Designing Worlds discovers when griefing turns into extortion

Now available on the web – the first show in our new season as we look at what happens when griefing becomes extortion, talking to people who have been threatened, and looking at some of the solutions people are trying, in the absence from intervention from Linden Lab.

Some of the information shared on this show might surprise or even shock you. How griefing tools are freely available on the marketplace. How people are exploiting newcomers to the grid in some pretty unpleasant ways.

Our guests on the show: from left to right - Rails Bailey, Robert Galland, Frolic Mills, Fina Petty and Kiff Clutterbuck
Our guests on the show: from left to right – Rails Bailey, Robert Galland, Frolic Mills, Dina Petty and Kiff Clutterbuck

We talk to Kiff Clutterbuck and Dina Petty, the owners of Junkyard Blues – whose notecard to group members about the extortion they were facing triggered a widespread concern; to Frolic Mills, of Best of Second Life, who encountered a particularly appalling griefer who attacked (and continues to attack) the fashion industry; to Robert Galland, owner of Galland Homes, Member of the Second Life Bar Association and real life attorney, who gives a legal perspective of what has been happening,; and to Rails Bailey, volunteer mentor and head of security at events like SL9B, who talks about ongoing security problems in Second Life.

This is an important show – make sure you don’t miss it.


  1. Can I suggest the number of avatars available is restricted by allowing only 2 per person (many of us have one for work and one for play).
    After that charge $50 per avatar to create a new one.

    1. Great idea but… The only problem being is that you can take a laptop to just about any hot spot and log in with an entirely different IP address to get more free accounts.

  2. I’m not the only one a priori to believe that the precautionary principle must be privileged on the MarketPlace , as sim crashers can be bought there. The idea is gaining ground. And i won’t give up : We need a “TOS violation” reason under the “Flag this item” button ! on the MP.

    Warm regards

  3. On creating more alts, i’ll agree with Jessika, but i think that even L$50 is too small a charge for this: i believe L$5000 would be a far more reasonable amount of SL money; that way, someone who wants to create an army of alts will either have to go through a lot more trouble (i.e. creating more email addresses to begin with, then signing up more often on the same machine etc) and it’ll make potential griefers feel like it’s no longer worth it.

    And i agree with Pierre on the flagging tools for the marketplace. Also, we’ll need the ability to block individual users from accessing and commenting on our feeds on the site. That way, certain trolls (such as a pro-rape misogynist troll we’ve encountered recently, who was mocking the “One Billion Rising” initiative) will find themselves with no soapbox for their rants.

    1. I think Jessika was suggesting $50 US, which would certainly be a deterrent – but Xia is right; it would be easy to change your IP address to create new (free) alts.

      1. $50 (USD) is even better; yes, that would be a great deterrent. We need to make would-be griefers think twice.

  4. I agree that a place to start is to lobby to remove the accessibility of griefing tools from SL Marketplace. While there is merit in charging for additional alts, part of the griefing mentality seems to be the challenge of circumventing the SL system (not to mention how easy it is to create new IP addresses), so charging substantive $ needs to be looked at carefully.

    What Junkyard has done makes good sense and seems to be working. Perhaps if other sim owners adopted the practice of requiring group tags and sharing information on aggressive griefers, some of them will indeed think twice.

  5. @ slutrix …?! hehe. The person you are referring to is NOT pro-rape. What nonsense. I read that whole thread, and clicked the links to the “One Billion Rising” campaign, and agree with him in principal, that the campaign is one-sided and ignores violence against men. Which *was* his point.

    How about we charge someone L$5000 for spreading false and slanderous information about other residents?! (only I see you’re doing the false and slanderous comments outside of SL’s servers, so maybe you think it’s ok?)

    Mocking a campaign that they think is misguided? Sure as hell better than spreading slander.

    1. The OBR campaign ignores violence against men because it’s a campaign against violence against women. It is no more one-sided than a campaign against prostate cancer doesn’t take on board breast cancer. They’re two different (albeit related) things. But if you’re raising awareness of one, that’s not one-sided. It’s focusing on one thing at a time.

      I am not happy with the “pro-rape” reference, and earlier asked slutrix to remove it.

      I would be equally unhappy to see what is a very valuable discussion on a hugely important issue diverted onto a track that is being argued extensively elsewhere.

  6. Calls for actions on profile feeds is a bit redundant to THIS larger more important issue of entire sims being shut down as well as many users PCs. We do control our own profile feeds already. I would like to see LL use any possible man hours to address the issues when griefing turns into extortion. THIS causes direct hits to many avatars livelihoods and effect the economy of the entire grid as well as any growth LL’s might see that would produce more revenue.

  7. A colleague in our educators’ group recently shared a horror story: a group of griefers demanding money or they’d continually crash a sim. The group claimed to be a circle of “Russian hackers” but more likely they are one crazed kid in Cleveland. Linden Lab has offered no assistance, as usual these days, beyond putting the request into some endless queue.

    1. Yes, this is exactly what’s been happening with the music venues, right down to the claim of being Russian hackers. And sim crashers are still for sale on Marketplace.

      1. I wonder what LL would do if news of these criminal activities were disseminated by the likes of Slashdot, Wired etc. Would they start removing functionality in panic? Would they sit down and listen to the reasonable and sensible ideas that have been suggested by various people? Or would they relegate all of their power and authority to data-harvesting, ToS-violating vigilante groups?

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