[MUD-Dev] Conversation logs?

Shane Gough goughsw at bigpond.com
Fri May 24 00:45:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: Robert Zubek

> Does anyone on the list have any in-game conversation logs they'd
> be willing to share? I'm currently working on social interactions
> in multiplayer games, and would be very interested in finding or
> collecting a corpus of mundane conversations from an actual active
> game. The more mundane they are, the better - for example, common
> interactions such as griping about things, chatting about events
> in the game, gossiping about other people, and just general
> smalltalk.

This raises an interesting question - who owns the contents of the
logs?  I know for a fact that my MUD engine logs all conversations
(and with a set of cron jobs compresses and archives at least 6
months worth) but this is mainly to resolve complaints/disputes
between players (NB: My MUD engine is currently not public and only
used by about 6 people in a private VPN - the facility was added
purely to meet the above need should it ever arise).

Apart from this particular case (I intend to make it clear in the
conditions of signing up to the MUD that all interactions are logged
for this particular purpose) what legal right do I have to pass
these logs onto a third party? Do I have to get the permission of
all involved to do it or do these logs belong to me as the

To me this sounds like a stupid question - but think about it,
imagine if the telecommunications provider you used kept copies of
all your conversations (it's their network after all). Are they
legally able to provide copies of those conversations to anyone they
wish? AFIK in the US this is not the case. In Australa (my country)
it is definitely not the case as well (unless directed to by a small
number of federal agencies [in my case ASIO, Australian Federal
Police or the Supreme Court).

Communications between people on the MUD should be private - as if
they were using a TC provider. Even providing a disclaimer that you
(as an administrator) would use that information to decide if a
persons account should be disabled based on their content is shaky
legal ground even here (we are not quite so litigenous [sp?] as the
US). What have other administrators discovered on this (anywhere in
world - but a brief description of your countries legal framework
regarding these issues would help).


If you try to throw your arms around the world, they'll nail you to
a cross and say it was a workplace accident because you were
employed as a carpenter. (Howard Hendrix - Better Angels).
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