In real life, so to speak, on Facebook, I belong to a certain group where recently, somebody got into an argument with the group founder about how to interpret some controversial events, and the group founder then denounced the person who had argued with him and called out his lack of knowledge as a "KGB agent of influence," and then various people argued this endlessly. Some people came forward and vouched for the person. I didn't know any of the people involved personally so I just pointed out that the person was right, and that unless there was more evidence of the claims it was hard to take seriously, and in any event, these authoritarian governments are awfully good at turning people against each other. BTW, this happened in yet another group of mind, counter-charges, beliefs that people are working for the government, etc. This is very common in the "post-Soviet space" and I'm hugely used to this problem. A wise friend of mine pointed out that the Poles, despite all the infiltration and espionage and subversion committed against them by the Soviets, still won in the end. And that's the secret: human solidarity. More on that in another post, but for now, let me point out that I'm no stranger to the problem of "the social hack" (the infiltration by the KGB or their supporters, if you will, by analogy) and the problems of distrust and mania that causes.
Time and again, I've had to tell over-active vigilante tenants who were trying to help during this terror-forming to climb down, they were suspecting people who weren't guilty, who in fact were other helpers. I had to get them to remove their savage security orbs that only succeeded in knocking away helpers, not keeping griefers away as they were immune to bans on rogue viewers.
Even so, I'm all for definitely reporting when social hacks occur, having some level of reasonable caution about them, but not hysteria, and being willing to put up with the occasional false positives in the process. Example fro the past: Some newbie with the Emerald users' group as his only group comes on my sim and rents a cabin after a big griefing by Emerald is ejected, and wails and screams at being the victim of "guilt by association". I don't care. Tell it to the judge. Get your Emerald devs to behave better. Oh. They're all banned now. What do you know.
I remember once trying to reject some people during a horrible attack with tub girl particle spamming back in like 2005, and I ended up ejecting the boyfriend of a tenant who just had a lot of particles coming from him from one of those ridiculous arrival particle blasters -- remember them? Gosh, nobody uses those awful things today! But in the old days, if you didn't arrive on a sim and produce a shower of marijuana leaves, wolf silhouettes, happy faces or hearts and diamonds, you were not blingified sufficiently for this world. I even bought one from Outy's Particle Paradise myself but was afraid to inflict it too many times on anybody. So that was a "false positive," and it made people who were the victims of griefers whom I was trying to help move out in a fit of anger that part of the response to the attack ended up ejecting one of them.
Well, yeah, it's sad, but then, if you can't grasp what was going on and why you were ejected when it is explained to you, and you are capable of moving out over somebody accidently kicking you or your prims in the course of trying to help you, whatever, SL is a big place, go explore it.
One of the things I've found when I publicize some of these big griefing waves is that I get several kinds of lookie-loos coming along: a) middle-aged ladies who feel sorry and want to sympathize -- thanks, I appreciate it; b) Herald reporters -- hey, fuck you, eject/ban; c) idiot copy-cats from somethingawful.com (hey, learn how to grief properly you newb eject/ban -- and are you kidding? People actually still read that???); d) creepy preying mantises who like to feed on other's misfortune, act as if they have some insight into why they are being harassed, and who think you might befriend them and rely on them (frankly, the JLU fits into some of this, as do certain other "police" types); e) more griefers on more alts, trying to pretend they are the good guys who will "help" you with your griefing problems; f) just the next innocent tenant who might have a funny name.
So it's hard to tell griefers apart from these categories of people, but generally, unless it's obvious, I give them the benefit of the doubt.
So along comes this guy right after the worst griefing attack in days, when most people have moved out, and the place looks like a graveyard with the graves dug up -- we have removed some of the houses and decided the hell with it, why leave them out there.
His name is LeFacteurARaison and he is very young -- and I roll my eyes at the pretentious name and figure I have the next griefer alt or Door No. D.
So here's the convo:
[2012/12/03 04:56] LeFacteurARaison: Bonjour! I just rented cottage no. 14 on Ravenglass. As I took a look at the surroundings I found that the houses of two neighbours have apparently been buried in the soil. So I really hope everything is okay with the land rights here.
[2012/12/03 04:57] Second Life: Inventory item offered
[2012/12/03 04:59] Prokofy Neva: Um, Shaun, as a week-old alt, you might think that you can pass with a fake name like that, but you won't be renting here. Refund, and leave, as I have explained multiple times, I don't compensate griefers who constantly harm me and cause me loss of business deliberately by renting and heckling me as you are doing now. If by some chance you *aren't* a griefer on a fresh alt and are a real person with a French name (um, ok), then...I'm sure you'll have no problem refunding! Good day, sir!
[2012/12/03 05:03] LeFacteurARaison: Sorry Sir, I was still reading your note about moving up.
[2012/12/03 05:04] Prokofy Neva: I think refund is probably the better option as you are an obvious alt : )
[2012/12/03 05:05] LeFacteurARaison: I consider myself a returning resident rather than an alt Sir. It's been years since I was active here.
[2012/12/03 05:05] LeFacteurARaison: I have the impression that the overall design has improved.
[2012/12/03 05:06] LeFacteurARaison: However the silence is deafening. But that might just be my time zone.
[2012/12/03 05:07] Prokofy Neva: Um, ok, well this isn't the rental for you! Unless you want to live up in the sky
[2012/12/03 05:07] Prokofy Neva: as for "silence," um, I don't supply activities for people
[2012/12/03 05:08] Prokofy Neva: for that, you'll have to go to the interracial cuckhold people [a reference to one of his groups]
[2012/12/03 05:08] LeFacteurARaison: In 2008 I was overwhelmed about Second Life being so crowded. In fact that was a reason I left.
[2012/12/03 05:08] Prokofy Neva: Or maybe you were permabanned, Shaun
[2012/12/03 05:09] LeFacteurARaison: I'm of mixed descent myself and live in Amsterdam, Sir.
[2012/12/03 05:09] Prokofy Neva: ok I'm done, these are self-service rentals. Serve yourself and save!
[2012/12/03 09:03] LeFacteurARaison: (Saved Mon Dec 03 08:10:11 2012)No Sir, I was never banned from anywhere. I have been living in Red Light Center (Utherverse.com) for the past 3 years.
[2012/12/03 09:03] LeFacteurARaison: (Saved Mon Dec 03 08:34:49 2012)I'm really sorry to meet such bitter people in this world. You are the 5th now in the 10 days of my return. I was thinking land editing had much improved but it seems to pose quite a problem instead.
[2012/12/03 09:03] LeFacteurARaison: (Saved Mon Dec 03 08:35:53 2012)Remember we had to use "bombs" in the early days to edit the land.
[2012/12/03 09:03] LeFacteurARaison: (Saved Mon Dec 03 08:38:21 2012)I left your cottage as you asked. Maybe I should leave this world again. I'm going to be 53 in March (I hope) and my friends are nowhere to be found here anymore. Even the Lindens I knew have moved on.
[2012/12/03 09:03] Second Life: secondlife:///app/agent/paid you L$600.
So he moves out of the cottage, which keeps getting terraformed, and settles into the tower, after asking to have the door unlocked. I don't give him terraform or ban powers -- that would be foolhardy, given the way he talks, looks, and his groups. Somebody who moves in RIGHT when there is a terraforming attack and then makes faux-sage comments on it is likely a griefer or enabler, not an accidental oldbie who wandered in by mistake -- totally fortuitously.
But you never know. So I don't kick him. I just ignore him. He persists in striking up little faux-intellectual convos, and possibly engaging in that classic griefer behaviour -- pretending to befriend and help your victim.
5 07:47] LeFacteurARaison: Hi, I don't want to make you upset again Sir, but I noticed that Victor1stMornington is on the banlist of the Celtic Tower. I'm convinced Victor is an honest person since I have known him in the past on the old Dr.Who sim and I cannot imagine that he would be genuinely banned. So he's probably been put on the banlist by some spoofer.
[2012/12/05 07:54] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): Currently I am reading your blog by the way. I must say there is enough in it for a book! Now I also know whom you refer to as Shaun.
[2012/12/05 07:54] Prokofy Neva: Gosh, do you think?! And you should know! Obvious griefers are obvious. It's a known exploit and it's dealt with constantly. Abuse report it if you like.
[2012/12/05 07:55] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): I do not expect much from an abuse report anymore these days. Those I used to work with are not even employed by LL any longer. :-(
[2012/12/05 07:56] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): (I did file *many* reports for the Arbor group in the past when extortion and excessive advertising used to be our main concern.)
[2012/12/05 07:58] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): The last thing I "cooked up" together with Guy Linden was actually the auto-sale of abandoned land. Only they implemented it 4 years late. :-(
[2012/12/05 08:32] Prokofy Neva: Well thanks for devaluing the land market so handily, big guy! And hey, intellectual conversations with griefers and their erudite soulmates is not my specialty.
[2012/12/05 08:34] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): We never told LL to sell the land for L$ 1 per sq.m. ofcourse! Just to automate the sale of abandoned land since the best parts of this world where lying unnoticed for over 2 years.
[2012/12/05 08:45] Prokofy Neva: Um, it's not possible to automate sales unless you make prices uniform
[2012/12/05 08:45] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): The idea was to auto-add them to the auction list, to be specific.
[2012/12/05 08:46] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): Which was exactly what we were always told would happen. But never actually did.
[2012/12/05 08:47] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): I'm going to have dinner now. Be good.
Meanwhile, once I am told about the account found to be standing around on neighbouring sims and terror-forming Ravenglass, Refugio, etc. -- the name TheExHusband Resident. I began to look for that name on the visitor tracks. I had actually seen it before but didn't think it was a problem name as it sounded so very SL.
And what I find is the juxtaposition of that (now ejected) griefer TheExHusband, then Unconfined Resident, the obvious Woodbury type griefer sending Soviet flags to my inventory and putting creepy RL effigies out on my lawn, and then LeFacteur, this new resident sage in the tower, as follows:
[2012/12/05 13:15] Prokofy Neva: Like I said, find better friends.
and I paste to him this:
[2012/12/05 13:34] Prokofy Neva: LeFacteurARaison Resident entered area, 2012-12-03, 7:30 AM (SLT)
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: LeFacteurARaison Resident stayed 1 minutes.
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: Unconfined Resident entered area, 2012-12-03, 7:38 AM (SLT)
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: LeFacteurARaison Resident entered area, 2012-12-03, 7:44 AM (SLT)
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: LeFacteurARaison Resident stayed 1 minutes.
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: Unconfined Resident stayed 10 minutes.
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: LeFacteurARaison Resident entered area, 2012-12-03, 7:49 AM (SLT)
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: LeFacteurARaison Resident stayed 4 minutes.
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: TheExHusband Resident entered area, 2012-12-03, 7:56 AM (SLT)
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: TheExHusband Resident stayed 1 minutes.
[09:10] Ravenglass <122, 71, 18> Relay: Unconfined Resident entered area, 2012-12-03, 7:59 AM (SLT)
Now sure, it could be all a coincidence. He's just sitting in the tower sorting his meager newbie inventory, when the mad terror-former strikes AND the Woodbury griefer also comes -- all total coincidence. But the timing looks awfully like somebody logging on their three alts to do three different things, doesn't it? Or three friends coming on at the same time to grief together, you know? Now, of course two of them could be griefers, and the third just a bystander. I guess one thing SL has taught me is that few things are what they seem; most of the time, they are just the opposite.
He writes back:
13:19] LeFacteurARaison Resident: I don't know what your notecard is
about, but whenever I got rejected by a PDS orb ("Avatar not old
enough") I got bumped back to the place where I set home. So, sorry if I
upset you by the many involuntary jumps into the area.
[2012/12/05 13:20] Prokofy Neva: No, you know quite well what this notecard is about, and that's all there is to it, move along now
[2012/12/05 13:21] LeFacteurARaison Resident: No I don't. But I start to think you wouldn't believe yourself if you'd talk into a mirror... really.
[2012/12/05 13:34] LeFacteurARaison Resident: By the way I landed at Ravenglass because I thought I remembered my old landlord. Today I went back to Kerala, one of the places where I used to live. Found out the land is owned by Ravensloft Real Estate so you can laugh at me.
[2012/12/05 13:34] Prokofy Neva: Do not darken my doorway again
[2012/12/05 13:36] LeFacteurARaison Resident: Sorry that's your own shadow really. You must be one of the pioneers (looking at your dob here) but you don't sound happy.
[2012/12/05 13:37] Prokofy Neva: keep up the word salad, you log on your latest alt and your other alts and you think no one notices? Are you daft? Go away. I don't care if this is a false positive. You're an asshole anyway.
[2012/12/05 13:39] LeFacteurARaison Resident: I'm not an alt. I just started over. Lindens just made it very difficult to retrieve an ancient account. Lots of security questions I could no longer answer. Like "what's your favourite pet" (I had many and rodents don't live that long).
[2012/12/05 13:40] LeFacteurARaison Resident: In the end I could have paid $40 to retrieve the old account *emptied*.
[2012/12/05 13:40] LeFacteurARaison Resident: I can do better things with the money.
[2012/12/05 11:00] Prokofy Neva: This is not news, Hazim.
[2012/12/05 11:02] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): Are you sure you sent this message to the right window?
[2012/12/05 11:09] Prokofy Neva: tu sais ce que je dis
[2012/12/05 11:57] LeFacteurARaison: Okay that's enough. I've certainly never seen you at Jack Linden's OH all those Thursdays we represented the victims of extortionists and ad farms. Have a nice life. 10 more days before you turn 3000 in SL.
[2012/12/05 12:00] Prokofy Neva: oh fuck off. I went to lots of Jack Linden's OH. Oh and PS despite having to do my RL jobs as well. If I didn't come to every single one, so what/ Who could possibly make time during the *work day* to sit for an hour in a virtual world over *that issue* which I was the one to put on the JIRA and fight for ages on end on my blog, and with endless abuse tickets. Do you think you're the only one who fights the good fight with your Dutch socialist democratic bullshit?
[2012/12/05 12:07] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): I'm a member of the Partij voor de Dieren (Animal rights party) and I'm not a leftist. I strongly believe in karma and that doesn't involve equal sharing with people who are too lazy to work for their money.
[2012/12/05 12:10] Prokofy Neva: Eesh, animal rights -- the worst form of hateful Marxism
[2012/12/05 12:11] Prokofy Neva: karma -- the socialist redistribution system of the heavens! for people who are too lazy to get a real religion
[2012/12/05 12:13] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): It is not a redistribution system but a retribution system.
[2012/12/05 12:25] Prokofy Neva: no, it redistributes "expected behaviour" to users. Now go away, and find better friends
[2012/12/05 12:31] Postbode Siemens (lefacteuraraison): Don't forget to visit our museum if you happen to travel to Amsterdam next year. http://www.hermitage.nl/en/
Well, I don't plan to be visiting Amsterdam any time soon. Amsterdam, that home of all the Internet proxies!
So yeah, having visitor trackers -- not my normal mode at all, I can't be bothered with the things chatting and lagging to boot -- putting out little spy prims like the The Wrong Hands/JLU cast of characters -- who needs it?! I was trying to establish who might be responsible for the terror-forming, and it actually did show up the name, but that wasn't enough for me to determine it was the person, in the end.
Does suspicion of each new person who comes in and pays and asks for ban/terraform/deed powers mean that poison enters the well? Well, not really. Because most people are normal. Most people are good, in fact. It's only a who aren't. It's only a few who are in fact innocent, charged falsely, and then throw temper tantrums which makes you wonder all the more about them.
When you have a situation like this, I can only say -- publicity is the best weapon. The Lindens make a fetish of maintaining the privacy of everyone caught in griefing and claiming that they do that to prevent vindictive reprisals. But that's ridiculous. If they can't maintain a world in which such reprisals are not possible because they are also punished, what good is their governance? And in real life, the court of law learns the name of the accuser, the plaintiff and the respondent. You don't hide identities of suspects even if they are innocent in the end. That's justice.
We have only a rough justice in SL; so rough justice is what I practice. Mr. Reason here may be merely a sage old ornery Dutchman visiting his old SL haunts -- or mistaken old SL haunts, but I don't think so.
What do you think?