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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant

Privacy and Accountability
Updated: 10/08/2001

We offer Pseudo-Anonymous services. We support Freedom of Speech. We protect privacy, none of our services brand an IP to any outgoing data. We shield from those who would use that information to harass when they do not agree with the speech.

We are here to protect people from those who attempt to squelch opposing viewpoints via attacks on the individual or attacks on the ISP to shut off service to that individual. We shield an individuals identity from those who would use that information against them.

Our accounts are privacy shielded, not anonymous. If a user pulls a bonehead move that gets them in legal trouble they will have to deal with the consequences. We do keep access logs. They are on a seven day rotation.

We will surrender logs we have on subpoena. The only information we know is the originating IP address along with date and time they accessed the page. We do not share any details of this information without a subpoena. We will notify our user upon receipt of subpoena and allow them 14 days to quash prior to turning over information (Please see note below regarding US Government subpoenas).

There are some exceptions to this:

  • If a user sends a bomb threat, death threat, or threat of bodily harm we will just hand over the information to the proper authorities and we will not notify the user.
We do NOT tolerate the use of our services in this manner!

Note: It is possible that if a user gets into trouble with the US government that we may be gagged and unable to notify them for 90 days about an active investigation or pending subpoena (we will still notify our user before actually turning over requested information). If concerned about this, do not use these services.

We reserve the right to modify these policies at our discretion, but changes will always be announced and will not be retroactive (meaning you won't get termed over something done before the policy change), while our policies below cover most kinds of abuse there is always a possibility we forgot to cover something.

Webmail & Usenet Posting:

We are strict on spam and will terminate an account for spamming. We really don't appreciate someone taking advantage of our services to increase our cost for their own financial gain. Please respect what we are doing and do not use our services in that manner. E-mail spam is as little as one unsolicited commercial message. Usenet spam is defined in the Usenet FAQ below.

If a user is requested to stop sending e-mail to another person and they continue, we will terminate the account. If you are requesting one of our users to stop sending you mail, you must mail them the request and copy with that request. If any more mail is sent to you after that point, we will term the account.

If those requesting are worried about that user knowing their e-mail address (we have had a number of these), the user has to know it to know who to stop sending mail.

We do not back up users mail, but we also do not remove it. It is up to the user to properly maintain their e-mail.

Spam runs will be charged $1000/incident.

Please see below for issues relating to Usenet posting.

Usenet abuse FAQ

NOTE: Fraudulent complaints received may copied to the account that is the target of the complaint. By mailing a complaint about a user that does not violate our policies you agree to the user receiving a copy. If the user is violating our policies, the account will be termed without warning.

Table of Contents

Q: Will we terminate an account for spamming?

A: Yes, if it is really spam. Our definition of spam is lots of messages essentially saying the same thing. We judge against the Breidbart Index. We will terminate an account for BI 20.

We will not take action because a user posted something someone thinks violates a FAQ and therefore have labeled the post spam. We will take action if the user is flooding a newsgroup.

If the user is posting a URL or advertisement:

We will take action if it is posted to many groups. We will also take action if it is a commercial advertisement posted to groups where the general topic of the group is completely unrelated. Affiliate links count as unrelated.

Regarding commercial advertisements, while we judge these against the BI, please be aware that we are not making any money off this service. It is in poor taste if you are capitalizing at our expense to make money for yourself.

If you are selling something and want to ask the newsgroup you hang in if they want it, prefix it with FS: in the subject.
Q: Will we terminate an account for forging?

A: Yes. If it really is a forge. A forge is not having the same name, it is having the same e-mail address. If a user is posting with your e-mail address in their from line we will terminate the account.

In extreme circumstances (it must be obvious and it is our judgment that is used) we will terminate an account if a user is deliberately spoofing you to cause trouble, but we will first warn that user to stop.

Please note that we do not act on third party complaints for spoofing.

Q: Will we terminate an account for posting something someone found offensive?

A: No. Usenet is a global unmoderated discussion forum, there will always be something someone finds offensive in this type of environment. The answer to this is to ignore what you find offensive. There is such a vast range on who finds what offensive that it is impossible to judge without it being subjective.

Q: Will we terminate an account for using filthy language?

A: No. It is a subjective term that becomes even more so in a global environment.
Q: Will we terminate an account for trolling?

A: No. It takes two parties to troll, one to post a troll message and one to reply. Both those that post the initial message _AND_ those that reply are responsible for the trolling. Nearly every time we have investigated a complaint it is near impossible to tell who is trolling who, so we do not involve ourselves in these situations.

If you have a troll the best action is to ignore it. An ignored troll WILL go away. Everyone that says this is not true has a troll that people are responding too. If you feed your troll you keep them. If you succeed in costing it an account, it will come back with two. Completely ignoring it is only way to stop it.
Q: Do we condone trolling?

A: No. But we are unable to judge it. The most common occurrence on usenet is someone calling anyone who disagrees with them a troll. It is not possible to judge this without being subjective and effectively taking sides. We will not take sides. Please respect this and do not use our service to deliberately troll.
Q: Will we terminate an account for posting binary messages in a non-binary group?

A: We will first ask them to stop. If they refuse we will terminate.
Q: Will we terminate an account for posting child pornography or links to advertise child pornography?

A: Yes.
Q: Will we terminate an account for name calling?

A: No. Use your kill file. Discussions often degenerate into name calling on Usenet when there are disagreements. We cannot take sides in a flamefest.

If the user is venturing into actionable harassment seek legal solutions, we will comply with a subpoena in legal situations and provide you with the IP that posted the offending post.
Q: Will we terminate an account for posting personal information about another?

A: Yes. While it is not illegal to post publicly available info, if they are doing it as a means to harass and attack we will terminate the account. Please note that personal info means name and address or phone, not name alone. E-mail address does not count as personal information.

Please note that we do not act on third party complaints regarding personal information.
Q: Will we terminate an account for posting off topic?

A: No. We are not the topic police and have no idea of what is or is not on-topic for your newsgroup. There are groups with as many as three charters, all claiming to be the _only_ real charter.

Also in every newsgroup that has complained about off topic posts there have been "regulars" who routinely post off topic discussions. Singling out one particular user is unfair.
Q: Will we terminate an account for posting racist messages?

A: No. One of the things we promote is freedom of speech. Although many find some views offensive, it is just a viewpoint. It is when that view becomes an action that causes harm that it should not be tolerated. Harm does not mean someone getting converted to that view.

If you are being attacked or harmed, it has crossed into a legal issue, then you should be pursuing this in a legal forum, we will comply with a subpoena for our logs.

There are instances, however, that we feel cross bounds and we will act on, that is deliberately posting racist messages to ethnic or religious groups just to stir things up rather than debate.
Q: Will we terminate an account for posting against the charter?

A: No. For the most part charters are a guide. Especially in the alt hierarchy. We are more strict regarding the big 8.
Q: Will we terminate an account for forging approval headers or cancels?

A: You can't forge these headers from within Cotse Webmail.
Q: Will we terminate an account for excessive morphing to evade kill files?

A: We will first warn them and if they do not stop, we will term the account. Please note that morphing involves changing the e-mail address. Simply changing the from name is not morphing. You should be kill filing on e-mail address, not name.
Q: Will we terminate an account for libel?

A: If it is proven in the court of law, yes. We are unable to judge whether something is libel. Only a court can judge libel. We will comply with a subpoena for our logs.
Q: Will we terminate an account for hacking?

A: If it originated from our machines, yes. If the attack did not come from one of our machines, you should be pursuing this with the ISP where the attack originated.

If the attack came from our machines please include all relevant logs including your time zone information. We cannot act without proper logs.

If the crack originated from one of our machines we will give the admin of the server attacked the IP that came to us.
Q: Will we terminate an account for being annoying?

A: No. Usenet spans all race, age, sex, ideological, and cultural boundaries. It is a place where children act like adults and adults act like children.

This is why kill files exist. If you don't like what someone says, ignore them. It is 100% your responsibility to police your usenet use by the use of kill filters and ignoring what you find offensive.

What you find offensive is not necessarily what another would find offensive, and it could be that they find your opinion offensive to them. They have as much right to their opinion as you have to yours.

If a user has crossed the line into actionable harassment or libel, then it is your responsibility to pursue this is a legal forum. We will comply with a subpoena for logs.
Q: My news reader does not have a kill file, isn't it your responsibility to accommodate?

A: No. You should just use your mental kill file and ignore it. If you need a software kill file, there are many freeware news readers with kill filter abilities, install a different news reader. If you can't do this, then visit, this is a free kill file program that will work in conjunction with most news readers giving them greatly enhanced kill filter abilities.
Q: Why are your policies so against me?

A: They aren't. For the most part, Usenet is a global unmoderated discussion forum, those who chose to participate in it, need to understand the workings of it, it will not conform to everyone's desires.

Discussions frequently break down to flamefests. Flamefest always become encompassing. We cannot take sides in a flamefest. Everyone in it is responsible for keeping it going.
Q: If I threaten to sue you, will you react faster or more favorably?

A: Definitely not! If you threaten to sue then we can not even respond to you. By threatening to sue you place us in a position of being a defendant. In this position we have no option but to ensure that all correspondence goes through proper legal channels.

The same is true for criminal issues. If this is a criminal issue we can only accept correspondence from US law enforcement. We will work with them regarding criminal issues.
Q: Why do we copy our user on complaints that don't violate our policies?

A: Our policies are comprehensive, they cover all forms of real abuse. If it is real abuse, the user won't see the complaint, because they'll be termed. If it is a death threat, bomb threat, threat of bodily harm, or harassment, we should be dealing with US law enforcement. You should be working through them, not directly contacting us.

What is left are subjective complaints about content. These types of issues must be worked out between posters.
Flamefests are rampant all over Usenet. In every one, both sides call the other side trolls. If this is happening in your group and you are not involved in it, then you should be ignoring all people involved in it

If you involve yourself by responding, you are contributing to it. If you are ignoring it, but feel you must address it off-line, you should be taking it up with the poster. We can not take sides.

There are also many people who will try to squelch another users opinion by making fraudulent complaints in an attempt to get the ISP to terminate in a subjective fashion. We believe a user has a right to know that this is happening and who is doing it.
Final notes:

If you have questions about the BI or feel that these policies are unfair then visit If they feel something in our policies is wrong, we will adjust it.


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