The fundamental flaw has spoken!
There was a time when fans of fibs were willing to work pretty hard to make what they thought were improvements. No encouragement from Patti, just her admin style, which is "if I don't like it, I ban it". Who in their right mind would work to improve it past the proof-of-concept stage when the plug might get pulled at any moment? If she had been encouraging instead, a proper Repbot might have been conceived of and written, followed by a fully debugged ChouetteBot etc... TourneyBot had a good run too, but in the absence of anything but Pattis random stomp-on-it-if-I-didn't-write-it attitude, it all went nowhere. Is this criticism warrented? Just act an Italian fibster. She'll shut down an entire country if it suits her.
Patti would tell you the proof-of-concept failed, because she listens to noone and defines the concept in whatever terms suit her. An outside bot can add functionality to FIBS without changing the fibs code itself. This functionality can, and has, been integrated into clients. It is a service people want (check the stats page). It proved some of this to Patti herself, as she responded to it with the droppers hall of shame page. All it took was a beating over her head to do something. I am sure she would deny that RepBot had anything to do with her adding that webpage, but ask anyone who remembers the timing of its' appearance and draw your own conclusions.
A better RepBot could be:
-silent and private with initial accusations, except for the parties involved.
-when enough different people, with enough experience (measured over calendar time, not just amount of games finished) had complained, a user might be moved from CLEARED, to UNDER INVESTIGATION.
-in a UI state, things might still be very private and quietly handled, and the bot might use the 'look' command to make more concrete determinations about droppers, making use of gnubg etc... if the user blinded the bot, that would mean something too.
-users could know who their accusers were.
-there would not be any peeking into matches by the bot without probable cause.
Way back when, I gave all sorts of ideas plenty of thought, as I believed something could be done, and that it was an interesting problem space. Noone else wanted to think about it, unless and until it pissed them off (with one notable exception, thanks Avi). Take a look at the emergence of reputation systems on other websites and servers, and consider the timing of RepBot. It proved plenty, Sure some of that was some of the problems with such a systems might be. But it continues to gain in usage, averaging over 500 unique users using it every day.
Patti doesn't want to consider any aspect of it, or even investigate who runs the thing these days (which she has been told on many occassions, and a moments investigation would reveal to her). I've asked her before why she hasn't killed it, and she has told me she "would rather it went away on its own". Draw your own conclusions.
Patti, if someone bothers you, why don't you just use the gag command?
In parting, let me say, I gave up on RepBot long ago, and believe it has outlived its' experiment and should be removed from FIBS. I bet if you asked Avi (avik) to shut it down right now, he would do so. I would also like to thank maria for being my go-between in this enterprise. Patti doesn't listen to me, and I had an idea a voice from longtime fibs user and fellow female might do the trick.