Virtual Vigilantes – Eggheads Are Watching the Watchers

by Pixeleen Mistral on 11/04/10 at 6:59 pm

Over at at Henry Jenkins blog and MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media site, part one of Herald founder Urizenus Sklar’s think piece Watching the Watchers: Power and Politics in Second Life traces the evolution of both the online world griefing phenomena and the virtual security operations that have emerged to counter griefers. 

Posting the piece while the Herald yacht put in to port to stock up on blood oranges and Cristal – none of that Moët crap here at the Herald – Urizenus chose to use his real life identity (Peter Ludlow of Northwestern University) to discuss similar patterns of emergent behavior across game worlds including The Sims Online, Habbo Hotel, and Second Life.

JLU vigilantes start seeing griefers everywhere
JLU vigilantes start seeing griefers everywhere

Particularly interesting are the parallels between the Sims Shadow Government paramilitary of TSO Second Life’s Justice League Unlimited. Both groups maintained close contacts with employees of the game company, and utilized those relationships in filing abuse reports against other players. But as Ludlow points out, the game soon turned ugly as the would-be cops go unchecked.

"What perhaps began as a fun exercise in roleplay soon began to go awry. Overzealous Justice League members began abuse reporting heavily, and also began picking fights with unlikely groups within Second Life. For example, the Justice League was banned from Furnation (an area inside Second Life dedicated to players that like to don anthropomorphized animal costumes), because of their excessive vigilantism".

In time, the vigilantes become paranoid and nearly everyone appears to be a griefer.

"It wasn’t just their competitors that were marked as griefers; the Alphaville Herald, which had been reporting on griefers in virtual worlds since 2003, was a griefer media organ in Kalels eyes. The Herald’s editor, an avatar Pixeleen Mistral was therefore also a griefer. Kalel came to falsely believe that Pixeleen was identical with me, and so I must be a griefer too. There were griefers everywhere, it seemed".

Look for this must-read series to continue soon – Cristal and blood oranges never last long on the Herald yacht and the catering staff is already preparing to replenish the galley while Uri uploads part 2 of the series.

18 Responses to “Virtual Vigilantes – Eggheads Are Watching the Watchers”

  1. Danziel Lane

    Apr 11th, 2010

    Eggheads are watching now? … I knew there is more behind that chicken farming hype … what else did they breed? :) ))))


    Thanks for looking into other virtual worlds and noticing the problem there too. It’s human, it’s a human desire of people lacking something and sitting behind their windows all day, reporting every parking offender.
    And yes, after a while they see any driver as an offender, like those police groups see griefers everywhere.

  2. IntLibber Brautigan

    Apr 11th, 2010

    Click through to Henry Jenkins’ personal blog, Prok has already commented there with one of her classically lulzy paranoid rants and hate screeds.

  3. CV are NFG

    Apr 11th, 2010

    Ok, so there is a new term emerging for these delusional wannabe cops: COSTUMED VILIGANTES or CV for short.

    Just check out these nasty little emo basement reject kiddies who fantasize about kicking the grownup kids asses and you will get a sense of one end of the CV spectrum, the spectrum that the JLU also inhabit, and its no wonder why people want the JLU dead.

  4. Judge Joker

    Apr 11th, 2010

    What’s left of the Second Life community doesn’t need dress me up vigilantes, regardless of how many places suffer from bad behaved residents.

    It makes me cringe more to be a SL user and to see them in a SL screenshot than being seen as a furrie and labeled as sexual deviant.

  5. stellar cartography

    Apr 12th, 2010

    Over on Henrys blog I see in the Comments Section that Venus and Mars have already posted up, the two planets that this whole griefer / vigilante story started with and still gravitates around. Venus who supports the JLU and then Mars who sponsors the PN.

    Smaller bodies which float somewhat freely in the weightless interspacial areas between the two influential planets, planets that some call Fire and Ice, not respectively, will sometimes get caught up in small vortexes and back-eddies within the fabric of spacetime and will become uncontrollably pulled towards one planet or the other.

    Lets see if another small moon or asteroid or comet posts up on his blog soon. :)

  6. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Apr 12th, 2010

    They play SL, dress up as superheroes and believe because of the former, they are real superheroes and have rights above all.

    that’s all that really needs to be said, ever.

  7. Me Hulk!

    Apr 12th, 2010

    Hulk say this happen because JLU bunch of pussy DC heroes.

    Marvel super heroes would crush puny Linden-Lab, not help!

    Hulk not griefer, but Hulk need big smack-down with fake supergirl, now! Hulk horny!

  8. Otto

    Apr 13th, 2010

    The Herald has become horribly pathetic and lame. I only look at it once a month or so. It’s kinda like a car crash. You don’t want to look but can’t help it.

  9. IntLibber Brautigan

    Apr 13th, 2010

    Otto, evidently a JLUfag, is evidently not doing his JLU duty in monitoring this den of iniquetous greifer disinformation and propaganda posing as a newspaper. Kalel, you need to demote this slacker.

  10. Tux Winkler

    Apr 13th, 2010

    @ Otto

    I want to look at the said car crash to see if the driver wears spandex.

  11. Jumpman Lane

    Apr 14th, 2010

    uri is gettin prissy editing out all the curse words fuck the herald

  12. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Apr 14th, 2010

    The Habbo Hotel description with illustrations was interesting. It would be good to hear more about non-SL topics here, that is, if there’s anything more to the Habbo Hotel story. The rest was just warmed over copypasta from here.

    I loved Intlibber’s Fantasy JLU Griefer Point Score Database and All-Purpose BBQ Tool. Brilliant! How DO you come up with these things? LOL

  13. IntLibber Brautigan

    Apr 14th, 2010

    GLE, wasn’t a fantasy, it was an actual system run by Angel Fluffy, Pat Harlow, and a few others that they organized in a group that was known on banlink as “PNT”, which stood for Patriotic Nigra Terminators. It ran on Angel’s Moon Lit Glade 3 ( server… It operated from late 2007 until banlink closed. At one point I had access to the server database. There are a few others in SL I’d shown it to who can verify its previous existence.

    Kalel adopted its features into his banlink-replacement proposal.

  14. Afroduck

    Apr 14th, 2010

    Interesting piece. Couple mistakes though:

    – The Patriotic Nigras did not start the Habbo Hotel raids. They hadn’t even made the first Fort Longcat, which in fact was the source of their name. It was just a bunch of 4chan /b/tards that started the Habbo raids and who eventually adopted the ‘nigra’ moniker because dressing as a pixel version of Samuel L. Jackson and playing to stereotypes was so damn lulzy and effective. The PN later split off to troll Second Life.

    – The PN are a separate entity from the other major group of nigras that remained focused on trolling Habbo Hotel, eventually settling around the Pool’s Closed site after moot kicked all the lulz off of /b/ in late 2006. While the two groups do mix from time to time on certain events they have always operated independently.

  15. Outing the Outers

    Apr 15th, 2010

    I have always thought there was a connection between P.Neva and the JLU, at least as far as sharing intel goes. Well today P.Neva is OUTING GREEN LANTERN EXCELSION as really being Kalel Venkman. Wow.

    If you look over at the Jenkins blog, in the comments section there has been Prokofy Neva and Intlibber posting there. Well now GLE has now posted up over there with a big “the JLU is OK ” screed. That makes Neva, Intlibber and GLE. Yet if you read P.Neva’s latest blogscreed you will find the following about half way down:

    “(like the JLU’s Kalel Venkman could make a charge against Tizzers Foxchase stick for stalking him to his RL home and going “trick or treating” to his house in real life (!) — a misdemeanor that now Kalel is for some really weird reason backing down from on Henry Jenkins blog making it seem not wilful and deliberate crime but just some sort of accident. Ugh!”

    uh oh… this is starting to make more sense now

  16. IntLibber Brautigan

    Apr 16th, 2010

    Stalking implies repetitive activity. Moreover, Kalel, last time I checked, is only a celebrity in his own mind, just as Prokofy is only a journalist in her own mind.

  17. corona anatine

    Apr 16th, 2010

    looking at ‘supergirl’ in the pic wearing a very short miniskirt – the question that comes to mind is
    how does she keep it from blowing upwards when descending vertically from flight?

    and if she does not care if people below can see up her miniskirt – why wear one at all?

  18. Tux Winkler

    Apr 16th, 2010

    @ corona

    Watch the following, I think you will see there is no chance of it blowing upwards!

    And she doesn’t descend vertically from flight, she drops like a lead balloon!

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