How Do You Read Members PMs?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by shauniemac, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. shauniemac

    shauniemac Aspirant

    All in the title really. I am sure someone told me you can do it as admin/mod.
  2. DMB

    DMB vBulletin User

    Open up phpmyadmin and look through the pm/pmtext tables
  3. shauniemac

    shauniemac Aspirant

    Sorry I do not know what you mean.
  4. NICOCLUBcom

    NICOCLUBcom Nissan / Infiniti guru


    Not a good practice. PM, by virtue of it's definition, means "Private".

    Even though it's your forum, it's still poor ethics IMO to do so.

    One of my former Admins (who left to try to resurrect a dying competitor site) was caught reading a member's PM's. That member was NOT pleased.
  5. DMB

    DMB vBulletin User

    Are you the owner of the site? Do you pay a host to serve the webpage?

    If you have FTP access, upload pm.php (3.5.x) to your admincp

    The above hack is for investigating spam and other lesser practices. It won't lead you to those that have private messages. You have to plugin the userid; its purpose is not intrusion.
  6. shauniemac

    shauniemac Aspirant

    Ok, I am admin yes and I run the site. I was just curious to how it could be done.
  7. PalePhoenix

    PalePhoenix Prince of Dorkness

    Extremely poor. And, if lacking ethics, it's also pretty lame. Even in the worst of circumstances, there should be no reason for you to be scanning your members communications with each other. If there's a problem, So-and-So will usually save and forward something to you. If you're making a general habit of nosing into other people's conversations, then you should reconsider running a public community. Though many may know that "Private Messages" (and especially board-generated emails) aren't really "private," some don't, and there is a level of mutual trust that you must maintain in order to deserve the company you keep.
  8. Julia

    Julia Fan

    I couldn't agree more with this.

    You can read them via your phpMyAdmin but I've only done so once, to see how it's done, and have never gone back in there. I just couldn't bring myself to go reading my member's PM's.
  9. lvt

    lvt Enthusiast

    An administrator could read member's PM if he wants to do so :D

    phpMyAdmin is not convenient to spy your members, you need to write a tiny php script, that's all.
  10. Leilani

    Leilani Fan

    I would not do it, period. I have asked members to send me screenshots of problem PM's (spam, etc.) but I feel it would be a breach of trust between me and my members if I were digging through their private communications.
  11. silky-smooth

    silky-smooth Aspirant

    Completely agreed.

    I just don't see any point whatsoever in snooping through private messages. It's unethical and immoral. At my owner's website (I'm an admin, but I don't own it), we promise our members an honourable privacy policy, which includes private messages = private, and we uphold that.

    If someone has spammed or is abusing other members via PM, like the above poster says, they will send us a PM/screenshot and it'll be dealt with that way.
  12. Anonimo

    Anonimo Skotastic

    I would only do it if someone was reported for spamming or something to that effect just for damage control and evidence
  13. Morganna

    Morganna Mistress of Mayhem

    If you are using vbulletin or phpbb (I'm not sure if it's available for IPB) then there are hacks around that will allow you read member pm's from the admincp. But morally, I don't think it's a good thing to do. phpmyadmin access to pm's is generally adequate enough should there be a situation where reading a member's pm is required, other than that the reason they're called private messages is because they're just that - private.
  14. jaffa

    jaffa Participant

    as i remember there is a pm table for the body of the message and a different for the sendto details...i think so unless it states who sent it in the message you cant really know who sent it. i read members pm once to confirm my GF was flirting, that was a few years ago now, not done it for since, oh aye, and that lead to me and her parting ways, in quite a messy way :)
  15. Bryan

    Bryan Lost in Ohio...

    if you are using vB, there are a few hacks available...

    If you're going to be reading PM's I'd recommend putting something in your TOS covering that fact.

    Morals aside, I think there are certain times when it can be helpful; but not for random reading of messages. I've only ever used it when someone was reported for link spamming via the PM system.
  16. ipodman

    ipodman The Teacher


    Looking at member’s PM without informing them is not what I call a good administrator.
  17. shauniemac

    shauniemac Aspirant

    I never said I wasn't going to it. If I was going to it, the idea will be to simply stamp out spam, abuse, etc. Please be aware I have never done this.
  18. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Tazmanian

    While, I always put in my terms and conditios that "Personal Messages" can be viewed by the administrator, I have never had any reason to do so on any board that I have been an administrator on. I have had members forward messages to me with complaints about the content and I have acted on those complaints but never had to look in the database directly and read messages.

    I don't call them Private Messages because they aren't really. Anything stored in plain text should never be considered private.
  19. Sculli

    Sculli Custom User Title

    I have to disagree. Just because there is the possibility that someone is reading them doesn't mean that the user shouldn't have a reasonable expectation that it will never happen. Of course the guys at the hosting company can read it, I as admin can read it, that doesn't mean it's not private. Take a diary, it's written in plain text, for the most part, yet I would hope most people can agree that a diary is as private as it gets.

    As admin I consider PMs private in a sense that users have my word that I will not mention things that were send to me as PM anywhere else on the board, and that I will not read their PMs.

    My board has been up since April 2004 and I haven't had a case of PM spam yet. If PM spam would occur, then I am sure that multiple users would mention it on the board itself, and just based on that I would take action, that'd be all the proof that I would need to take action against the offending user.

    Short of a court order I can't really imagine a circumstance in which I would read/disclose a PM for which I wasn't the recipient or that hasn't been forwarded to me.
  20. royrules22

    royrules22 Fan

    No a diary is not as private as it can get. Your mind is.

    As for reading PMs, I only had to do it once (to send proof to an ISP about a spammer). XMB has a built in thing for admins to read PMs (without trail), but I really see no use in it. I have interesting things going on in my life without seeing what others do. Plus my FAQ has the disclaimer that anyone can read.

    I believe some people from XMB want it gone in the next edition and I'm all for that. Except for some really serious situations, it should never be done.
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