“We all need to get together and force AOL to change!”

AOL Instant Messenger windowWe do need to force AOL to change. While there’s a zillion things wrong with America Online, the primary problem right now is in their popular Instant Messenger software. As many Instant Messenger users know, a person can be warned for any reason by another user which they have been conversing with. If a person’s warning gets over a certain level, they get locked out of the service for a while. And if two people work together and engage a person in conversation, they can easily warn a person up maliciously, and lock them out of the system. This is what happened to me. I had two people start IMing me at the same time, we talked for a few minutes, and then the warnings happened. In less than a minute, I went from 0 to 100%. And thus for the rest of the night and well into the morning, I was locked out of Instant Messenger. Needless to say, this caused me great hardship. And it’s all the worse because I don’t believe that members should be permitted to lock out another member. What I recommend for all to do who use Instant Messenger is to write AOL’s Instant Messenger team using this form, and tell them that they need to eliminate the warnings and rate limiting in their Instant Messenger service, and to replace these items with a second block list that will work like the existing block list, except that names are only blocked for a period of ten minutes. Please let AOL know what is wrong with their Instant Messenger service, so that it may be changed.

Date posted: April 26, 2000

Notes: The warning feature that I was so incensed about in this article was discontinued with the release of AIM Triton and AIM 6, according to the Wikipedia article on the subject.