There is no Second Amendment in Second Life; Crimes & the Lack of Punishment

Rosemist Isle (moderate)

You might, once you’ve read this post, think I chose the location and photos for today as a counterpoint to my thoughts. The truth is that I immersed myself in the landscape of Rosemist Isle↑ in an attempt to moderate my temper. If I seem extreme in my anger then be very glad I’m not giving voice to the full depth of my feelings. I’ve rewritten this diatribe a few times but, I suspect, it might still offend.

I read Saffia’s post↑ this morning, and Yordie’s post↑ yesterday. Yordie’s was not the first I’d seen referring, not only to the griefing by sim crashers, but also to the offer to cease or refrain if the victim paid the pimply-faced-rat-bastard some money.

Rosemist Isle (moderate)

There are a number of “laws” that govern our behaviour in everyday life and inworld. For Second Life residents the first set of rules we are expected to abide by are outlined in the Terms of Service. Section 8.3.iv↑ states that we will not “Engage in malicious or disruptive conduct that impedes or interferes with other users’ normal use of the Service“. That seems to address the issue of sim crashers doesn’t it? I’ll return to this point later on.

Linden Lab is based in the US. A discussion of weapons in that country is problematic – and here I’ll distinguish for the virtual between guns and weapons. Guns in SL rarely cause harm to unwilling participants. They’re primarily used in role play and war games and don’t, for the purposes of this discussion, qualify as weapons. Wikipedia defines↑ the latter (along with arms and armaments) as “a tool, device, or instrument used in order to inflict damage or harm”.

Rosemist Isle (moderate)

There is no Second Amendment↑ to the Linden Lab Terms of Service – you are not supposed to be permitted to sell or use weapons. The American culture of “laissez-faire” (often referred to as “boys will be boys”) is inappropriate in situations where harm is being caused. There are no individual rights being defended by script/code/objects which can kill a region, even temporarily. I know the Lab will respond quickly to incidents where individuals target itself or its product – weapons brought to bear on residents are a lower priority.

Linden Lab must also abide by the laws of its home country (and others, e.g., VAT for those of you required to pay it). Even if it can ignore its own Terms of Service it really can’t afford to ignore the criminal code in the US. Some of us remember how quickly casinos were shut down on the grid when online gambling was prohibited by American law.

Extortion↑ is a crime. Just the threat is enough to constitute the criminal offense. Telling people they must pay you to ensure you won’t grief them, or you will stop, is extortion.

Rosemist Isle (moderate)

Linden Lab has a problem. Our issue is that we are subject to attacks and threats by morons who haven’t had an easy time with puberty but manage to accumulate enough brain cells to buy weapons and use them. We pay money to build and experience a virtual world and are subject to unprovoked demonstrations of wilful violence.

The Lab facilitates these attacks by permitting the sale and distribution of the weapons and by having completely inadequate mechanisms/processes/resources to protect residents. Their exposure is huge.

One of these days sim owners (and anybody who lost money or wound up with damaged equipment) are going to take legal action of their own. Not against the individual criminals causing and/or threatening financial and technical harm, but against the company that doesn’t enforce its own Terms of Service or attempt to impede behaviour which blatantly violates the laws of the physical world. The fact that they also enable this destructive activity will be the icing on the cake as far as a judgement is concerned.

Rosemist Isle (moderate)
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74 Comments

  1. Thank you for mentioning the Junkyard Blues attacks. This unmanaged disruption caused financial losses to several parties, sim owners, home renters, shop renters, DJs and hostesses; not to mention the potential loss of clientelle into the future. But more than anything, it is Linden Lab’s seeming lack of escalation procedures to identify such an out of control situation.

    Reply
    • I wish I could find the link, but the Junkyard Blues is the second sim I’ve read about subjected to this. Both the attacks and resulting financial loss & damage, as well as the extortion. It’s completely unacceptable and the Lab has the most to lose which you’d think would make it deal with the situation.

      Reply
      • Kiff mentioned that Wet Willies took an even worse beating than the Junkyard.

      • I can’t remember if that was the location, I’ll keep looking for the link. I should have bookmarked it. :)

      • Several years ago, the Violet Welcome Area was attacked but I think it was just a single incident.

      • Welcome areas are attacked frequently – volunteers such as Bo are not the ones who can deal with it. They wind up trying to convince newcomers that it “isn’t always like this”.

      • Are Junkyard and Wet Willies on private or Mainland sims?
        And are they owned my major landbarons or just individually?

        -ls/cm

      • I’m pretty sure Junkyard Blues is a group of about four privately owned sims, made up of some public areas (including the main club, which stretches across two sims), small scale commerce and residential areas. Lovely small estate – they have really cute houseboats. But … small in terms of Linden Lab.

      • True – but their lawyer should point out that aiding and abetting is a criminal offense as well. No matter how unimportant that customer may be to you. :)

      • Someone commenting on my Facebook page clearly did a little research on some of these tools on the Marketplace and discovered that people were suddenly griefed after buying a HUD designed for offensive and defensive purposes. Co-incidence?

      • Oh gawd – buying anything scripted will wind up being suicidal.

      • I think a key area of Linden Lab’s blindness is that they fail to realise small estates may often been disproportionately significant as a draw for residents and newcomers. Junkyard Blues being a case in point. So only reacting when big spenders are affected doesn’t work. Smaller spenders may be doing more in keeping people on the grid.

  2. There is a sign in the bathroom at Linden Lab’s Battery Street office that says: “Employees must wash hands of all difficult legal issues before returning to work.”

    -ls/cm

    Reply
  3. Linden Lab looks the other way as always; it leaves policing to vigilantes like the JLU and fraudsters like the developers of scamware/spyware like the RedZone and the Gemini CDS Ban Relay. If it continues like this, the only sound heard across the grid will be that of crickets.

    Reply
    • They can’t afford to look the other way – and not just because of lower resident numbers.

      Reply
      • Indeed. But they do look the other way. And if the Alphaville Herald’s claims of a former Linden working with the JLU griefers are true, then LL thinks it can afford to make SL a Randian free-for-all Mad Max kind of place where anyone can harass, blackmail and bully others with complete impunity.

        Note that I refer to the JLU as a bunch of griefers (in my opinion, they’re very much like the greek “Golden Dawn” neonazi party with its thugs). LL hides and just lets griefers of all sorts (“bad” and “good”) run rampant.

      • I think the Lab’s crime is of prioritizing the “fuzzy” stuff at the bottom. They don’t see anything from analysis to community enforcement as things that move them forward. They’re going to wind up paying for that. Big time.

      • So let them pay. And if they don’t get their act together yesterday, they’ll soon have to file for bankruptcy under mounting legal costs.

      • Actually, they can afford to look the other way for a while longer… there’s not very many players in SL who have the stake in SL to hire an attorney to pursue such actions.

        I figure the house of cards will get shaken hard when the griefers/violators target major landbarons who have Atlas-level deals with the Lab. Those high-rollers could demand action. And not only would they have the means to take legal action if swept under the rug like the small-potatoes hobbyists, they could threaten other actions, such as pulling out, developing their own grids with authentication-backed identities, etc.

        I figure the established threshold for getting your threats heard and appeased/responded too is MarkTwain White-level size… the sailing sims getting their Blake Sea.

        -ls/cm

      • I don’t think you need an attorney to deal with extortion. Simply passing the relevant documents to the police should be enough. It would be in the UK, anyway. And anyone can afford to go to the police.

        This isn’t like trying to explain the nuances of intellectual property online. It’s a shakedown. They’ve been around for a long time.

      • Oh he’s talking about suing the Lab for allowing the practise to continue. And yes, all the victims should be filing complaints with the police in their jurisdictions – I’d like to see them publicly tarred and feathered but I suspect that’s not considered a modern or mature way to deal with them.

      • The problem with calling in law enforcement for such an issue is that you open the door wide for them to pursue kinds of other out-in-the-open illegal activity going on.

      • You feeling guilty about something? /me wonders

      • Of course. Loving you too much. TOO DAMN MUCH.

      • thought so *tongue-in-cheek*

  4. /me claims first post about the pictures themselves …. “Fabulous! Very painterly. I was reminded of the sadly joyful movie ‘What Dreams May Come’ (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120889/). Now I have another place to visit. Thank you.”

    Reply
  5. Bo Tiger

     /  January 4, 2013

    As a mentor and Advisor in Secondlife I absolutely agree with everything you have said regarding the lack of concern for Individuals breaking the TOS and CS. I was told many months ago now that Linden Labs are far less concerned about dealing with reports per se and that many of the griefers are simply not being punished like they were a few years back. I know some of these Individuals who laugh at Linden labs knowing they can get away with just about any type of griefing they can throw at people. As you know Honour I have mentioned to you about a certain Individual who consistantly causes chaos at Welcome areas and has manipulated others to do his dirty work of attacking others any which way he can with the help of hackers and sim crashers. You would think that such a person after being reported more than 100 times would have his account removed but no for some reason Linden labs isn’t taking this very seriously at all. It’s now going beyond just griefing within SecondLife as some are taking this to places like facebook and blogs causing real life serious issues for their victims. Secondlife has become a shambles with regard to rules and regulations and I for one find it sickening and a disgraceful how they disregard the crying out for help dealing with these griefers.

    Bo Tiger (WTM Advisor RHN)

    Reply
  6. Bo Tiger

     /  January 4, 2013

    You and me both honour. I got pleanty of hot coals for these leaches! who call themselves human beings. Shame on them and the parents that brought them up to be the biggest arseholes in society.

    Reply
  7. Bo Tiger

     /  January 4, 2013

    lol

    Reply
  8. To believe you can run a grid like SL without an inworld staff presence with muscles is naive in the extreme. We need the police in RL and many moons ago it was mentioned that the welcome areas needed policing by people with clout. Nothing happened.
    Now with a view to New Products LL has ‘saved money’ by reducing inworld presence by staff.
    LL has repeatedly been it’s own worst enemy … so nothing new here then.

    Reply
  9. Remember when Rod Humble said that he’d “make life unpleasant for griefers in an inhumane way” at SLCC 2011?

    inhumane (adj) – Without compassion for misery or suffering; cruel.

    He just never specified who’s misery or suffering he’d have no compassion for.

    Ah, those tricky Brits and their wacky humor. (or is it humour?)

    -ls/cm

    Reply
    • He’s looking up and out, he is not looking down and inward to what’s happening on the grid. He is also not making sure anybody else is either.

      Reply
  10. Bo Tiger

     /  January 4, 2013

    haha you hit the nail on the head with that video honour…most amusing…lol

    Reply
  11. Bo Tiger

     /  January 4, 2013

    It’s a good time for Crap to make a new video…make it good and I’ll post it to some important people…lol

    Reply
  12. I have to wonder at this point if the Lab even has the resources available anymore to deal with griefing like this? Griefers have been crashing sims since I started in 2006. The response has apparently been to try and make the sims more resilient – which does nothing to address the source of the problem.
    I suspect that they must simply lack the tools to efficiently pinpoint the source (the computer, not the avatar) of the problem. If ISPs were being contacted and internet access was being shut down on those computers, it would slow down the griefing. It would also move the jurisdiction of problems to the locale of the griefer themselves. If your college lost their internet access due to a student violation, I am certain the school would insure some significant consequences. Ditto for the home computer. If public computers are involved I am certain that the local authorities would be involved.
    Unfortunately, it seems apparent that the Lab lacks the technology or perhaps manpower to enforce their own TOS. Or maybe it is just a “feature” of the sandbox VW model?

    Reply
    • I really think the lack of resources can be attributed to a strategic planning philosophy that attempts to streamline your organization to focus only on those things you must. Allocating people/money/time to community-related issues is not high enough on that priority list. It’s a very short-term, bottom-line view of the business.

      It has also bitten every organization I’ve seen use it in their proverbial butt.

      Reply
  13. Bo Tiger

     /  January 4, 2013

    It’s all about numbers and the fact that there is a TOS and CS means very little to them…it’s a cover same as age verification is a cover so they can say well it’s not our fault. The fact is having griefers join SL works out great for them as most spend alot of lindens and it keeps the numbers high. SecondLife isn’t just a social experience anymore it’s a playground for all. Fortunately there is vast amount of areas of the good kind otherwise most of us wouldn’t be involved in the first place and well LL’s solution about handling griefing is plain and simple…go elsewhere if it bothers you.

    Reply
  14. Wolf Baginski

     /  January 4, 2013

    Going by the reports, this particular griefing could also be pursued under computer crime legislation, which is sometimes incredibly broad. If the somebody in the UK had their computer crashed as a result of one of these attacks, the Computer Misuse Act would apply, and the perpetrator could be tried in the UK.

    Yeah, right. As if. And pigs might fly. Unless there’s somebody playing from a DoD computer (and there is still that cluster of regions around Coalition Island, isn’t there?), nobody is going to get chased through any courts for a decade or so.

    People get an income from Second Life, they even pay taxes, but it’s just a game. And if you do something to “defend” yourself it’s a race to see who ARs whom first. I’d take an open trial over letting Linden Labs settle that one. There ain’t so such things as secret justice.

    Reply
    • The problem with ARs of course is that if the first you know about the griefing is when you crash (along with the sim) you haven’t got the foggiest WHO to AR. :) Extortion notes of course would be different and I think blocking IPs at that point would be useful. I wish the threat of real world prosecution could be utilized.

      Reply
  15. We are a community that lives in some kind of dictatorship. There are some rules, but if individuals are punished for disrespecting these rules or not is completely up to the dictators clan.
    Incidents like that show me that one day we need to create an elected governement of residents( as LL does not really care about the social life inworld). Of course these persons would need to get some rights to act as an organ of regulation. We are grown up enough not always to cry like babies for the big mama LL when something is going wrong.

    Reply
    • I understand your position – however, I’ve always said that there’s no reason to wish for a democracy. It might be a world, but it is also a business and there’s no right to democratic institutions as a whole in a business environment. There’s no justification for a political structure within somebody else’s business. :)

      Getting authority to enforce the rules on our own is OK in the abstract, but then we have to deal with the rogues and the flakes. Policing the police would become a nightmare – there’s no way to identify the real “good guys” and trust that things will be handled properly.

      Reply
  16. You know, after last night’s disaster of a launch with people using alts to goldfarm the Second Life Vehicle Starter Pack on Amazon, I’m worried about any kind of gun ban.

    If Linden Lab doesn’t have guns, what will they shoot themselves in the foot with?

    -ls/cm

    Reply
  17. @ Honour: The platform is the business. I think that is the current view of LL on SL and I agree that it has to follow ecnonomial rules. The community is something else. Self administration within the given possibilities should only be helpful for them.

    Reply
  18. The recent (RedZone, the Gemini CDS Ban Relay, the sale of griefer weapons – even if they pose as “not griefer weapons” – on the marketplace, the lack of real tools to report ToS-violating goods on the marketplace, the sheer idiocy – for want of a better term – that led LL to block Curio after a false and misleading civil complaint by content thief Hush, and now the fact that it turns a blind eye to extortion) fiascos of LL deserve the full attention of websites like The Register, Ars Technica and Slashdot. Proper coverage of what’s been going on (which will certainly negate any marketing ploy) could either force LL to finally stop faffing about or file for bankruptcy; and no, they shan’t be able to claim it’s “the bad bloggers that maliciously lambasted them and brought their demise” – if SL ultimately fails for good, it’s all going to be 10000000% the responsibility of Linden Lab’s “management”.

    Reply
  19. Thank you for bringing this out into the open Honor. I hope Rodvik reads your blog. I know one of the DJs at Junkyard and have been horrified , as he is, at the non-action of LL to stop this extortion. No wonder so many are leaving SL and I have to add that SL has changed beyond recognition since January 2006!!

    Reply
  20. Good for you, Honour! I work for VMS as the Marketing manager and a few times the venue sim has crashed due to a community of griefers and couldn’t get back up for awhile. We host many awesome singers in SL and it sucks that people couldn’t come to visit at the time. I wish there was some way to detect whether someone is wearing sim-crashing equipment, because it’s not possible to block scripts at every sim.

    Reply
    • Bo Tiger

       /  January 10, 2013

      There is something already created to detect crashers and spammers made by Ariu Ariu of Aozora Tech who funny enough is the creator of the Phenom Evolution Combat & Multi-Tool System ( strictly made for combat sims…uhm yes…lol ) but the point is Ariu Ariu created a tool called ‘Stop Right There, Crasher Scum! Anti-Crasher HUD’ because quote ‘ the lack of protection by Linden labs’ unquote. The name of the HUD says it all ,no awards for the title here which plainly tells of Ariu Ariu ‘s thoughts on the type of residents she refers to. Good on Ariu Ariu for creating this Hud. I have left her main description of the hud and what it does for your discression. Here is the Market link >>> https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Stop-Right-There-Crasher-Scum-Anti-Crasher-HUD/3561107
      I have spoken to Ariu Ariu on many occassions and she insists her combat hud has strict rules concerning it’s use by griefers (my own words here). I no longer participate in combat sims but I still own the combat hud…kind of hard to let go of some things..lol but anyhow I congratulate Ariu Ariu for fighting back :)

      Reply
  21. Bo Tiger

     /  January 10, 2013

    Hmmm…points a paw at >>> ‘some of the people you like’ it’s spelt B then o then Ti and ger…hint hint…haha

    Reply
  22. rpbizzle

     /  February 25, 2013

    Ok… some people may think I’ve lost my marbles…after 7 months of the BS within Second Life.. I now seek outside help.. I sent this letter to Washington D.C.:
    Dear President Obama.. I am really sorry to bother you sir but someone has to do something. Mr. Obama.. Linden Lab,the makers of the virtual world known as Second Life are not taking responsibility for cyber crimes such as harassment and extortion being committed within Second Life.. I have been harassed going on seven months now.. I have
    filed countless abuse reports to Linden Lab yet they have not been able to stop these people from hacking through the system.. generating new IP addresses and creating new accounts.. it has been a total waste of time to file abuse reports to Linden Lab. Something needs to be done to bring an end to this cyber abuse.. first of all.. demanding of Linden Lab to make changes.. address the issues. Please sir.. I truly beg of you to have someone review my blogs and help bring an end to cyber crimes within Second Life. Here are some links about what is happening:
    http://lindenlabfailsstopgriefing.blogspot.com/
    http://secondlifegriefers.blogspot.com/
    http://treet.tv/shows/designingworlds/episodes/griefing#comment-form

    Please help sir.. Please?!

    Reply
    • Well – you have gone to the top :) Griefing is a serious problem and I don’t blame you for being frustrated and fed up. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m hoping that at some point in the near future we’ll find at least one that makes the problem much smaller than it is.

      Reply
      • rpbizzle

         /  February 25, 2013

        our problems all started in the wake of opening a live music venue…we (susan and I) named it “Bringiton” after the founder of the Music Hall of Fame and very dear friend Bringiton Paine. I sought justice by way of protesting against griefers at Ahern and Violet welcome areas.. both are known griefer hangouts Linden Lab has set aside for them in hopes they would leave people alone. A Second Life helper even disclosed this information to me. Any mention of griefers on the SL forums will lead to being banned.. I am permanently banned from the forums for speaking out against them. It’s sad.. really sad some people have nothing better to do than to cause people problems.. as if there isn’t enough in the real world.

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