When will we get to grips with griefing?

The answer is, of course, never, as long as some script kiddie is getting his (and yes, it is usually ‘his’) lolz by causing misery, frustration and anger in other people.

But we really don’t have to enable it.

Yordie Sands has an excellent post written yesterday about the griefing that has been happening at that brilliant music venue, Junkyard Blues. Go and read it – I’ll wait.

Junkyard Blues - the jive already jumping at 4.30am SLT
Junkyard Blues – the jive already jumping at 4.30am SLT

In brief, Junkyard Blues has recently been hit by relentless griefing attacks – as they (Kiff Clutterbuck and Dina Petty, owners of Junkward Blues) describe it “multiple griefers with blinding graphics card attacks and sim lag/crashes … In some instances the computers of many staff and patrons actually shut down or rebooted as a result of the attacks.”  Staff were concerned that the repeated attacks were damaging their machines, and pretty inevitably, patrons of the club were staying away.  And, in fact, this wasn’t just for the lolz.  Junkyard Blues say: “At one point we were told that if we paid money to the griefers they would stop attacking us.” This is a protection racket. This is criminal extortion under UK law – and I would imagine US law too.

As a result, after six and a half years, Junkyard Blues has had to become a member only venue. That lovely environment, which we featured in our May 2010 issue, is no longer a venue for popping in to casually to catch a favourite act. Inevitably, audiences will be decreased.  And that has a concomitant effect on the small stores that trade alongside the club, from which the club draws a significant part of its revenue, I’d imagine.  That is an economic model, remember, that has already taken a body blow from the Marketplace.

Yes, you remember the Marketplace. It’s the place where griefers can get sim crashers for as little as $50 Lindens. These are, of course, sold with wide eyed declarations that these are only to be used in sims which purchasers are allowed to blow up, and they are not to be used for griefing.

This is simply not good enough. The Marketplace is policed by residents and Lindens for instances of copybotted goods; the same thing must happen to tools used for griefing – in other words tools whose primary functions deliberately violate the terms of service.

Some of the Broadwalk Stores at Junkyard Blues
Some of the Broadwalk Stores at Junkyard Blues

In addition, there needs to be a system where sims that are coming under regular attack attract a special level of attention.  in the case of Junkyard Blues, “In all but a few of the attacks we could not recover the Junkyard sim without Linden help, sometimes resulting in hours of waiting for business hours to begin the following day” and “All that was available from Linden Lab was the invitation to file abuse reports, one by one, on each individual who attacked us if we could even give them a name, and then we’d see the same people we reported returning to do it again.”

In a system where it is the work of minutes to create new alts, arm up with new weapons and attack again and again as part of a criminal enterprise, there needs to be a better system for protecting residents under systematic and criminally motivated attack than abuse reports.

The grid is already suffering economically and seeing a pattern of slow long term decline.  If (in addition to the problems of high tier and the dominance of the Marketplace forcing small businesses off the grid) venue owners are forced to lock down their clubs to members only, the grid is going to become even less welcoming to newcomers and the decline will continue.

21 comments

  1. You’ve identified issues that should be talked about in the board room of Linden Lab. Unfortunately, the Lab seems more concerned with in introducing new technologies that have questionable value in a world that is being torn apart daily. Thanks for referring to my post, I’m sure Kiff & Dina thank you.

  2. I’ll mention here a subject I’ve also raised on Yordie’s post, as a comment on her blog: even if you try to flag an item on Marketplace, it seems you can only do it for violating listing practices or copyright. I see no option to flag items for violating the ToS itself – and this is what sim crashers do, they violate the ToS, not some listing practice.

    1. I noticed that myself. You used to be able to report an item for abuse, I think, which was complained about as being too general. Maybe there should be a short list, with a catchall “Other” that could be specified.

      1. Those kind of items violate point 8.3 of the TOS. The only thing to do is ask LL to add “TOS violation” as a flag category. To ensure that this option will not be misused, the user must provide a comprehensive description of why and how the TOS is violated. If such a request is made to LL, I will join and inform the French speaking community.

  3. I have been under a great deal of stress for the past 7 months due to the amount of harassment and abuse I have endured during this time. I am still being harassed to this day. These griefers mainly hang out at the Violet and Ahern welcome areas. Linden Lab has deleted alot of accounts of these griefers but they just create a new one within several minutes.. it’s like a dog chasing it tail around in circles.. for the most part filing abuse reports is useless…if you have time.. please review my own blogs:

    http://lindenlabfailsstopgriefing.blogspot.com

    http://secondlifegriefers.blogspot.com

    1. Griefing is about more than just money.. some times they are after your soul.. your inter spirits and your reputation…attempting to make you look bad to others. Even attempting to put suicidal thoughts into their victims mind.. they mentioned to me “tent”, “carbon monoxide”, and “Come on Robert, you can do it”. These people are diabolical with intentions to scar you emotionally.

      1. I rather not disclose who I am beyond an IP. I come from a group of griefers who are distant from those others you mention. The farthest we’ll do is get a funny chatlog of you, post it and that is that. We don’t remember you and we don’t target you.

        The griefers you refer to are pretty much in fact more into Second Life than you, their daily lives are based around making you angry. Stop responding, stop posting and stop everything. The best way is to block them and don’t even think of saying “muted”, that only gives them the confirmation that A. They have you by the heart strings and B. They can now log onto a new account to attack you some more.

        In effect, it’s more your fault for reacting and caring rather than letting them just think they are getting to you, when they are not.

        And please, stop getting oversensitive, damn, they are worse off than you, why else would they give a shit about someone on an online internet video game?

      2. I doubt anyone is “more” into Second Life than me to be honest.. I’ve devoted five years into promoting Second Life Live Music. Why anyone would find “pleasure” disrupting other peoples happiness is purely insane. “Ignoring” the griefer problems does “not” fix anything…they just move on to lay claims to other victims.. and return to you when ever they damn please. Second Life is being ruined and Linden Lab is to blame for not taking any responsibility to get it under control.

  4. What needs to be done is for the FBI to get involved….force Linden Lab to take responsibility for these acts of cybercriminals within Second Life. Everyone deserves to be free of cyber terrorism and harassment. Someone or group of people need to file a class action law suit against Linden Lab for abiding Cyberterrorism. This has been a major issue for years.. and Linden Lab does NOTHING to get it under control…NOTHING.

  5. A copy of this video has been sent to the Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California and a copy to Washington D.C.:
    Reaching out to Mr. Barack Obama on virtual world crime

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