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Managing the banlist on your palace

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The most common value shared in most chat programs is the free flow of friendly conversations. For the faithful herd of the palace global planet, it is the freedom of using all the palace software features like props, Borgs and chat. Each community reserves the right to define the proper usage by creating a set of guidelines that will apply only to them within the boundaries of their server. Even if palace is the land of make believe, it is not always possible to run your little piece of paradise without having to deal with serious troublemakers. Your server has some tools designed to help you in the task of keeping the rotten apples out of the basket.

Flooders are usually the first troubled souls you will encounter on palace and are of two main kinds. The Borg trigger-happy are recognizable by their repeated interruptions of any discussions occurring in the room by the use of server intensive Borg commands using painting and movement triggering an overwhelming flood that may even crash innocent bystanders. Some of them do not realize that they are becoming a nuisance to their community and may feel rejected when asked to stop. However, many are aware of their impact on the general server performance but still prefer to crown themselves Borg kings or queens in total disregard of anyone around them. They are best deal within the community and a ban against them is an extreme course of action that should be considered only when diplomacy has failed. The second brand of flooders is to be taken more seriously. They aren't interested in your community and they don't want to know who you are or what you stand for, the name of their game is "crashing the server' by using Borg sequences designed to overload your palace server. They are too many times confused with hackers, which they are not. Nevertheless, they still represent a very serious threat to the integrity of your palace and they should be dealt with before they have caused serious damage.

Social delinquents or the misfits represent another plague that you are prone to be dealing with in your ownership. They may come to you with friendly demeanors and will succeed inn installing themselves into your community with a remarkable ease. But slowly they will start creating unwanted drama and will move quickly to insulting, harassing, and stalking either in an open gate or by whisper those that made the mistake of giving them their attention. In spite of all the proper warnings you may have given them, they will never "get it'. They are generally people with acute real life problems and may suffer of various drugs addictions, alcoholism, mental illnesses or personality disorders. They take advantage of the anonymity of the web to unleash their internal maelstrom and play their conflicts out among us. Some of them have been on palace for many years and have continuously threatened several victims. It is always tempting and very humane to try to make a difference in the life of a troubled soul but your endeavors may turn against you. In the long run, the emotional upheavals they will cause around themselves will affect negatively the attendance at your palace.

The miscellaneous hot shots are all those childish ones who pop in on occasion, acting grossly and producing as many offenses at your gate as they can until they get killed. Others will hang around, consistently pushing the limits of tolerance making their acquaintance a very unpleasant experience. Most palaces don't tolerate them long and cut their show short.

Of course, there are other kinds of offenders that may escape those few labels but it is to you to determine what is tolerated within the boundaries of your community. I still remember a newly elected god who would ravage people's reputations by spreading false rumors to get rid of those who would commit the most serious of crimes which was saying "hi' to his online girl friend. Not everyone knows what the word "ethic' stands for but in the last instance, the palace owners are responsible for the practices of their constituents.

To help you in the complex task of keeping the offending users out of your home, the palace server provides you with a simple managing tool called the banlist. It is relatively easy to use and will be efficient in most cases but unfortunately not all.

At installation your server has a default death sentence of 120 minutes because in the palace early days, it was believed that the time needed for an aggressive guest to cool off before they could return was an arbitrary 2 hours. By experience, that assumption has proved wrong. On occasion someone may have a bad night but kills are rarely needed since most people will behave in the context of a chat room. Those who will exceptionally qualify for exclusion are not likely to change their manners after their penalty. Therefore, it is a good idea to set the default death penalty to the longest delay needed to reach you as the owner to review the kill and evaluate if further measures should be applied. To modify your default penalty use the command "`death []' as in `death 1440 for a 24 hours exclusion time. However, your operators and co-owners can set the time of a punctual kill by whispering to the target "`killfor ' for a server running on Linux and "`kill ' for servers on Windows and Mac Os while "`kill' will automatically use the default death penalty value. If for some reason you can't whisper the command to your target, simply add the user name as it appears in the user list following the duration. For Windows users, you can right click on the offender and select kill for a default penalty. Any kill can be extended with the command "`extend ' as in `extend bad-bad-user 500000. If you can't remember the name of your target as it appeared in the user list, your palace server keeps a directory of all the currently banned users that can be consulted with the command `banlist.

Clarity is the essence of good banlist management. It is obvious that the one who chooses to do a kill or a ban should leave a short and clear comment for the owner to review. Use "`comment . Elapsed ban records should be purged at least once a month or more if needed since it is useless to keep data that are obsolete.

Kills, for their lack of flexibility, may not always be the best solution to handle those you wish to keep out of your little paradise. Palace hacking tools, especially ban jumpers, have changed the name of the game making the identification key no longer as efficient in ban management. Therefore it is wiser to study thoroughly the behaviors of those you wish to banish and consider all your options before you make your move. This extra work will require a lot more skills from you and a better understanding of a server log but it will help you to decide how to proceed with the ban.

The palace registration key is generated when you enter the registration code after a fresh installation and can be obtained with the command `glist -k for all users currently on your server or by whispering to your target `list -k and it will look like this in your log; {EFGHGPJK}. This is the code that your server will use to identify the kill and track targets but it can be eluded easily even by beginners. To ban the user associated with that key simply give the command "`ban EFGHGPJK' and commented on this way "`comment EFGHGPJK possible hacker, has tried to flood the room repeatedly'. You can either whisper the command "`ban' to your target or use "`ban user name' if the offender is still present on the server.

The palace PUID key, currently called the Z code because it always begins with the letter Z, is recorded into your registry at the client installation and will require expert attention to be changed or more drastically a reformatting of the HD. You can obtain that Key with `glist -p for all users currently on your server or by whispering to your target `list -p. It will likely look like this in your log; {ZGEPBECAO}. To ban the user associated with that key is the same as earlier, give the command "`ban ZGEPBECAO' and commented on this way "`comment ZGEPBECAO possible hacker, has tried to flood the room repeatedly and uses a ban jumper'. Since the ban by registration key has been easily eluded, you should opt for the use the Z code ban instead, even though it isn't a foolproof solution.

When both the registration and the Z keys have failed, it is time for your knowledge of a server log to come into play. Your last defense is a `banip command if your culprit has a static IP ( IP remains the same day after day no matter if you reboot or not your computer) as opposed to a dynamic IP ( IP changes every time you connect to your service provider "ISP'). By making the proper search in your server's log you will easily spot a repeating IP associated with your offender giving you the chance to keep him or her away from your home. The banip command is different from the others because of the fact that the time value has to be entered before the IP digits you want to ban. For instance "`banip 500000' will block the IP for 500000 minutes. Moreover, it is the only command where you can use a negative value to obtain the longest ban time as in "`banip -1' which will give you this entry in your banlist; "Site Ban 35791394 min (35791394) ( site banned by ~=MOON=~'. If time is omitted from the command, the ban will last for the default death penalty value. The option of a wildcard character "*' is available like in this example; "`banip -1 12.233.*' extending the range of IP addresses covered by the ban. Unfortunately, this technique may prove damaging since it will eliminate blindly some of your valuable regular visitors as well.

There are many reasons why you would or should want to remove a ban. Mistaken identity, accidental kills, changing your mind about your own palace politics and getting rid of obsolete bans are just a few. First you will need to bring your ban list up with the command "`banlist' to see under which instance the kill or ban was originally done and then use the command "`unban '.

It is certainly important to learn how to manage your banlist and to do the proper ban at the proper time but it is even better to develop the skills to do otherwise. Indeed, your ability to observe and your knowledge of the human nature and the palace software are your best allies against anyone that wants to cause trouble under your roof. An extra long banlist will achieve nothing more than confusion and frustration. Many palaces have done fine without having to ban anyone. It is for you to keep your rules and guidelines as simple and practical as possible in order to prevent abuses and mishaps. A pin may seems like a milder punishment but most of the time it triggers more anger than anything else and will empty your gate rapidly.

We live in a society where we don't tolerate Teachers hitting children with rulers in school anymore, why would we do it on line?

Many thanks to ~§arai§me~ from The Midnight Rambler for her help and support.

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