by Pixeleen Mistral on 21/08/10 at 8:05 pm
Protip: killing reporters makes you look bad
On my first visit to Emerald Point Friday night, I was killed by an unknown assailant within a minute of sitting down with the Emerald developers. I had dropped by hoping for comments from Emerald gang spokeswoman Arabella Steadham, and was pleased to see also in attendance several of the controversial developers – part of a group that many believe are distributing a malware-infested Second Life viewer.
Death is a routine part of reporting on the metaverse, so after I suddenly died and was returned to my home sim, I introducing myself again to Arabella via IM, and gingerly returned to the sim a few minutes later.
During the second visit, Arabella assured me that Emerald users are unlikely to be concerned by allegation that the client has been used for an attempted DDOS attack on an enemy web site — because she does not lie. Arabella’s claim seemed a bit broad – and Urizenus is never around when I need help with parsing these sorts of statements – so I filed this for later research.
Sadly, our 3 minute conversation ended abruptly when I was killed, so I suggested Arabella calm the excitable players for a few minutes. On my return I received assurances I would not be bounced from the sim again. On this visit, I learned that the Emerald gang does not consider silently turning their users’ computers into botnet for mass downloads from a target web site to be a denial of service attack – because the web site did not crash. This was good to know, but raised further questions.
What would their position have been if Hazim Gazov’s iheartanime.com site had been taken offline – or run up a huge bill? We are unlikely to ever know, because mentioning many web sites pay for fixed amounts of bandwidth seemed to touch a nerve, and I was killed for the third time. Whatever weapon the Emerald gang was using on me did not leave a trace, so it was difficult to know who was playing reporter-killer last night. This was convenient – whenever hard questions came up, I went missing and there was nobody specific to blame.
Could this lack of accountability be a common theme within the Emerald group – and the cause of some of their recent problems? If so, it will be interesting to see how long former Lab staffers Data Linden and Qarl Linden will last in the Emerald gang. On the other hand, Linden Lab’s lack of accountability for destructive actions has been a constant theme for my entire Second Life, so the ex-Lab staff may feel right at home.
Pixeleen Mistral: I’m sure you are busy
Pixeleen Mistral: but perhaps we ccan talk?
Arabella Steadham: not awfully flat out
Arabella Steadham: whats up
Pixeleen Mistral: well I was wondering about the shenanigans post you had
Pixeleen Mistral: what led up to that?
Arabella Steadham: as you can see by the blog post, it is a general apology to our users
Arabella Steadham: theres really not a lot more to be said
Pixeleen Mistral: Arabella – do you think they will believe it?
Arabella Steadham: I don’t lie
Pixeleen Mistral: I wonder if I can believe that statement
Arabella Steadham: well that is your choice
Pixeleen Mistral: so color me skeptical
Arabella Steadham: I’m sure there are many more salacious things you would prefer to believe
Arabella Steadham: or post
Jessica Lyon: it is a genuine apology, we hope people will see it as what it is.
At this point I am killed again, and find myself back at my home sim. Perhaps we can discuss this in person – if she can get those crazy kids to put the guns away for a few minutes – so we talk via IM:
Pixeleen Mistral: you know – you guys can keep killing me and I’ll report that
Pixeleen Mistral: or you can talk - its totally up to you
Pixeleen Mistral: maybe you want to calm those guys down
Pixeleen Mistral: I am up for about one more killing
Pixeleen Mistral: so I’ll give you a few minutes to get your boys to chill
Pixeleen Mistral: protip: killing reporters makes you look bad
Arabella Steadham: I don’t know who did that
Pixeleen Mistral: probably someone who has something to hide
Pixeleen Mistral: get those guys to chill out. I’ll be back in 5
If Arabella’s apology to the Emerald users is to be credible, she should be able to exercise at least some minimal control over the Emerald developers. Unfortunately, I soon learn that Arabella can’t get them to stop killing me – can really believe the her when she assures Emerald users that all is well?
Time passes and I return again to Emerald Point. Jessica Lyon assures me that I’ll be safe – and I am, right up until I ask if burning through another site’s bandwidth is fair play in the Second Life third party viewer wars.
Pixeleen Mistral: ok, let’s try one more time
Arabella Steadham: there’s really not a lot more to say
Jessica Lyon: Not sure who ejected you, but it won’t happen again today.
Jessica Lyon: How can we help you
Pixeleen Mistral: well, I have some questions. I write for the Alphaville Herald
Pixeleen Mistral: perhaps you have heard of it
Jessica Lyon: yes, we know
Pixeleen Mistral: from what I gather Hazim Gazov’s iheartanime web sites was DDOSed by the Emerald login page
Arabella Steadham: that is incorrect
Pixeleen Mistral: ok, so what happened?
Arabella Steadham: you can read the correct interpretation on the MS blog
Pixeleen Mistral: I read that – but it confused me
Arabella Steadham: thats a pity
Arabella Steadham: It was quite clear to many of our users
Pixeleen Mistral: can you help me understand how putting 32 hidden iframes in your login page which render to a 1 x 1 pixel square is all in good fun?
Pixeleen Mistral: because its a little hard to believe that this was an accidental goof
Pixeleen Mistral: but maybe I am confused
Arabella Steadham: I think your information is incorrect
Pixeleen Mistral: well I did look at the google cache for the page
Pixeleen Mistral: and I did see the iframes at the bottom that all point to iheartanime.com
Pixeleen Mistral: what is incorrect in that?
Arabella Steadham: then you have no need to ask me about it
Arabella Steadham: if you already feel you know everything
Arabella Steadham: I’m sorry I can’t really tell you a lot more Pixeleen
Pixeleen Mistral: I am asking you because I want to know what you think
Arabella Steadham: theres not a lot more to tell
Arabella Steadham: I think I have written an apology to our users, which I felt more important than anything else
Pixeleen Mistral: really?
Jessica Lyon: I think what she is trying to say Pixeleen is that regardless of what she tells you, you will inevitably twist it in such a way as to generate the most controversial angle possible
Pixeleen Mistral: what about the owner of the iheartanime.com web site?
Pixeleen Mistral: does he get an apology too?
Arabella Steadham: what about him
Jessica Lyon: We made a public apology to our users, it is a genuine apology. We hope our users will take it as what it is.
Arabella Steadham: My concern is our users
Arabella Steadham: as I have said
Arabella Steadham: my concern is not for creators of malicious viewers
Pixeleen Mistral: but the web site that you ran the DDOS against – that is not your concern?
Arabella Steadham: there was no DDoS
Arabella Steadham: you know this
Pixeleen Mistral: true – it failed
Arabella Steadham: there was no DDoS
Arabella Steadham: bottom line
Jessica Lyon: the iheartanime website suffered no down time as far as I am aware.
Jessica Lyon: surely, you must realise if a ddos attempt was truly made.. there would have been downtime right?
Arabella Steadham: excuse me one moment please, I will be back in 2 minutes
Pixeleen Mistral: so its OK for other sites to do the same thing to modular systems?
Arabella Steadham: (door)
Pixeleen Mistral waits
Tyken Hightower: Back!
Tyken Hightower: Oh god, Pixeleen is here?
Tyken Hightower: Why?
Jessica Lyon: There was no damage done. The website in question suffered no downtime or lag. Thus if someone wanted to do the same to our website providing it was done the same way, there would be no difference?
Pixeleen Mistral: I have heard that some websites pay based on bandwidth consumed
At this point I am killed again, so the interviews will have to conclude via IM from a safe distance.
Fractured Crystal is missing – was he grounded for DDOSing?
Jessica Lyon: did you get ejected?
Pixeleen Mistral: why do you keep killing reporters?
Jessica Lyon: I did not, I’m asking if you were ejected.
Jessica Lyon: and by whom.
Pixeleen Mistral: this is the third time and that is my limit
Pixeleen Mistral: no way I can say this is an accident
Pixeleen Mistral: [17:57] Jessica Lyon: There was no damage done. The website in question suffered no downtime or lag. Thus if someone wanted to do the same to our website providing it was done the same way, there would be no difference?
[17:58] Pixeleen Mistral: I have heard that some websites pay based on bandwidth consumed
Pixeleen Mistral: what is your response to my question?
Pixeleen Mistral: besides killing me again
Jessica Lyon: the answer was, perhaps some do. However iheartanime does not afaik.
Pixeleen Mistral: thank you
Pixeleen Mistral: ok Arabella your guys killed me again
Arabella Steadham: I was away when you disappeared so I do not know. As it is, I feel everything has been said
Pixeleen Mistral: thank you for your time and I wish you luck in your future endeavors