Disable Chat Function Option

#1

OGS,

I’ve seen several topics similar to this one, but because I believe my situation is unique I decided to make a new topic. I’m going to give a little backstory and then get to my point.

I teach at a small public school and have started a fairly successful go club here. Right now I only have 4 who attend our meetings regularly (down from our membership in the Fall), but I’ve been focusing on nurturing their growth and the enjoyment they get from the game.

I’ve been working diligently to grow the club by communicating with my GT coordinator and allowing me to teach it once a week during 5th grade’s GT time, the librarian for the purchase of go books, the administration, and the summer program sponsors. This summer I’m going to be teaching go to K-12 students as an activity period option, and I’m trying to lay all of the groundwork early to make it as successful as possible. When next Fall rolls around, hopefully I can have a regular afterschool Go program that also provides rides home to all who stay (which is currently my biggest barrier for attendance, as the kids I introduce go to are enthusiastic about learning it). I plan on making extensive use of OGS once we get to a reasonable degree of proficiency with the rules and basic strategy since it’s the easiest to access from a technology point of view, and the easiest to operate in my opinion.

All that said, with the 5th Grade GT students I’ve noticed a potential bug. My district has strict rules on students operating online. Chat being something that’s difficult to work around. I helped my GT students sign up without an email address because it was my understanding that chat was disabled until an email was registered. Unfortunately, today we played a few games and the students noticed that they were receiving in-game messages from their opponent and were able to respond. We had to get off of OGS for the remainder of the time and instead play games with each other using the 9x9 boards we have in class.

I would love to use OGS with my students to help them get stronger quickly, but I need for there to be a way other than Malkovitch Logs to disable chatting with others. It’s not a self-restraint issue, but rather a liability one for me. If this is a bug and we, as a school, can sign up without emails and keep the ability to chat turned off, great! If this is intended and I just misunderstood, I would love for their to be an ability to turn off chat all together so my students can use OGS starting in the Fall.

Thank you all for your time, and I hope you’re all having a rockin’ Thursday! <3

Sincerely,
AlexSmiles

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#2

Is the issue receiving or sending chat?

We can help (manually) by disabling chat permissions for selected people. This would make sure that they can’t say things in chat.

What we can’t do is stop people receiving chat. I actually think this is an interesting idea in itself.

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#3

What a weird problem to have. You have my sympathy, working in a totalitarian district like that.
Keep fighting the good fight!

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#4

I gotcha. Yeah it’s both ends that’s a problem but I’ll talk with my administration about this. With a profanity filter I think it won’t be as big of a problem, so that helps my case a lot!

If that’s enough for the administration (which it should be) I’ll send you a list of student usernames to disable chat for if that’s okay. Thank you so much, again!

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#5

It’s doubly unfortunate because the probability of receiving nasty messages is higher for people who don’t say anything (perceived as rude). Not being able to say “hi”, “thanks for the game” or to discuss the game in a short review… rough.

In this case I think it would be helpful to have a “muted” symbol or something to indicate that the account you’re facing can’t chat. That would relieve some tension, I believe.

Optionally, automatic greetings at the beginning and end of a game. Problem almost solved. xD

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#6

I agree, but because the school wants to avoid liability (especially with the “momo” stuff that’s spread over social media lately) they don’t like allowing students to chat with strangers at all over the internet. Even though chatting in go is benign and comes from a wonderful and supportive community, I can understand their view-point.

Perhaps I can see if permission slips would be enough to avoid the trouble altogether. It’s my first year teaching, so I’m still figuring a lot out as far as protocol is concerned. Haha.

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#7

I’m very interested in this for similar reasons over the pond. I had understood that chat was not enabled for accounts without an email address. Is this in fact not true? The games I’ve seen so far have not involved chatting so it’s not been tested from emailless accounts that I know of.
I considered adding something in the profile like “no chat, sorry” but I’m not sure how best to put it. An icon or automatic chat explanation would be great.

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#8

Scares never get old, it seems. When I was in elementary school, people circulated flyers warning parents about LSD-laced fake tattoos. Complete nonsense of course.

But I guess your school’s policy is mostly about avoiding the “special” brand of parents. Gotcha.

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#9

I believe it is the case that accounts without verified email initially can’t chat, but become “qualified” for chat automatically after a short-ish while. I don’t know what that time period is.

This is consistent with the strong focus at OGS of making signing up very low friction.

I find that understandable, arising as it does from the early days of the platform, when gaining critical mass was vital.

In my personal opinion, we would all be better served now by some tightening up aspects of this to help us deal with the tricky anti-social stuff that any large membership base accumulates. Unfortunately (in my personal opinion) once standards are in place, they gain inertia and it become hard to change them - people like the status quo.

Once someone has the ability to play, or to chat, without providing an email, just you try to take that away and listen to the howling.

So it likely will stay the way it is, and the moderators deal with the consequences.

Showing the opponent that the person can’t chat has downsides - people will use the knowledge that you can’t talk back as a weapon.

Now what might work is simple disabling in-game chat totally when one of the players can’t chat. Similarly, receiving PMs actually.

But in the mean time, feel free to contact a moderator with a list of students. We will welcome advance warning of this. We will need some evidence that each person listed is in fact an applicable student of course - there are ways to solve that.

GaJ

1 Like

#10

This response won’t address your liability concerns but I thought it might be worth posting regardless.

Given that schools are places of learning, this actually seems like a good opportunity to teach students how to use online chat and stay out of trouble. I say ‘good opportunity’ because the system allows you, the teacher, to supervise all games and ingame-chat on a separate computer (You will need to disallow students from playing ‘private’ games but they can’t conceal that on their profile game histories so it’s enforcable). Additionally the OGS community is largely well behaved and well moderated.

There may be occasional problems. Especially as inexperienced Go players, students may come across impatient, rude opponents but teaching students how to deal with that in a controlled environment seems like an excellent addition to any class. I’m not sure exactly what ages we are talking about as grades/ages vary around the world but I imagine most right-thinking parents would actually be relieved to hear their children are being taught these life-skills.

So rather than trying to pitch for chatless access, I would consider promoting the class to parents and ‘the powers that be’ as an excellent educational opportunity. :slight_smile:

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#11

I thought the same thing, it’s better to teach students how to avoid bs and whatnot, but knowing what I know about parents… I understand how the school wouldn’t want to take a chance here.

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#12

You may be interested to know that there was a similar teaching experiment conducted here not that long ago.

In that instance, as far as I know, the teacher did not start by having OGS moderation involved, and that was a mistake. The OP’s move to ask about this before doing it is laudable.

The amount of supervision required, by OGS moderators and the teacher in the previous case was “eye opening”, and I think that the result would not be considered “a wild success”. The problem was not so much the usual intolerance some people on OGS have to beginners, it was the students themselves. I think we like to picture a classroom of people taking go/intenet lessons like this:

when the reality is possibly more like this:

Clearly it all depends on the class itself - it’s size, and the maturity and interest of the students involved. If you are talking about a class of 30 teenagers with one teacher, and this is just one lesson of many for that class, the chances of all 30 students being interested and motivated to behave well while learning a geeky game seems low…

… so I’m all for “start well controlled” :slight_smile:

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#13

It truly is a wonderful thing that you are doing for your school and I wish you the best of luck in your efforts. I would give a lot to be able to have such an opportunity. The good news is that however you handle this online safety issue, you always have a great group of OGS moderators that will eagerly help you with figuring this out. You have indeed picked the best server to do this. :grinning:

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#14

Actually, putting the games in private mode would eliminate the chat from outsiders and even conceal the students’ account names so they couldn’t be PMed by outsiders, while chat banning the students would eliminate the talk between them. Result: complete silence. Or am I missing something?

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#15

Idea (but I have no idea how much it would take to implement):

Would it be possible & make sense to add a new property to users (“bot” is also a property, no?):

:ballot_box_with_check: school acct, all chat disabled,

and every game would get a boilerplate chat message at the beginning (like those bot msgs):

Hello, this is a school account, we’re required to have all chatting disabled, sorry for the inconvenience. GOOD GAME nevertheless :slight_smile:

I think situations like this might become more frequent rather than less, so …

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#16

TBH, I think that “chat disabled” should just mean “all chat disabled” :slight_smile:

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#17

Better include an automated chat message informing both players about that conundrum. Otherwise, people are gonna complain on the forum about how their chat doesn’t work. xD

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#18

@AlexSmiles
Have you considered using tools to block chat? If the OGS side can’t be helped, you could manipulate your browser. Using rule based adblockers, like uBlock Origin, you could remove the chat pane altogether. The only problem with this would be if you wanted to use the Analyze Tool to save variations, which of course appear in the chat box. If you didn’t want that, blocking that chat box would be extremely easy.

I am not sure about this, but maybe one of the Moderators knows. Does the chat come over the network through a specific port? If so, you could easily create a rule for the router, PC, browser, or third party software that could filter the chat from ever getting through. If this were possible, then using variations would still be acceptable. Though children could still send chat messages that people on the other side could see. But if the Moderators muted there chat capability as already suggested, this could be an ideal solution.

Using other browser extensions, like Greasemonkey, could allow you to create a custom script for what information was shown on a page. This route may also allow you to hide the contents of the chat box. But like the other methods above, if you want to use Variations, then this doesn’t work so well.

Have you considered any approaches like this? If we could figure something out, then you wouldn’t have to worry about the school or parent permission or about getting into trouble :wink:.

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#19

It’s literally the same connection as all realtime data (game, notification, chat, …)

uBlock or some other extension should work. Variations have a different style and therefore are different CSS classes.

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#20

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give an update. @GreenAsJade is pretty correct about the students behavior in chat, especially since my 5th and 6th graders are all memelords. As much as I’d love for them to be “perfect angels” and courtious players, the reality is that a lot of them will not be so patient and nice. That said, we will be talking about etiquette when playing on physical boards with other students.

As for the chat on OGS, blocking a specific port won’t work since all live actions come through the same port. I have looked at uBlock Origin, and I’ll have to keep playing around with it, but it seems like the best solution. The only things I’ll have to ensure before I bring it to our school’s sysadmin are the following:

  1. It seems to be available for Chrome and Firefox, but is it also available for IE (or whatever they’re calling it now)?
  2. Is there a way to remove the ability for students to change the settings or turn it off?
  3. Is there a way for the default behavior to be set to “off” so it doesn’t interfere with any settings for other sites?

I’m not so much asking for the above info as much as I am declaring what I’m going to work on this weekend. Thanks you all for helping me on my go journey with your posts. I’m so glad to have a wonderful community here. Y’all keep rocking. <3

Always in sente,
AlexSmiles

1 Like