[Standards-JIG] MUC (JEP-45) privacy & control

Ian Paterson ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk
Mon Apr 17 18:14:51 UTC 2006

> Rooms are public spaces. If someone in a room is abusing you 
> in the room, complain to the room admins and ask them to kick 
> or ban that user.

In my experience, some public room admins are not very conscientious
when it comes to performing these tasks (they've got real jobs to do).
Nonanonymous rooms at least give the abused the power to do something

> If someone in a room is sending you abusive messages outside
> the room (i.e., so-called "private messages"), your client
> could block them client-side, you could minimize the chat window

Semi-anonymous rooms currently make it trivial for abusers to switch
nick and continue abusing. Nonanonymous rooms at least raise the bar for
abusers since they need to repeatedly create a new Jabber account and
sign in again.

> In general the solution to this sort of problem is not to 
> reduce functionality, but rather to move the filtering to the 
> server. In this case, perhaps it could be moved to the MUC
> component.

Yes. If MUC servers implemented that feature then people would have the
same possibility to block as they do with nonanonymous rooms.

> As far as the client goes, what extra does a client have to 
> implement in order to support semi-anonymous rooms as well
> as nonanonymous.

Clients need to be aware that the bare JID of a type='chat' message may
be the JID of a room, not the JID of the sender. [If all rooms are
nonanonymous then private chat messages are never sent through rooms
since normal chat messages can always be used instead.]

Clients need to present a different user interface both within the room
and in a "private" chat window. For example, buttons like "add to my
roster", "view profile" and lots more advanced functionalities should
not be available.

I understand the disadvantages of semi-anonymous rooms, but I guess what
I've never really understood is what (social?) value semi-anonymous
rooms offer (above non-anonymous)? After all, they're not even very good
at providing anonymity (all servers and moderators know the real JID).

If the answer to that is "not much", then perhaps the JEP should
recommend non-anonymous rooms as the default?

- Ian

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