Recently I went to check the Community Standards for some specific wording, and found that the link was redirected to a new page. The new Community Standards page, dated August 10, 2017, went into effect with no announcement (that I could find) from Linden Lab. They are now called the Linden Lab Community Standards, not just the Second Life Community Standards. The standards are no longer numbered, and although they are much the same, there have been some significant changes. Here are the differences that I have been able to spot.
The previous introduction mentioned “The Big Six” twice, since there were formerly only six categories of prohibited “behaviors.” The new introduction omits that term, and the new standards are not numbered. It appears that there are now eight standards.
The previous introduction specifies that the standards “apply to all areas of Second Life, the Second Life Forums, and the Second Life Website.” The new introduction says that the set of standards “applies to all products, services, and environments offered or hosted by Linden Lab, including but not limited to, its websites, servers, software, forums, and blogs (as further defined in the Terms of Service, the “Service”).”
The previous Intolerance standard contained a general statement that “Actions that marginalize, belittle, or defame individuals or groups inhibit the satisfying exchange of ideas and diminish the Second Life community as a whole.” The new Intolerance standard states that those actions are now prohibited.
The previous standard listed some behaviors and defined them as Harassment. The new standard lists the behaviors and states that they are not allowed. The previous standard prohibits behavior that is “otherwise likely to cause annoyance or alarm.” The new standard prohibits behavior that “causes annoyance or alarm.” The previous standard prohibits behavior that “constitutes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors.” In the new standard, that specific behavior is not prohibited (maybe because it causes annoyance or alarm).
The definitions are the same for both standards, but the new standard starts off with an additional prohibition against “Any act of violence toward a user’s avatar, including an act of intimidation or bullying such as repeatedly shooting or pushing.”
Invasion of Personal Space/Comfort Zones
This new section appears to apply only to Project Sansar.
This section of the previous standard was entitled “Adult Regions, Groups, and Listings.” The new standard omits the discussion of Moderate and General rated regions. The previous standard referred the reader to the Maturity ratings page, while the new standard points to the Linden Lab Content Guidelines which in turn contains a reference to the Maturity ratings page.
The Content Guidelines page is worth a look, since it implements some new prohibitions. Except for “Adult” conduct that is allowed under the Maturity ratings, these are examples of content which is now prohibited:
- Content involving illegality, such as piracy, criminal activity, terrorism, obscenity, child pornography, gambling, and illegal drug use.
- Infringing or unauthorized content, such as content that you did not create or do not have permission to use.
- Cruel or hateful content that could harm, harass, promote or condone violence against, or that is primarily intended to incite hatred of, animals, or individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, nationality, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity.
- Intensely violent or graphic content that could be construed as primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful.
- Content that promotes or could be construed as primarily intended to evade limitations on Prohibited Content.
So it appears that there are several new prohibited behaviors, like promoting illegal drug use or hatred of veteran status.
The new standard adds a prohibition on sharing information about other users without their consent “either directly or indirectly,” and adds that this is including, “but not limited to,” a list of examples. “Sexual preference” in the previous standard is changed to “sexual orientation” in the new standard. The new standard now prohibits sharing information about “account statuses, such as whether it is on hold, suspended, or active,” and still prohibits the remote monitoring, posting or sharing of conversations without a participant’s consent, “except for the purpose of reporting abuse or any violation of policies to Linden Lab.” So now our copy/pasting of conversation logs into an Abuse Report window is legal.
Disturbing the Peace/Global Attacks
This section has been renamed from “Disturbing the Peace” in the previous standard, and it has been extensively revised. There are many more examples given of “prohibited attempts to disturb the peace,” including but not limited to:
- Manipulating scripts;
- Repeated transmission of undesired content; [previous standard specified “undesired advertising content”]
- Spawning items; [previous standard specified “following or self-spawning items”]
- Continuously resetting scenes (as applicable in Sansar);
- Disrupting events or user conversations, such as through the use of repetitive sounds, causing echo effects, or unmuting your mic when it should be muted;
- Spamming, such as the repeated posting of advertising or self-promotional content;
- Posting interpersonal disputes or personal negative commentary publicly when such communications should occur through private channels of communication;
- Flaming, such as hostile or disruptive posts intended to incite an angry response or to encourage other users to violate Linden Lab’s policies; and
- Abusing Linden Lab personnel or moderators (as applicable on a forum operated by Linden Lab), such as re-posting content that has been removed, suspended or locked, or posting content that questions a moderator’s decision or competence (as applicable on a forum operated by Linden Lab).
The new section also states “Objects, scripts, or actions that interfere with or disrupt the Service, servers, or other systems related to the Service will not be tolerated in any form. You will be held responsible for any actions taken by, or caused by objects or scripts that belong to, you or your account.” So new residents, watch out! Don’t accept mislabeled items from griefers and rez them in the sandbox, or you could find yourself taking an enforced vacation from Second Life.
This is a new section, a rule that has been sorely needed in Second Life. “Impersonation of another user, stealing another user’s identity, or claiming recognition for content created by another user are all strictly prohibited. Additionally, the impersonation of a Linden Lab employee will result in immediate account termination.”
- The “Warning, Suspension, Termination” paragraph has been renamed from “Warning, Suspension, Banishment” in the previous standard. It is basically the same with the omission of the sentence about “In-World Representatives, called Liaisons.”
- The “Buyer Beware” section adds a statement about reviewing intellectual property complaints.
- The “Global Attacks” section in the previous standard has been removed. Some of its content was incorporated into the “Disturbing the Peace/Global Attacks” section.
- The “Alternate Accounts” section in the previous standard has been removed.
The Linden Lab Community Standards are incorporated by reference into the Linden Lab Terms of Service in Section 12. Anyone who regularly writes Abuse Reports should become familiar with these new requirements.
The former location of the Community Standards was here:
If you try to go to that web page now, you will be redirected to the new Community Standards page, here:
Here is a snapshot of the Community Standards page recorded on June 24, 2017:
Here is a comparison of the old and new Community Standards pages using Diffchecker:
Here’s a tip of the hat to the Regeneration blog article that inspired the use of Diffchecker: