D00d th4t 5o 5uxx0rs.
September 23, 2003 5:50 PM   Subscribe

Bill Is Thinking About The Children. MSN has decided to close almost all of it's chatrooms across the world. It cites concerns about paedophiles targeting and grooming children. Some children's charities are delighted. Some of MSN's competitors are less impressed.
posted by Blue Stone (32 comments total)
From one of the articles: "They will also continue to make MSN Messenger free to users."

For now.
posted by dg at 6:20 PM on September 23, 2003

Does anyone actually use MSN Messenger?
posted by bshort at 6:33 PM on September 23, 2003

I use it to talk to... umm... my friends who use MSN messenger.
posted by namespan at 6:36 PM on September 23, 2003

I use the MSN Messenger service, but not the software (Trillian does a much better job)
posted by dg at 6:43 PM on September 23, 2003

i used to work at a small diner that catered to the artsy crowd in town (located in the middle of party central). the owner - not wanting any of the unsavory company - made sure to attract the kind of customers he wanted by upping the prices. it worked.
posted by poopy at 6:50 PM on September 23, 2003

MSN? Dude, you aren't cool if you use MSN. You might as well hate black people or something. AOL too.
posted by angry modem at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2003

well, duh... how many times have i said "only total losers and pedophiles use MSN"!?
posted by bhayes82 at 7:05 PM on September 23, 2003

I'd say this is bad news for paedophiles but worse news for people who value freedom of speech and association, and other such outdated concepts. What a fantastic idea, to force people to prove their identity, age and location before being given the opportunity to contribute money to a huge corporate entity, which may or may not deign to give them the special privilege of being able to chat freely with anyone they choose (within their own country and age bracket of course.)

Childrens' "protection" is solely the responsibility of their parents.

Trillian is great but doesn't support peer-to-peer file transfer or video chat. Until it does, the only option I'm aware of is to use Yahoo! or MSN Messenger to take advantage such facilities with those deluded, uncool, loser friends of mine who are on those networks. (Unlike angry modem, not all of my buddies are geeks.)
posted by cbrody at 7:29 PM on September 23, 2003

So, then, what's the cool messaging software to use these days? (Everyone I know seems to be on MSN Messenger, so that's what I use.) I used to use ICQ, which sucked more and more as time went by. I used Yahoo! for a while, too.

Not that I'm going to change what I'm doing -- I just like to know what's cool, in case I feel like striking an anti-corporate pose on some occasion.

Ironically, as far as the geek factor goes, it was my IRC friends who got me using MSN Messenger first. (I used to spend *way* too much time on IRC.)

cbrody: I haven't checked out Trillian in a long time, but their web page says even the basic version supports file transfer. Is it not peer-to-peer?
posted by boredomjockey at 8:09 PM on September 23, 2003

Yeah, this will work real well, since obviously children won't be computer-savvy enough to, say, find chat rooms on the internet on their own.
posted by gyc at 8:34 PM on September 23, 2003

"what's the cool messaging software to use these days?"

It's called electronic mail. Fascinating concept. A little rough around the edges but if you know how to manage it, you can talk to people who you want to talk to, they'll write back and you usually don't get bothered by abusers. Except of course when you give your email address out to any corporate entity that then puts your address on a list which they sell to spammers. Then you get bombarded with abusers.

"made sure to attract the kind of customers he wanted by upping the prices. it worked."

That only works if there's a share of consumers in the market out there who are willing to accept the price. It's supply and demand. I don't believe MSN has found enough people willing to pay more for the service. Although this could be an attempt on their part to create an interest if not a need for their other services, or new services they quietly have in the works.

Doesn't really matter. There's more than enough unmoderated avenues of communication on the Internet... at the moment. MSN's actiion here may be a Public Relations move, but it doesn't put a dent in the efforts of those who seek to abuse unmoderated services. It may adversely affect some innocent and sincere users, but I doubt it will be enough to show up on anyone's radar. People will just find other places to go. Contrary to Gates' beliefs, MSN doesn't control cyberspace.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:41 PM on September 23, 2003

boredomjockey, Trillian's file transfer doesn't work (for me, anyway). My solution is to keep Trillian running all the time, to see who's online in a single window, and then switch to the proprietary client if necessary. As Trillian can access centrally-stored contact lists from the four major networks, this works fine for me.

Coolness is an overrated factor. Use what works.
posted by cbrody at 9:09 PM on September 23, 2003

I'm using Trillian 2.0, and file transfers work fine for me, regardless of what IM platform other people are on. Mind you, this might be because almost everyone I talk to is also using Trillian 2...
posted by Jairus at 9:50 PM on September 23, 2003

I use trillian and am able to use file transfer on services that support it such as AIM.

I don't think I've ever been in an MSN chatroom. Do they all talk about how much macs suck in there?
posted by Salmonberry at 9:59 PM on September 23, 2003

If your on a Mac, you can use iChat A/V to chat, transfer files and have the best video and audio chat software there is.
posted by nakedelf at 10:22 PM on September 23, 2003

Trillian's file transfers are fine.

I'm thinking.......user error! :-)
posted by angry modem at 12:14 AM on September 24, 2003

I think one of the other reasons to close the unmoderated rooms is the change for lawsuits. Guess what happens when a kid get abducted after talking to someone in an MSN chatroom? The parents will sue the hell out of Microsoft for providing and environment where this is possible.

So instead of blaming Microsoft it might be better to blame the culture of million dollar lawsuits in the US.
posted by sebas at 12:16 AM on September 24, 2003

Wow if MS was so worried about "bad things" happening on MSN Chat, why didn't they close it a few years ago ? Are we supposed to believe that they didn't read their own channels ? Anyway we haven't lost anything good.
posted by elpapacito at 2:30 AM on September 24, 2003

Jabber people!! Jabber!. It's free, no one owns it, it's open and it's here so use it damn you!
posted by PenDevil at 2:46 AM on September 24, 2003

Yes, Jabber is good. And it's easy to write your own jabber client!
posted by thedude256 at 2:54 AM on September 24, 2003

"So instead of blaming Microsoft it might be better to blame the culture of million dollar lawsuits in the US."

well, I'd especially blame the paedophiles in the first place and leave tort reform alone, but what do I know
posted by matteo at 3:07 AM on September 24, 2003

'Large, Slightly Unpopular Company Receives Many Favourable Column Inches For Closing Down Unprofitable Service, Masked As Altruisim'

Film at eleven...
posted by punilux at 3:08 AM on September 24, 2003

Shoot, all a parent needs to do is make sure the computer is not stashed away in the kid's room. Put it where the family congregates and where it is easy for mom or dad to look over junior's shoulder once in awhile. That's worked for us for years.

As for IM, when you have a son in college, it's a cheap realtime way to communicate. Other than that I hate it as I generally hate being bothered while online.
posted by konolia at 3:55 AM on September 24, 2003

Well, at least there still is ICQ, where the men are men, the women are men and the 13 year olds are FBI.
posted by sebas at 5:18 AM on September 24, 2003

Damnit, sebas! Now you've gone an ruined all the mystery for me...
posted by JollyWanker at 5:29 AM on September 24, 2003

It's quote from bash.org , which is a great site for spending a few hours.

yes, very.
posted by sebas at 5:37 AM on September 24, 2003

If parents can't monitor what their kids are doing then why not ban the under 18s from chatrooms? Its not as if they have any legitimate reason to be there.

Besides after doing their homework and watching teletubbies they ought to be in bed asleep anyway.

Ban kids from the internet I say.
posted by lilburne at 6:15 AM on September 24, 2003

OMG, won't someone think of the children?!?!?!?!??!?



Or, just be a responsible parent and get involved in your kid's life.

Which is more practical? Oh...
posted by eas98 at 6:28 AM on September 24, 2003

'Large, Slightly Unpopular Company Receives Many Favourable Column Inches For Closing Down Unprofitable Service, Masked As Altruisim'

punilux is right on. Pedophiles also use MS Windows and Office software, so I'm waiting for those to go as well...
posted by troybob at 7:24 AM on September 24, 2003

MSN Israel, isn't closing it's chatrooms apparently. From The Register:

"Nana Netlife reports a statement from MSN Israel, which appears to throw up another motive.

It said: "MSN International's decision to limit the company's chat service for paying subscribers is done with accordance to the company policy of turning Internet services to paid services, as it did in the past with [Hotmail] Extra Storage and MSN 8."

posted by Blue Stone at 8:32 AM on September 24, 2003

I've also heard that if you're willing to spend the 40 bucks for the MetaFilter Pro package, you get instant free access to MetaChat, mathowie's new new thing. apparently, that's the _real_ reason Bill G. decided to close down his service. MetaChat would have kicked his ass anyway, better to quit now
posted by matteo at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2003

For christ's sake won't you think of the children! This doesn't go far enough!

Micro$oft should also withdraw Internet Explorer in case a child uses it to look at pr0n, and Outlook Express in case someone sends the child a pr0n email, and they should withdraw Office too in case a child writes rude words. Terrorists and paedophiles use computers so Micro$oft should withdraw all of its Windows[tm] O/S software too.

Then we can all be one great big happy family with nothing bad in the world ever to spoil it ever, ever again, and Bill Gates was made king of dumbing down the world and he lived happily ever after; the end... of the Internet! Yeah, bollox! M$ is a greed driven beast, dig a little deeper and sooner or later a ledger book will turn up :)
posted by DrDoberman at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2003

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