Negative Coordinates: Griefing in the Unverified Age

by Alphaville Herald on 23/08/06 at 11:06 am

by Fiend Ludwig

Nukes at the Welcome Area

“There were two; flying around and shooting each other, but they wandered closer to where I was building. So I said hello and gave them tea. They started pushing me and shot me once.” So a friend wrote me recently after a particularly unfortunate incident of griefing. I reproduce her correspondence below in full:

“By the time I got back they had been mucking about with what I was working on. They shot me again this time into negative coordinates. It was only -5 on the x-axis, but I felt adrift, lost, confused. I could see the world but not interact. I flailed and sputtered, but remained -5. I TP’ed back. They got very crude verbally. I ended up reporting them the second time they shot me. I got an email saying the case is closed now.”

“They were, as far as I could tell, brand-spanking-new, unverified; within 5 hours of implementation of the Open Registration policy.”

“I went to another location after the griefers finally left, looking for a building tool. Someone very far away responded as though I’d been speaking with her, urgently saying, ‘Where are you?’ ‘Can’t see you?’ She came up and asked me for advice on where to find hair that matches her clothes. Once we’d met face-to-face, she actually took the time to type ‘Ah, good, you are a member.’ After a little while explaining to her that I’m not really into hair and such, she asked me if I own land. She then asked me twice more if I own land. And that’s all she said, once she got to asking it. Once I said no, she asked if I had a shop. I said no again, and then TP’ed out of there.”

“She is no big deal. I imagine there’s a ton of that happening all the time anyway. The sequence of events and, Ah, good, you are a member, hit me wrong on that day, though.”

“So I went home, and there I was, changing my clothes, and a fellow barged into the house and asks me if I want ‘to buy’. I asked him why he had not knocked. I think I was a bit cranky. He started changing hats and asked if I wanted to buy one. I said no thank you.”

“Then he started dropping inventory on me. And he began to demand money and attached a gun to himself. Well, I know he can’t hurt me, but I’m thinking do I really want to be blown into the negative numbers AGAIN today? He starts dropping inventory into the house. I had already taken the habit of trying to max the prim count so people would not do that exact thing, but since I was sorting/building there were about 7 prims available.”

“I asked him to please remove his objects, which he did, to my surprise. Then, after telling me I would die if I didn’t give him money, he began shooting me. Only I didn’t go anywhere and the bullets were bouncing off the walls. So I informed him I was about to file an abuse report against him and he left.”

“Once all the bullets had died, I went to max the prims again but could not touch anything in the house. I could not walk across the room. I seemed to be stopped. Everything I touched had the name cage wall. I logged off in disgust. All this inside 12 hours.”

My friend obviously experienced a very bad session of griefing coincident with the introduction of the Open Registration policy. Her story made me curious about how much griefing affects the everyday residents of Second Life. I talked to a few friends and other residents to find out, in this third installment of First Person: Second Life.

Is griefing more prevalent since the Open Registration policy was introduced? Anecdotally, yes. Residents on the mainland reported regular incidents of griefing. Residents of private sims I spoke to say that the level of griefing in their sims hasn’t yet caught up to the mainland increase, however, all reported hearing of more griefing incidents from acquaintances.

As an experiment (and, really, because I have no land), I set my home to the Waterhead Welcome Area – on the roof of the shelter there. Every time I rez into SL, I hang out for a bit to watch what is going on. Regularly there is griefing of one sort or another. In addition to the constant shouts of obscene language, I once observed a nuclear bomb detonated in the bus loop.

More nukes at Waterhead Welcome Area bus loop

Another time I watched as an armoured avatar slashed away at newly arrived residents with a light saber, causing them to disappear into orbit, or into the next sim, or perhaps even into negative coordinates; I don’t know, but surely not the place a new resident wants to find him or herself on Day One in SL.

I too was mildly griefed on a different chunk of Linden Land. There was no harm done, just a naked avatar accosting me for money. Still, it violated the PG rating of the sim, so I duly filed an AR. Here is an excerpt of what I received from Linden Lab:

Dear Second Life Resident,

Your Abuse Report has been investigated and resolved. In accordance with our Privacy Policy, Linden Lab will not disclose the resolution of abuse/community standards violations with Second Life residents, except when necessary to introduce a new or amended policy. Linden Lab will not disclose incident details including (but not limited to): identity of the reporter, details of chat logs, resolution of incidents, and suspensions or banning of Second Life Residents.

The Police Blotter, located on the Second Life website, keeps a running record of abuse resolutions. Although specific information about incidents is not revealed, basic information about the most current disciplinary actions can be found there.

My friend received the same Abuse Report email from Linden Lab after her incident. I checked repeatedly, but there was never any mention of my friend’s AR on the Police Blotter.

Again, there was never any mention of my Abuse Report on the Blotter. Nor, incidentally, was there any mention of the AR that I filed for the much more annoying and disruptive grief I describe in my SL Herald article A Tempest In A Sandbox.

So, is griefing really up, or is it just more complaining – a convenient proxy for disenchantment with the Open Registration policy? To help draw some useful conclusions, I asked Linden Lab for the stats on Abuse Reports they had fielded over the last six months. I did not ask for specifics, simply overall numbers, although I did also request any non-confidential details that might be interesting. After initially indicating that a Linden was preparing some figures for me, I was informed, after I emailed a polite reminder a couple of weeks later, that they were now too busy to complete the request. I would not be getting any numbers after all.

So I am left to speculate with hearsay: Griefing is up. Residents are sick of it. The Abuse Reporting system needs overhauling. And don’t offer the griefers tea.

10 Responses to “Negative Coordinates: Griefing in the Unverified Age”

  1. Crissa

    Aug 23rd, 2006

    Well, reports and incidents are up since open registration – but so are paid accounts. I know the information is public, but Linden has been a bit busy of late with ‘maintainence’ (aka bug fixing) and SLCC. Especially the latter for the public rep people.

    Now, in my work at I come across this information, I’ll see if I can get this info for you.

    Heck, someone came into my SL house and shot me yesterday. The best advice is to:

  2. Sit Down
  3. Target mute and Ban the greifer.
  4. Report name and incident.
  • Prokofy Neva

    Aug 24th, 2006

    Please keep pushing to get these numbers out of SL. We’d like to know:

    a) How many Abuse Reports filed
    b) Of these, how many do they accept, process, determine a violation took place, and ACT ON by a warning, ban, etc.
    c) Of these, how many are placed on the police blotter.
    d) How many are rejected as inapplicable
    e) How many are frivolous and false
    f) How many are errors that are reversed upon appeal

    Yes, we can now all see the obvious, which we should have seen long ago: the Lindens are processing cases, but not putting them on the police blotter.

    Two reasons why:

    a) Too busy
    b) Need to ‘disappear’ people and not use due process — they just erase them, boot them for no reason and don’t attempt to find facts.

    Both of these are bad developments for SL society, just like they are for RL.

    This is why I started a police report tracking page:

    This is hard work, and I hope I get company. My goal is to show that no reports being acted upon are getting on the police blotter, and that the Lindens are chosing really lame, and really inconsequential things to put on the police blotter. It’s pretty evident that’s what’s happening.

    Unless they make this system more transparent and effective, it can’t deter griefing. But they prefer to just stall in the notion that residents are going to take on their own policing.

    This is also the time to get the lobbying going again to get the teleport home function deprecated and to get weapons — which include security orbs — banned if not mechanically through elimination or non-functioning of the scripts — banned at least with a policy that is more robust with real visible punishment and consequences.

    Yes, it’s time. If the Lindens want to run separate combat sims, or provide some kind of opt-in combat option for private islands, they can do that. Those who have the wealth to maintain sims for the shooters can then do that.

    Those wishing to live in peace on the mainland — probably 80 percent or more — shouldn’t be held hostage to the 10-20 percent griefing assholes and shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for the Lindens coquettishly still advertising their game as a war game out of one side of their mouths but then pretending it’s a social platform for serious work and business out of the other.

    Weapons manufacturers, the makers of the grand total of 17 1/2 elevators in SL who are constantly and speciously invoked in this debate, Psyke’s Defense Corporation, and other interested parties need to be pushed — teleported home — into understanding that their greedy economic or FIC class interests cannot be allowed to diminish our quality of life.

    Deprecate, deprecate, deprecate. Philip Linden was very close to doing this, and ordered it to be done a year ago, as you can see documented on the forums, and which he himself discussed in public meetings, but then the Lindens inside the company who are of the tekkie-wiki war-gaming asshole mindset (look at how their very first invention isn’t creative, but destructive, from that old movie) who want to ensure freedom for shooting and war gaming and “creativity,” lobbied and gang-raped this effort, as they gang-raped that Linden in the IRC channel.

    They never met a script they didn’t like. They need to get a big club over the head on this — apparently force is all they can understand, the force they want endlessly used on us, pushing and banging our avatars around because asswipes shoot at us.

    It’s so clear what the Lindens’ nasty, cynical strategy is:

    o bring in lots of free accounts, a percentage of whom will either level up to paid accounts, or who will make money in the sex and club trade, and buy content from the oldbie feted core, including their weapons content;

    o let the mainland go to the dogs and allow the shooters and griefers to take over;

    o force lower and middle class mainland owners on to private islands and improve island sales.

    I think it’s a shameful, fucking performance. Linden needs to face the music and either protect the mainland, or consciously create an orderly process to close it down with 1:1 compensation on the sims trading to islands — not shoot and rape their customers by proxy via their freebie griefing new account friends, into buying or renting more expensive islands.

  • aEoLuS Waves

    Aug 25th, 2006

    We should let them stay on help island for a week before letting them into the wild. That will chill them a bit.

  • Random Writer

    Aug 26th, 2006

    I agree with having them sit in the newbie areas. I have personally had a ton more incidents of griefing in many settings in SL since open registration. Not only is there more sim crashing in places I shop often, but a club I work at… something happens at least 1-2 times on most days. Mostly menial and they give up after a ban. But in some cases, as was the other day, a scripted box was bouncing person to person to person and knocking them, pushing them, orbiting them WITH push off. I heard this was going on in other areas of SL, so I went straight to a Linden because it was getting overly annoying.

    In short they ended up banning and deleting the character. Great right? Nope. Same script back within an hour under another new name.

    Another pointless ban. Of course, thanks to the update, the ban list was cleared. Yay!

    Until they get it so that when you set permissions or bans on land, those people cannot place prims (i.e. banned or the limits set when land allows info provided only), this is going to keep going. Many land owners I know, have set it to payment info on file, but it’s not working unless those who border them do the same thing, so the offender can’t get close enough to place a prim over there.

  • emerie mauriac

    Aug 26th, 2006

    these incidents that are described above are sooo familiar! I get this stuff once a week at my estate on the mainland coast..I just wanted to put in my two cents worth…I think a sort of”half way house” for newbies would be a great idea…maybe for unverifieds only. Maybe released after a short course on “Living Skills” LOL. I know it would be a problem to manage, but the quality of life for us is dropping as these events increase. I am sick of logging in to my property and getting harassed. For a while I had a universal ban, but my poor neigbors couldnt manage it because of the size of my parcel. I have also set payment on file access, but of course, like aEoLuS said above,many times its useless.

    One other thing to: I really dont understand why there isnt more detail in the police blotter. Even in our RL papers, you can read about who did what! maybe a healthy dose of humiliation is better served to these a**holes.

  • emerie mauriac

    Aug 26th, 2006

    oops, sorry, the comment i was referring to came from Random..:-)

  • Jim Herbst

    Aug 30th, 2006

    Another good article, Fiend, and the reason they dont show names is to protect those involved. Despite the fact they deserve no protection from such!

    The readers of the herald know who I am, and what I do, but what they may not know, is that we are trying to improve the image of our kind however we can, best example would be SLSALT which would limit the types of weaponry used by organized combat/military groups, SLSALT was posted on the main SL forums, and greeted with a flamewar by people who didnt appreciate it (except the guy who owned most of jessie, he had an interest.)

    The AN doesnt exist for the reason of shooting up other people’s homes, or to overall cause unrest. Same goes for other groups of our “calibur” per se. (Merczateers, Noveau Ordo Imperialis, etc.) We are communities unto ourselves.

    Unfortunately, greifers are normally generalized as being the same as us, in most cases because they simply own/use guns. (To the writer of the article, that gun doesnt sound like anything ive seen yet, except perhaps a simple cage gun with a push script)

  • Anonymous

    Jun 20th, 2007

    More E-drama please.

    You people are sad. You obviously take the name ‘Second Life’ too literally.

    Please whine some more, dipshits.

  • Jorge DeJesus

    Feb 9th, 2008

    SL rocks!I am such a FOOL. I am 31 years old and I ADDICTED to SL and now I am losing my marriage of 10 years and going to fight my wife for custody of our 2 year old child. I prefer play the game than spend time with my family. Screw First life- the real world, Second life rocks!


    Feb 15th, 2008


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