Dec 8, 2012

Posted by in General News, Wizard101 | 3 Comments

Hall Monitors: Who’s afraid of Wizard’s Big Brother?

Hall Monitors:  Who’s afraid of Wizard’s Big Brother?


I said this before and I’ll say it again, I didn’t know we had them.  I’m sure Ravino will remind me that he had mentioned it to me before, but I’ve been so preoccupied over the whole amber thing that it just didn’t dawn on me.  He knows I really have no mind of my own.

My consciousness is shared among three people:

  • Ravino who keeps the website organized and keeps my wizard history in canon.
  • Kestrel, my grammar maven, who helps makes sense of the rough drafts I send.
  • And my daughter who’s like the hyper fluffy bunny in the paddle cell of my mind.

I really didn’t start to take notice of whom or what these Hall Monitors were until a rash of threads began popping up on Central and FaceBook regarding them.  These threads have claimed that these monitors – this “secret police” – have been abusing their powers and are just randomly muting people for no reason… or no good reason.

And again, to be honest, one has to wonder who is taking the time to notice that this is happening?

I remember a time, when Scarlet DuneStaff was played mostly by my daughter, that I had some general concerns with her in the game.  So occasionally, when my child needed help or when I was just bored, I would log in just to see what she was up to and who she was hanging around.  A lot of her friends seemed pretty nice and easy going, but there were others who had such potty mouths on them that I deleted them from her list.  I wouldn’t want that kind of talk around my child in real life let alone in a virtual setting.

I remember, back then, how I would get whispers from random guys saying, “You’re hot! Be my girl.” And just other things that made me sit my child down and go over with her about the internet and predators.   I remember the racist comment I heard in Stormriven Hall from some guy who needed help, “Killing more niggars.”  I’m sure he was referring to the minions in the game…. but still.  I remember posting a picture of the chat box on my Central profile, just in awe of it.  You would think that in the virtual world something like that wouldn’t exist.   But I guess when you are that prejudice you would still judge someone even by the color their avatar’s skin.

I remember some girl, who was on my daughter’s friend list, asking for my login information because her account got hacked.  And I remembered the girl promising me (as my daughter) some crown cards from Best Buy if I gave her that information.  And again, this caused me to go over some more things with my child, because if it had been her talking to this “friend” then she would have agreed to it and there would be no more Scarlet DuneStaff to write about.

OH!  I remember around last year, when the “fake” J. Todd Coleman sent me a friend request on FaceBook.    At first I was like “OMG!  J.TODD COLEMAN FRIENDED ME!!”   But after careful consideration I started to realize “J. Todd Coleman friended me??”

Of course, the imposter wanted to chat, and I called him out on being a fake.  When he realized I wasn’t a kid that was easily influenced,  he quickly blocked me so that I couldn’t see his activity   But I reported him to Facebook Security because I knew the trouble it would cause.

And my how it did.

I remember the various comments from people claiming to have been “hacked” (or better yet, duped) by this fake, and how this fake promised them everything for their password and user name only for their account to get banned for life in return.  I remember the various posts that went out from Central, the main W101 site, and various other W101 fan sites all warning of this imposter and not to give him any personal information.  Even the real J. Todd posted a message from his FaceBook wall telling people that he wouldn’t have to ask for your user name or password, nor would he ever need to, nor would any KingIsle staff member.   And yet, after all that, all the warnings, people still complained of getting “hacked” and losing their accounts.

And for what reason, really?  What goal outweighed the risk?

I remember standing in the arena lobby, waiting for my match to begin, when I saw a conversation from a guy who said that he gave “J .Todd Coleman” his login information so that he can make him a Warlord.  Really?  You’re risking your account’s security and being banned so that you can be a PVP Warlord?  After all the warnings?  It was one of those SMDH moments that I had to take a picture of the text box and post it on FaceBook with the caption “Next Imposter Victim”.

Why am I taking this stroll down memory lane?  Just to put in perspective of how things use to be and how it has all lead up to where it is now.  Because I have to admit there has been a shift in mood since the Hall Monitors came to be.   I just happened to be in the Commons the other day and I noticed how it wasn’t filled with all that blasphemous spam with someone cursing outside the chat filter.  There was no one begging for crowns or propositioning me to be their girl. It was a “quiet” afternoon under the tree.   There was still chatter, but it wasn’t outrageously rude or lewd; it was just talk. And it was nice

This whole Hall Monitoring thing puts me in mind of a conversation my supervisor had with my team a couple of months ago regarding a new policy that went into effect for the company I work for.  I’ve been working in my real life job for well over a decade, and I have seen many changes take place within the business from the comings and goings of department heads to handbook policies being re-written.    One such policy came about to help detour people from being fired due to their attendance issues.  It was put in place that every full time person would get 40 HRS of UNPAID time should one ever need to keep from getting into attendance trouble.  Of course a lot of us who have been with the company for a while wondered how this UNPAID time works.  Does this time have to be pre-approved?  Would we get penalized for using it?  How much of it can I take at one time?

My supervisor listened carefully to our concerns then looked to us with her churchlike smile and said, “This policy has nothing to do with you.”

And we were like, “What do you mean? We work here?”

So she went on to say, “You people come here to work every day, all day.  You people make perfect attendance every month and you don’t have attendance infractions on your record.  You have accrued so much PAID personal time that you could take two 2 months off in a row if you really needed to.  So this policy has nothing to do with you.”

In other words, it was her way of saying, “Continue to stay out of trouble and you will never have to concern yourself with that.”

I know these Hall Monitors are not perfect.  To say that they are would be laughable. They are human like the rest of us.  So I’m sure some mistakes have been made.    Lord knows I have seen police officers going at top speed WITHOUT their blue lights flashing for no apparent reason.  So I’m sure that there are some instances where “abuse” might have taken place.  But I’m sure that KingIsle has a system of checks and balances in place to keep those individuals accountable.  To say that they don’t makes no common sense or business sense.

I doubt that Hall Monitors will be made to wear badges simply because I think that would make matters worse.  I can see that person being subjected to all sorts of harassment because they have that status over their heads.  And besides, how can they do their job effectively if someone knows they are watching?  If you are driving and a police officer pulls up behind you, do you automatically start speeding?   Or better yet, when a classroom has been put in time out and made to sit quietly, what generally happens when the teacher leaves the room?

What my supervisor alluded to before can be applied to how we conduct ourselves in this game now:  Continue to stay out of trouble and you will never have to concern yourself with them.   

It’s like that old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s tool.”   If you go looking for trouble, you’ll generally find it.  But if you busy yourself with something else, then you can stay out of it.

The only people who need to worry over a Hall Monitor’s presence are those individuals who caused the need for them in the first place.









  1. Sestiva FireHeart says:

    I totally agree with your view on this. I still run into the crowds of potty mouths but not as often, so there has been improvement. By putting the Hall Monitors in place, Kings Isle is saying too things 1. Predators of all types-Go away you are unwelcome here! and 2. Kids play nice and have fun. 😉

  2. Very well written!

  3. vigilantseraph says:

    Nice article. I have a friend who helped design this game from the beginning, and she told me there have always been hall monitors who were KI employees. I have seen people get a well deserved instant mute when there were only two others in the area and no one else could have heard the conversation. I always wondered how that happened. So this hall monitor thing is nothing new. And from what I have seen the monitors were doing their job well. There just weren’t anywhere near enough of them to make a difference.

    KI apparently made a huge effort to expand the program and add many new monitors. They chose to alert players this time to avoid confusion. And good for them. Whatever the drawbacks are, they can’t possibly outweigh the good this has done. This time the difference is noticeable. I no longer dread the Commons.

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