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Old 04-24-2002, 03:11 PM   #21
Alastair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Dubthach @ April 24 2002,8:09 pm)
Unfortunately, the Admin already stated that the players did not break any existing rules.  This is purely a reflexive CYA.
Criminal law applies in cyberspace too, you know.
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Old 04-24-2002, 04:22 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alastair @ April 24 2002,2:11 pm)
Criminal law applies in cyberspace too, you know.
Yes, I know.  However, the Admin in question acted as judge, jury, and executioner.  As another poster has shown...the Admin is not necessarily in danger because of a conversation that took place privately on his game.  Whether or not this is a criminal problem is very much open to interpretation, and could have been completely avoided by the Admin not using an unethical technique like snooping.  Thus my mention of CYA.

I can only guess that this review is about this issue, but if so...one of the players removed was a long time player, and the discussion (so called illegal activity) happened in tells.  

I very much disagree with your advice to nuke the player with no explanation to players.  One of the muds I play, Aardwolf, has had great success with publicly giving reasons for all players who are nuked.  It gives the community a sense of their responsibility and their rights.  I know that most of you Admin type folks think that the people playing your games only have the right to log off...but I think it would be good for you to remember that the players are the ones who "flesh out" the game.  Otherwise we'd all be playing on our consoles with no human interaction.  Nuking long time players with no explanation is going to (rightly) **** other players off.  Why invest tons of time in your game if they could be removed without warning tomorrow?

Dub.
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Old 04-24-2002, 04:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
While you certainly looked up the proper statute, you have not looked at it closely enough. An examination of the annotated code would have shown your "elements" to be a misapplication of the law. You should fully examine the law before making assumptions based upon a reading.

"An essential element of the offense of misprision of felony is concealment, and mere failure to report a felony is not sufficient to constitute a violation under this section." U. S. v. Johnson, C.A.5 (Tex.) 1977, 546 F.2d 1225.

"Mere failure to report a felony is not sufficient to sustain conviction for misprision of felony; violation of this section additionally requires some positive act designed to conceal from authorities fact that felony has been committed." U.S. v. Davila, C.A.5 (Tex.) 1983, 698 F.2d 715, rehearing denied 703 F.2d 557.

Therefore, "conceal" is not merely inaction but requires some action (actus rea) upon the defendant. Your statement that "or does not report the crime" is an element of 18 U.S.C. §4 is entirely incorrect.
I didn't realize we were going to debate semantics of the law. If we want to get really technical:

"A mere failure or refusal to disclose the serious offense without some positive act of concealment does not make one guilty of this offense. Making a false entry in an account book for the purpose of concealing a theft committed by another is an example of a positive act of concealment."

I submit to your arguement that failure to report is not an element of the crime.

So what is the advise you would give to Maarken? Should she not be concerned with the fact that teenagers are consulting on her MUD on how to distribute illegal narcotics to one another, or how to slip a "mickey" in a female's drink?
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Old 04-24-2002, 04:40 PM   #24
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Although there have been many discussions on the ethics of snooping in the past, mostly on mudconnector, the more moderate opinion was that as long as a player expects to be snooped at any time, then they can choose or not choose to play there, and ethics is followed. I am not opening up a debate on this issue, as this is the legal forum, not ethics.

Also, the administrative community does not 'mostly' believe that the only rights players have is to their 'close' button, there have been arguments on this as well, and there is a large difference on opinion. A Player's Bill of Rights has been proposed on numerous occasions. But that is another issue as well.

I make it a very obvious fact that I snoop anyone who plays my game on a random or semi-random basis, mostly because I compliment/criticize their RP on the ooc channel to point out good/bad things to other players, and make it obvious I got this information from snooping. If I had seen this type of conversation occurring, I would have done exactly as suggested... warned and then banned if the activity did not stop. If these players were indeed warned, then the reviewer on Gateway did an excellent job of skating around what he did not wish to be known. The best suggestion I can give is to post that the player was planning illegal ( make it clear that it was in real life ) activities on the mud and was banned for it. You do not have to elaborate unless the contraversy continues.

Of course, I am sure most of your players now know the reason since at least one or two have probably read this board and told the rest, but if not, then you could point out the reason at a later time if it becomes necessary.

Darrik Vequir
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Old 04-24-2002, 04:47 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Yes, I know.  However, the Admin in question acted as judge, jury, and executioner.  As another poster has shown...the Admin is not necessarily in danger because of a conversation that took place privately on his game.  Whether or not this is a criminal problem is very much open to interpretation, and could have been completely avoided by the Admin not using an unethical technique like snooping.  Thus my mention of CYA.

I can only guess that this review is about this issue, but if so...one of the players removed was a long time player, and the discussion (so called illegal activity) happened in tells.
We can look at it this way. The Admins were snooping because of prior problems from these players. According to the rules of Maarken's MUD (notice - no shameless plugs) a player may be snooped or logged when it has been determined they are abusing a bug, harrassing other players or involved in quest cheating.  

In the case of the player who was removed, it was a log that watched their abuse of a bug that caught him making the illegal solicitation and statements.

I don't like to hang around people involved in criminal activity in RL, why would I want to do it in my MUD life, especially when they bring RL to my fantasy world?
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Old 04-24-2002, 05:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cougar Khan @ April 24 2002,3:38 pm)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
While you certainly looked up the proper statute, you have not looked at it closely enough.  An examination of the annotated code would have shown your "elements" to be a misapplication of the law.  You should fully examine the law before making assumptions based upon a reading.

"An essential element of the offense of misprision of felony is concealment, and mere failure to report a felony is not sufficient to constitute a violation under this section." U. S. v. Johnson, C.A.5 (Tex.) 1977, 546 F.2d 1225.

"Mere failure to report a felony is not sufficient to sustain conviction for misprision of felony; violation of this section additionally requires some positive act designed to conceal from authorities fact that felony has been committed." U.S. v. Davila, C.A.5 (Tex.) 1983, 698 F.2d 715, rehearing denied 703 F.2d 557.

Therefore, "conceal" is not merely inaction but requires some action (actus rea) upon the defendant.  Your statement that "or does not report the crime" is an element of 18 U.S.C. §4 is entirely incorrect.
I didn't realize we were going to debate semantics of the law. If we want to get really technical:

"A mere failure or refusal to disclose the serious offense without some positive act of concealment does not make one guilty of this offense. Making a false entry in an account book for the purpose of concealing a theft committed by another is an example of a positive act of concealment."

I submit to your arguement that failure to report is not an element of the crime.

So what is the advise you would give to Maarken?  Should she not be concerned with the fact that teenagers are consulting on her MUD on how to distribute illegal narcotics to one another, or how to slip a "mickey" in a female's drink?
The law is very technical. Semantics are a very important element of any discussion of the law. Any attorney can tell you that an "and" means a big difference than an "or."

Example #1:
element 1. blah blah blah; and
element 2. blah blah blah

Example #2:
element 1. blah blah blah; or
element 2. blah blah blah

In the first example a person would have to be guilty of element 1 AND element 2. In the second example the person would only have to meet element 1 OR element 2. They would not have to do both.

While this may seem off topic, it is to emphasize a point. Often, statutes have "terms of art" or language which requires legal training to understand. Therefore, we often have posts on these legal forums which misinterpret or miscommunicate what the the law states. It is important to realize that when you pass off your opinion as fact you are doing a disservice to those who may rely upon your statements.

I certainly understand people's willingness to want to help people understand these complex topics. And directing people to the appropriate statutes or cases is definitely a good start. However, unless one understands how to brief a case or knows what to look for when analyzing a case or statute, it might be best to refrain from offering an opinion about what the case or statute means. Every attorney looks beyond the language of statutes to see how courts have interpreted those statutes. And sometimes even judges disagree about what a statute actually means. (If you want a headache, research the legislative history of a statute).

That being said. What is my advice? Discourage and disallow such discussions. Remove frequent violators. At the very least, you would be able to show a "good faith" effort to preventing any illegal activity upon your MUD.
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Old 04-24-2002, 05:20 PM   #27
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Some new potentially dangerous scenarios and solutions:

Player1 gossips 'DoOd, I am like so drunk!'
--> Announce: Player1 has been sitebanned until such time as he can prove that he is legally of age.

Player2 gossips 'Man, I need a smoke.  BBL'
--> Announce: Player2 has been sitebanned until such time as he can prove that he is legally of age to smoke.

Player3 gossips 'Haha, when I was in college I got high every night!'
--> Announce: Player3 has been deleted and sitebanned for admitting to past criminal behavior.

Player4 gossips 'Groan...my head is killing me.  I spent the weekend partying with my girlfriend.  We got drunk and ended up as a sweaty mess of limbs.'
--> Announce: Player 4 has been sitebanned until he can prove that he and his girlfriend are both of appropriate age, and that he is of a proper age to drink alcohol.
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Old 04-24-2002, 06:44 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Dubthach @ April 24 2002,9:22 pm)
Yes, I know.  However, the Admin in question acted as judge, jury, and executioner.  As another poster has shown...the Admin is not necessarily in danger because of a conversation that took place privately on his game.  
 
Yup, it was a private conversation. It was also taking place on a private MUD. This means, in very simple terms, that the owner or admins actually are indeed judge, jury and executioner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Whether or not this is a criminal problem is very much open to interpretation, and could have been completely avoided by the Admin not using an unethical technique like snooping.  Thus my mention of CYA.
Let's not get back to the debate of snooping ethics. Suffice to say, snoop is an administrative tool that may be percieved as nasty, but is often a necessary evil.
What is certainly unethical is advertising a MUD as non-snooping and doing it nonetheless. I didn't bother to read Maarken's privacy policy, but if he stated how and when he'd use snoop, and used it in conformance with this policy, there's absolutely nothing unethical about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I very much disagree with your advice to nuke the player with no explanation to players.  One of the muds I play, Aardwolf, has had great success with publicly giving reasons for all players who are nuked.  It gives the community a sense of their responsibility and their rights.
That's certainly a very strong point of Aardwolf. My opinion is based on personal experience. I certainly don't claim to be the unique authority on such issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I know that most of you Admin type folks think that the people playing your games only have the right to log off...but I think it would be good for you to remember that the players are the ones who "flesh out" the game.  
First off, I'm no "admin type" by any means.
Second, no, I don't see players as mere "livestock" to populate the game.  But an online community is a delicate balance: there are no universal recipes. The one which I saw working best in the past is to simply state the reason for the ban (abuse) - airing dirty laundry between the staff and former players is firstly bad for the kind of community  I have experience with, and more importantly, is unfair to the banned players who cannot respond on the same medium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Nuking long time players with no explanation is going to (rightly) **** other players off.
Rightly? Why? Because they're long time players? Meaning they have a "right" to special treatment? If long-term players are treated any differently than newbies, I can see that rightly ****ing people off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Why invest tons of time in your game if they could be removed without warning tomorrow?
If memory doesn't fail me, the majority advised banning after one warning.
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Old 04-25-2002, 07:24 AM   #29
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Would be fun to see a player get deleted and sitebanned because they ended up in a hopeless PK fight.

"Euthenasia is illegal."
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Old 04-25-2002, 07:25 AM   #30
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ROFL
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Old 04-26-2002, 11:22 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alastair @ April 24 2002,5:44 pm)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Nuking long time players with no explanation is going to (rightly) **** other players off.
Rightly? Why? Because they're long time players? Meaning they have a "right" to special treatment? If long-term players are treated any differently than newbies, I can see that rightly ****ing people off.
Because we're not talking about a clear violation of policy.  We're talking about players saying something that bugged the Admin.  So yeah, I think respect and loyalty for past contribution should weigh into the judgement call of whether to nuke the player or not.  There's a big difference between a complete newbie walking onto your mud and saying something somewhat objectionable, and a long time player that has contributed to the game saying something objectionable.  As I said before, a lot of the longterm success of muds is determined by the actions of its players, and to ignore their contribution is insulting.

Don't try to muddy the water with a "there has to be one rule for everyone" bit.  There was no rule in this case.  It was a judgement call.

Dub.
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Old 04-26-2002, 11:35 AM   #32
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Well, first off, we don't know all the sides to the story, so my statements are quite logically in the theoretical realm.

Second, I'm not muddying the waters or anything. Perhaps you should try and not see any single post here as a global player vs. imm conflict or conspiracy.
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Old 04-26-2002, 03:46 PM   #33
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First point, Your 'theoretical examples' that could spawn off this action are all FAR different than the case stated here.  You don't assume people who say they have been drinking are underage, you assume they are overage. For that matter, random comments such as those could be 1) a lie to sound cool ( Yes, this happens ) and 2) stating these things over a communications base can not be gathered as a legal risk to the administrator. This is extremely different than organizing a system to distribute/sell/(make?) drugs, as the administrators ARE possibly at risk legally if these plans succeed ( or don't, I guess, if they are caught ).  

Secondly, as far as the nuke goes, I believe it was pointed out that they were warned before being nuked?  If they were not, then I would understand your point that long-time players should be given a warning... but so should newbies, as they are new to the mud and the administrator.  If they were warned, then I do not believe long-term players should be given any more breaks.

Thanks for your time,

Darrik Vequir
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