Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A sign of Jabber's increasing popularity?

Some of you reading this are regulars in the Jabber MUC at This MUC is referenced on, and is the default room to join in many clients.

Unfortunately the past weeks have included events that I can only say are reminiscent of IRC...

  • Flooding

  • Abusive language

  • Spamming/advertising ("hey, check out this cool site! http://..." and leaving again)

Inevitably as Jabber gains good users it will also gain bad ones. While their activity in private chats is of little concern to us, I believe we need to lay down some guidelines for acceptable behaviour in the public conference.

Currently there are a handful of moderators keeping the MUC friendly. However it becomes hard to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not. This is a matter of opinion that varies between most people.

My hope is that with some guidelines it will be easier for both the moderator and the user (who can then be directed to them if necessary).

The need for these moves is somewhat disappointing, but necessary it seems, if we are to keep the friendly atmosphere that we currently have in this little corner of the Jabber community :) and to continue providing useful help to Jabber newcomers.

I propose the same policy as the official Ubuntu support channels, which works well. Mild swearing is ok, as long as it is not excessive, or directed at a person. Anything else may result in a warning and/or kick at the moderator's discretion.

No deliberate flooding
Though I am not aware of it happening in the Jabber MUC, it has happened in another MUC I am in. A user joined 2 bots into the room, and set them into a loop with each other, and left. Obviously this is deliberate, and I had to ban all 3 JIDs involved (but not until several hundred messages had already been sent to the room).

In IRC it is frequent to get shouted at for pasting more than a couple of lines. In Jabber people seem to be more lenient, and I don't see why this should change. Obviously a warning should be given when needed.

English only
It may seem unfair to prevent people from speaking in their native language. However most languages have their own servers and their own conferences. I don't propose this rule to affect those casual users who come in search of help, yet speak no or little English. Those users are usually directed in a friendly way to a room and server of their native language, where they will hopefully receive better help.

However some users hold long conversations which could easily be taken into private messages, or to other rooms. These conversations are nearly always unrelated to Jabber, and only annoy the other occupants of the room. It also makes it impossible for moderators to moderate when the conversation is in a language they don't know (I have previously been asked to kick people who were being insulting toward other users, although I had no idea because they were not speaking in English).

Obviously these choices are not up to me alone to make, and so I welcome comments and opinions on what I suggest here.

Update: It seems this post caused something of a discussion... :)