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Author Topic: Chatlogging and ethics  (Read 12719 times)
Kathy Schomer
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« on: February 13, 2008, 07:50:04 AM »

I log chat too, you know. I imagine many people here do. I'm quite capable of quoting you whenever. In addition, my mention of IRC moots your forum-related points, as I wasn't talking about the forum. I hate forum-like things for the reasons you mentioned above. Plus, they scare me. >.>
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PeterT
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2008, 07:01:59 AM »

I log chat too, you know. I imagine many people here do. I'm quite capable of quoting you whenever. In addition, my mention of IRC moots your forum-related points, as I wasn't talking about the forum. I hate forum-like things for the reasons you mentioned above. Plus, they scare me. >.>

If you are logging chat then you need to make sure folk know that - logging chat sign above your head I would suggest.

Remember too that you need permission to quote from chatlogs ...

I know you know this Kathy - but good to reinforce the point.  :)
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Kathy Schomer
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2008, 07:08:02 AM »

There is no rule stating that you may not log chat. There is a rule stating that staff must wear signs when doing so. However, Linden Lab's TOS has nothing against it, and nor does the AUP. Indeed, logging chat is (or, at least, was) enabled in the client by default, and is performed by almost everyone in Second Life for reference purposes.

Quoting from chatlogs, however, does need permission. Unless I quote on my blog, in which case I'm outside both your and LL's jurisdiction, and I can do whatever I like.
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PeterT
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2008, 07:52:11 AM »

There is no rule stating that you may not log chat. There is a rule stating that staff must wear signs when doing so. However, Linden Lab's TOS has nothing against it, and nor does the AUP. Indeed, logging chat is (or, at least, was) enabled in the client by default, and is performed by almost everyone in Second Life for reference purposes.

Quoting from chatlogs, however, does need permission. Unless I quote on my blog, in which case I'm outside both your and LL's jurisdiction, and I can do whatever I like.

I think that both LL's research guidelines and the OU ethics committee's view (which we have to abide by) would expect one to ask for permission before logging chat and would definitely expect you to get permission before quoting from chat no matter where you were doing that quoting.

The fact that you are posting quotes on your blog does not mean you can ignore the rules that apply within the community from which the material came in the first place! So where you are using material on your blog that came from within this community then I would expect you to adhere to the community norms - ie get permission before quoting what folk in here (or anywhere else for that matter) have said.

PeterT
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Kathy Schomer
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2008, 07:58:27 AM »

I'm not the one doing research on you, you know. I believe it's the inverse. It's standard practice in SL to log everything, and I intend to continue doing so. Furthermore, whilst it is indeed impolite to post chatlogs elsewhere, you can't actually stop me doing so. If I gave them out in notecards or on the forum, you/LL could ban me. They can't if I give them out on my blog.

Along similar lines, LL permit (and, indeed, unofficially encourage - nobody there things the separation is good except a few lawyers) TG/MG communication, provided you go through your own server first. "We won't say what you can or can't do with your server, and if it happens to send a message to the MG, that's fine by us." Not that I was planning on that. Or distributing chat logs on my blog, for that matter.
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PeterT
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2008, 08:00:31 AM »

... Not that I was planning on that. Or distributing chat logs on my blog, for that matter.

Didn't think you would be - but good to have confirmation of that.

Thanks.    :)

PeterT
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2008, 12:22:02 PM »

I think this is an interesting debate that the ethics and philosophy strand might want to pick up on. When I started researching, I found it hard to work out why I couldn't use material in the public domain (for example, material on public forums) as research data. I have definitely seen other researchers use that data without appearing to be troubled by ethical issues.

Since then, discussions I have had and things I have read have convinced me that researchers need to gain informed consent, and I have devoted a lot of time to getting permission to analyse data to which I already had access. However, researchers are a special case - and we're obviously not asking everyone to conform to researchers' professional standards.

Are there any ethical issues involved in people routinely logging chat? If you found someone in your school was routinely recording conversations, would it bother you? Are the two situations comparable? From a learning point of view, or from a personal point of view, are chat logs valuable? Would people who regularly log chat (other than staff) recommend that other people do the same?
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Tara SParker
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2008, 02:34:11 PM »

I think this is an interesting debate that the ethics and philosophy strand might want to pick up on. When I started researching, I found it hard to work out why I couldn't use material in the public domain (for example, material on public forums) as research data. I have definitely seen other researchers use that data without appearing to be troubled by ethical issues.

Since then, discussions I have had and things I have read have convinced me that researchers need to gain informed consent, and I have devoted a lot of time to getting permission to analyse data to which I already had access. However, researchers are a special case - and we're obviously not asking everyone to conform to researchers' professional standards.


Are there any ethical issues involved in people routinely logging chat? If you found someone in your school was routinely recording conversations, would it bother you? Are the two situations comparable? From a learning point of view, or from a personal point of view, are chat logs valuable? Would people who regularly log chat (other than staff) recommend that other people do the same?



Perhaps another example here - if someone was recording a classroom discussion (something that in my experience happens more and more) do they need to ask permission from anyone - teacher? students? Would it depend on the use they made of the recording for example private study or posting in a public forum?

There is considerable debate about this in the classroom; I teach with the OU and guidelines state that the permission of all members of the class should be sought and that material may not be posted but I know the situation is being discussed in my son's school. It sounds as though within the school they are going to go for a similar policy but...

This all sounds reasonable until you have someone with a learning difficulty (perhaps hearing impairment in a classroom) who asks for permission and then one member of the group refuses (understandably given the material from school that ends up on the Internet!). Now the person with a difficulty is having the educational potential compromised for him or her...

I think there needs to be some agreement that someone recording makes this known and an undertaking in an academic environment that material will not be shared with anyone outside the classroom. Would this cover possibilities in schools? In schome?
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PeterT
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2008, 09:43:03 AM »

The chatlog and ethics discussion is interesting - but way off topic - if you want to continue it then please split the topic so that we can maintain the foci ...

Thanks.  :)

PeterT
PS I know I took us off topic in the first place!  ::)
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Rowan
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2008, 10:45:31 AM »

The chatlog and ethics discussion is interesting - but way off topic -

That mystifies me, Peter! How is a discussion of 'chatlogs and ethics' off topic in a thread headed 'chatlogs and ethics'?

I find the discussion very interesting. I'd like to make 2 different kinds of points.  First,  I suspect that because this is perceived as a 'new technology' then practices will evolve in line with the pattern of other technologies.  When the telephone was new some people thought of it as a channel through which nothing important should be siad (I go back to historical sources here).  Taping telephone calls for the purposes of research became very closely scrutinised, quite correctly one might say and in commercial spheres a great deal of trouble was taken to communicate to people that their calls might be recorded.  When people started videoing and photographing children in schools there was a great deal of anxiety.  I know schools where for example it is forbidden to put up any images including children on the school website.  Some schools started banning the recording of nativity plays.  At the same time, for some schools then recording by video events has become a part of the way of life and instead of seeking informed consent for each and every occasion, parents are often encouraged to sign a 'blanket' consent form.  This can even be de-emphasised through being included on a form about a whole lot of other matters, in order (I suspect) to discourage opting out. The more videoing of children is carried out then the less often putative links are made between everyday images and perceived threats related to pornography and paedophilia. 

Second, regarding the ethics of using chatlogs.  As a professional researcher I have to be extremely careful about the use of data of any sort and I aim to be pretty scrupulous where issues of consent are concerned.  In one of my projects, I have full consent to use images of children in publications but have taken the decision to present them in ways that protect their identity.  However, at the same time I must admit that at the moment - very likely I do need to think about it some more - I can't see a reason to object wholesale to Kathy's use (whether real or hypothetical doesn't matter for the purposes of this contribution) of her chatlogs on her blog.  Let's think about MSN for example.  One can now by default collect logs of all one's chats.  Are these the property of the owner who then is free to use them in the same way one might consider oneself free to use say contemporaneously recorded notes of a F2F conversation?  I would say yes.  That is not to say of course that this specific freedom is absolute.  I would say it is constrained by legal and moral constraints.  Legal constraints will include laws of slander.  Moral constraints may include the imperatives of friendship and loyalty. 

Well if this topic gets moved - fine of course! - and I will try to follow it.
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Rowan SParker
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2008, 11:02:49 AM »

The chatlog and ethics discussion is interesting - but way off topic -

That mystifies me, Peter! How is a discussion of 'chatlogs and ethics' off topic in a thread headed 'chatlogs and ethics'?

...
It was split off from another topic ;)
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Rowan
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2008, 04:27:10 PM »

It was split off from another topic ;)
[/quote]

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Rowan SParker
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2008, 04:41:19 PM »

The chatlog and ethics discussion is interesting - but way off topic -

  Let's think about MSN for example.  One can now by default collect logs of all one's chats.  Are these the property of the owner who then is free to use them in the same way one might consider oneself free to use say contemporaneously recorded notes of a F2F conversation?  I would say yes. 

Interesting but surely dependent on context - I used msn for some interviewing and consent included use of chat logs. I really wanted the participants to keep chat logs with their freinds and pass them on to me. The participants gained this way would have been totally anonymous - obviously reducing to nil any possibility of gaining consent! I decided not to do this (although if anyone is interested you can put in some clever bit of programming that would warn the people participants chat to that they were being logged etc).

So for research purposes, no?

Cyber bullying. There was an interview with a young person on Radio Four towards the end of last year (I have the programmes on MP3 if anyone is interested), who suffered enormously as a a result of her chat logs etc being passed around - so no here too?

However I can think of little reason why people should not store logs for private use and very few reasons why they should not be included in a blog. I do think that some permission should be sought, and this should include an understanding of the purpose. So let's suppose Rowan, you quote me in a blog, perhaps because I have said something you want to argue against. You ask me and I am happy, what would the implications be for anyone reading that blog making use of them? It is worth bearing in mind that even avatar names can be pretty easily traced to real life owners unless the person is very very savvy.

Tara
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Kathy Schomer
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2008, 07:17:39 PM »

I'd point out that you shouldn't be saying things that'll get you bullied to people who are going to share them.

For fun, I shall now pull some random lines from chat logs, without asking permission:

[15:19]  Blue Linden: nah, we planned to anyway.....
[15:19]  Blue Linden: but yeah, it was getting unreliable
[15:19]  Blue Linden: okay I really should go yell at people about the registration thing
[15:19]  Katharine Berry throws things at the voice UI.
[15:20]  Blue Linden: let me know what you think about writing up spam definition....
[15:20]  Katharine Berry: Why does alt-left/right break if you go to the contacts and start going through friends/groups?
[15:20]  Katharine Berry: It used to wrap back to the right.
[15:20]  Blue Linden: cause new communication UI is still in need of work ;p

[11:39]  You: >.>
[11:39]  Esteth Eponym gave you menuGenerator.
[11:42]  Ben Lineker found some ond chat with everyone in our grade listing their phone numbers. And I listed a fake one.
[11:42]  You: Useful.
[11:43]  Ben Lineker: 8:40:24 PM elnyc: YO BIG D WEN WE GONA HIT UP DA CLUB
[11:43]  Ben Lineker: >.<
[11:44]  You: Do de do de do.
[11:45]  Ben Lineker: Meh... I don't want to go to the website to file a important bug.

That features a person quoting another person - also without permission. Sue me. :P
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Tara SParker
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2008, 07:33:36 PM »

Sueing you would be touch strong - especailly as the intent was not to cause any harm to anyone quoted - not to mention the quotes (like most chatlogs) being pretty innocuous!

A genuine question - if I got hold of a 'chat' you had with a friend would you mind if I used it for research? I suspect not - you would probably say good luck!

On the bullying note though - it is not always possible in the heated atmosphere of girls peer relationships (and also boys) to foretell what might cause you embarrassment at a later date. Or at least I think not.

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