Griefing must stop NOW – and Linden Lab can stop it

The problems with griefing in Second Life are not new. It’s a big enough issue that the  Second Like Wiki offers a definition of griefer:

A griefer is a name for a Second Life resident who harasses other residents. See the “Griefer” article on Wikipedia for more information on this topic. Griefing is a violation of the Second Life Terms of Service.

Griefers attacked over 100 sims over the weekend, bringing the Second Life grid to its knees (and, as of last night, the grid was still recovering). According to Gore Suntzu, who was kind enough to file an Abuse Report in my absence, Oyster Bay was attacked. Sadly, that was not the first time.

As a landowner in Second Life, I pay Linden Lab for the privilege of keeping Oyster Bay open. Oyster Bay is of sufficient size to make me a Linden Lab Concierge customer. I have used that status for the benefit of Oyster Bay, its artists and storeowners, and its neighbors in the Oyster and Shepherd sims. And used it again. And again. And again. Ad nauseum.

Griefing continues to plague Second Life, and it’s clear that petitions for improved grid conditions are falling upon largely deaf ears at Linden Lab. So it’s up to us – the people who pay Linden Lab – to state our case clearly and succinctly.

I’m going to step in line with Alanna Dion at The Second Life Grid Grind:

What is the real heart of the problem? Free accounts. Free accounts with easy access to every tool the platform provides, with no need for responsibility and no accounting for behavior.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that everyone should be forced to become premium. When I joined Second Life, I joined it at a time when all accounts were required to pay at least a one time fee of 9.95$. This one time fee was the basic account. It gave you access to Second Life and all the user tools. If one wanted to also own land, then one paid this fee every month (plus tier if one owned more than the standard 512m plot) and became a premium account holder.

Back then griefing still occurred, but on a much smaller level than it does now. A denial of service attack, in which the entire grid or portions of the grid went offline was extremely rare in comparison to the nearly daily crashing of multiple sims we deal with now.

This is what I am proposing and I realize not everyone is going to agree with me. I accept that, but I am stating that it is my opinion that this is the only real solution.

No more access to certain user tools for free accounts.

I propose that Linden Lab institute two separate levels of basic accounts.

Basic account level one would mean the individual has the ability to explore Second Life, to purchase items, to communicate, to do everything except run scripts. A basic level one account would not have the ability to use or create any scripts and no scripts purchased by a basic level one account would function in that individual’s hands.

Basic account level two would require a one time processing fee of only 1$US and would then allow the individual complete access to absolutely everything, including scripts. One time payment of just 1$, that’s all.
I believe that this would have a drastic effect on the griefers. It would severely limit their ability to create multiple griefing accounts. It would provide an added revenue for Linden Lab. And it would make the community feel much safer.

Personally, I don’t even think that Basic account level two is necessary. You want to run scripts, sign up as a premium customer. But that’s me. I’ll accept that which has been offered.

Torley Linden, in the midst of a wide-ranging blog discussion at New World Notes about Linden Lab and their curious forms of communication (or often lack thereof), said:

Linden Lab’s own mission statement includes both the social and technological: “To connect us all to an online world that advances the human condition.”

I responded with this:

But I think the very valid question remains: Considering Linden Lab’s mission statement, can you explain how permitting a culture of rampant, uncontrolled griefing connects us all to an online world that advances the human condition?

The answer is simple. It doesn’t. Linden Lab has to own up to this fact and stop the griefers now. If they do not, they will likely face a class action lawsuit or an exodus of paying customers.

Sincerely,

Morris Vig
Linden Lab Concierge Customer
Owner of Oyster Bay Sculpture Garden & Aquarium and Second Arts Photography