2006-07-07

A generic chat session is not official policy

Concider a group of people at a table, discussing something they all feel strongly about. These kinds of situations and talks tend to be quite informal, and thus sometimes, the discussion can become quite harsh. People will say things that the others, knowing this person, never would expect him to mean seriously - strictly speaking, there's alot of jokes.

This discussion is strictly personal, it is informal, and more than anything, it is non-official. It doesn't matter who is involved in this discussion. If it's the prime minister, if it's the CEO of a large corporation or if it's just two colleagues from the local factory. A chat between these people doesn't in any way determine the official position of the government, the business plan for the corporation or the plans for the factory union club, no matter what the discussion contains. If the prime minister says to his buddy in a private conversation that he thinks the head of the opposition is an SOB, that doesn't mean that the official position of the government is that the head of the opposition is an SOB.

It can also, under some circumstances, be a more formal or offical chat. Perhaps the prime minister invited one of his colleagues from the government to a job-related dinner. Perhaps it's a conversation which is about a political party's ideas or plans. Perhaps it's a public debate on the local library or an official meeting of the local union club. In this case, what is said there has more impact, and often one can assume that what is said there has officiality. What is said can have more repercussions.

This is how the IRC eseentially work. It is a discussion. People group together and talk. On this network of chatservers, a number of individuals have started a channel that they choose to name #piratpartiet. Members of the pirate party actually talk there. Even people that has had official positions in the party has chatted there. This doesn't mean that this channel is official in any way. If so, anyone could start a channel called #republicans and claim it to be the official chatsite of the american Republican Party. It's bullshit and has nothing to do with reality - even if the president himself visited the channel.

IRC channels have topics, that's supposedly an official statement of the channel itself - it's made so that visitors will know if they've come to the right place or not. The topic of the channel #piratpartiet includes the words: "Detta är INTE Piratpartiets officiella kanal!" - This is NOT the official channel of the Pirate Party. When you enter, you immediately get an official message from the channel that tells you that it has no formal bonds to the Pirate Party. Furthermore, Piratpartiet itself makes no claims at all to have an offical IRC channel and does not claim this channel as it's own, official channel in any way.

This should make it abundantly clear that this IRC channel is not official to the Pirate Party in any way - and consequently, that what is said on it, is not offical to the Pirate Party either.

But still, Expressen claims in an article that a discussion on this channel occured on "the pirate party's internal chat site".

It's time this Expressen reporter realized this: It's not a site - it's a chat. It's very internal - for the individuals that are involved, not the party it has taken it's name from. It does not belong to the Pirate Party. And it's not anything official from the Pirate Party, anymore than a statement from an average nobody is an official government statement because he begins with the words, "I am social democrat".

It's the same thing as when another Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, a few weeks back claimed that a lawyer had been threatened by Pirate Bay, because an anonymous user had written something that could be concidered a threat on an open forum - a message that was even deleted since it was concidered inappropriate.

One is wondering - is this a way for newspapers to join the judicial system to harass those that critizes the judicial system and the newspapers? Or do they feel threatened by the new technology making news, ideas and information available that the newspapers didn't come up with and control themselves? Or do they simply not understand that a chat is not the same thing as a press release?

Wikipedia: Internet Relay Chat

4 comments:

kdsde said...

Can you rephrase that part?

"It's time this Expressen reporter realized this: It's not a site. It's very internal. And it does not belong to the Pirate Party, not more than a person makes an official statement for the government by starting the statement with the words "My name is NN, and I'm the prime minister of Sweden"."

I think i guess right what you want to say. but this part makes no sense to me.

It's NOT an Internal party thingy channel as far as i understand IRC. And the next sentence with the primeminister i don't get at all. If he beginns a talk with that i assume its something "official" that he then will talk about?!

Thaumiel said...

Better this way?

kdsde said...

ja, better this way. Now its more clear what you wanted to say.

(even an technically unexperienced "news" reporter (female!) can now understand the differences) ;)

Thaumiel said...

Problem for us is that even technical aware reporters seems bent on misunderstanding. So I appriciate when people ask for clearity because they WANT to understand. :)