Forum:RS:IRC and the impersonation rule

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This thread was archived on 13 February 2012 by Gaz Lloyd.

This has been a recurring problem since I started joining the IRC, so I believe it deserves a thread.

The page contains a rule about impersonation. The rule is very vague. This causes channel operators to argue about who is right about the rule and who is not. There appears to be consensus at first glance, but clearly this is not the case.

What should it be?

  • Should the operators kick a person who use another's nickname verbatim without identifying to NickServ while the rightful owner is not present? In what circumstances?
  • Should the operators kick a person who use another's nickname verbatim without identifying to NickServ while the rightful owner is present (for example, is Liquid impersonating User:Liquidhelium when he is in the channel as Liquid|busy)? In what circumstances?
  • Should the operators kick a person who uses a deliberately confusing version of another's nickname, such as OverIIoyd for Overlloyd? In what circumstances?
  • Should the operators kick multiple people when they use parts of another's nickname, confusing the other users regarding who is speaking? In what circumstances?

Circumstances:

  • The person does not assert to be the rightful person at all, but another person asks whether s/he is.
  • The person asserts to be the rightful person.
  • The person is not doing anything malicious (aside from confusing users) while under the nickname or nickname variant.
  • The person is doing something malicious (which could fall under other malicious conduct rules).
  • The person is answering as if s/he was the rightful person for an important decision or a user talk page follow-up.

Finally, can impersonation be called upon when:

  • A user is using a significant portion of another user's nickname as his/her own? For example, is Saradomin impersonating SaradominO_o?
  • A user is using a nickname that another user does not have registered with NickServ, but would use if the circumstances were correct? For example, is Glachog impersonating Warthog?
  • A user is using a nickname that is his/her own with an insignificant part of another user's nickname? For example, is A_gaz impersonating A_proofreader, or ProofreaderV impersonating ChristineV?
 a proofreader ▸ 

06:46, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Discussion

Comment - People should only be kicked if they are maliciously impersonating another user. If it is done jokingly and the user being impersonating doesn't have a problem with it, then there is no reason to kick the impersonator. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 06:59, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - I agree with Sentra. There is no problem with some one changing their nick name to any thing else, unless it is being used in a malicious way. xScoobsx Talk Contribs 07:01, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Malicious impersonation warrants a kick. In nonmalicious circumstances, here are my answers to your questions.

The "What should it be?" questions:

  • No. If the rightful owner wanted to prevent this, then he would have enabled NickProtect.
  • No. The rightful owner can solve this with a ghost and/or NickProtect.
  • No. It's called having some fun.
  • See above.

The "Finally, can impersonation be called upon when" questions:

  • No. While it can be reasonably expected for a user to be able to lay claim over his exact username, a user cannot honestly expect to control all permutations of said name. This is especially true for names for which a significant portion is a somewhat common phrase.
  • No. If the user wanted to prevent this, he would have grouped the nick.
  • No. See above.

--LiquidTalk 07:19, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Don't kick someone for impersonating under any circumstances unless the impersonation is for malicious purposes, or the impersonated user specifically and seriously states that they do not wish to be impersonated for fun, but the impersonating user refuses to change their nick. It's not that difficult unless someone makes it difficult. 222 talk 07:39, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment with shiny table because I can. Here's what I think it should be:

Circumstance Registered nick,
owner around
Registered nick,
owner not around
Confusing nick,
one person
Confusing nick,
multiple people
No assertion made Nick protection or ghost Nick protection Nothing happens Nothing happens
Assertion made Nick protection or ghost Nick protection or discretionary Warn Warn, kick
Malicious conduct Kick per other rules Kick per other rules Kick per other rules Kick per other rules
Talk page/previous
IRC chat follow-up
Nick protection or ghost Nick protection or clarify Warn Warn
Single user
confused
Nick protection, ghost or clarify Nick protection or clarify Clarify for requestor Clarify and/or warn
All users
confused
Nick protection or discretionary Nick protection or discretionary Warn Warn, kick

Confusion about who is whom can cause severe disruption in the chat, hence the warnings and kicks. If multiple people are assuming confusing names and most of the other users are asking whom they are talking to, I believe this makes it worth a low-profile warning and a kick after a while to stop the disruption.

Asserting, under a registered nickname, that the user is the rightful person should be clarified if the user has nick protection disabled, or kicked if s/he gets repeatedly changed to a guest nickname. Single confusing nicknames should be simple warnings, or if the portion of the nickname used is not significant or the nickname is used in jest, absolutely nothing. This is for the case where someone takes a part of another person's nickname for fun.

If people are using two nickname themes and most of the users don't know whether the rightful owner of the most significant part of both themes is using his/her rightful name, then the operator should look at the chat and use WHOIS, warning and kicking people as appropriate. The rightful owner of a registered nickname should never be kicked. An example of this: "A_cook" and "Cook_Me_Plox", with some others using "A_" and others using "Cook_" or "_Me_Plox". If "A_proofreader" is "A_cook" in this case, this fuels the confusion on whether Cook_Me_Plox is using his rightful name.

In all cases, using a minor part of another person's name should yield absolutely nothing. A single user who is confused in this case should just be pointed in the right direction.

For reference, here's what I think the consensus is like on IRC:

Circumstance Registered nick,
owner around
Registered nick,
owner not around
Confusing nick,
one person
Confusing nick,
multiple people
No assertion made Nick protection or owner ghosts Nick protection Nothing happens Nothing happens
Assertion made ? ? Warn Warn
Malicious conduct Kick per other rules Kick per other rules Kick per other rules Kick per other rules
Talk page/previous
IRC chat follow-up
Nick protection or ghost Nick protection Should use WHOIS Warn
Single user
confused
Should use WHOIS Nick protection or ? Should use WHOIS Should use WHOIS
All users
confused
Nick protection or ? Nick protection or ? ? ?
 a proofreader ▸ 

08:20, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Here is my interpretation.

  • Should the operators kick a person who use another's nickname verbatim without identifying to NickServ while the rightful owner is not present? In what circumstances? Yes, they should. The person who owns the nick is not present to give their consent to be impersonated, nor to register a complaint about the impersonation. Note that users who do not want others using their nicks verbatim can /msg NickServ set enforce on which will instruct NickServ to prevent others from using their nicks without first identifying. However, if a user were to circumvent this by using a slightly modified nick (such as Andor1n), I would certainly kick them after a warning.
  • Should the operators kick a person who use another's nickname verbatim without identifying to NickServ while the rightful owner is present (for example, is Liquid impersonating User:Liquidhelium when he is in the channel as Liquid|busy)? In what circumstances? Maybe. Operators should first attempt to check whether the two people are actually the same, for example by asking the identified user whether they are also the unidentified user. While I have not yet considered the issue of consent to impersonate, if it were agreed upon that users can impersonate others with the permission of the impersonated user, then operators should warn and kick if the impersonated user in question says the impersonator does not have their permission.
  • Should the operators kick a person who uses a deliberately confusing version of another's nickname, such as OverIIoyd for Overlloyd? In what circumstances? Yes. As far as I can determine, there is no reason to do this except to deliberately confuse people.
  • Should the operators kick multiple people when they use parts of another's nickname, confusing the other users regarding who is speaking? In what circumstances? Absolutely. I'm glad this was brought up, because it's my primary problem with the issue of impersonation. Once in a while, several users in a channel will all change their nicks to resemble one another's. These nicks will be confusingly similar, and oftentimes such mass nick changes are accompanied by lots of activity in the channel. As an operator, in these situations I find it very difficult to monitor the channel's activity and enforce the rules; it becomes hard to tell who is saying what, especially since I don't know whether "trolo1overlloyd" is Gaz, or if "tr0lolover1loyd" is, or some other variant thereof. I'm sure I'm not the only person who becomes confused and frustrated when this happens, because it makes chatting with anyone who does this difficult. It needs to stop.

Circumstances:

  • The person does not assert to be the rightful person at all, but another person asks whether s/he is. This basically just leads to the circumstance below.
  • The person asserts to be the rightful person. If they aren't, operators should kick and probably ban. This is the most blatant and deliberate form of impersonation.
  • The person is not doing anything malicious (aside from confusing users) while under the nickname or nickname variant. While this is debateable, I believe that merely joining the channel under a certain nick is an assertion that you are the person to whom that nick, or nick theme, belongs.
  • The person is doing something malicious (which could fall under other malicious conduct rules). Their impersonation is irrelevant and they'll be kicked for whatever else they're doing. However, if it turns out they were doing something malicious in order to try and get someone else in trouble, they'll be banned for a very long time.
  • The person is answering as if s/he was the rightful person for an important decision or a user talk page follow-up. This ties into circumstance #2. If they're deliberately pretending to be someone they aren't, they will be kicked and most likely banned. If this answer doesn't make sense, it's because I failed to correctly interpret the question.

Finally, can impersonation be called upon when:

  • A user is using a significant portion of another user's nickname as his/her own? For example, is Saradomin impersonating SaradominO_o? Yes, it can. It's very common for regular IRC users to adopt unique nick themes. I, for example, am normally in the channel as Andorin, but I will use nicks like AK|laptop to denote that I'm present, just under an alternate and easily-recognized nick. Were someone else to join under an AK|XXXXX nick, it would be reasonable for another user to assume that that someone is me... hence impersonation.
  • A user is using a nickname that another user does not have registered with NickServ, but would use if the circumstances were correct? For example, is Glachog impersonating Warthog? The example here is poor, as the "hog" theme of nicks is recognized as belonging to Warthog. However, from the wording of the question, I would gather that in the vast majority of cases, the new, unregistered nick would follow an established nick theme, in which case my answer posted immediately above would apply.
  • A user is using a nickname that is his/her own with an insignificant part of another user's nickname? For example, is A_gaz impersonating A_proofreader, or ProofreaderV impersonating ChristineV? This is just a confusing mess, because A_gaz could be A_proofreader or Gaz. I would not call it impersonation to the degree that other actions would be, because if Gaz changes his nick to A_gaz, his nick still contains "gaz". However, it makes things difficult in the channel in a different way.

Look, guys. IRC makes it very easy to be flexible with your identity. If there is a community interest in maintaining some standards of identity, and I think we can all agree that there is, we have to set some boundaries on which nicks are acceptable and which aren't. NickServ helps by allowing us to register the nicks that identify us, as well as requiring authentication to use the nicks, but the fact that I have AK|laptop registered does not mean I own every instance of AK| nicks. (Also, it's worth noting that not everyone uses NickServ, so its protections are not guaranteed.) Deliberately impersonating other users, especially to damage their reputation or get them in trouble, is a big offense. Obfuscating the channel by having a large number of active users change to strongly similar nicks is a headache for those who are not involved in the "fun". Yes, technically it is possible for me to /whois everyone when this happens, and to keep doing so as nicks change. However, it's unreasonable to expect me, or any other operator, to put up with that.

In conclusion, my two major concerns are willful impersonation and confusing the channel. I believe the rules are in place to prevent these two things from happening; without them, IRC would be a disorganized mess of nonsense (well, even more so than it is) and no one would ever want to join. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 08:43, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Regarding one of the points you made, the fact that AK|* is one of your nick themes: You have op status on that AK|, and if someone else takes an AK|* nick, then s/he will not have op and will have a harder time convincing people that s/he is you. You are actually privileged in that regard, since most clients will show the @ before your name in the list of nicknames.
However, there's no notion of auto-voiced users in the channel, so this doesn't apply to non-ops. If there was such a notion, then a non-voiced user could also have a harder time convincing people that s/he is the rightful person.  a proofreader ▸  20:01, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - There should also be a clear rule about impersonating well-known runescape users such as Zezima, Tehnoobshow, Gertjaars, Mod_*, etc. What should happen if people take those nicks? JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 09:53, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Curious question: how does one know if its the "real" thing or an impersonator? Going out of their way to prove it would be an annoyance to drive away users, and I'm trying to imagine a hypothetical situation where a well known user came in and got immediately kicked because their name was similar.  —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hofmic (talk) on 19:04, January 17, 2012 (UTC).

Comment - My answer to "Should the operators kick a person who uses a deliberately confusing version of another's nickname, such as OverIIoyd for Overlloyd? In what circumstances?" is yes, but only if either the user being impersonated has informed the impersonator he doesn't like him impersonating and the user doesn't change his nick. Most users can't possibly group all of the nicks that look the same as their nick. Most nicks have enough characters that can be swapped (O-0, 5-S, l-I-1...).
For all others, I think they should not be kicked. The user can take action himself by grouping and protecting their nicks, so if the impersonation is not used maliciously, they shouldn't be kicked. JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 10:35, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - I strong oppose kicking anyone for changing their name to someone else's / something similar as long as the intention of the user is not to confuse others into thinking they are that person. bad_fetustalk 14:18, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

  • Should the operators kick a person who use another's nickname verbatim without identifying to NickServ while the rightful owner is not present? - No, that's what nick protection is for. It's not hard to set up.
  • Should the operators kick a person who use another's nickname verbatim without identifying to NickServ while the rightful owner is present (for example, is Liquid impersonating User:Liquidhelium when he is in the channel as Liquid|busy)? In what circumstances? - No, that's what nick protection is for. If Liquid doesn't have protection on Liquidhelium that's his own fault.
  • Should the operators kick a person who uses a deliberately confusing version of another's nickname, such as OverIIoyd for Overlloyd? - Are you seriously going to kick people for this? People are having fun, and there's no reason you need to lock things down for this besides for the sake of being in control. Kicking people for this will just create more chaos, people will blur the line, and it will never end. It's a nonexistent problem.
  • Should the operators kick multiple people when they use parts of another's nickname, confusing the other users regarding who is speaking? In what circumstances? - No. There's nothing wrong with this. People are having a good time, and a channel operator should not see the need to "enforce the rules" by kicking people because he can't tell who's who.

This is all of course assuming that there is no malicious intent, that it's done in jest, and the person being "impersonated" doesn't mind. A good rule for moderating any kind of chat is that if only a moderator has a problem with it, it's probably not a problem.

  • The person does not assert to be the rightful person at all, but another person asks whether s/he is. - If they're not causing problems, leave them be.
  • The person asserts to be the rightful person. - If this can be shown to be false, can't we lump such an assertion under malicious purposes?
  • The person is not doing anything malicious (aside from confusing users) while under the nickname or nickname variant. - See above, if they're not causing problems, leave them be.
  • The person is doing something malicious (which could fall under other malicious conduct rules). - We already have a rule for this. Kick them.
  • The person is answering as if s/he was the rightful person for an important decision or a user talk page follow-up. - Also malicious.

Impersonation:

  • A user is using a significant portion of another user's nickname as his/her own? For example, is Saradomin impersonating SaradominO_o? - No. This falls under the same category as nickname variants, but with the added chance that both of the nicks evolved on their own. "Saradomin" is distinct from "SaradominO o", and it's clear that the former has been used many times over the years.
  • A user is using a nickname that another user does not have registered with NickServ, but would use if the circumstances were correct? For example, is Glachog impersonating Warthog? - Nope; also falls under the nickname variant category. If they haven't registered it, it's not theirs.
  • A user is using a nickname that is his/her own with an insignificant part of another user's nickname? For example, is A_gaz impersonating A_proofreader, or ProofreaderV impersonating ChristineV? - Absolutely not.

I'm glad we're finally having a discussion about this. Good to see where people stand. ʞooɔ 15:33, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

I completely agree with this. bad_fetustalk 19:08, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - I'm against kicking anyone due to name impersonation unless it's verbatim and malicious, as users can register the nickname they use, and if they haven't, tough luck. There's about a million people around the world with the same name as me, Mike. My dad had a guy in his school with the same first and last name (wasn't even related). Should we get all fussy and claim impersonation? Hofmic Talk 19:04, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

My opinion - Kicks should only be dealt if the person is being malicious. Andorin's reasoning of it making it hard for him to moderate is moot in my opinion, since there was no trouble being made. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 21:51, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

The link to last night's IRC log that brought this up svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 22:26, January 17, 2012 (UTC)
Nailed it on the head there. There were no rules being broken that would have warranted anyone a kick. And also, why does it matter who it is that is being kicked? No one is immune from the rules so the identity behind the user should not even come into play. All that happened last night was out of fun and none of it could of come close to receiving a kick. There was just a single "party pooper". xScoobsx Talk Contribs 05:23, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Users above me have supplied ample text walls, so I shall simply say per Cook. Broadly speaking, a nick change performed with blatant malicious intent should warrant action accordingly. I don't see why it can't be as simple as that. One or two users that have stirred this up in the past are much too fond and abusive of their status for my liking. Ronan Talk 22:40, January 17, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Does use of a user's name as an adjective to describe another noun warrant a kick? Because the user's name is not being impersonated, just used as a description. Such as "Scoobs_Puppy". xScoobsx Talk Contribs 05:47, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

What you did does deserve a kick, as it was partly malicious. If it is done in jest, when it is not just used to troll, then there wouldn't be a problem. Hunter cape (t).png Sentra246Blue hallowe'en mask.png 05:53, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
But yet he kicked me for not obtaining his permission to impersonate him? I'm just pointing out inconsistencies and where emotions take over and tunnel vision takes place. This is my last comment on this topic. xScoobsx Talk Contribs 05:55, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
What is this about? Could someone please post some chat logs or give a description of what this is about? JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 18:34, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - The last day or two people in the Irc have been purposefully changing their names to things similar to others nick names just to make fun of this problem. Although they weren't doing this for a bad reason it was really confusing and annoying. I couldn't tell who was who in the channel and it made it REALLY hard to follow the conversation. It almost got to the point where I wanted to quit. I understand its all in the good spirit of Irc but there comes a point where its just stupid and immature and I could even argue that the people where doing to purposefully annoy users that were against it. A few people have taken this issue too far by jokingly impersonating other users even when people ask them to stop. The point of this is to keep the chat running as smooth as possible and its really hard when there are four different people with the names Cook_me_something. Whats so hard about keeping your normal name?

I'm sure if a new user came into the channel and saw 4 different Cook_me_somethings they would get confused and might not stay? Do we want to be and inviting place or just make half our users quit? Irc is supposed to be a fun easy place to have discussions with friends etc, this could ruin that atmosphere, I personally would hate for that to happen..  Marrioneetee (Talk) http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/7835/nyancaty.png   06:17, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Confusing, maybe, but I'm having a lot of difficulty imagining a user leaving because people have similar names. By that theory, we should hate all twins, because they do that all the time in real life. Come on, people, lighten up. Hofmic Talk 06:51, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
When there is 4 different people with the same name all talking at the same time how do you keep up, how do you tell the difference when they all talk without carefully looking at the chat? You dont. Its just a confusing blob of mess that you cant understand, how about 20 lines of nick name change spam that is unnecessary to the point where you cant tell who is who unless to whois 10 people? I'm not saying we should hate twins, even twins are individuals and will be different and have different names. Its not about hating people with similar names or twin and I have did not say anything like that its about people who are purposefully impersonating another user and confusing the chat..  Marrioneetee (Talk) http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/7835/nyancaty.png   07:05, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
Why do you need to read every line carefully when people are just joking..? People aren't going to do that when there is an important discussion etc. is going on, and I honestly fail to see why you need to be so informed on who said what when they are joking. bad_fetustalk 14:56, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
Let's just say Marrion really doesn't like it, and you don't mind it, when you can't clearly see who's talking. I say we have to respect the opinions of people who don't like it and just listen to them if they ask you to change your nick because it is unclear. I don't think people should be kicked for such things, but still, let's just respect other people's opinions and preferences. JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 18:32, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
We can't have everyone like everything. How many Yew Grove proposals have passed, but had at least one person opposing them? I don't like the Wikia skin, rap music, Hello Kitty, Macs, figs, Justin Beiber, sales tax, and tattoos, but does that mean we should set out on a pilgrimage to set on fire anything pertaining to Hello Kitty? Unless its a severe loathing, we usually just tolerate things we don't like. People with similar names? I can live with that (which is more than I can say about Justin Beiber). Hofmic Talk 18:51, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
^This. bad_fetustalk 19:30, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
bieber --Iiii I I I 20:42, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
@hofmic: So, you say you dislike those things. What if we just respect that you dislike that, and respect that other people dislike it when it gets really unclear who is saying what, and just change nicks when asked to do so. Like I said above, I don't want people to get kicked for this kind of things, but it would just be nice if we would just accept that, and if people are really annoyed by it, change your nick. Not because you have to (it should indeed not be a rule), but just because you can be nice to others. I am not commenting that this should be a rule or should be added to the policy or anything, I just hope that if people are actually annoyed, people can just be nice to them and change nicks. JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 21:15, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
If using confusing nicks is the worst thing that has happened in that channel, we're doing good. Confusing nicks would be the last thing that happens in IRC to scare away newer users. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 21:58, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with Zamorak on that comment, but in a blunt perspective, we can't always have everything our way. In my ideal world, this Justin Bieber (thanks Fetus) would not exist. But that's not the way things are. "Nice" is a matter of opinion. There's someone, somewhere, who's bothered by everything. I'm not opposed to rules, but I believe we need to set a line where rules end and things just get out of hand. Compare it to SOPA: stopping piracy seems fair enough, but the bill is overstepping the line. Restricting the nickname one can have in the chat seems so heavily is also overstepping the line. Malicious impersonation is one thing, but some friends just having a touch of fun is another. Hofmic Talk 22:17, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, wasn't I clear enough when I said "I am not commenting that this should be a rule or should be added to the policy or anything"? Okay then. I don't think this should be a rule. I agree with you there. I don't want to restrict nicknames, I don't think fun should be stopped, but if someone is seriously annoyed by it, I'm asking people to just be nice to each other and respect that by changing their nick. "Not because you have to, but just because you can be nice to others.". JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 11:41, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
By the way, in this chat log, I do agree with you people shouldn't have been told to chang their nick back the moment Andorin got in. It was just having fun and there's nothing wrong with it. Andorin didn't follow the conversation before he got pinged, so there was no need for him to follow it after that. He could just have left again. For later on, I do agree it would have been best to change nicks, at the point where it did really get unclear who each Cook_me_* was. Of course, there should be fun in the channel, nothing wrong with that. But when multiple people say they are actually getting confused, I think it would be best to just change back again (which in this case also happened). JOEYTJE50TALKpull my finger 12:10, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
Why can't people just keep their normal names. Its not hard.  Marrioneetee (Talk) http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/7835/nyancaty.png   22:56, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
This is why I no longer join irc. sssSp7p.pngIjLCqFF.png 22:59, January 18, 2012 (UTC)
I use many nicks because I find using one nick to be very restricting. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 00:16, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
Its fine to have more than one name, but why impersonate a user for fun when it annoys people and is not necessary. -- Marrioneetee (Talk) http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/7835/nyancaty.png   01:39, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
Nothing is necessary. svco4bY.png3Gf5N2F.png 02:22, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
That doesnt take away from the fact thats its annoying. -- Marrioneetee (Talk) http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/7835/nyancaty.png   04:23, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
Why do you use the irc channel when it's not necessary? bad_fetustalk 10:12, January 21, 2012 (UTC)
So I can talk to my friends and things like runescript etc, Not to confuse everyone to the point where im frustrated. -- Marrioneetee (Talk) http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/7835/nyancaty.png   12:13, January 22, 2012 (UTC)

Oppose most - The IRC, hands down is the most informal area of the wiki, people like to have fun and makes jokes. Unless there's a form of malice involved in the nick, such as: "LIQUIDISA****" or "GAZSUCKS*, or if the current nick user is claiming to be the real owner of that nick, for example: "Liquid|Away (Who actually is someone else): I'm the real Liquid.", I see no real problem in this. This is really much ado about nothing, since almost every time we've had this nickname situation occuring, it's because everyone's just joking around and such. It's not very often that we get new visitors in the IRC, since most of the guests that join are the same select 10 or so people. I say leave things like that, don't kick people because they're having a joke, all becoming hogs, lloyds, helmets, cook mes or anything else. If it's SUCH a necessity to know who is who, ask, we're a friendly community and we should be happy to answer that question. RSN: Warthog Rhys Talk Completionist's cape... Coming soon. 19:41, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - I agree with the part about "LiquidIsA****". I did not bring up names containing a significant part of another's nickname and profanity before, so I am doing that here.  a proofreader ▸  20:01, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Do not impersonate other users. is clear enough. sssSp7p.pngIjLCqFF.png 22:59, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

Except that was overly vague rubbish, which is why it was removed. Ronan Talk 07:43, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
There are two interpretations of the rule among operators right now: any impersonation and wilful impersonation. There are also disagreements about certain details that are causing operators to argue it out in the IRC channel. It's not pretty.  a proofreader ▸  09:00, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
Okay, then change it to Do not intentionally impersonate other users.. sssSp7p.pngIjLCqFF.png 12:32, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
Except that still gives completely 0% clarity on what is considered impersonation, which, again, is why that line was removed. Ronan Talk 16:27, January 19, 2012 (UTC)
If someone is confused on what the word means, they should check a dictionary and go by that. sssSp7p.pngIjLCqFF.png 02:24, January 20, 2012 (UTC)
You do know the whole reason we're having this thread is to better define what we deem impersonation, right? I don't expect our policies on it to be in a dictionary, somehow. Ronan Talk 08:01, January 20, 2012 (UTC)
For the record, [ source ]
im·per·son·ate /ɪmˈpɜːsəˌneɪt/
  1. To assume the character or appearance of, especially fraudulently: impersonate a police officer.
  2. To imitate the appearance, voice, or manner of; mimic: an entertainer who impersonates celebrities.
  3. To pretend to be (another person).
The second one seems especially broad. If I imitate the manner of someone, the dictionary says I'm impersonating them.  a proofreader ▸  08:14, January 20, 2012 (UTC)
Looks like the dictionary defines what we're debating over in the IRC than what impersonation actually is. 222 talk 08:35, January 20, 2012 (UTC)

Notice of intent - Consensus has pretty much been reached here. If no major new arguments are brought to this thread in the next couple of days, I will close it. Suppa chuppa Talk 05:13, January 21, 2012 (UTC)

Closed - Almost all users seem to agree that impersonation for malicious purposes is unacceptable, but there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus in terms of what to do about impersonation of another user's "nick style". In order to make this policy clear, it's best to define when a user has malicious intent. Any content that is a breach of on-site rules, regardless of a user's nick, may be grounds for a kick. Additionally:

  • If User A is purposefully trying to pass off as User B in an attempt to make all users in the IRC believe that User A is User B, User A may be kicked if/when this is revealed.
  • If User A is using a nick similar to User B (be it in the same style, with letter substitutions, etc.) and multiple users deem the nick to be too confusing, they may request User A to revert to a different nick.
  • User A may change to a nick in the style of User B unless User B requests User A to switch back. If so many users change their nicks to the style of nicks of other users (or one user continually changes his nick to the style of other users) such that the constant nick change may constitute spam, the user(s) may be requested to stop, and they may be kicked if they do not continue.

Otherwise, it is permissible for users to change their nicks as long as they do not break any of the other rules governing the chat. Suppa chuppa Talk 07:16, January 23, 2012 (UTC)

Reopened - Due to discussion on IRC. While it's clear the majority favors a more lenient rule, consensus was not achieved, some people didn't get to comment, and people are still arguing in IRC about it. ʞooɔ 01:26, January 26, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - Under no circumstance should a user deliberately use another user's nick. However, some above have stated that appending digits to the end of a name while another user in IRC has the nick without the digits should not use such a similar nick. I agree to this point to a certain extent.

Previously, we had a Wikia cloak that identified us to our username here on Wikia Inc.'s wiki farm, however there is sometimes the case where one user has a similar username on the wiki, this also leads into the IRC. The other thread in current discussion might rectify this without the need to go through Wikia staff to then contact Freenode staff. My issues lie with that of the users that do change nicks jokingly. Sometimes I wonder who is who without reading more deeply into the user list and rather not use WHOIS on anyone.

I don't agree with the assertion that we are to protect other people's nicks when other freenode channels could have users that use that nick rather than the channel regulars or new users. As Cook Me Plox stated, that's what NickServ is for. When I see several users with a very similar nick and I don't notice or know who or what was the original nick, I like it to cease. I don't recall a time I've kicked a user for that or even asked for it to stop, I've generally ignored it or left the channel when it got too silly.

Maybe there were unwritten rules kept by the older operators, and I do not like having users with significant similarities in the names. However, once more, that is why we identify with NickServ, not the individuals in the channel. That's all I am asking, it confuses me more than you know when we have three or four different variations of the same nick. I do not expect to kick, I expect that when people are asked by the original register, or by other users in the channel, that they should change back to their original nicks. Ryan PM 01:51, January 26, 2012 (UTC)

Comment - As someone who has been on IRC for a very long time and been through rises and falls of many channels of this type, let me give my 2.2c (inc GST).

The answer to all those questions should be "it depends". Iron clad rules are for those who are too lazy or incompetent to apply common sense. You should not need to write out specific sets of guidelines for when to kick a user. No matter how well you define the boundaries, someone can always draw a long bow and stretch the definition to suit themselves.

The idea is to NOT be the fun police while keeping a decent amount of order in the channel. Confusion is not going to drive away new users - they are more likely to care about finding out how to finish a quest than who is who on the wiki. If anything, being the fun police is going to drive away more users.

Sure, by all means kick someone if they are being malicious (use your judgement), but please do not kick someone just for the sake that their behaviour matches the letters of a do-not rule. If I were a new user and I saw a few users having fun with each other's nickname, am I going to care? Nope. However if I see a channel operator kicking just for the sake of a written rule, what kind of impression would that give me? I would probably think the channel is being run by over-zealous and power hungry people and I doubt I would return.

Every scenario should have its context taken into account as well as the users' intent. The moral of the story is, it is okay to have "vague" rules. If someone can be trusted with channel operator status, one should be able to trust them to invoke common sense when applying their judgement. You guys can sit here for the next 5930534056849 years coming up with scenarios and then debate on whether each scenario warrants a kick or not, or you guys can just apply common sense based on intent and not be the fun police. ~Aeri 09:55, January 26, 2012 (UTC)

Bump - This was reopened after users complained about a quick closure, but only two people have taken advantage of this being open. Please comment within the next few days; I will reclose it unless more people comment. --LiquidTalk 14:50, February 1, 2012 (UTC)

Don't close this yet; I'm putting my thoughts into words in preparation to post. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 22:55, February 7, 2012 (UTC)

I'm tired of textwalls. How about this?

  1. If a user asks not to be impersonated, respect their wishes. The same holds true for their nick theme. NickServ can't account for all variations on a nick theme, but let's all pretend it does.
  2. If people change to confusingly similar nicks and someone else asks them to stop, do so. Some people find this disruptive and some don't. I would suggest to use common sense when determining when it's acceptable to do this, except the meaning of the phrase "use common sense" has been deeply twisted by this community. Instead I will say "When in doubt, don't be a dick." A policy that requires an offended user to leave the channel is a bad policy.
  3. When necessary, educate users about NickServ and the set enforce command. If someone wants to effectively protect their main nick(s), it's very easy to do so.

Everyone agrees that malicious impersonation is bad. Some people have a problem with ops being, as Aeri put it, the fun police. However, the line between "funny" and "stupid and dickish" is blurry and subjective, and it's not always easy to avoid crossing it. This is why we have ops, who, as Aeri also says, we trust to keep some semblance of order in the chaos that is #wikia-runescape - er, #rswiki. Remember that an op who asks for disruptive behavior to stop could be doing so as a regular user, not as an op. --Andorin (Talk) (Contribs) 00:16, February 8, 2012 (UTC)

The first point is very broad, and I am concerned that this will just lead to more complaining over any remotely similar name. As an example, my nick mr_evul has nothing to do with Evil1888 (in fact, I was using it before he went on IRC). Also, how else would an op ask for disruptive behaviour to stop except as a regular user? What is the difference? ajr 04:32, February 8, 2012 (UTC)

Closed - Discussion has died off again. There isn't a significant change from suppa's close - common sense should be applied liberally, and the use of kicks should be minimal (unless the user is very clearly being malicious). Quest.png Gaz Lloyd 7:^]Events!99s 19:33, February 13, 2012 (UTC)