No. When we get wind of a problem, we investigate - generally as
non-intrusively as possible. (On more than one occasion we have
discovered members housing warez on Ftoomsh by looking around as
ordinary users - I'm rather puzzled about these people's attitudes!)
> I'm sure the progsoc membership disagree's with such practices - no
> matter how good the cause..
> I feel such invasions of privacy should have strict guidelines as to when
> and who can look through someone's account! Are these already in place in
> progsoc??? It doesn't seem that way..
There are no formal guidelines at this time. Alongside the production of
a workable AUP is the production of what has been referred to (for
want of a better name) an admin code of ethics. As with the AUP, we expect
to have these drafted during July with a view to adoption shortly afterwards.
> These guidelines should also be strongly enforced,
Umm, yeah. Generally rules are enforced - guidelines, by virtue of being
guidelines, are not.
ProgSoc's admins (and therefore ProgSoc) have a tricky problem here. Most
are conscious of the feeling of many members that looking at people's files
is "bad". However, there are some ratbags who are using ProgSoc machines
for illegal activities, or activities whose ethical basis is questionable.
(i.e. I would call them unethical, but it's a matter of opinion, other
members may disagree.)
If ProgSoc is to continue existing, and is to continue to be allowed to
be connected to ITD's network, we need someone to be able to act quickly
to stop/prevent activities by memebrs that will (/may?) damage ProgSoc.
(Incidentally, this is the primary reason for having an executive in the
first place - if it was workable to have a concensus vote on every
decision that ProgSoc took, there would be no need for an executive.)
The challenge is to ascertain what power to give to the select few, and
what guidelines to give them. The exec intends to put forward a draft
during July (the so-called "admin code of ethics). Anyone else who wishes
to provide a draft is of course welcome to do so, however if you wish to
argue the exec's draft, you'll have to wait until we've written it :-)
> with ANY breech of them
> by an admin, causing that admin to lose all their admin privliges on the
> spot (or at least after one warning).
The people that we entrust to admin ProgSoc's machines are trusted a little
more than that. (That is to say, trusted to the point where it is not
considered neccessary by the executive to control the admins with threats.)
If indeed someone who was appointed by the exec as an admin was found
to be repeatedly acting in a fashion perceived by the exec as damaging to
ProgSoc, then yes, I imagine we'd reverse the appointment. This however
needs to be something done entirely at the discretion of the executive.
An example may help communicate my opinion. Consider a sole policeman
operating somewhere in the outback that lacks additional policeman, has very
few people, and what people there are are spread over enormous distances.
If you say to this policeman "Here are your guidelines, and we'll sack
you and throw you into gaol for the slightest infringement", quite a few
bad things would happen:
- You would almost certainly create a corrupt policeman. From day one, he's
looking over his shoulder to see if he's being watched, of if something
that has occurred MIGHT get him into trouble.
- You and he would both know that it was a pretty crazy threat to make.
Who is ever going to catch him? How are you to monitor him? Making
empty threats does not make for strong relationships.
- You would probably find it pretty hard to actually get policemen to
volunteer for this particular role.
(Similar examples courtesy of Hollywood: Texas Rangers, Canadian Mounties
in remote regions, etc.)
ProgSoc faces a close analogue of this situation. Our admins neccessarily
operate pretty much alone, from wherever they happen to be at the time
that they become aware of a possible problem. Our members/users don't
operate as a closely knit community and our admins are pretty much
invisible when they are doing things.
The end result is that we need admins that we can trust absolutely,
people who are capable of performing without threats or intimidation and
who are allowed a great deal of latitude in what they do and how they do it.
By and large, when the exec finds such people who are willing to spend the
hours, they are granted admin priviledges. They are always small in number
and in frequent contact with the exec. None have ever had to be removed
because of their behaviour.
The proposed admin code of ethics is not expected to change how our
admins behave, instead its aim is to communicate to members what
guidelines the admins operate under.
This is all of course IMHO. When a document actually exists, perhaps
I'll speak on behalf of the exec.
One final thought about privacy and what people are doing on ProgSoc
machines. I don't place anything anywhere on the public Internet that
I consider sensitive or secure apart from that required to secure machines
on the 'net. Consequnetly I'm not at all concerned about admins looking
at anything that I have stored on ProgSoc (or other) machines. No-one has
ever suggested to me what things they might have stored on ProgSoc machines
that they might not want admins to see. So, a question, can anyone (perhaps
everyone) suggest to me what things they might not want admins to see,
even in general terms? If nothing else, I suspect that this might be useful
in drafting the admin code of ethics.
- Raz firstname.lastname@example.org
"It often upsets a man's God fantasies to have (Misquoted? from )
someone shoot down one of his helicopters." (Ben Elton's "Stark" )