Sunday, January 17, 2010

What is the defintion of Solicit?

Sigh . . . I got a letter from a reader who is also an unsatisfied customer of Wizard101, and I hesitate to share it since I'm mostly upbeat and happy around here, but I'm going to only provide the first paragraph because I need to let you guys know AGAIN that it's a really bad idea to share your passwords:
Dear Friendly Necromancer,
Recently my sister had her Wizard 101 account banned based on supposed violation of the Solicitation of Personal Information clause in Wizard 101's Terms of Use. When my father requested proof of her supposed solicitation, Mr. Lincoln responded only with statements showing that my sister provided (NOT solicited) information to another player. Since my sister did nothing to violate the Terms of Use, she should not have been banned, but they just won't listen to anybody or what we say, and their almost acting like little kids right now. They were voted the best family MMO of 2009? It made sense at first, but not anymore.

Since this really never asked a question for me, I'm going to ask it for them . . . what is the legal definition of "solicit" as it applies here? Because that's really what's going on here with this complaint. I tried to warn you guys last week, do NOT give out your passwords, it's a really bad idea because they will ban you. Now you've seen the truth of the matter through this family's experience.

It's very sad. I think that this family probably had a really good time playing this game together and now one of the players is not on the same page as everyone else, and they would have to start over at level 1. All the time invested in building a character and playing through this storyline is now lost. The joy is now killed. What does that do to a family? Well, it makes them mad!

I bet that daughter feels pretty bad about leaking her password and the rest of the family wants to jump to her defense, but really is solicit merely a synonym for "ask" or is it something more? Well, I looked up a few legal things and the legal definition of solicit is as thus: "Urgent request, plea, or entreaty; enticing, asking. The criminal offense of urging someone to commit an unlawful act."

Where I get stuck here is "enticing" and "urging someone to commit." This is why I think their interpretation of solicit is solid and why they ban both parties. If you say to someone "my password is XXXXXXXXXX right?" (as the daughter of the family did) Then are you enticing someone to commit the act of logging into an account that is not theirs?

I think in this world of identity theft, you all should get in the habit of protecting your information.

Now, I know that this is not the terms of use, but every time you log in there is also a very blatant warning on the patcher:

That there does NOT say "solicit" or even "ask" . . . that says "give."


Despite this, the rest of the story is that Kingsisle refunded them $60 for that account (which they had only recently renewed).

What do my readers think? Does giving your password to someone fulfil the legal definition of "solicit"? Or is it a stretch? Is the warning in the patcher legally binding and how do you think Kingsisle should have reacted in this situation?

Finally, Kingsisle finishes their terms of use by saying, "We may suspend or terminate your account for any failure to comply with these Terms of Use, any terms related to any service offered through the Site or for any reason whatsoever, or for no reason."

If it was me, I'd approach them in a more humbled manner . . . something where I tell Kingsisle that I've taken discipline of my daughter into my own hands and explain that this is a game my family plays together and perhaps show a bit of action on my part to teach my daughter that information sharing is against the rules . . . you know, instead of trying to educate Kingsisle on the meaning of their own terms of use. I don't know how they would react (it may not change a thing), but I'm going to believe that it would be better received.


Let me give you an example from my life. When I was a stupid teenager, I got caught by the police throwing water balloons over a bridge onto oncoming traffic with a bunch of kids that I didn't normally hang out with, and I ended up having to go to court on a charge of littering. My mother stood by my side and told the judge that she was going to be working me overtime at home, that I would be paying the large fine, and that she wasn't going to let me hang around those kids ever again. And she meant it. The judge had some mercy and didn't make me do any community service time, and I think that happened largely because my mother showed some action on her part. The other kids didn't have a cool mom who knew how to talk to the judge and tell him what he wanted to hear. Yeah, that was a really sucky summer for me, but at least I didn't have to wear orange and pick up garbage with the juvies. Had she tried to argue to the judge about the definition of littering, well maybe the judge would have argued the defintion of attempted manslaughter since you know, a balloon exploding on a car window could cause someone to overcorrect their car, crash, and die.

Think about it. Your words and actions are powerful.

Happy Dueling!


Anonymous said...

And that's why I've moved on from Kingsisle... Their pathetic service.

Stingite said...

LOL. Well I wouldn't call it pathetic service. They did get their $60 back.

Everytime I've worked with them on an issue I've had they've been outstanding.

Follow the rules and there won't be any issues.


JGoof said...

I agree 100% with you.

However, I think it is legitimate to ask to be shown the proof, like a transcript of the alledge conversation.

I remember when I played Disney's VMK, it was the same. A friend of mine got a temporary ban. But she could not remember when she said wrong. She would have love to know it so she would not repeat the same mistake.

potroast42 said...

haha i love the story at the end with the water balloons ;)

Stephanie said...

That is quite some story in my opinion. No, I wouldn't say their services are pathetic as they was able to transfer some crowns on my sister's account to mine and that was very nice (:

Btw, love the little story at the end! Kinda hard to believe that Mr.Lionblood actually did something like that lol

Alice said...

Your mum sounds awesome :)

I think the general rule of 'don't give out your passwords' is pretty reasonable. But where does it end? I know my daughter and my husband's passwords for example and you clearly know yours. But surely that doesn't count as soliciting?

I thought it was pretty nice of KI to give the $60 back too.

Unknown said...

"We may suspend or terminate your account for ... or for any reason whatsoever, or for no reason."

Well, that's certainly encouraging. I hope I don't accedentally log in on a "No Necromancers Day" or make some other horrid mistake.

Honestly, I think that giving out your password can be it's own punishment. After all, someone else now has the power to log in and change both the password and email of the account, and the account is gone just as much as it would be under a ban. Unless it's a family member you can trust (probably not minor siblings), giving out your password is stupid. Stupid has to hurt, or else you never learn.

Unknown said...

Case in point...
I submitted the previous comment without proofreading it, and now I feel stupid. I know how to spell "accidentally", I swear.

CD said...

KingsIsle really needs to add kidpasswords. I don't know if such a thing exists in other games, so this is roughly how it should work:
On the w101 site, you can enter a easy password for kids to be used on your account. It would be cool if there was a setting if the kid can use crowns but that's another option.
When you launch the game and you enter the kids password, it will ask for the real password the first time. Then it is stored on the computer (encrypted), and the computer can use the kid password from then on.
If the kid wants to play on a different computer, the parent will have to enter the real password the first time or it wont work.
So in other words, the kid password can only be used IF you know the real password. You can't log in to the main site with it, if they give out the password it's useless for the one that gets it and if you're like me, and use a password like Sj4&x!(MoY-+ it's a bit easier to remember for the kids :)

Unknown said...

Hmm... actually, once an account is connected to another one as a parent/child, there is no way to separate them, even if you manage to contact KingsIsle.

I guess that means the parent account can change the email and password for the child account no matter what. It's recoverable, but there's still potential for someone to sabotage the account before the password is changed.

Nicole Swiftdreamer said...

wow, a FRIENDLY necromancer in trouble, thats something you dont hear every day. anyway, when people get banned for using bad words then start a new account thinking theyve outsmarted KI, it makes me a little bit sick. but when someone gives away or asks for a password (especially when they are young) i would think it would be ok for them to start another account as long as their parents have reprimanded them and the child understands why its wrong.

Blaze Deathstone said...

you cant blame kingsisle for following their own rules. i would blame the child. as harsh as that may sound, its whats needed. and i would say the punishment would vary, judging how old the child is, and how long they have been playing wizard 101. i do see the families side, but you cant just let your child who did a bad thing off with nothing, ya know.