Technology can help prevent Abuse

A theory I brought forward in the Functionality and Problems of Systems for Synchronous Conferencing paper. The design of a protocol with its breathing spaces for behaviour and abuse makes people interact with it accordingly. People who break protocols aren't necessarily evil, they may just think it is fun. After all it's only a computer. I just found another document hitting a similar vein: Protocollary Power.

This isn't just theory, in the years when the PSYC prototype was being used as Germany's fifth largest webchat community (symlynX ran all webchats for Gruner+Jahr from 1997 to 1999 including Stern Magazine, GEO, TV TODAY), we made experience on how to manage Internet communities in a peaceful way, and anyone who was there can acknowledge, that we were quite successful.

Also with the large scale VIP chats that symlynX has been doing, vandalism has never been a serious issue. Attackers would never find out if their attack had any effect, so they stopped. Only once we had a case of a politically motivated attack against our servers, which failed totally. We found it later in the logs.

These days with our own HTTP server on port 80 we are being treated to exploit scans non-stop, mostly PHP and ASP vulnerabilities. psyced just spits out some error messages and is done with it.

See also