressives are typically Members, rather than guests,
and will take it very personally when killed. They don't want to
be killed, they want someone to talk to them, and this is probably
the best approach, if you are up for it.|
|New from AOL/IRC||Users who are new to the Palace and come from IRC or AOL bring a
different culture with them. For example on AOL, it is considered
normal/acceptable behavior to continually spout the following
Certainly this type of behavior is not worthy of being kicked, but if you would like to see less of it on the Palace perhaps you can do what many people do and provide utterly inappropriate replies, such as "I am a zygote, and I live in a tea kettle".
|Utterly Clueless||Some users are so clueless that they do things that can be interpreted
as abusive even though they don't intend to. Some new users, for
example, habitually hit the return key twice (kind of like hitting
the elevator button twice). They may do unexpected things like
wearing nude props at the front gate. Such users are in need of
education, rather than reprimands. There have been instances where
such users also didn't know English (which exacerbates the
problem). A glance at the IP address is a good idea if you think
this might be the case.|
|Parodists||Some users reproduce the behaviors of other abusive types in an attempt
at humor. There's been at least one instance where a tired
wizard, weary from a session of endless kills, killed such a user
without warning. Perhaps this is why there is a sign at the
airport asking you to refrain from talking about bombs at the
metal detector. This is another good reason why it is good to talk
to users before killing them. The point is that after you've met
and killed 13 Psychotics, it is easy to pigeonhole people -
especially Guests who are wearing the same props. Don't. The "15
yr old psychotic" you are killing may actually be a 45 year old
|Sleepers and Ghosts||Sleepers are users who have walked away from their computers. Sleepers
are completely unresponsive. For the most part, sleeper's should
be ignored (not killed) unless the sleeper is in a private room.
In this case the sleeper should be warned, given 20 minutes, and
then killed. The reason for the private room is because the
sleeper may be an eavesdropper. 20 minutes is needed to insure
that the sleeper isn't simply lagging. When killing a sleeper it
is important to use a death penatly of zero when killing them.
'kill 0 SleepyThere have been instances where a presumed sleeper was killed who turned out to be lagging. Because the "default" death penalty was used, the user wasn't able to get back on.
A ghost is like a sleeper, but their computer may have disconnected
in a nasty way for example, due to a local power failure. A good
way for a wizard to test this is to use ;allscray to get the user to say something if
they respond to allscray, their computer is still connected. Sometimes
the finger script can be used for the same
;ao "I'm Here" SAY
|Eavesdroppers||An eavesdropper typically waits in one of the private rooms or in
Hallway 200 and attempts to eavesdrop on private conversations in
the bedrooms. Eavesdroppers typically use "invisible" props and
have very brief names such as "." or "l" or " ". Thus far, for the most
part, eavesdroppers have been ignored, but it is a good idea to
warn other users about them from time to time. The best way to
detect an eavesdropper is to keep an eye on the number of users as
shown in the status bar. An eavesdropper who won't leave a private
room when requested should be warned, and killed, if necessary
(see Sleepers above).|
|Blockers or Cyberfrotteurs||Blockers stand in front of other users, or invade their personal space.
For the most part, jbum thinks that Blockers should not be
killed, and if you really feel it is necessary, he suggests
killing them for a short period of time (say 1 minute). Often
blockers are lagging, and they may not be responsive to your
commands for that reason.|
Since blockers are abusing physical space, it is appropriate to `pin them, if they're obviously doing it to be obnoxious. This is one of the few instances where `pin is appropiate (It is not appropriate to use `pin if someone is abusing the language only).
A note here about `pin. When a user is `pinned down in the corner, his props are stripped off and a new prop is placed on him. That prop might look like chains, but let's call it what is really is: a diaper. When the naughty user learns to be a big boy and put his potty where it belongs, he doesn't have to wear the diaper any more.The botbot provides shove and mv commands that can also be used on many blockers they simply move the offending user to some less obtrusive location.
|Friends||I have seen at least two occasions where a wizard has killed
a friend as a joke. Don't.|
|Hackers||There have been a few dedicated hackers, people who have strived
to duplicate or subvert the palace's registration scheme; to get
the client software to do things it wasn't meant to; to become
"false wizards;" or to outright steal
(usually through deception)
other users' registration numbers. If caught, it's usually wise to
quickly dispatch these people.|
|Gangstaz||Several "gang" groups have sprouted up over the past moons, most
notably the Legion (and to some minds, the ?Magus). At thier
height, some of these groups have even loosely allied themselves,
usually around the common battle cry of "death to the wizards!"|
As far as I've been able to discern, these groups have been composed mainly (entirely?) of children. Most wish they were hackers. Some may be mistaking their association with a Palace "gang" for association with a Quake Clan. They come and go in much the same way that other cliques and groupings of teenagers usually do fairly spontaneously. They gain a sense of power from their numbers (witness the common "snert storm" onslaughts around school break times), and often share expertise between them expertise gained from relentless attempts to hack and subvert the palace software and the culture of large sites. While annoying, sometimes these groups reveal new ideas or discover security holes. For all their arrogance and surface hostility, they also bring a lot of dynamism. One real downside: they are sometimes involved in scams.
|Rabble Rousers and Political Paranoids||Every gang has at its core a masta gangsta. Sometime the group
collapses without this scion; other times it lionizes him if he's
banned. And there are many would-be gang leaders out there, too usually
members who are bitter about not being a wizard, or about any
number of other social woes, and think that by attacking the
Palace, and inciting outhers to do the same, they are somehow
improving the world or more likely their place in it.|
Often, they mistake the Palace (and especially Communiteis.com itself) as some sort of symbol for the entirety of industrialized society, and likewise mistake wizzes bumping them off the server for genuine jurisprudence. This is a big fat red herring, and you shouldn't fall for it. Palace is no court of law, and the rights that a criminal defendant may be guaranteed have little, if anything, to do directly with the "rights" of a palace user.
Since these people often see themselves as some sort of tiny folk hero (and often declare themselves above the law in great self-righteous rants), they are easily engaged if they think you want to hear their New World Plan. This is one way to waste your time if you don't feel that `gag or `kill is (yet) appropriate.
A common element of this rant is the notion that the rabble rouser is outside the jurisdiction of either California/Oregon statutes (various Communities.com servers are in California or Oregon), or of US statues, etc... either because the Rabble Rouser is located in Australia or Quebec, or because they believe that they have some sort of cloak of anonymity that will protect them. Don't fall for it. Attacks (and many RRs do attempt to incite others into aggravated denial-of-service attacks, or particpation in scams) can be prosecuted at the location of the victim, not just the attacker. This is known in legal circles as "Objective Jurisdiction" and was most spectacularly demonstrated in the Manuel Noriega case.
Another common rant is "Freedom of Speech," in which the snert asserts he's got the right to send anyone any message, any time even profane personal attacks. This is simply false, and no owner of any palace site is required to provide the net bandwidth for such a jerk to use as a soapbox. U.S. citizen or not. Taxpayer or (usually) not.
A bizarre recent variant of this have been snerts who declare themselves postmodern and hence anything they have to say is inherently intelligent and meta-informed, while their detractors are conveniently ignored as tools of the Old Order. These are essentially 90's versions of the sort of ineffectual twits one used to see during the 1970's mumbling about how things would change after "the revolution, man." In some cases, they are perhaps even the same people, hacking up the same tired ideological hairballs.
Yet one more mistaken immunity that some snerts claim is that they are minors, and therefore free from direct prosecution, and therefore free to do any stupid thing that they so please. As if!
While it only sometimes makes an impression, it may sometimes help to quote to some snerts passages from their own ISP Terms of Service Agreements. Often you can find the text of such an agreement by checking to see if the snert's ISP has a master web site, such as "http://www.someISPname.com/". The ToS is usually printed right there. As you might expect, in most cases deliberate snert behavior is a violation of the ToS, a contract that you already know the snert had to have signed.
|Rogue Robots||As far as I know, this has only happened once. And only one wizard
was killed by the robot. The less said about that, the better
|Impostors||Impostors at the Main Palace sites are easily (and often) caught
especially since one of the most-common impostor targets are
well-known wizards. The impostors may try to pull stupid stunts as
someone else, to alienate or cause scandal for that user for
example, by running around insulting someone's friends while
wearing that persons' name and distinctive props.|
At main palace, it's generally been considered a "terminal offense" to go about impersonating wizards, largely because wizard impostoring is often part of a scam. In many cases, the administrators of the impostor's ISP have also been contacted (and in some rare cases, the impostor's parents).
Non-wizard members are also often impersonated particularly, it seems, members prominent in groups like the ?Magus or occasionally by impostors who seem to think they will play some sort of sexual-intimacy mind game on the unwitting victims, ie propositioning someone for cybersex under an assumed palace identity. This is extreme harrassment in my book, and the offender should be toasted without compunction.
Impostors shouldn't be confused with cyberspace gendernauts. If you want to present yourself as any particular gender (or none), so what?It's easy for anyone to spot an impostor wiz, because the impostor can't put on the "badge": an asterisk as the first character of their name (e.g., *saintj). At Main, all wizards will always don their badge if asked. They will never say "not now." And no, there are no bitter, disgruntled ex-wizards lurking incognito, either. Believe me, one of the hardest things for a wiz to do is to hide from the other wizards.
A few wizard impersonators, thinking themselves very clever, have made tiny props containing the * to place in front of their names. These props don't work except on their computer, because they can never know if the person viewing them has the same fonts or has names turned on; and no prop asterisk will ever appear in the log.
It's even easier for a wizard to spot an impostor because a wiz can examine the IP addresses and unique member registration keystamps. Some wizards (not naming names....) keep very, very, detailed records, and can spot an alias from a mile off.
A particularly difficult kind of impostoring to control is pretending to be someone at a different site. There have been plenty of cases of fake jbums, fake horses, and others appearing at random small palace sites and usually making a lot of pointless threats or insulting comments. Fortunately, such instances have always been quickly resolved by the local wizards at those sites (who as often as not have been the direct targets of such attacks).
|Scam Artists||There are a few simple scams that can (and have) been run on palace
|True Stalkers||So far, these have been few and far between. Like various
poseur gangstaz, stalkers may believe that they are immune to
Statutes regarding communications or stalking in general. This
is very stupid. Stalking is a crime in the U.S. and and one state
(Delaware) even considers a first offense to be a felony.
Therefore a responsible wizard should take the furthest available
step call not only the snert stalker's ISP
into play, but the stalker's local police department as well.
Such an action can be very upsetting to the wiz. Like anyone, they log onto chat systems to have fun, to talk with friends, to unwind. It's not a comfortable thing to have that simple recreation turned into a crime scene. But better to take such actions right away than to live down the alternatives.