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TPU and schools
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 04:36:42 AM I just got a phone call from a friend of my mothers who teaches at one of the local primary schools. She is investigating various stuff that could be done with IT in schools, and I believe that she was looking into the suitability of this site as a place to direct people who could be helped better by us than the teaching stuff at their schools.
Anyway, for the site to be useful for that (and I don't know if anyone has investigated such things before) it would probably be worthwhile doing something about the chat room - many of the conversations there are emphatically not suitable for children. That "something" done might just be a notice that the conversations there range over all topics, perhaps splitting it into #tpu and #tpu-discuss, or making a custom irc delivery mechanism (custom client or proxy or something) that filtered out unsafe stuff. That filtering would probably rely on the people in the chat room prefixing particularly unsuitable comments with a % character (or similar). Of those, I'm not sure that anything would really work other than noting that it could be horrible and trusting people to do the right thing.
So, the questions:
Do we care about this audience, and does it fit in with our goals as a community?
Do we want to modify what we provide as an organisation in order to better serve this audience?
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 05:33:25 AM This would get my vote, but as you say about our rants and ravings. I think we would need to catagorise the forums/threads (chosen by the thread author?).
But, didn't we discuss saying TPU currently is more inclined towards 16/17-22 year olds? than 12-16 year olds? (and even then Primary School kids are like 5-11?)
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 05:57:52 AM It's certainly a interesting idea. One of my teachers is a net-fanatic too; I could imagine him being interested too (that's 16-20 years old ppl).
One could add a special forum/whatever for that purpose, and add some filtering systems to posts there. That would leave the rest more or less unchanged... Letting the thread-author choose the "category" may be a bad idea, especially since threads sometimes tend to get waaaaay off-topic :D
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 06:17:15 AM hmm. Its an arguable but I think most schools would start them off with a very high level langauge. Do many of us still use them? I mean I started in GW-Basic when I was 8, I think schools might go for something even more high level.
When your mother's friend says IT, I'm assuming she means more than just programming. Like browsing, word processors, spreadsheets, etc?
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 08:04:40 AM This is great if TPU becomes a sort of "independent study resources," and bad if people get the idea that it is an "official" place to ask for answers to homework problems or last-minute reiterations of things covered while not paying attention for their traditional high school programming classes. Getting help on understanding what they learn would be fine, though.... The key thing is maintaining TPU as a place for people who code for _fun_.
The inappropriate conversations are almost entirely instigated by people out of what the _real_ target age range should be, and most of whom don't particularly care about coding anymore. This problem really combines with the problem of creating a non-age-centric organization. All we really need is a web page pointing people to an IRC channel to get that started.
As to censorship in general, that can't help but become locale-specific, and I don't want to get started on a path where all sorts of parents write expressing objections to particular material. I don't think anyone will find much to complain about if we officially boot people out when they turn 20, though. =) Even though some younger ones start questionable conversations, it's mostly because of encouragement from us older folk.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 10:16:46 AM I don't think it would be much of a problem, we get relatively few trolls on the forum.
I don't particularly agree with splitting the TPU channels, I think we could just make sure people know that there would be a younger audience. I don't agree with cencorship and moderation though.
Other then that, it sounds like a good idea. It will most certainly promote constructive conversation.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 12:42:10 PM "and bad if people get the idea that it is an "official" place to ask for answers to homework problems or last-minute reiterations of things covered while not paying attention for their traditional high school programming classes. "
I agree with that but you have to agree that most high-school computer "science" classes basically sucks. It's hard to pay attention when the teacher barely knows what he is talking about.
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 01:12:29 PM Yeah, I have to agree with Neumann; most of the teachers I had in anything computer related were mainly math, physics or technics teachers. Especially the last of the three, as technics is getting less and less people, but more students are getting interested in computer stuff.
It also feels like the teachers are lacking interest in the subject they should teach about; the worst lessons are the ones where even the teacher gets bored of the subject.
Posted by gian [send private reply] at February 10, 2003, 08:19:14 PM Two separate IRC channels would do the trick nicely I think, and as has been suggested for a long time, two separate sites entirely.
Posted by CodeRed [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 02:22:08 AM Two sites? Are you insane? There is barely enough activity here to warrant one site, and you wanna split it? That would be spreading it way too thin. Things are perfect the way they are, I doubt parents are going to complain because of the occasional use of words like "ass" and "crap" etc. and what else is there? No one posts porno links or talks about brute forcing passwords or anything, I don't see the problem. If this site was a movie it would be rated G, or even Y
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 04:08:35 AM _NO_ to the two sites idea.
_NO_ to the two channels idea.
If we split this place up I have a feeling it may be the death of TPU.
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 04:08:50 AM erm CodeRed, I don't know about your parents, but almost every parent I know (of primary school kids) would complain like hell if they knew their kids were using a site with offensive language.
I think it would be perfectly reasonable to ask tpu members to keep the language level down a bit, (with the help of a couple of filters)
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 04:15:56 AM Another thing, would primary school kids parents really want their kids talking to anonomyous strangers from high school/university (bearing in mind at 16, my parents still haven't lifted their ban on me going into chatrooms).
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 04:58:18 AM I don't know if that's a big problem, especially if the site gets suggested by a teacher/school. Besides that - compared to other pages - there isn't all that much offensive language. And the "@-guys" can always edit posts that are too offensive...
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 09:30:16 AM All of you talking about lack of problems aren't regular #tpu visitors. Trust those of us who are when we mention it.
As for rdd's forceful negativity: you're not even in the age range affected. You don't get a vote. ;-)
I'm planning to recruit new people way out of the age range for the new one, as well as lots of new teenagers for TPU, so don't worry about spreading too thin. There are plenty of people in either category who don't want anything to do with TPU now, so we should want to make it easier for them to be involved!
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 09:36:04 AM I was talking about the forums :D I don't know about #tpu, but if it's just half as messy as any irc-channel I idle at, I'll take back what I said...
Posted by ItinitI [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 11:46:56 AM I don't get the deal about talking to strangers over the internet?? It's like having penfriends, plus half of us live in different countries [or atleast states/provinces/prefetures] anyway...
And your right, most parents would throw a pissy-fit over their children being on sites that occasioanly use vulgar language, however the kids probly hear twice as much from the parents on a daily basis, and those who don't, hear it from movies, television, ect. so...
Posted by pramod [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 01:49:42 PM No censors - they don't work.
Yes self monitoring.
No dumbos posting "How do I write a program to print N primes?"
Yes to smart programmers who enjoy programming.
I doubt if there are enough programmers around - maybe one in a hundred kids likes programming, so isn't the risk level quite high?
"I'm planning to recruit new people way out of the age range for the new one, as well as lots of new teenagers for TPU, so don't worry about spreading too thin"
Going off topic, how? who?
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 11, 2003, 03:47:28 PM Whoever fits, and however works
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at February 12, 2003, 04:12:12 AM I think what we should do is this:
1. Come up with a name for the new non-age specific group, and make an IRC channel for it.
2. Usher out the people from #tpu that should be in #newgroup.
3. Once the new system is a happenin' thing, make the new group more formal by giving it a web page.
I think that achieves most of the long-term goals without spreading people too thinly.
Posted by unknown_lamer [send private reply] at February 13, 2003, 09:09:52 AM If you want a 'safe' IRC channel, then make #tpu-safe or something, and don't ruin #tpu.
And yes, I am still programming...(I do believe Psion was referring a bit to me as someone who has no interest anymore). I just do it more quietly (soon I will be finished my first 'real' program that will be used in a production system [scheduling a county-wide conference] without me being there to fix things).
Posted by CodeRed [send private reply] at February 13, 2003, 03:11:22 PM No, he was talking about me, and he is correct, I haven't written anything in over a month
Posted by ItinitI [send private reply] at February 13, 2003, 03:14:39 PM Hoho, no he's probly talking about me...I haven't written anything!!
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