The way chat sites see it, there is not much for them to do about how people conduct themselves on their site. As we all know on AirG, there is the occasional ban (a whopping 15 minutes), and repeated offenses can get you even longer periods in virtual time out. But how does AirG address major chat concerns, like children accessing the same material adults view, when adults (if anyone at all) should be the only ones who should be able view it?
Personally I have been looking into this issue for some time now. I have been a member of AirG Chat for over a decade, and I have been witness to how they have changed their approach. At first, they adopted a rule we have here in the USA called the 1st Amendment, and you could cuss up a storm in a public chat room without any fear of reproach. Once chat decency became an addressed issue for online communities, AirG adopted the "Vote to Ban" option, which allowed users to voice their dissent with someones speech by voting to keep that person off the site or out of the chat room. This approach alleviated AirG of the responsibility of actively policing their website by putting it on its members, yet it caused a sort of mob mentality, and people would vote someone out of the room based solely on how their chat buddies felt about that person. This led to many people being upset, some members left, and AirG was forced to find another way to change how people chatted. This is where AirG Community Patrol came in, and especially on AirG, "Freedom of Speech" has never been the same.
AirG CP is a program that blocks certain strings of letters from appearing in succession. So when you type the word FUCK into the box and hit ENTER, all you end up seeing is the typical "****" block out of the word. This worked for abbreviations as well, so FK, FUC, FUCC... all were banned at some point. You would also receive a warning for trying to communicate using these sort of words, and just like when other members voted to ban you, a member could be temporarily locked out from the service for repeat offenses.
The main problem with this sort of censorship is that it has been overused. Take for example the word BLUNT. This can be a term referring to how someone acts as well as a drug reference. How can a program which is only built to block certain words be able to tell the difference? Especially since the use of the word to describe how someone acts is so benign? It can't. Which is another reason AirG (as well as other chat sites that don't mind censoring its members) have to take a good look at their position on censorship.
This brings me back to chat decency. How can a company that promotes itself to youthful members be only concerned with the decency of the chat and not the morality of it all? Don't they go hand in hand? When I see a female profile post something like "Guys get at me for pay2play $$$," and I report the post to AirG, those members seemingly never get punished for solicitation. I see them in there (the room) posting that shit for hours on end, and I know Im not the only person reporting it. Yet when I post "NOT TO BE BLUNT, BUT HO THERE ARE KIDS IN HERE. FIND A NEW SITE," I get banned within seconds. Even right now, I am locked out of my account and I have not said anything indecent or immoral. About 10 minutes ago I was commenting on AirG's new roll out of their "VIP" program, and yes my comments were not very positive (they charge $2 a week so you can have some BigBarnWorld plots and some new emoticons), but should I have been locked out? Is this virtual harassment? All I am really trying to accomplish is to get this company to decide which side of the line they want to be on, because you cant promote yourself to kids without proving how safe the environment is for them to be there. And its not safe for kids when they see hookers posting their available services and johns posting their available spending limits.
Pick a side guys. Either you are totally free from censorship or you do a respectable job of policing your website. By the way, I got the big bann for my comments today. Locked out with no timer. My best guess: its personal.
P.S.>> Anyone know why AirG's 866 USA Cust. Svc. number is disconnected?