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//Neopets Weekend of Freedom and Havoc

//The havoc started mid-day Saturday. It wasn’t much at first, just one person having a roll. But despite reports, their inappropriate topic wasn’t removed from the boards.  By early Sunday, many more noticed the situation. That no one was taking action to reported posts made on the boards. By the afternoon, things exploded. Most of the chaos was done in the Newbies board, with a few wandering into other boards here and there. Sex roleplays, racist and white supremacy boards, lewd and pornographic images everywhere. (I won’t be posting any links or screenshots, so you can google them yourself).

//Taylor Lord – Community Manager at Jumpstart (AKA – Hip-Hop Queen, AKA – Neopian Times Editorial Writer, AKA – Neopets Facebook & Twitter manager?)

//According to Taylor Lord’s Linkedin, she has been with JumpStart since July 2012. With no prior employment history, there has been speculation that she may be related to the CEO of JumpStart, David Lord. This is speculation however, and no concrete evidence (besides last name) has been procured.

//How reliable is Neopets’ new Community manager? So far we have had many instances where the community has been led astray by statements made via the Neopets Facebook page. Dating back to the first event held after our previous manager (who I believe was Comastar?) was let go. During the Festival of Neggs, our Facebook correspondent claimed on several occasions that the event was live, despite no such luck on the website itself. In fact, the following day, the event went live, disputing her claims.

Even in the new features, such follies have occurred, like the time  Dice-A-Roo was announced to be returned, when it had not. Granted, it was eventually returned, but it left many feeling that someone wasn’t getting the memo.

//This past weekend, chaos reigned on Neopets. With no moderation in sight, many flocked to the boards to create mayhem. Posting illicit content and vulgar language.

Getting around filters is easy using different character combinations. These kinds of posts would pop up over the years, but were quickly handled by the previous monitor team. Most people never realized anything had occurred at all. While adding punctuation, special characters and asterisks has always been an option, and always frowned upon by monitors. It was never fully abused to this capacity until this window of opportunity occurred.

No the filters were not broken. All the usual blocks were still in place. If you view the number of screenshots taken this past weekend (not posted due to language) , you will see how people evaded getting blocked by filters. Adding spaces, using characters, or misspelling the word.

So why did the Neopets Community Manager make a statement claiming that the filters were off line? More miscommunication? JumpStart flailing their arms trying to cover up what happened? JumpStart hoping you will forgive them if they make it sound like it was out of their hands?

With statements like that, I question everything else that was said.

Okay, so if there WAS a facility move and the moderation team got locked out of their system, why did it take so long for them to deal with the situation? Does the moderation team have NO ONE they can contact in an emergency? Do they not have supervisors? They couldn’t contact anyone over the weekend to come in and shut off the boards until the work week began again?

I don’t even blame the monitors in this. I know they only work minimum wage, and they are not an integral part of the dev team. But why were they put in this position? Are they understaffed with all the layoffs? Did they not have anyone working the weekend as suspected? Did they have no one in charge to contact?

Stating they were locked out does not excuse the whole weekend going by with nothing done to correct the situation. Especially when you have people posting pornography and running rampant on the site.

//Just remember not to take everything at face value. Evaluate it. Question it.

//Filter quandaries

//Honestly, I have been expecting this to happen. Last September, during the transition to JumpStart servers, a number of things on the site broke. JumpStart has been slowly fixing the noticeable broken features here and there, but there has been one feature that hasn’t been addressed.

Mr. Insane, a former programmer, recoded the filter system from a Black List to a White List system. I can’t recall the date this was done offhand, but it was just prior to the Fansite certifications. It has also been a number of years since I last heard of all this, so my knowledge on it is fuzzy, so bear with me.

Black List – Default-allow approach with exceptions
Operates using a list of unapproved software
If an application is not on the unapproved list of software then it is approved

White List – Default-deny approach
Operates using a list of approved software
If an application is not on the approved list of software then the application is denied or restricted

Basically, you couldn’t say Grape Chia because ‘rape’ was black listed. The black list is bulky and would need constant updating, adding in new phrases, and non-approved URL’s.

The White List allowed them to enable fansites to be linked to because they were added to the approved list, and no other websites would be allowed.  Linking fansites was disapproved previously, because they had a blanket rule not to link offsite. With a white list approved, offsite links could be made safe. This also relaxed a lot of the previously un-allowed phrases, as people had a bit more coding freedom on petpages. It’s a less bulky system and far more secure.

From what I have observed from the number of filter complaints since the transition, the newer filter system was broken during transition, and hasn’t been repaired. It doesn’t mean the filters were gone completely, as old filters were still in place. But the fact that it wasn’t exploited sooner amazes me.


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