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.


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

8 Responses

  1. Well, a Basic account not running scripts is not going to happen.

    “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.”

    So somebody buys shoes or something (or a tiny av) with a built-in AO (or a scripted sculpture). The script will not run, customer angry, complains… Nobody will be happy.

    Also limiting scripts to Premium Accounts will not happen, I am since day 1 trying to just get payment info on file. I’m a Resident since December 2006 and only now there might be a possibility. If it takes 10 months just to be able to run scripts (not even knowing you’ll actually like scripting, or know you can do it), I don’t think many new people will join SL.
    I am fine with a one-time fee of 1, 5 or 10 USD, as long as LL just gives me the possibility to pay that, I’ll do that right away (if I can pay in L$ for example, that would be fine).

  2. To say it is not going to happen might be presumptuous. To express an opinion that it should not happen is perfectly fair.

    I’ve got my opinion, and that is that – sadly – griefers have distressed the SL grid (and SL residents!) enough that they need to be stopped cold. And their only distinguishing characteristic in Second Life is that they are Basic Accounts. Thus, Basic Accounts need to be adjusted to eliminate the possibility of griefing.

    Will they get complaints? Certainly. Will Linden Lab be within their bounds to tell those who complain to sign up for paid accounts (even that US$1 option)? They’d be crazy not to… It’s a way to grab a little extra corporate income.

    Again, just my opinion. An opinion from a guy who sends a lot of RL money to Linden Lab. Hopefully that means something to this company.

  3. I know the suggestion has come up before to limit Basic accounts in their scripting and I know LL said back then they would not do it, for several reasons. A one time fee would most certainly be a better solution, I would pay that yesterday!

  4. I have mixed feelings on the matter. I am stingy with my credit card information. If SL had needed verification or any credit card information I probably would not be here. I would personally like to see better land management tools for land owners, multiple pages of options for what will and won’t work on their land and in their air space. Right down to partical effects for members or non members and restriction on certain commands within scripts being disabled. If these tools were available to genuinely disarm griefers while allowing paying land owners control over the land they own I think that premium accounts would have some genuine added value and it would strike at the heart of the problem. This solution doesn’t put a end to griefers though they will still be out there and bothering people where they are allowed, so its a matter of opinion.

  5. Would it be possible to verify a user’s account with an ISP?

  6. Depends on the ISP. Some don’t give out any info based on their privacy policy, even if illegal things are done through the ip.

  7. What part about “Game” Do you not understand?
    You like to have fun this way, they like to have fun that way.
    Don’t be so hash.

    I am very against you, Its a free internet and they should do what they want. And if you don’t like it, ask them to stop. Don’t just be all Insta-ban. That’s mean. And video-games are meant to ESCAPE from reality, not to be educational, not to be infromal, but to be FUN. Which is a word that is obviously forgotten here. But hey, if banning people on first sight and filing forms is fun to you…weird.
    That is all.

  8. After 2.5 years in Second Life I’m still on a free – basic – ‘no payment info on file’ account.

    Still, I’m a very active Second Life user: creating content – helping new and medium-experienced residents to improve their knowledge of the platform – developing and sharing scripts – publishing snapshots and movies – reporting bugs – testing previews.

    Some people are not comfortable with using credit cards on the Internet (this may be different from nation to nation – I’m in Italy, and online credit card payments here are not common as in other countries. Actually, I don’t even have a credit card). Other people simply feel they have good reasons not to give personal details to Linden Lab (or their partners). For sure, some of these people act in good-faith when in Second Life.

    I don’t send money to Linden Lab – yet I’d say I give a relevant contribution to Second Life world. I know other residents that have a similar approach and are on free accounts.

    And to do that, we need to be able to use _every feature_ of Second Life (one of my most successful activities are free in-world lessons where I share knowledge about hidden and not-well-documented viewer features).

    So I can’t support your proposal because it would force me to get out of Second Life. If I had to pay a fee (even a small one-time-only one) to fully use Second Life, I wouldn’t even have started using it and I wouldn’t have helped other residents to use it, talk about it, enrich it.

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