Privacy rules don't count for moderators

I tried to get clarification about this incident by mail, yet there came no reply at all
So I am sorry, but since there came no answer to my mails I ask for clarification by use of this forum. And I think this issue is a concern for several members, hence a clarification is useful for others as well.

Seems to me that in any case that does not count for the administrators and morderators.

  1. The “truth” is Lynn Bodoni, that no IP you can look at shall reveal anything at all about my real IP and its location, and about my location when the post is made and about whatever method I use to have my posts appear on the forums.
  2. This is I suppose what the privacy policy describes as:
    “Chicago Reader, Inc. respects your privacy and will never release any personal information about you without your consent.

It is absolutely clear that my endlessly repeated – both on the forums and in mails to the administration - refusal to disclose any information about my location on a public message board is not clear enough for the administrators. In the sense of clear enough to be read as: I do not and shall not ever give my consent to publish anything that can be even remotely related to my location.

In addition: On top of what Lynn Bodoni published on the forum about what she perceived as the location of one of the IP’s I used, she repeatedly does “IP checks” on my posts = on a regular and repeated base.
For what reason? Who asks her to transfer such information?
And why does an administrator of this message board collects such personal information?
The so called “privacy rule” states :
“We do not and will not collect your name, E-mail address,** or any other personal information without your consent.**”

Lynn Bodoni finds my own personal privacy, which I want and need to shield off when posting on an internet message board, a little game she can play with. It is a “fair game” for her to abuse her access to some of that information to give it a try to break down my cover.
Privacy policy? Not for the administrators. Posting people’s private information is “fair game” whenever an administrator feels like it.

Note to the administrators who want to play that “fair game”:

What I am “claiming” about my location from the first posts I made on this message board is:

  1. I am born and live in the Middle East.
  2. That is ALL I ever want to say about where I live.
  3. Posters like Mehitabel should stop claiming they “need to know” my location. I mailed administrator/moderator about this. That mail included once again a statement that I can not publish my location on a message board.
  4. For this very reason (and Mehitabl’s spreading of “information” about my “origin and location” which has its origin in her fantasy) I recently filled in under “location”
    Anyone with a development above a 1 year old can see that this is meant to say:
    I live in the ME and that is all you are going to get as information.
    Which means, once again: I do not disclose my country because I do not want it to be disclosed

Apparently the administrators consider it to be “fair game” to disclose personal information whenever an administrator feels like it. My reasons for not wanting to have this kind of information disclosed on a public message board does not count at all.
The disclosure was about a proxy. Locations of my proxies are **part of my personal information that I do NOT WANT to be disclosed on an internet message board **.
Let be that anyone who has access to such information should claim that it is “fair game” to play with it.

Am I lucky. She fears that other members could become paranoid if she “becomes more specific” about the location of the IP she thought to have figured out and hence published.

It is very clear that if by some unreal jackpot luck Lynn Bodoni would have been able to take a look behind my proxies and discovered my REAL IP, Lynn Bodoni would have published its country of origin without any hesitation.

Next thing I saw was an other moderator making jokes about the abuse Lynn Bodoni makes of her access to private information.
Coldfire posted something in the line of “ well it has been a week since we exposed someone”.

And let me add this quote from the SDMB rules:

Lynn Bodoni’s posting of the location of one the IP’s I used is

  1. inaccurate
  2. abusive
  3. harassing
  4. hateful
  5. threatening
  6. invasive of my privacy.

Lynn Bodoni’s regular “IP check” on my posts is

  1. abusive
  2. threatening
  3. invasive of my privacy.

So that is what the so called “rules” and “privacy rule” are worth.
ZERO in the infinite when it comes to apply them to administrators and moderators.

What is the reason for this and what is its justification?

Salaam. A

[Administrator Hat ON]

I’ll talk with Lynn (since she made the post in question) and in the meantime we shall discuss our policy re this among the staff. It’s not an issue that has come up before, so we may need a little time to determine how we proceed. I will appreciate your patience. Thanks.

[Administrator Hat OFF]

For what it’s worth - namely nothing - I agree with Aldebaran that this should not have happened. Especially since he has made it very clear that he does not want to publish his home country.

God knows I was hard enough on you when I thought you were wrong, Aldebaran. I owe you a bit of support when I think you are right.


I hate to admit it (;)), but Aldebaran has (for once) a completely valid point! I find myself actually agreeing with him/her on something…


Sorry, I’m going to skip the “attaboys” and chop out one part of your argument. This is a technology misunderstanding, not a policy one, so I feel like I can add something here.

Like it or not, both the web server and the message board software collect your IP information. And like it or not these are stored in the database with every single post that you make. This is not something done special by the Chicago Reader, this is an inherent function of the software itself. If you don’t like that, then you’d better sign off the Net now. Because AFAIK every single web server in existence collects your IP address.

There are many reasons that the vBulletin software does collect IP addresses; some of those reasons include allowing the Board to ban certain IP addresses and/or ranges which are sources of harassment by trolls, spammers, and others. It’s not a great system but it does stop the dumber and/or less diabolical people.

In addition, viewing of IP addresses is often done for diagnostic purposes. I know that when people on my Board claim to have trouble accessing the site, I and my Staff view IP addresses, and check the countries and ISPs, to try to track down the reason and scope and extent of the outage or Net congestion. This is SOP for proactive site administration, and I imagine that given the frequent and non-stop complaints about the site being slow or down, Lynn and others quite often do IP checks, especially on people who allege to be from certain countries, to try to see what the problem is. This IP check may be to verify the location of a person, then to traceroute them to try to see response time. To cast this as an invasion of privacy or something sinister is indicative of a clear misunderstanding of the facts of the situation.

Finally, the ability to check and the act of checking IP addresses to verify that a user account is not being used for harassing, spamming, or other means potentially disruptive to the board is a standard tool and standard practice, widely implemented and with long precedent among Internet message boards. This precedent of viewing and checking IP addresses existed in the Net as far back as USENET, and no US court that I am aware of has ever found that an IP address is protected, personal, private information that cannot be revealed by a server owner, should you make a free choice to visit a server owned and/or operated by the person running the server.

As Administrator of a public message Board Lynn et al are not only “allowed” to do IP checks whenever and however they feel like it, I would argue that it should be encouraged as it is SOP of site administration on the Net.

Thus, you have no leg to stand on with respect to your second set of gripes.

Because it’s Sunday, a number of the players in this drama are not available for immediate comment.

I am therefore closing this thread until we have a chance to have some discussions and the people involved have a chance to respond. Please be patient.

Couple things:

  1. It was a mistake for SDMB staff to post personal information about Aldebaran derived from his IP number. Our message board software routinely logs IP numbers, which we sometimes review to identify sock puppets and perform other administrative tasks. However, the numbers and any information derived from them are for internal use only and are not to be posted or otherwise revealed to anyone other than SDMB staff, Chicago Reader management, or law enforcement upon receipt of a bona fide inquiry. We apologize to Aldebaran for this breach of privacy and have taken steps to ensure that such lapses do not recur.

  2. Regarding your original grievance, Aldebaran, please be aware that we have tolerated a great deal of intemperate behavior on your part but that our patience is not unlimited. You are free to express your political views in a forceful manner. However, if you continue to harangue the board administration and treat other posters in a less than civil manner, your time here is likely to be short.

In my opinion, Coldfire similarly used personal information about me in an improper manner.

Note the thread Alderbaran linked to.

The facts are not so grievous as Alderbaran’s complaint. However I also note that I was the recipient of angst related to Alderbaran and not to my own conduct.

To clarify and correct. The thread is not the same one Alderbaran links to. It is this one.

There was simply no call for Coldfire to refer to my personal information, at all, even in jest.

Please specify what you mean with:

  1. intemperate behaviour (yes I am sometimes a bit overheated. Comes to it that the nature of many of the issues I touch are overheated on their own and especially when debating with a US public. I am surely not a unique case and I don’t see what the connection of this remark is with the issue at hand).
  2. original grievance
  3. harangue board administration
  4. less than civil manner (on this I can only say that you can find a lot of “less than civil posting behaviour” towards me and coming from several members)

I posted this thread because there came no reply on my mails about this incident.
I shall quote the opening and the last part of that mail for clarification about what I guess you call here my “original grievance”:

Can you please explain the intentions behind this post of Lynn Bodoni. It popped up out of the blue as her reaction on a post of mine to Mehitabel, who was once again telling the world that “she knows that I am a Saudi”.

I asked once on the ATMB if this member’s constant spreading of “information” about me was within the rules. Next I send links to an amount of posts of this member (and an other) claiming to “know” what, who and where I am to two moderators. I never received any reaction and it becomes clear now why. Lynn Bodoni also likes this game.

Can you see the logic behind the reasoning that a puzzle is as complicated as the maker makes it, yet that every single piece you can lay out is a step in the direction of its completion?

If it is impossible for you to guarantee even the most basic privacy of what your website gathers about my visits, may I then ask you to delete my posts, membername and every trace of my activities on the SDMB that Lynn Bodoni can possibly have access to. Thank you very much.

Rest me then only to say that I appreciated my membership of the SDMB very much and that I hope your website shall stay online as an excellent and outstanding example of what a message board should be. If I am member or not, you can count on my support and applaud. (/quote)

I said already earlier in mails to one or two administrators that if my posting on this message board is unwanted, you only need to say it and I shall leave this message board alone without any further comment from my side.

In my opinion you have said it now.
Thank you for the occasion this forum gave me to interact with many interesting people. I would appreciate it very much if you could do what I asked in my mail.

Salaam. A

Yikes, you win the battle yet you throw up the white flag?

I hope you reconsider…diversity is what makes this board great.

I am not criticising any Mod or Admin in this post. No such criticism is implied, nor should be construed.

No White Flag involved, Uncommon.
I think he’s just disgusted, and he may possibly be on firm ground.
Not merely with the privacy thing, although there may be something in that, too.

I disagree with a lot of what he has said, but then again, I disagree with much that has been said against him. He’s played rough, but he has also been played with roughly.

I really think he deserves some slack.

Seems to me that if Aldebaran hadn’t used his supposed location as a basis for inventing arguments with so many Dopers (especially those in the US), none of this would have happened.

No offense intended Jeff;
I don’t think we know where he posts from and we shouldn’t. I think there has been speculation, but Aldebaran has sort of disputed said speculation. His location remains ambiguous at best, and for you to imply ‘inventing’ would be a little pre-mature, me thinks.

I think you misunderstood. The OP has a tendency to invent arguments, primarily against Dopers from the US. I was saying that if not for all his strawmen, there wouldn’t be anyone wondering if he really is where he says he is. Ergo, Lynn would not have posted what she did and this thread would not exist.

See our main rule, which is “Don’t be a jerk.” We also think the old Golden Rule has some application here as well: How would you like to be treated here? That’s how you should treat others, with the same consideration.

If a moderator tells you that you’re not playing within the rules, that means you have just been given some guidelines and you should pay attention. It’s different for every forum because of the difference between the subject matter covered. We expect less heat in About This Message Board than in Great Debates, for example, simply because of the nature of what’s discussed.

While there is always some give and take in the course of human events and we moderate accordingly, there’s limits to everything. When it ratchets up to abuse, especially abuse of someone because they are a staffer, that’s too far.

You may disagree with a moderator’s opinion or a ruling on an issue, but you are going to have to be civil about it, no matter how “overheated” you might get about it.

I am not about to go look at over 2,300 posts to see where you’ve trangressed, but this also indicates to me that you are not new to this board and have at least a working understanding of what goes on here.

Pay attention to what the staff tells you. Give some thought to what you say and how you say it and how it will be perceived by others. How would your message be taken if it was sent to you? Do these things and your experience here – and ours – will be a good one. Make other choices and your experience will vary.

your humble TubaDiva

And while we’re about it,I think THIS is offensive:

and I ask you to remove that from your profile. SDMB Profiles are not to be used to conduct disputes on the board (or anywhere else, for that matter).

your humble TubaDiva

If he continues to use his profile as a tool to dispute the horrible conduct he has reported will he be banned? If so, can we expect a banning of someone who breaks the rules they are expected to uphold?

And before anyone wants to jump in and check my IP, I’m not in Las Vegas right now, I’m out of state due to an illness in my family so please forgive me if I don’t update my location each time I cross a state line.

Pardon my snarky behavior but I’m a bit disugsted at the “We’re dead wrong but let me smack you around a little more and add some insult to injury” attitude the OP has been given.

Unreasonable around here much?

As was explained earlier in this thread and elsewhere on this site, IPs are used for a variety of things but are rarely looked at without reason to do so. You could be posting from Tralfamadore and mostly we do not know nor care.

We have explained our position and apologized where we felt necessary to do so, that’s hardly “adding insult to injury.”

your humble TubaDiva

Quite a bit lately actually, thanks for asking.

One of your Administrators misuses their ability to look up an IP address for the purpose of busting out/one upping a charter member of the board. Ed Zotti spins this as a “mistake” and offers an apology to the offended party and then turns around and gives them a smackdown and you insinuate that I am the unreasonable one? Riiiiight.

A mistake gives it an easy going feel of “oops, I didn’t mean to do that… my mistake” when it was obviously a deliberate action. Lynn is a very intelligent woman. I don’t believe for one minute that she didn’t consider (before she posted the info) that it was wrong. I think she is just THAT confident with the fact that nothing would be done about it. She was right.