A Snert's Admin Speaks Up

The following letter was sent back by an admin after receiving complaints about some truly obnoxious guest behavior by users from her site.

All names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 From: am@wwassoc.com Subject: Re: Abuse of the Palace Chat Program Tom, Sorry not to have replied to you earlier about your complaint. We dealt with it immediately - as an emergency issue - but my exteme busy-ness has prevented me from replying to you earlier. (In fact, it has taken over 24 hours just to complete this e-mail, what with constant interruptions and my inability to stay late for two nights running.) The morning after we received your complaint our IT director identified the culprits - not just the two you were forced to evict this week, but we think we've found the earlier offender as well. This incident highlighted for us something that everyone knows, but which is too often forgotten. When a large company makes Internet access available to all personnel (which is what we are in the process of doing), it is important to establish guidelines and even an education programme for Netiquette. At 9.51 on 7 January we issued a company-wide Netiquette memo. In it (among other things) we explained what the culprits had done, and offense caused. We deliberately did not identify them in the memo, and the resulting buzz about who did it, and what they did, has made everyone pay more attention to the issue than if we had simply embarked on a Netiquette programme on its own. And, yes, the culprits have also been dealt with individually. And, yes, we're going to have to do more than just issue one memo. Leaving aside the question of Internet abuse, accessing Palace Chat servers during working hours is, from the company's point of view, an abuse of the privilege of Internet access on the part of the particular employees in question. Even if they were behaving properly, they should not have been chatting away on the Palace during working hours. If our company were a furniture manufacturer or an insurance broker, I would not worry about your barring our domain from access to the Palace servers. I would probably welcome it. As a web developer, I've followed the development of Palace software with keen interest. I bought it. I experiment with it. I urge my subcontractors to experiment with it. When appropriate, I consider its suitability for use on behalf of clients. Indeed, this autumn, we came very close to recommending development of a Palace server. Those of us concerned with web development would like continued access to the Communities.com Palace servers for the purposes of research and demonstration (and interest and amusement, after hours). I would be very grateful if you could not recommend barring our domain. Once again, I'm deeply unhappy and mortified about what has happened, and apologize unreservedly on behalf of Wentworth & Associates. Please do not hesitate to contact me at once if there are any further incidents. Alice Mitchell