Here on EyeWire, we pride ourselves on creating a community environment that's appropriate and enjoyable for all ages. However, we know that as a parent, if your child plays EyeWire, you may still be curious or concerned about some elements of their experience here, and on this page we hope to address some usual queries.
- 1 What standards do you have in the chat for child-friendly content? How are they enforced?
- 2 How much personal information are players obligated to disclose?
- 3 What if I would like my child to play the game but not talk to anyone?
- 4 I'm concerned about an incident on EyeWire that involved my child/I'm still concerned in general about my child using EyeWire. With whom can I address this?
What standards do you have in the chat for child-friendly content? How are they enforced?
Because the chat is the main venue for EyeWire players to both discuss aspects of the game and casually converse, we maintain and enforce many standards to keep the chat respectful, intelligible, and within the bounds of US law. A complete rule book for the chat may be viewed here, but in summation:
1. All users must choose a username appropriate for an all-ages site. (No curses, even mild ones, no slurs, and no sexual/violent/illegal references.)
2. All users must act appropriately when chatting. (Again, no cursing of any kind, no slurs, no discussion of or links to sexual/violent/illegal content, no spam, no bullying, and no impersonations.)
3. All users must be respectful of the chat moderators and admins.
The rule book also details the functions of moderators and admins, but moderators (or "mods") are trusted players who monitor the chat and handle trolls (more about mods here), while admins are those of us who work at HQ. Many admins also perform mod functions.
If someone breaks chat rules, a mod or admin will usually issue a warning, and if this warning is ignored then it will result in a temporary muting, meaning the misbehaving user cannot talk in chat at all. If they continue to break the rules after being unmuted, they will then be permanently muted, i.e. banned. EyeWire also has the ability to ban IP addresses altogether, and we immediately mute or ban users for particularly graphic language or hate speech.
Technically these rules are meant to protect the playing experience and personal comfort of all our users, but we are particularly invested in enforcing the rules to help our under-18 users enjoy themselves and stay safe. Citizen science belongs to everyone, but most of all to our future.
How much personal information are players obligated to disclose?
Absolutely no personal information is required from any player except for an e-mail address or Facebook account. The e-mail address or Facebook account are only required for registration, and they are not displayed anywhere on a player's profile. Players may optionally set their country of origin to display on their profile and the leaderboard, but this is at their own discretion and displays nothing more than a flag. EyeWire is a social game, but it is not a social network; many players are known to us only by their usernames, and we do not collect any other contact information besides the above. We also do not have the ability to physically view anyone's Facebook profile beyond what their own privacy settings permit, and we do not auto-collect any data from their Facebook either. Player profiles do not display avatars (images to represent the player), so nobody has a way to see what another player looks like unless that player shares an image of themselves in the chat.
In essence, the only way for players to learn anything personally identifiable about you is if you reveal it in chat (or in an e-mail to us or other players) of your own volition; occasionally our community is friendly enough with one another that we do things like holiday gift exchanges where addresses are temporarily collected and shared with a limited number of people, but this is again entirely voluntary, and it happens on a highly limited basis.
EyeWire HQ strongly advises that players of all ages make educated, careful decisions about what personal information they choose to reveal. For parents, we additionally suggest that you talk with your Eyewiring child about what information you would prefer they not disclose, so that you are all on the same page. This is an even better idea if your child plays EyeWire with classmates at school by assignment from a teacher, or if your child plays EyeWire together with friends; in those scenarios, casual conversation between peers who know each other in person can lead to disclosure of more information than might usually be offered to strangers, even though strangers can see it. Meanwhile, we at HQ do our absolute best to safeguard any personal information revealed to us in private, and we will take disciplinary action against any users who exploit and abuse information revealed in public. We have contended with one incident of players bullying a user under 18, and as the bullies were part of the user's school system, we were able to inform the school principal and the bullies' parents; we are prepared to repeat such a process if necessary.
What if I would like my child to play the game but not talk to anyone?
That's perfectly fine; while we enjoy being a social community, not everyone on EyeWire uses the chat. To silence the chat, you or your child can type "/silence" in the chat input box, and this will stop displaying the chat altogether unless "/silence" is typed again. If your child still has a question for the admins, they can e-mail email@example.com. All this said, we cannot turn chat off remotely for people unless we mute them for rules infraction, so if you don't want your child to chat, please discuss this with them directly and use your best judgment as to how their access to the chat can be controlled on your end, because we cannot fairly enforce their non-participation unless they have violated the rules.
I'm concerned about an incident on EyeWire that involved my child/I'm still concerned in general about my child using EyeWire. With whom can I address this?
If you are an EyeWire user yourself, you can opt to contact us through the chat interface, either by typing "/gm admins yourmessagehere" (in which case all admins online will see it, but no one else will), or by typing "/pm" before a specific admin's username and then your message (in which case only that admin will see it). However, if no admins are online/responsive, you're having trouble with the chat, it's a complicated discussion, or you don't have an EyeWire account, please feel free to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Support e-mails are usually answered in 24-48 hours; if you feel this is an emergency, please mention something to this effect in the subject heading and we will do our very best to reply before 8 PM Eastern Time.