The jabber.org IM service has always been extremely open. We've always let anyone register an account. We've always let anyone create a chat room. Etc.
Unfortunately, the Internet is not a friendly place. Lately we've noticed more and more bad actors on the jabber.org service. They create chatrooms and invite hundreds of people to join the room. They send lots of messages, some of which could be considered spam. They run bots, some of which could be considered spam bots. In other words, they are distinctly unfriendly.
So even though we would love to continue our open, friendly ways forever, it is increasingly hard to justify the policies we started with back in '99 when there were hardly any Jabber servers on the 'net. Now we have almost 300,000 users at the jabber.org IM service and the volunteers who run it don't have lots of free time to deal with bad actors.
Today I decided enough was enough on the chatroom abuse, so I locked down chatroom creation. Now only server admins can create rooms. If you want a room created at conference.jabber.org, just let me know and I'll be happy to create the room.
The next step is to remove the plethora of unused or abusive rooms.
After that, I think it's worth giving a serious think to shutting off open registration, by which I mean no new IM accounts or perhaps allowing creation only to OpenID users or somesuch. When we started the jabber.org IM service, there were no other jabber servers to choose from. Now on a typical day we have live connections to perhaps 4000 other servers (and such connections wink in and out of existence, so there are many many more such servers on the 'net). You've got options, so feel free to use them. But don't abuse the jabber.org service, because we don't have time to deal with your abusive behavior and we will lock your account if we feel that's justified.
And yes if I need to write a "Terms of Service" document to lay all this out in legalese, I'll do that too.
Ah, the joys of running code. :)
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal