I think not,after reading these post
Indeed, Private means that exactly.
Itīs about ethics, staff ethics.
At least they should warn users about the possibility that their PM could be read by staff, and used against them. If not itīs unethical.
About the topic, the thing I dislike the most is that script that disables users due to inactivity. There are situations that prevent users to login for certain period of time, many sites understand that and if the user contacts staff then your account is respected, but others donīt. And not always you know if you have to be out due to major causes.
I had an accident few months ago, itīs really really humiliating that being in a hospital bed or at home, like a mummy... full of bandages... all broken, and oneself has to be worried about a damn tracker, ask somebody to login for you, etc.
What do you think ?well i will say this, I have read 3 members PMs in 5 years of running a tracker.
1: A french member was getting death threats on our tracker from his sisters boyfriend, through PMs.
2: Another tracker was spamming BCG saying bad crap about me which was not true (this was when i first started out).
3: When the staff split last year, a member from over there was pming my members saying that their new tracker was going to be better than BCG ever could be, and getting members to sign up. so i checked and banned him, even though hes back now, btw he was not staff of BCG when the spplit happen, he just went with the flow.
That is the only times i have ever looked at anyones PMs, but i must admit it is very easy to do so. just go to the db and query a word in the PM field (like another trackers URL for example, and bingo, you can get everyone thats ever talked about that tracker.)
you could even make a mod that if certain words are PMed, then you get a PM with all the PMs that have that word when they happen.
But yes i do think PMs are private, so i only do it as a very very last resort, and even when i do it, i feel guilty as hell for doing it.