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siskataya
Hello everyone,

We here in the office love a good joke as much as anyone – and sometimes even more. And we pride ourselves on providing an open environment where you guys and gals can talk about almost anything. But lately we’ve seen a few too many Ggo dhdfbufbgurbgftyrghfudfgyugffhgudghiygyfigyufufygfugfydgiufgufduigfuidfgfydgfyusdiaians posting comments or "jokes" which cross the line from humorous into subjects that pose safety issues for the Gaia community. When this line is crossed, you need to know that we are legally obligated to consider the joke as a serious statement of fact, and usually have to ban the account that made the joke. In fact, in certain cases, we have to forward the content to the authorities.

To be perfectly honest, I have to tell you that when this happens, it’s a really frustrating situation for us. We HATE having to ban accounts for making these jokes or comments, especially since we are almost certain that most of these statements are not meant seriously. We're also sure this is aggravating for the account owners as well - nobody wants to be banned! It's just a lose-lose situation all around.

So, to help you all steer clear of possibly losing your account (or even having to be sent to the authorities) for making an inappropriate comment, here are some of the subjects you should avoid joking about on Gaia:

a) Anything that indicates you have killed, maimed or raped another person, or plan to do so.

b) Saying you are under 13 years old.

c) Soliciting or offering sexually explicit content.

d) Anything that indicates you own, make or distribute child pornography or that you’re a ***** and/or child molester.

e) Making threats against government officials.

Everyone of course is expected to comply with the Terms of Service and our Rules & Guidelines, but these topics above are particularly sensitive. It’s not an exhaustive list, but are amongst the most common topics that result in an immediate ban and the inevitable “But I was joking!” email afterwards. Remember that we (and your fellow users) have no real idea whether you’re serious when you post about these, so we’re forced to assume you are.

Thanks for listening - it is my sincere hope that this PSA will help some of you identify topics to avoid joking about so you don't have to have your account banned for safety reasons.

Be well,
Sisky
Gaia Online Safety Lead


=============================

UPDATE: 5.22.2012 - Some clarification on the PSA
Hey everyone!

Thanks for all the comments, questions, and feedback about the PSA. Glad to see everyone talking about these issues. I do want to take a moment to clarify some things for people, just to make sure there is no confusion about certain points raised in the PSA.

*The PSA was sitewide, but the thread that was linked to in the PSA was placed in the Chatterbox. We could only place the thread in one location, and since we've seen certain issues on the rise in the Chatterbox, we felt this was the best location for the thread. That said, locating the thread in the Chatterbox is in no way to say that these problems are limited to the Chatterbox, or that the majority of Chatterbox regulars engage in such behavior. As with all members of Gaia, the majority of Chatterbox regulars are fabulous, fantastic, creative members that these rules won't even affect because they simply don't engage in making such comments.

*This PSA was, as we stated, a reminder to all Gaians of certain topics they should avoid making jokes or comments about in order to try and prevent account bans. The rules for handling such comments have always been in place. This is not a change to the Terms of Service or an introduction of new ways of resolving issues - we just wanted to make sure people are aware of these rules since some people seem to have forgotten.

* Regarding the point of the PSA which states "Anything that indicates you have killed, maimed or raped another person, or plan to do so." - this does NOT include fictional roleplay battles or wars, or roleplaying historical battle re-enactments. This is about literally threatening to harm/hurt/kill/rape other people. For example, we had a case where someone threatened to stalk, hunt down, rape, and then kill another member of Gaia. The offender made comments claiming to know where the person went to school, her name, her family members' names, home address, etc. This is the type of situation we are talking about here - not fictional role-play characters having a dual in a fictional location.

* Regarding getting blocked for saying you are under 13 years old: See Terms of Service Section 5 which states:
Quote:
Eligibility; Account Information. Gaia Online is not available to persons under the age of 13 or to any Members suspended or removed from Gaia Online by Gaia.. You agree that the information you provide to Gaia during Member registration and, at all other times, will be true, accurate, current and complete. You also agree that you will ensure that this information is kept accurate and up-to-date at all times. Gaia may, in its sole discretion, refuse to offer Gaia Online to any person or entity. Gaia may change its eligibility criteria at any time. This provision is void where prohibited by law and the right to access Gaia Online is revoked in such jurisdictions.

This is actually based on the COPPA laws which aim to protect minors under the age of 13 years old. There are specific rules and laws regarding the collecting of personal information from minors under age 13. For this reason, when someone states that he/she is under the age of 13, we have to remove the account and all content on the account that might contain personally identifying information even if the person is joking. This isn't a Gaia rule, but a legal obligation.

Hope this clears some up some of the most frequent questions people have been asking about!

Be well biggrin
Sisky
well me im pretty shure fvhndfgkhbgjakdbgvhadvagyuddddddvbfhbn cat_emo cat_talk2hand cat_pirate cat_rofl cat_4laugh cat_ninja cat_mrgreen cat_neutral cat_idea cat_question cat_exclaim cat_rolleyes cat_twisted cat_evil cat_cry cat_razz cat_mad cat_cool cat_confused cat_surprised cat_surprised cat_sad cat_wink cat_whee cat_xp cat_scream cat_blaugh cat_3nodding cat_xd cat_stare cat_crying cat_redface cat_smile cat_biggrin cat_scream cat_sweatdrop cat_burning_eyes
Cherry_Chi_Berry's avatar

Timid Genius

Zilyhoo

Quote:
Remember that we (and your fellow users) have no real idea whether you’re serious when you post about these, so we’re forced to assume you are.

Oh so if we say "Jk" at the end of stuff its ok. k cool.

who even reports that? I don't take people seriously on the internet :I
Just saying that your signature is ca-razy. Lol, trippin.
srslyHaley's avatar

Fatcat

Basicly telling 75% of gaia to leave because theres nothing else left to do.
Yall ruined rally, soon to be towns, virtural holywood, and whatever else there was..
And just to let you know BTW " THIS IS THE INTERNET "
if you dont know what the "internet" is look it up.
i dont know what yall are doing but your just makeing people who already enjoyed the site leave.

2PacaIypse's avatar

Wealthy Lunatic

siskataya
Hello everyone,

We here in the office love a good joke as much as anyone – and sometimes even more. And we pride ourselves on providing an open environment where you guys and gals can talk about almost anything. But lately we’ve seen a few too many Gaians posting comments or "jokes" which cross the line from humorous into subjects that pose safety issues for the Gaia community. When this line is crossed, you need to know that we are legally obligated to consider the joke as a serious statement of fact, and usually have to ban the account that made the joke. In fact, in certain cases, we have to forward the content to the authorities.

To be perfectly honest, I have to tell you that when this happens, it’s a really frustrating situation for us. We HATE having to ban accounts for making these jokes or comments, especially since we are almost certain that most of these statements are not meant seriously. We're also sure this is aggravating for the account owners as well - nobody wants to be banned! It's just a lose-lose situation all around.

So, to help you all steer clear of possibly losing your account (or even having to be sent to the authorities) for making an inappropriate comment, here are some of the subjects you should avoid joking about on Gaia:

a) Anything that indicates you have killed, mai heart med or raped another person, or plan to do so.

b) Saying you are under 13 years old.

c) Soliciting or offering sexually explicit content.

d) Anything that indicates you own, make or distribute child pornography or that you’re a ***** and/or child molester.

e) Making threats against government officials.

Everyone of course is expected to comply with the Terms of Service and our Rules & Guidelines, but these topics above are particularly sensitive. It’s not an exhaustive list, but are amongst the most common topics that result in an immediate ban and the inevitable “But I was joking!” email afterwards. Remember that we (and your fellow users) have no real idea whether you’re serious when you post about these, so we’re forced to assume you are.

Thanks for listening - it is my sincere hope that this PSA will help some of you identify topics to avoid joking about so you don't have to have your account banned for safety reasons.

Be well,
Sisky
Gaia Online Safety Lead


=============================

UPDATE: 5.22.2012 - Some clarification on the PSA
Hey everyone!

Thanks for all the comments, questions, and feedback about the PSA. Glad to see everyone talking about these issues. I do want to take a moment to clarify some things for people, just to make sure there is no confusion about certain points raised in the PSA.

*The PSA was sitewide, but the thread that was linked to in the PSA was placed in the Chatterbox. We could only place the thread in one location, and since we've seen certain issues on the rise in the Chatterbox, we felt this was the best location for the thread. That said, locating the thread in the Chatterbox is in no way to say that these problems are limited to the Chatterbox, or that the majority of Chatterbox regulars engage in such behavior. As with all members of Gaia, the majority of Chatterbox regulars are fabulous, fantastic, creative members that these rules won't even affect because they simply don't engage in making such comments.

*This PSA was, as we stated, a reminder to all Gaians of certain topics they should avoid making jokes or comments about in order to try and prevent account bans. The rules for handling such comments have always been in place. This is not a change to the Terms of Service or an introduction of new ways of resolving issues - we just wanted to make sure people are aware of these rules since some people seem to have forgotten.

* Regarding the point of the PSA which states "Anything that indicates you have killed, maimed or raped another person, or plan to do so." - this does NOT include fictional roleplay battles or wars, or roleplaying historical battle re-enactments. This is about literally threatening to harm/hurt/kill/rape other people. For example, we had a case where someone threatened to stalk, hunt down, rape, and then kill another member of Gaia. The offender made comments claiming to know where the person went to school, her name, her family members' names, home address, etc. This is the type of situation we are talking about here - not fictional role-play characters having a dual in a fictional location.

* Regarding getting blocked for saying you are under 13 years old: See Terms of Service Section 5 which states:
Quote:
Eligibility; Account Information. Gaia Online is not available to persons under the age of 13 or to any Members suspended or removed from Gaia Online by Gaia.. You agree that the information you provide to Gaia during Member registration and, at all other times, will be true, accurate, current and complete. You also agree that you will ensure that this information is kept accurate and up-to-date at all times. Gaia may, in its sole discretion, refuse to offer Gaia Online to any person or entity. Gaia may change its eligibility criteria at any time. This provision is void where prohibited by law and the right to access Gaia Online is revoked in such jurisdictions.

This is actually based on the COPPA laws which aim to protect minors under the age of 13 years old. There are specific rules and laws regarding the collecting of personal information from minors under age 13. For this reason, when someone states that he/she is under the age of 13, we have to remove the account and all content on the account that might contain personally identifying information even if the person is joking. This isn't a Gaia rule, but a legal obligation.

Hope this clears some up some of the most frequent questions people have been asking about!

Be well biggrin
Sisky
My PSA was better...

3Fire's avatar

Tipsy Businesswoman

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AnibeI
Basicly telling 75% of gaia to leave because theres nothing else left to do.
Yall ruined rally, soon to be towns, virtural holywood, and whatever else there was..
And just to let you know BTW " THIS IS THE INTERNET "
if you dont know what the "internet" is look it up.
i dont know what yall are doing but your just makeing people who already enjoyed the site leave.


I agree! I want my private rooms back.
It's not very fun going to rally in a cluster of like 50 people, with at least one spammer most of the time, and ignore not working.
Then the conversations HARD AS HELL to follow because there's like 30 of them going on and people who press enter after each word!
It was a lot better 2 years ago.
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srslyHaley's avatar

Fatcat

FireBubbles3
They think they can make people like the site better but they just made it worst,
they should have a vote going on instead of "oh even if you dont like it where going to do it"
it should be what the members want not them,
even though ther the owners, we are the ones who enjoy the site and use it, AND the reason the site goes on.
(talking about the 75%)
3Fire's avatar

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AnibeI
FireBubbles3
They think they can make people like the site better but they just made it worst,
they should have a vote going on instead of "oh even if you dont like it where going to do it"
it should be what the members want not them,
even though ther the owners, we are the ones who enjoy the site and use it, AND the reason the site goes on.
(talking about the 75%)

Agreed.
The large majority of users don't like the new rally/ect.
and I know 90 percent of what I used to do on here was rally, but it's stupid, pointless, and annoying, to go to rally or virtual hollywood when you can't have a conversation with someone without spammers and 30 other conversations getting in your way.
I honestly think they're going to lose a lot of users to this.
and I hope they realize that while they're the owners, they aren't the ones who create the population of users. We are.
dog11797's avatar

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Nocturneous's avatar

Questionable Streaker

FireBubbles3
AnibeI
FireBubbles3
They think they can make people like the site better but they just made it worst,
they should have a vote going on instead of "oh even if you dont like it where going to do it"
it should be what the members want not them,
even though ther the owners, we are the ones who enjoy the site and use it, AND the reason the site goes on.
(talking about the 75%)

Agreed.
The large majority of users don't like the new rally/ect.
and I know 90 percent of what I used to do on here was rally, but it's stupid, pointless, and annoying, to go to rally or virtual hollywood when you can't have a conversation with someone without spammers and 30 other conversations getting in your way.
I honestly think they're going to lose a lot of users to this.
and I hope they realize that while they're the owners, they aren't the ones who create the population of users. We are.



I didnt realize that nearly all the users hung out in Rally and that feature was the very epitome of Gaia. And if anything bad happened to it, users would be leaving in droves and Gaia would have nothing left. I would love to know where this information came from. Preferably from a credible source. lol
Sorry to burst into this conversation, but I felt that a mature stance on the changes was needed here. I dont know about you, but I certainly didnt enjoy that Rally/VH was full of holes that compromised Gaia's security as well as the security of the users. Im sure that Gaia didnt appreciate immature script kiddies messing around with the coding as if they owned the place. Rally/VH was getting upgraded for you all, to make it safer and secure. If you were creating flash worlds on your website, Im sure you wouldnt like people trying to mess it up and even figuring out holes in your platform that would endanger the site would you? I wouldnt like it at all.
To my knowledge, Gaia is still making improvements to Rally, especially to help friends find other friends. Instead of complaining about how something old, buggy and unsafe was better than a new system where everyone is much safer and harder for scripters to crack, make some suggestions as to what you want to see. I can assure you that Gaia is not going to throw away all their hard work done so far (its impossible for that matter anyway).

And now my thoughts to the topic at hand. There's NOTHING funny about making jokes about rape or murder. NOTHING edgy or cool about it. Im really ashamed at users that believe that Gaia is trying to spoil their fun by cracking down on these rules. Yeah there's free speech, but there's the kind of free speech that will make people look at you like you're a crazy a*****e. Its like saying "OMG BOMB!!!!" in an airport as a joke. Sure, you can say it. But do you really think the authorities are going to see it automatically as a joke too? If the police wouldnt take rape or murder threats as a joke, what makes the mods and staff see any different? Every comment like that must be taken seriously, and if getting banned on the site or even having the police knock on your door is what it takes for you to learn, then so be it.
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Nocturneous
FireBubbles3
AnibeI
FireBubbles3
They think they can make people like the site better but they just made it worst,
they should have a vote going on instead of "oh even if you dont like it where going to do it"
it should be what the members want not them,
even though ther the owners, we are the ones who enjoy the site and use it, AND the reason the site goes on.
(talking about the 75%)

Agreed.
The large majority of users don't like the new rally/ect.
and I know 90 percent of what I used to do on here was rally, but it's stupid, pointless, and annoying, to go to rally or virtual hollywood when you can't have a conversation with someone without spammers and 30 other conversations getting in your way.
I honestly think they're going to lose a lot of users to this.
and I hope they realize that while they're the owners, they aren't the ones who create the population of users. We are.



I didnt realize that nearly all the users hung out in Rally and that feature was the very epitome of Gaia. And if anything bad happened to it, users would be leaving in droves and Gaia would have nothing left. I would love to know where this information came from. Preferably from a credible source. lol
Sorry to burst into this conversation, but I felt that a mature stance on the changes was needed here. I dont know about you, but I certainly didnt enjoy that Rally/VH was full of holes that compromised Gaia's security as well as the security of the users. Im sure that Gaia didnt appreciate immature script kiddies messing around with the coding as if they owned the place. Rally/VH was getting upgraded for you all, to make it safer and secure. If you were creating flash worlds on your website, Im sure you wouldnt like people trying to mess it up and even figuring out holes in your platform that would endanger the site would you? I wouldnt like it at all.
To my knowledge, Gaia is still making improvements to Rally, especially to help friends find other friends. Instead of complaining about how something old, buggy and unsafe was better than a new system where everyone is much safer and harder for scripters to crack, make some suggestions as to what you want to see. I can assure you that Gaia is not going to throw away all their hard work done so far (its impossible for that matter anyway).

And now my thoughts to the topic at hand. There's NOTHING funny about making jokes about rape or murder. NOTHING edgy or cool about it. Im really ashamed at users that believe that Gaia is trying to spoil their fun by cracking down on these rules. Yeah there's free speech, but there's the kind of free speech that will make people look at you like you're a crazy a*****e. Its like saying "OMG BOMB!!!!" in an airport as a joke. Sure, you can say it. But do you really think the authorities are going to see it automatically as a joke too? If the police wouldnt take rape or murder threats as a joke, what makes the mods and staff see any different? Every comment like that must be taken seriously, and if getting banned on the site or even having the police knock on your door is what it takes for you to learn, then so be it.

Wow. Uhm. Where to start.
First of all, we weren't telling gaia to 'throw it all away' or anything of the like. We were just voicing our dislike.
Second of all, it's easier to fix glitches in script than re-doing everything, so I'm sure they had other reasons yes,but that doesn't mean we have to like it or that we can't voice our dislike.
Third, most of the people I've met go in rally at least once in a while, and use the private rooms. Now they're gone and replaced by clustered rooms that lag even more.
I didn't ever say they were going to lose droves of people and have nothing left. I said quite a few people would quite. There's still quite a few users on Gaia, too. Sorry you feel the need assume stuff like that.
and lastly, there's still holes: I can't ignore people, and there's a lot more spammers. (Who I can't ignore -.-)
I was way better with trolls creating odd-roomed names and walking on roofs and such than spammers who I can't ignore, thanks, and at least I could carry out a conversation before.
Also, half the time it doesn't load and you have to refresh it. It didn't do this before. Probably from configuring the large amount of avatars lurking around in one room, and messages being sent at once.
We have our opinion, you have yours. Woop de doop.


I agree with you on the jokes matter, though.

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