Second Life is uncivilized. It has no viable civil society yet to make it civilized, and making it civilized will be hard work. There aren't easy solutions. I oppose Travis Lamberts' BanLink for a number of reasons, chief of which is that it is a deceptively too-easy and ultimately ineffective solution to the problem of griefing which has grown rampant since the ill-fated move to stop verifying accounts with credit cards on the counter-intuitive 6/6/06. That was the day the Lindens began the great "unmarking of the beast," and the subsitute of marking of the beast with the placement of "account status" visible on a profile, making anyone prone to discrimination and even banning with land tools set up for this purpose. It was also the day in which the Lindens began to take hash marks of computers and take IPs more rigorously -- a more subtle, and invisible mark that only they can see.
Among my other objections about BanList is Travis' failure to first open up this discussion to the community, THEN make changes. Instead, he quietly persued making it with a colleague, then unveiled it to a smaller group at SLCC in a panel chaired by Robin Linden who essentially tacitly endorsed it (the Lindens are looking for every single way they can now to dump the load of world-management responsibility on residents). There's many policy moves the Lindens should be taking to deal with griefing, like defaulting all land to NO PUSH instead of catering to the minority of shooters and scripters in the world and forcing the majority of householders to scramble to remember to get NO PUSH checked off on the parcels, or simply banning the sale or distribution of the cage weapon and c4.
But they don't have the political stomach for it, I guess, so they are relieved when people come up with solutions, especially scripty solutions.
I have three major objections to BanLink:
a) It feigns not to be a master list, but indeed *is* a master, global banning device which will indeed be used as such
b) It does not get at the underlying problems of griefing, which include the Lindens' failure to adjust their promotion of SL as a game to appeal to war gamers and shooters, and their failure to incorporate various civilizing strategies into their orientation and programming.
c) It removes the burden of the Lindens to provide what a RL government or major mass media outlet provides: police blotter or crime reporting with full description of incidents, and in the case of cases coming to trial, the name of prosecutor, accused criminal, and victim pressing charges. It places this burden unfairly on residents who have no adequate resources to make known these incidents.
It's good that Travis is publishing his master ban list, making all those using his system publish to him and placing them on his website in drop-down menus. Previously, he had everything in one giant list, easily cuttable and pastable to some other scripted website and devices that would easily scan all avatars against the list and mass ban those not on it.
He merely fig-leafed his mass ban device by now scrapping the big long list and putting drop down menus, so you see this list comes from Archan Sex Community, that list comes from New Citizens, Inc. etc. That is indeed a mere minor obstacle to again, Kyrah Abbatoir or whoever wishes to vindictively create master hate-filled ban lists to have huge amounts of fodder -- they just do a little MORE cutting and pasting.
Travis goes through this elaborate song and dance that his script is based on a mutual trust society. I trust that the NCI people would ban for cause, i.e. shooting. So I trade lists with them. We only use those lists of those we trust. But that's silly. There's going to be a dozen major venues in SL. They will all basically have the same list of asswipes griefing them every night. They will trade names and draw as if from a master pool, whatever fig-leafs they put up of having only individual, customized, checked, and appealable lists.
Lost Newcomb, one of those vindictive little fucks posing behind an alt in the waning days of the discredited SL official forums, claims that the list started by Jenna Fairplay S.L.A.M. "keeps people away from Prok's stuff and Jenna's stuff." Well, I have a face full of maliciously-scripted URL changer cubes for him then, put in "share with group" containing the awful tub-girl photo in it as a particle to spew, if he thinks "keeping people away from Prok's stuff" is some kind of haughty land baron activity for the rich and famous. Keeping people away from Prok's stuff means ensuring that tenants, most of them new and most of them not wealthy enough to go on private islands, should be protected from that filth.
And S.LA.M. to me is more like a police radio just warning of squalls of griefers flying around than a device to enable mass banning. There isn't enough space or time or ability for me to fly around mass banning. It's only a tip sheet that enables me to spot trouble and head it off, at best. It's also misused, when people tend to put on it persons they believe are scamming or selling stolen content, when they have no proof or due process.
Looking on Travis' master list when it was presented in full, I didn't see a single one of my chronic griefers who are frequest flyers, nor a single one of those that had done atrocious things to my tenants in a few incidents, including even a rape. Not a single one. So I find there is little value in any of these lists, and they grow out of date, and get replaced by new and more virulent alts, anyway.
Lists made by clubs or newbie orientation attract mainly newbies, not midbies and oldbies who are chronic, organized griefers. To get at them, we need to turn attention to groups, which tend to stay static even as the alts come and go with their bannings. So I do. A new griefer faction from W-HAT has a name Voter 5 or something like that but it's hidden. They have other groups like the aptly named Total Jerks, and are also members of Gay 4 Philip, which even has Lindens in it. Total Jerks has just 3 people, and is the venue for a parade of alts, and these mains, who are vicious, chronic offenders whom the Lindens have not yet disciplined to my knowledge. They include:
Scudmunkey Impfondo, who has invaded homes of complete strangers to him and verbally harassed my tenants; verbally harassed and event-griefed and stalked
NiceAaron Thetan (the reborn banned Operating Thetan?), who has also invaded homes, verbally harassed, and event-griefed and stalked
Isometric -- who choses various last names, and is now missing from the list again.
They're all in another group, Rhetoric's Cock Fan Club, with the following "endorsements":
What are people saying about Rhetoric's Cock?
"It makes me feel like a man."
"I'll cherish it always."
~ Coyote Momiji
"Get this fucking thing off my plot."
~ Ciemaar Fintoff
Starting to get the idea? Known forums jackals and alts of FIC, the same foul-mouthed bunch who rule the Second Citizen forums now -- it's a good idea also to pre-ban them off the lot for any serious event or discussion because they come only to heckle, taunt, disrupt, harass. I endured pandastrong for awhile the night I had a discussion about freebies, but true to forum, he disrupted and finally started parading around in his large, prim-flexible floppy cock, to the disgust of all attenting. Lecktor Hannibal is another in this bunch -- a newbie who has frequented the Ross Infohub who came to the meeting was appalled at Prok's "censorship" by ejecting the unbelievably foul and mean-spirited Hannibal for his heckling, thinking it constituted some kind of "legitimate debate". I don't "legitimately debate" people who post an image in the forums made of my *real-life* photo they've grabbed off the Herald, and placed in the asshole position of some bent-over wrinkly old man. Hey, I'm for free speech! I'm for *enabling a group to keep it free when they have events, free to talk to each other, without this kind of nasty, juvenile, vindictive behaviour, which CLOSES society and does not OPEN it to thought, discussion, ideas, friendships.
Another chronic offender who has boasted of his exploits in griefing without ever being banned, until finally a Mentor banned him apprently only briefly, is Silly Enzyme -- like his cousins with names like Sperm Rush and Viral Field and Sperm Enzyne -- all young males with um...issues. Silly Enzyme, with a May 8th birthdate and STILL in the list, bragged on the forums that he shot and harassed people and nobody caught him despite numerous griefing incidents.
He then intruded on my tenants and attempted to rape one by clicking on her scripted X-cites She was new and didn't think to fly off or log off -- something I tell all tenants is the absolute best weapon to break the attention fix these lame assholes crave. I view this as a serious crime, attempting to sexually molest people. These tenants are pissed at me and ranting on the forums that I "don't want to do anything about griefing" because I warned them that they should not shoot back, and they got someone to come and orbit Silly Enzyme out of the sim.
But that's ridiculous. I spend my life fighting griefers on behalf of my tenants. I've simply learned a few basic realities about griefing: 1) they thrive on attention so don't give it to them, log off; 2) they come back bigger and badder, often with another posse loaded for bear, when you shoot at them.
Oh, you think *reporting on them* on police blotters and on this blog is giving them attention? That's always the problem with terrorists and the media, eh? But I think in SL, it's important to name names, shame, and shame GROUPS and have an open discussion, with anyone able to bring adversarial defenses forward if they wish. It's the only way. The alternative, making mechanical ban lists, doesn't deter, and only captures some innocent along the way.
I continue to believe that trying to use the existing system of abuse-reporting to chronicle and report the offenses, even though Lindens do nothing in 90 percent of the cases, even gross and systematic abuses. I believe in continuing to try to work with their system, and also create alternative community police blotters that attempt to report on crime, document cases, follow them, and address the issues of GROUPS which the Lindens cannot or will not address. For this I created the SL Community Police Blotter.
And I continue to make GROUPS feel responsible for their members. I write to them. I tell them about their members. I try to get them to take some ownership for their members. For example, I'd like those in Gay 4 Philip like Bub Linden, Donovan Linden, Kona Linden and other Lindens who just joined this silly group on a lark to feel that they can discuss among themselves and appeal to their leadership to expel those like Scudmunkey who invade other people's homes, abuse them, and stalk them as a form of deliberate, planned, vindictive sport. Lindens and known griefers should not be in groups together like that.
I also think it's important to keep making the point over and over again that the "W-HAT faction" isn't such a "faction," that it has the tacit support of the leadership, and that its members who don't get abuse-reports on them are in fact the substrate who make it possible for others like the Scudmonkeys to keep coming back and engaging in abuse. And these include W-HAT apologists Huns Valen and Gala Phoenix, who whine that "there's only a few bad eggs" and "it's so unfair to judge them all that way" and continue to justify the Something Awful awfuls in Second Life. They need to take their whining to these repeat offenders and apply whatever social pressure they have on them to get them to stop being asswipes. We will go on showing THEM as enablers as long as this low-life griefing from W-HAT continues in SL. We always see Huns Valens et. al. rush to defend the "non-griefing" W-HAT every time this issue comes up; we never, ever, EVER see him step up, and condemn by name and act, those people IN this group who grief. To do so would mean to break ranks. And that's the problem. GROUPS.
And New Citizens, Inc., if they want to go on keeping Scudmunkey in their midst, despite clear, repeat testimony from my tenants and me that he is a frequent-flyer griefer, can do that, of course, but then we can also go on pointing out that for all their talk about griefer control, they are a substrate, too. That's what happens if you want to keep open groups in an open society, but you need to then accompany that openness with a willing to keep the space open from griefing that closes it, too, and name names, and shame people and get those around them in groups to *take ownership*.
I was embarrassed to even have to ask Frogg Marlowe, in the middle of a concert, to use his land controls on a venue to eject Scudmunkey and Isometric somebody, now gone from the list, yet another alt of either Plastic Duck or a supporter, who used god-mode to stalk me to a concert. I didn't care that they say RIGHT NEXT to me and heckled me. I went AFK but didn't want to lose my place on the crowded sim to hear Frogg. When they began heckling and talking tripe to others and making a nuisance of themselves and being general asswipes, I asked to have them removed -- others also began to protest and to be made uncomfortable. For this they should be ashamed, and if they have no shame, the groups that form their substrate and support them tacitly need to feel a great deal more shame than they've been feeling in Second Life.
And to continue, I'll cross post what I put on http://forums.slhomepage.com, my new forums of choice:
They have just changed the latest patch to have estate tools go up to 300 bans.
I oppose the centralized ban list too, and I view Travis' BanLink as a thinly-veiled mass list. He claims it is based on mutual trust and picking and choosing but the harsher types in SL like Burke Perfect and Kyrah Abbatoir will just scoop up all the data from all of them and put them in their own master list.
I checked a few people on it anecdotally and saw that one person was banned because they were carrying a weapon and refused to put it away. That person happened to come and rent from me, make a house, make some items to sell, make friends, and spend his time peacefully with no shooting once I told him it wasn't allowed. I don't see why he should be mass-banned and forced to leave SL and not have a chance just because some neuralgic volunteer at the Shelter looked cross-eyed at him.
This is what bothers me about the whole Shelter thing. These people are volunteers, with all the grim zealotry that can accompany people who volunteer and often have utopian viewpoints about helping people to go with their huge clusters of disposable time and effort.
There's something about being in business, however, that makes you less zealous, and more tethered to the real world. You are more pragmatic. You cannot afford to be idealistic and vindictive -- a luxury the Shelter has because they always have more newbies where those came from that they expel, they only wish to serve those who play nice.
I wish to cover costs at the very least, so I don't wish to eliminate my whole client base. Is this craven profit motive like the Lindens, causing me to turn a blind eye to griefing? Don't be silly. It's pragmatism that says a furry kid who has a gun on day one deserves more of a chance on day 7 if he settles down, and shouldn't be on a master shit list forever. He may not have the resources to figure out how to appeal or plead his case.
I am savaged by griefers even more than the Shelter, given that I simply have more customers, more square meters of land, on a more permanent basis than they do. That is, they might get 20,000 traffic, who knows. But it's a different kind of traffic, coming to one venue in one square of land.
I have griefers that cause havoc, misery to tenants, and property damage -- yes, property damage in a virtual world by stealing or disassembling group-shared objects or terror-forming something put on edit accidently and forcing houses to delink when returned, etc.
So I look for long-term, effective, more holistic solutions to end griefing.
Naming names, and more important exposing GROUPS and CONFRONTING groups is way more important to me. It's a slower, more painstaking and manual effort.
People look for quick fixes on these things and automatic scripted thingies. I don't.
Another example I found is the kind of event griefer that I have like Schwartz Guillame, a chronic foul-mouthed asswipe who consistently comes and hectors the chair of a meeting, ridicules speakers, etc. in a way that is more sophisticated than just blasting particles. I've learned to pre-ban him from every event venue -- if I forget and he arrives, he starts in with the diaper talk and I don't care if some impressionable young woman just starting as my tenant is horrified that I proclaim to be for free speech, but eject Schwartz Guillame. He's a public nuisance and I'm not *required* to endure his heckling, harassment, foul-mouthed talk, and interruptions when trying to have a meeting. That's not suppressing free speech; it's making it possible for a group to *have* free speech in the first place.
People become so hobbled by their liberal sensibilities they won't ban or eject; they also become hobbled by their darwinistic fascist sensibilities and want to ban and orbit the hell out of everyone they think is expendable.
I look to try to find some more balanced way to deal with this really vexing problem.
Example: yesterday I tp to a land to try to figure out why a tenant is missing --he is paid, but missing from the list, and I see he hasn't built anything, and I try to figure out -- what to do about him?
I'm struggling with this, and a friend wants to TP to take a picture for his blog. I also have someone IMing me who may be interested to rent the spot -- but first I have to figure out -- what is up with this missing guy?
So I'm struggling with all the usual onslaught of SL busyness and I see some dippy girl in slave clothing and high heels (I think she's got her genres mixed up lol) land on my lot and just stand there. She's not a prospective tenant.
She asks what I'm doing. I say, Um, I'm standing on my land, busy with something. She doesn't take the hint. The world is her canvas. She just stands there. Maybe in IMs, maybe just zooming around.
She fails to take the hint. Why does she feel she can just arrive on someone else's land? And stand there for 15 minutes?
So I ask her what her thinking is on this.
Answer: but you didn't put up red ban lines.
Um...I hate red ban lines. I don't wish to have them. But...I'm SUPPOSED to have them to get rid of clueless idiots like YOU???
That sense of entitlement is so rampant in this current wave of new people. and i have only three little letters to explain this: AOL. And I have only one source for AOL to explain this: Aimee Weber - her AOL-sponsored blog has brought in DROVES of these people who have given themselves their same numbered names as AOL.
I ask again if she could not bother me and my friend. She stands there, beligerent. So I eject her.
I never used to be a person who ejected people. How can you be, when you are in the business of making land available to people to use in the land preserve or rent in the rentals?
But like everyone else, I've been forced to become more reactive to this wave of uncivilization.