Re: Cu-SeeMe/Kids

Scott Lacroix (
Wed, 11 Mar 1998 20:14:19 -0400

At 12:08 AM 3/11/98 -0600, Jason Williams wrote:
>White Pine's solution (besides the MOTD) was to "hire" reflector monitors
>from another company (Powerscourt) to sit on their reflector 24 hours a
>day and do nothing but monitor the activity and keep people in line.
>While this does work, I often wonder exactly how many kids wander in

Apparently you would be shocked. You should check around a bit sometime.
I'd say at any given time you're about 50% likely to find someone under the
age of 18 in a conference. Whether from a classroom or home... And the
number of classrooms I see is growing, although they seem to be shifting
over to GSN (Global Schoolhouse Network) servers rather than public servers.

'K, take right now as example. 8:00PM EST, I'm looking at the WP general
server and I see three people that would qualify as "kids"... And THAT'S
just as I happen to look over my shoulder.

Oh, and BTW, we didn't "hire" anyone. We hired them. No implications of
anything else, we contracted them to monitor the server. Pretty
straightforward there, eh?

At 11:23 AM 3/11/98 -0600, Jason Williams wrote:
>There's also the fact that there aren't explicit rules (ie: can't say
>certain words, etc) that make it fairly difficult to control the content
>and where it heads.

I think you mentioned elsewhere the AOL problem with this kind of
monitoring. Which words would you scan? And why? Who's judgement do you
use? Would you use context-sensitive scanning? Where do you put the logic?
How much CPU power are you willing to devote to this kind of "preventative
Oh, and what language(s) are you scanning in?
Then, what other kinds of "content" do you scan? How about sign language?
Do you do it automatically (via the server itself)? Or hire people to do it?
Basically, I don't think that approach would ever work....

>Even White Pine's rules that "no behavior is tolerated that might be
>offensive to parents whose children may be present" is quite subjective.
>What one person finds utterly offensive another may not. It extends out
>from reflectors and into things like the Communications Decency Act.
>Trying to define what is offensive isn't easy. What I do know is that a
>few years ago, this wasn't a problem at all on reflectors.

Nice broad association there... :)
Seriously, I agree. It's not easy. But you have to start somewhere... And
at least this gives people the ABILITY to feedback to WhitePine or
PowersCourt (or NOL, or you, or whomever) their opinions on what
constitutes "offensive". From that, a common denominator can be reached.
Which (basically) results in letting the group rule itself. Which (it seems
to me) is what most people want.

>Ultimately, I still say parents should monitor what their kids do on the
>internet. If parents want to let their kids loose on the internet, they
>should be prepared for what they can come across. But that's just my
>opinion. :)

Actually, I agree 99% here... Will things never cease to amaze? :)
But a little help from the server monitors doesn't hurt, too... I mean
hey, I HAVE a kid and I AM prepared for what he can come across. Having
someone monitor this server gives me a little better feeling about him
hanging out here... Don't get me wrong, let's all agree that no-one can be
100% SURE that a public server won't get some bozo hopping online butt
naked and have his vid flashed out to everyone for the 60 seconds he
manages to stay on... But kids need a place to go that they can be
reasonably safe from harassement, and parents CANNOT monitor thier kids
24/7. It just can't be done. So some help from the people who run the joint
is appreciated, and those places will be the ones (in the end) that get my

Anyway, 'nuff said about that yet? It really has little to do with this
listserve, does it?

- Scott


,-==================================-.-==================================-. | I haven't lost my mind, it's backed | Scott LaCroix ( | | up on tape around here somewhere... | Sr. Software Engineer ___ | | - Author Unknown | White Pine Software ./_ -\. | | #include<disclaimer/std.h> | q| o O |p | `-==================================-^-=====================oOOo=~U~=oOOo-'