It is Sunday, May 5, 2011, and I see a griefing conversation in one of my group channels. Someone has been griefed repeatedly for a long time, and Abuse Reports have had no effect. Well I can’t let this go without offering help, so I do, and I get a TP request. I will omit the names and locations, but here is the situation:
- Resident A: The person who made the initial complaint
- Resident B: The person Resident A was complaining about
- Resident C: Involved in a way to be explained later
- Sim A: Home sim of Resident A
- Sim B: Home sim of Resident B
So I am teleported to Sim A, and I speak with Resident A. He states that he has been griefed by Resident B and his friends, and that Resident B rents an adjacent parcel in Sim A, and look at what Resident B is doing to disrupt my life. Sure enough, there are three rotating cubes just outside the border of A’s property, showing photos of a hand flipping the middle finger, and the cubes belong to B. Resident A starts giving me the names of Resident B’s alts, one of which is Resident C. A couple of minutes later, Resident C sends me an IM to say that Resident A is crazy and is a Nazi. The profiles of Residents A, B, and C indicate that they are all from Germany, so this is a pretty serious accusation. I also see that both Residents B and C are online at the same time, so I figure that C isn’t one of B’s alts, and I head over to the adjacent parcel to talk to B.
Resident B is on his parcel with his girlfriend, and has probably observed me talking to A. I ask politely if I may speak with him, and he accepts. I had put on my Simbolic translator before walking over there, but scripts are off on his sim so the language barrier is almost insurmountable. I use the Phoenix translator to translate the incoming German to English, and he says he can cope with English on his end. After a few minutes of “I do not understand” and “My translator will not translate that word,” he leaves Sim A and sends me a TP request to come to Sim B.
When I get to Sim B, Resident B tells me that this is his home sim, and that Resident A has rented the adjacent parcel, and A and his friends are causing problems for B and his girlfriend in their home, including calling B’s girlfriend a whore. Even with the translation difficulties, the picture is beginning to come into focus. Resident A makes himself out to be the victim, and yet he pursued Resident B to his home sim and rented an adjacent parcel to cause problems. If there’s one thing that bugs me more than anything else in the peacekeeper business, it’s having someone try to use me or my group members as a weapon to get their enemy banned from Second Life. But the obvious possibility of compromise is right in front of me, so I continue. If each side will give up something and that will solve the problem, then let’s try it. So I ask Resident B if he would consider abandoning his parcel in Sim A, if Resident A would give up his parcel in Sim B. That way, they would no longer be neighbors in either sim, so presumably the griefing and conflict would stop. Resident B instantly agrees to the offer, so I return to Sim A to present the offer to Resident A.
Standing on B’s parcel, I TP in him and his girlfriend and open the IM channel with A to present the proposal. While I am typing, B removes the three spinning middle-finger cubes, a good sign. But A tells me that I am a fool, that B cannot abandon his parcel because he is only renting, and that as soon as I leave, he will put the cubes back and the griefing will continue. He also tells me that he bought a very expensive statue that was the only object on his parcel in Sim B. I tell him that I understand he can’t abandon his land either, because he is also only renting, but would he remove the statue from his parcel in Sim B as a gesture of good faith to indicate that he would be leaving the sim? There is no response.
Suddenly, in the original group channel where I first heard the complaint, Resident A posts a message, including obscenities, indicating that he is the victim here and that he will not give up his land for peace. When I tell him in IM that this is not a productive way to solve a problem, SL tells me that he is offline. When I tell Resident B what happened, he says that he and his girlfriend want nothing but peace, but they will not abandon their parcel in Sim A as long as Resident A has a parcel in Sim B.
Resident A comes back online after a few minutes and issues an apology in the group channel for the obscenities he used. Then he starts posting messages about how he was griefed and that he shouldn’t have to give up his other parcel and that he is the victim, etc. It goes on for so long that people in the group channel start telling him to stop posting about it. He apologizes to me for the obscenities, and thanks me for trying to help, but still refuses to walk away from his parcel in Sim B.
So the end result was that even with the best of intentions, negotiations and diplomacy were doomed to failure, because trying to reason with unreasonable people is usually a lost cause. And there’s no shame in losing as long as you gave it your best effort.