To the editor: Why I left SL – Lindens rip off designers, mentor program overrun with W-hats and other griefers

by Alphaville Herald on 30/10/05 at 10:41 pm

This was posted in a comment thread, but it was so poignant that I felt I should post it in the main thread. I’ve known Stellsy since my earliest days in TSO and I will say that there are few people in this world (online or off) that I trust or respect more. This post is a must read, and is incredibly damning. — Uri

To the Herald,

I’m not a resident of Second Life anymore because of what the game has become and because of the people who created it. I left Second Life 6 months ago and walked away from a very promising and celebrated fashion design career in game – one in which I’d invested a great deal of real life energy and talent. I knew just about everyone in Second Life to some degree and had the kind of contacts that would make any new designer envious. I also was an officer in a group responsible for helping new residents transition in world. I’m an artist in real life but that doesn’t translate into SL as well as you would think, simply because of the politics within the game.

I’m friendly and outgoing, but I’m also outspoken when I see power abused, because I’m a sucker for underdogs and I can’t stand seeing people mistreated. The year I spent in Second Life I saw Lindens rip off designers work and market it as their own. My designer friends were unable to get compensated, even after personally speaking with Phillip. I saw hardcore griefers aligned with FREE and I saw W-hats get accepted into mentorship program and given authority.

And I won’t even get into the female stalker that followed me in game for 8 months; I filed nearly 100 abuse reports against her and spoke to several Lindens privately about it – being reassured time after time after time that the harassment wouldn’t continue – only to be suspended myself for 3 days after I was knocked across a sim for the 50th time by a member of W-hats. Griefers were really happy when I volunteered to leave the game, because I spoke out against them without hesitation to defend others. And I’m sure it never crossed the minds of any Lindens who knew me that they were losing anyone of value from the game, most likely because I wasn’t cybering any of them.

I will concede I don’t know much about perm hired employees. But I do know the volunteer programs are corrupted with griefers. I still have important designer friends in second life even though I refuse to participate in that world, and they’ve assured me nothing has changed since I’ve left. The fact is while most are not willing to speak up about it, they aren’t nearly as content with Linden Labs as some think. Why won’t they speak up? If you’re a designer you know you’ve invested so much into your work it’s very hard to just walk away from everything. I walked away because I refuse to rely on anyone so completely that there is no room for my personal values anymore. I can’t live with that. Id rather lose all my work then become something im ashamed of. This is why I am angry. And this is why I personally hope Second Life doesn’t succeed.

– Stellsy

19 Responses to “To the editor: Why I left SL – Lindens rip off designers, mentor program overrun with W-hats and other griefers”

  1. RB

    Oct 30th, 2005

    At least SL isn’t owned or developed by any EA group. That’s the worst thing a game can have. However, unlike the repetitive snail pace developed snore fest that is T afk SO, SL is not a game. No, it’s much bigger than that. SL is a boundryless sandbox and a giant social experiment. It’s a blank canvas LL paints and repaints at will. It doesn’t matter what happens on it, everything is part of study. LL is rich too, so what do they care if a few leave the experiment? SL could end tomorrow and not be a detriment to LL.

    - RB.

  2. Simone

    Oct 31st, 2005

    Sorry you went through all this, Stellsy. I was sorry to see you go. But I hope SL does well. On that point we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

    SL is a fantastic opportunity to develop my artistic abilities while at the same time getting paid to do so. Granted there will be many more issues confronting LL, causing them to examine their past actions and present direction, and hopefully they will have the talent, humility, drive and forethought to work their way through all that confronts them.

    I’m not quitting. If they mess up, I will remain, and will be one of the loudest shouting down their mistakes, and when they do well, I will remain, and will be one of the loudest supporters of their positive choices.

  3. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 31st, 2005

    I take what you’re saying seriously, Stellsy, but not knowing this world of the designers, I can’t help thinking that the public needs to have names named. Which Lindens are so involved in the game that they actually design and sell clothing? Or are these Lindens who are doing this on their “civilian avs” in their “off hours”? Or is this like the Jeska modeling thing? I don’t understand this charge.

    As for Mentors, Lord, that’s really something they need to clean up. I’m just coming enraged from hearing what this vicious little !@#$@@#$ Weedy Herbst — a Mentor — is now doing again on the forums — with her pal Jeska already erasing the evidence. The Mentors are out of control and this needs to be exposed and we need to collectively being sounding off to the Lindens about the abuse of this system of the people in it for their own gain.

    But once again, we need names, facts, figures. I’ve compiled my mentor stories — we need to do this collectively. It probably won’t do to host an event to discuss this — it would be bombed or the Lindens might even prevent it. They seem to brook no dissent about this system and how it is run. Maybe outside of SL the information can be gathered and published. I hope the Herald could get on this in a systematic way.

    I would say that the thing to do about these types of abuses is not to give up on Second Life or quit it, but to try to join forces with others who are concerned. At the end of the day, it’s not so much Linden Lab the company or Second Life the game space that is at issue, but human nature, and the bad deeds of a defined group of people. It’s doable to try to expose and isolate them for the good of the whole world.

  4. observer 77

    Oct 31st, 2005

    I have been in SL a year. These complaints read to me as though they describe a different world. I have experienced not one incident I have interpreted as a griefing attack on me, and I spend far too much time inworld. Several I could perhaps have interpreted as such, but which were more likely accidental.

    I have been driven to move once by a neighboring build so apalling I did believe it to be griefing-motivated, but I checked back recently, and it is still there, now with an integrated shop, and claerly being actively tended. Maybe I was wrong.

    I have helped one friend with a bit of stalking she was experiencing as a result of her terminating a relationship before the other was ready, but it didn’t last long.

    I have found all my limited dealings with the management to be fine, and I find almost all their actions fairly readily explicable if you bear in mind the bigger picture. Day-to-day their workload, both for inworld policing, and for software development, is very substantial, and every such staffmember is ultimately paid for by us. It is a balancing judgement as to how much we are willing to pay, and those who demand more are in fact demanding to pay more. Not me, thankyou.

    If their lack of intervention on larger issues does seem excessive, we must just remember SL’s destination. They cannot habituate us to interventionist practices which they would have withdraw as SL transmogrifies into the metaverse.

    Stealing designers stuff ? Well how about some examples in evidence ? Lets not trot out the old GOM chestnut, though please. Leaving a major aspect of SL’s economy in the hands of two young guys in their spare time from an attic, and suffereing from an excessive sense of entitlement (who couldn’t even be bothered to implement paypal masspay), would not have been a responsible thing to do.

    My conclusion is that despite the eulogistic introduction this poster was given, and his own not-too-modest trumpeting of his/her own “talent” (its not often you see someone actually use that word of themselves) this is in fact nothing more than another dose of the old resentful whining. From someone who simply got up a lot of peoples noses, for reasons we might just possibly be able to glimpse, even here.

  5. stellsy

    Oct 31st, 2005

    Im not gonna respond to any posters who slam me, accuse me of conceit or insinuate that somehow i brought misery and endless grief onto myself in Second Life because of some imaginary character flaw. Thank you Uri for giving me a voice and allowing me to express my disappointment with Second Life. I adore you always. A huge weight is lifted off my chest knowing i could tell the truth and be heard. Thats all i wanted. Its cathartic for me. I dont need anyone to believe me. Simone knows im not lying about corruption in the mentor program. She is a good example of a designer who doesnt have a choice and so she stays for economic reasons and works within the system no matter how flawed. I had a very close friend in Second life you could ask about Lindens who steal important object designs. But i refuse to name him here. Youll have to contact me privately about it. I wont be calling out anyone here that isnt already publically in these forums. And you know there are happy endings. Im very content playing WoW and spending time with my friends. No one attacks me or stalks me there.

  6. Anony

    Oct 31st, 2005

    I know a TG-er and sometimes I watch them play, even though their world is alot less developed, I would glady take the TG over the MG.

  7. skeptical

    Oct 31st, 2005

    “only to be suspended myself for 3 days after I was knocked across a sim for the 50th time by a member of W-hats.”

    And that is the GOD HONEST TRUTH! Or maybe some of this story is missing? I didn’t notice: “Suspended for 3 days for being the target of 50 push script attacks” in the police blotter.

    Lindens marketing other peoples ripped-off work? This is SLHerald baby, you can be anonymous! Give us a pointer to the Linden’s store and to the work they ripped off!

    Uri, if you aren’t going to even TRY to fact check these things why don’t you just start making up stories all together? What about that guy that had his kidney stolen by the Linden?

  8. Urizenus

    Oct 31st, 2005

    If I’m not mistaken, the Lindens have suspended their organ harvesting operation. They got all they needed at SOP III.

  9. Skeptical

    Oct 31st, 2005

    Or so they would have you believe, Uri. Or so they would have you believe. ;)

  10. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 31st, 2005

    Well, erm, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t LindEx ripping off another designer’s work, namely GOM? There’s probably other big stuff like that too, no?

    Yes, the nefarious Lindens harvested my left nut at SOP III while I was AFK in a bar, Uri, ouch, but after the re-opening of the non-surgical incision and restitching, I’ve been limping along OK — but, hey, ouch! Still, I’m thinking this is going to prepare me well for that kewl penal subincision you got while living with the Walbiri tribe in central Australia, still waiting for that intro to the chief — hey, does he play WoW?

  11. stellsy

    Oct 31st, 2005

    No i was suspended for profanity. Altho i wasnt engaged in any arguements and i cant remember cursing i suppose its reasonable to assume i may have posted “Shit!” as i went flying across the sim. Massive griefing and profanity was taking place in the area. Many abuse reports were filed and i was the only person suspended that day. Also its interesting to note id never been banned during my entire time in Second Life. You cant really send a clearer message then that. This is on the heels of a forum post slamming Linden Labs over griefing in a thread started by FlipperPA. Also around that time i challenged Phillip publically infront of an audience over W-hat during a random visit to the welcome area. I knew i wasnt making friends. But at that point, griefing was so out of hand, id lost my incentive. Everytime id try to welcome a new resident, some random goon would come up and tell the new player to leave SL or interfer with my volunteer work. Its not like one poster suggested. I wasnt “someone who simply got up a lot of peoples noses” I was there helping new residents and to design. I wasnt there to argue or get up in someone else’s business. I wouldnt have the time for it. I let griefers run me out of SL because i no longer trusted the system anyway. No im not naming people in forums. Id like to protect my friends from backlash if possible. Shouldnt be difficult to understand.

  12. observer 77

    Oct 31st, 2005

    I’ll just ask again one more time. The poster said
    ” The year I spent in Second Life I saw Lindens rip off designers work and market it as their own. My designer friends were unable to get compensated, even after personally speaking with Phillip.”

    Is it too much to expect at least some evidence for this very direct accusation ? Its plural (not just one designer). It’s ripping off by the Lindens themselves, not by someone else they failed to punish. If I am to believe this is anything but baseless whining, I want two real examples. Dont sidestep and try to put forward GOM as your evidence. They are not designers, and anyway you must know that there are strongly held views on what happened there. Strongly held on both sides.

    Some evidence, please. There are no safety issues preventing speaking out here. To plead them is to increase my beiief that there is no such evidence because there is no truth in the allegation. Convince me – my mind is open……it’s just that I don’t swallow totally unsupported allegations.

  13. Antje

    Oct 31st, 2005

    They never give evidence Observer 77. I’ve asked them for evidence on many occasions, especially that Prokofy character. She never provides any. She just goes off on another name calling, personal issue diatribe.

    Embellish, exaggerate, and make shit up.

  14. stellsy

    Oct 31st, 2005

    Yes its too much to expect me to turn my friends over to a pack of vultures, especially because, as Uri pointed out at the beginning of the story, that it wasnt written to be a main article or thread. My words were posted here in the comment section of forums regarding these specific issues. Dont get me wrong. Im very pleased Uri brought my personal situation to your attention. Im glad i had a voice to speak my mind. But i dont feel obligated to “prove” anything. I dont particularly care what anyone thinks. I know enough to know that it doesnt matter what i say. And dragging people i care about into it without asking their consent first . . well maybe youd do it. But im not you. Some of the people involved id have no way to contact outside of Second Life now. And since i cancelled my subscription its not even practical. Only person i would consider giving that info to is Uri. He is the only person aside from Simone who i would trust. And for obvious reason Simone needs to stay diplomatic. Only the other hand, i have nothing to lose. And i will continue to speak my mind as i choose and youll continue to call me a liar – Embellish, exaggerate, and make shit up – and it wont make one bit of difference to me either way.

  15. Antje

    Oct 31st, 2005

    Actually Stellsy, that comment about making shit up was mostly directed at Prokofy. The only thing I have seen you do that perturbs me so far is to speculate about LL’s hiring policy (and then call me a liar when I was simply trying to offer some rationale in light of some specious claims), when you have offered no hard evidence as to whether or not they hire only “suck-ups”.

    When you marginalize people in such an off-handed fashion, expect to be asked for proof.

    As far as the rest of your story goes, I believe it, especially the W-Hat stuff. I have had my own run-ins with those assholes. I reported them for one particularly egregious incident, only to be informed by a Linden that they couldn’t take action…

    So to that end, I hate to hear that they played a role in your decision to leave. That is unacceptable, and LL should be ashamed. I hope they read the letter Uri has published on your behalf.

  16. stellsy

    Nov 1st, 2005

    Thats fair. Thanks Antje and everyone for your thoughtful posts. The feedback is helpful and appreciated. Uri the “spend the night” website is up now i just noticed with a log in page. Im gonna check it out.

  17. even worse

    Jan 26th, 2007

    Yeah its an older story but every single person who was online before that date has all and yes I mean ALL of their private information revealed.

    Personally I am leaving Secondlife today, after asking LIASON SPIKE LINDEN why my Hundreds of real dollars had not made it to my account for over a month now he kicked me offline, then somehow blocked my access to my account directly on!? I lost money and asked why and he kicks me off and blocks access to my account that I still have money in? What kind of help is that. Here are all the reasons im getting as far away from second life as I can:
    My/your personal information has been hacked and was reported to be very easy to do again,
    I have lost hundreds of dollars and only received a cut and paste response after countless emails,
    I have lost paid items,
    constant system upgrades/bullshit fix’s/crashing/downtime, of course griefers,
    liasons that are worthless and clueless,
    liasons that double as griefers and then erase their own tracks or have a friend do it for them (yes it happens),
    and complete lack of support when there is a problem.


  18. fuksecondlife

    Jan 26th, 2007

    correction the address I want you to visit is this

    it was:

    but it wouldnt fit as one constant word.

    Good Luck with SL Maybe you will be a lucky one and not get screwed out of money.

  19. M

    Apr 23rd, 2010

    SL is nothing but a shill disguised as an Internet “community”. Nearly every aspect of SL is centered around extracting real life money for digital creations that has a randomly assigned arbitrary value that doesn’t adhere to any sort of professional guidelines.

    It’s like paying good money for amateur pieces of art!

    Even Linden charges you to upload a profile pic. LMAO. You people that love SL are idiotic.

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