The Linden sandboxes can be interesting and fun places to hang out. Someone is always building a giant construction project. Sometimes you see a space battleship as wide as the sim. At other times you’ll see a beautiful castle or a low-prim house. People gather in the sandboxes to chat, or try on new clothing that they bought, or just to hang around and see the newest artistic creations as they’re being built.
The conditions that make a sandbox region good for building also make it attractive for griefing. Object creation and scripts are turned on, so it’s easy to rez something like a scripted replicating cube. There are plenty of people present who will be affected by an attack, so usually someone will do what the griefer wants and send him an angry message about the griefing. And finally, there is usually no one in attendance at the sandbox who has eject, ban, or object return powers, so a griefer attack is guaranteed to proceed for at least several minutes, and at most up to five hours.
Griefers do not go unopposed in Second Life, however. For many years, the Second Life viewer has included an Abuse Report form that can be used to notify the Lindens of problems. Organized groups and individual residents submit ARs, and the Linden Governance and Response Team (the GTeam) responds and takes care of the problem. Or at least that’s how things worked two years ago. Today, the GTeam and its helpful staff members no longer exist at Linden Lab. Residents still submit ARs as we did in the past, but no one responds. The only Linden in the sandboxes is “TimeLimit Linden,” who shows up every 5 hours in the form of a programmed autoreturn of objects. If a griefer has rezzed some horrible particles depicting dead babies and pornographic acts, those particles will be there until the sandbox timer counts down to zero. This is a continuing topic of conversation in the anti-griefer groups and with the residents who call the sandboxes home. There is major frustration with the lack of response to ARs, and several residents have been discussing taking action against griefers on their own. The sandboxes, and other Linden-owned areas in Second Life, have become lawless lands where griefers run roughshod over innocent residents.
A prime example of the lack of GTeam response is a serial sandbox griefer who I think of as Hazzafun. For more than a year, this griefer has terrorized sandbox occupants. His current account, SilverSilender, has implemented several griefer attacks since January 1, and has been reported many times by many residents, yet he is still allowed to log in to Second Life. Here is some information about this griefer that was given to me by several sandbox residents:
funee – 7e4118b4-a9f4-4627-ae6b-fb8a46caa519
fuoker – 0be97cc7-561d-4108-b001-81b310658fa4
GoldLoop – cd2e9dab-8988-4f40-bc42-256eeee99163
HaffaFunn – cd2a9760-0ca8-4a4a-a9e1-f4893433c4c3
HavvaFunn – 55d843bb-3593-4bee-9575-e179fc65ba2b
hazzafunn – 6703128e-6004-483f-b921-d61ff42835aa
httdygntomw – 9e33df81-1cad-4cbf-af8b-bcd22052c6fa
IronCircle – 46e20273-3b7c-480b-836e-50ea60d47105
ironloop – bcdc5961-9291-4d88-83ae-a9fa991d54bb
ironloopreloaded – c3623902-f06f-4bd9-9a1b-a81f2c192104
LeadLoop – 43a97b1d-d3da-47ee-b809-2a3ade2fd1ea
MainHolder – f36c69d1-d177-496d-94bb-0619dc951f1a
phouker – f1098fb7-5b9d-4324-a880-b7cd8ca84963
SilverLoop – 82e6abb1-e874-4525-b01f-926369fbd2b6
SilverSircle – 01045084-63ee-494d-a563-7b47211e57bd
Titaniumloop – b9820a6c-dc24-4a9c-a1f1-633eebcbe526
HavvaHappyNewYear – 96de6f6f-c538-46c4-9f9e-e9b4efa1a728
HavvaMerryXmas – f3102273-007d-4e3f-9d52-c07bf7cc749d
SilverSilender – 30da6852-10f1-4de9-bc8d-adcfc4e49384
Longtime sandbox resident and friend Lestat Demain (whose current avatar is a ferret) has done what he can to oppose this griefer, and apparently the griefer took notice. I discovered this object rezzed in several sandboxes on December 31, 2012:
I’ve written and documented more than 360 ARs since March 1, 2010. Here are 9 of them associated with this griefer, going back to more than a year ago:
- January 11, 2013 – Sandbox Island (TG) – SilverSilender – Indecency > Inappropriate content or conduct in a PG region – Penises rezzed in a PG sim
- January 2, 2013 – Sandbox Island – SilverSilender – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Lag inducing objects
- December 16, 2012 – Sandbox Cordova – GoldLoop – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Physical collision cubes lagging the sim
- December 9, 2012 – Sandbox Cordova – MainHolder – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Scripted objects causing lag
- December 5, 2012 – Sandbox Cordova – TitaniumLoop – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Hundreds of followers in the area
- June 24, 2012 – Sandbox Cordova – Phewker – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Replicating prims
- June 24, 2012 – Pathfinding Sandbox 5 – Phewker – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Replicating prims
- December 17, 2011 – Sandbox Cordova – HassaReloaded Resident – Disturbing the peace > Repetitive spam – Sound and particle spam
- December 11, 2011 – Sandbox Cordova – HassaReloaded Resident – Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects – Laggy moving prims
This griefer is so well known to the sandbox residents that they have been keeping logs on his alts for months. Apparently someone at Linden Lab has taken action to ban many of his alts after hundreds of ARs, but he is allowed to keep returning rather than being hardware banned. The frustration level is rising fast among the innocent residents who are subjected to griefer attacks from this guy and other griefers.
From all indications, Linden Lab has made the decision to end real-time enforcement of the Terms of Service. This is good news for the griefers but bad news for their victims. So here’s a suggestion that’s been made before on many occasions: give volunteer residents the ability to stop griefer attacks as they are occurring. There are plenty of criteria that could be considered in deciding who to empower. Here are a few things to consider:
- If a resident has been in Second Life for more than six months, he’s probably familiar with the viewer controls and how to get from place to place.
- If a resident has a documented history of writing Abuse Reports, that indicates that he is willing to take the time to help others. It also shows that he knows the Terms of Service well enough to avoid frivolous accusations of wrongdoing.
- If a resident has few or no suspensions from Second Life, that indicates that he is willing to follow the rules.
- If a resident has few or no Abuse Reports written against him, that indicates that other residents believe he is willing to follow the rules.
Residents meeting the established criteria for membership would be subject to the following:
- Attend a training class on the Terms of Service and the limitations on the actions they would be allowed to take
- Pass an exam that presents them with a series of griefer scenarios where they would be required to take the appropriate action
- Be invited to a special group that gives them eject and ban capabilities on Linden-owned land and the ability to return objects to their owner
- Serve as a probationary member for the first six months, with all of their actions subject to increased scrutiny from Linden Lab
- Submit a special report for each eject/ban/return action taken, such reports to be used if a resident appeals the action
- Be instantly removed from the group for any action that violates the group’s rules
Employees are expensive. Payroll and benefit plans and office space costs money. Many agencies are learning that working with volunteers provides equivalent service to that obtained from a paid employee at little or no cost to the company. In this situation there is already a large bank of trained volunteers to choose from. Linden Lab should implement a six month pilot program with a few volunteers to evaluate the possibility of making such a program permanent. Recent relentless griefing attacks in Junkyard Blues and other venues show that the Lindens are no longer able to deal with griefing in Second Life. It’s time for a new solution.