The Pidgin IRSSI Features plugin by Gary Kramlich and John Bailey contains a hard-coded “Easter Egg” which will spam all open conversation with a “Happy New Year!” message if Pidgin is running at midnight January 1st. John Bailey has confirmed this “feature” is intentional. The behavior is present in the pidgin-plugin-pack package for Ubuntu. It has apparently been part of the plugin since its inception.

Some may find this easter egg as whimisical as its authors apparently intended. Personally, I find it to be an unprofessional abuse of my IM credentials and identity. When we as users turn our logins and passwords over to a social software client, we implicitly trust that software to safeguard our our identity. There is a reason people get irate when a Twitter app spams all their friends with messages without their express permission. Impersonating a user and spamming their friends is a violation of trust.

Published by Avdi Grimm

4 Comments

  1. I agree I think it was probably not a great idea. It does sound like it was done without malice though. Do they intend to undo the “feature”?

    Reply
  2. I agree I think it was probably not a great idea. It does sound like it was done without malice though. Do they intend to undo the “feature”?

    Reply
  3. No, no malice involved. Just poor judgment IMO. I have no idea if they intend to change it.

    Reply

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