[SLED] RE: Crime and Griefing in Second Life

Trevena, Stan Trevena.S at monet.k12.ca.us
Sat Nov 25 17:16:08 PST 2006

If you look through their website, and stories published about them, they made a statement of their cause back in August.  They want ownership in Second Life, asking for each member to be offered to buy one share in the ownership of the world.  Not a lot of info beyond that, other than their offers to pay for recordings of attacks on stated targets.  I only just stumbled on a story about them on Digg today, never heard of them before now.  I find it interesting that they are attacking Linden Labs and the commercial businesses moving into Second Life.  Kind of like the body attacking the heart because it doesn't like the way it supplies blood.  If they are too effective with their attacks, they kill the world they are supposedly fighting to preserve.  
This is another example of people using the same tactics as the griefers "for a cause".  Like I quoted in an article from a few years back on The Sims Online, if there is no action to control this type of behavior, all will start to adopt it to fight back.  The end result is even more chaos in-world, and more grief for residents who are going about their own business.  How cool will it be to have your class in-world doing their activities, and the server comes crashing down because someone is attacking a "strategic" target to make a point?  It took two hours the other night for them to remove the goo attack from the databases.  
"For about two hours, the virtual landscape of Second Life filled with golden rings and the distinctive two-tone ding of Sega's popular Sonic the Hedgehog games. The rings' listed creator was the fictional "Dr. Robotnik," a character from the Sonic games. However, the deluge of rings was not some form of cross promotion, but a viral attack of self-replicating objects, known less than affectionately as "grey goo."
 . . . . Within 15 minutes, Linden Lab detected the outbreak and cleaned out the servers, although it took about two hours to get everything back to semblance of normal, according to a timeline in the forum posts. The response--the fastest yet, in Lioncourt's experience--showed that the company has started to gain experience in combating such attacks." - http://www.cleancomputerhelp.com/viruses-go-virtual <http://www.cleancomputerhelp.com/viruses-go-virtual> 

Trust me, we are only just seeing the front edge of a Tsunami of this stuff that is about to wash over Second Life. 
Stan Trevena


From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com on behalf of Burcu Bakioglu
Sent: Sat 11/25/2006 4:00 PM
To: SL Educators
Subject: Re: [SLED] RE: Crime and Griefing in Second Life

Stan, this is super interesting. Is this by any chance linked to people getting tired of all the chaos going on in-world or just an unrelated riot to take power??? do you know anything more about this?

On 11/25/06, Trevena, Stan <Trevena.S at monet.k12.ca.us> wrote: 

	Looks like there's a movement in SL that seeks to target in-world organizations, and Linden directly to try to force change "in-world". It appears that their main drive is to give SL players rights by allowing them to buy shares in SL.  Interesting to see them target the commercial businesses, since it's the arrival of these companies that is fueling the media attention and influx of money and residents to SL. 
	You can read for yourself at these links:
	http://secondlla.googlepages.com/ <http://secondlla.googlepages.com/ >
	http://slla.blogspot.com/ <http://slla.blogspot.com/>
	Stan Trevena
	From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com on behalf of Trevena, Stan
	Sent: Sat 11/25/2006 9:18 AM
	To: SL Educators
	Subject: RE: [SLED] RE: Crime and Griefing in Second Life 
	Well, time will tell (it always does).  This conversation is not unlike those I've had in the past on Compuserve, The Source, Prodigy, AOL, ZDNet and other online services that predated the Internet.  I was writing for Ziff Davis and Computer Gaming World at the time freelance.  The time to have the "touchy social-political issue" discussions is before the world collapses, not after it's dead.  So if anyone is offended, jump in and express your opinions and join the discussion.  This is your world too.  Tap dancing around the touchy issues will not make the go away. 
	What I am stating is that if left in a "hands off" state, and totally open with no accountability, this world will collapse inside of two years (probably less than one year).  We can argue about it, and trade political views on virtual life, but in the end the cards will fall where they will.  And it's my opinion (based on 25 years in these types of environments) that the path SL is headed down now will take it straight into chaos and collapse.  Take it for what it's worth.  Believe it, or not.  ALL of the virtual worlds that have come before Second Life have all followed some pretty simple patterns influenced by real world behaviors.  There is nothing about Second Life that will keep it from following these same patterns (the better eye candy just make it more attractive to the griefer kids, AKA script kiddies.  Right now I feel like I am reliving a bad nightmare that I've seen a thousand times before.  I'm standing on the tracks shouting out warnings, and yet there is nothing I can do to stop the coming train wreck. 
	Print this message out, stick it in an envelope, and open it in two years and reflect on where Second Life is (or isn't) at that time. At that time it will be too late to bring it back.  But don't worry, something always comes in to replace it, they always do. 
	I've BETA tested every major online MMO since the first Everquest (late 1998).  I was a heavy MUD player back in the text days of online play.  In the MUD's you could create your own content in-world and have intelligence with your objects and how they responded to input.  The problems that manifested then are not unlike those showing up in Second Life now, it's a terrible case of deja vu. 
	Stan Trevena
	From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com on behalf of Jaime Magiera
	Sent: Sat 11/25/2006 12:11 AM 
	To: SL Educators
	Subject: Re: [SLED] RE: Crime and Griefing in Second Life
	This will be my last post on this tangent on-list. It's veering into
	abstract territories and some touchy social-political issues. If 
	folks wish to carry on this discussion with me elsewhere (SL
	perhaps), let's do that. Don't want to offend anyone here.
	On Nov 25, 2006, at 1:07 AM, Trevena, Stan wrote:
	> And that loops back to my original point from earlier in the week. 
	> The only virtual world out there right now, and the first in the
	> history of commercial worlds, that actually enforce their terms of
	> service agreement is Blizzard and World of Warcraft.  They have
	> sustained the value of their in-world economy now for several
	> years.  They take aggressive action to protect their virtual
	> environment.
	Right, but they are also more "games" than virtual worlds. In other 
	words, there are specific goals with much more specific rules. Second
	Life is wonderfully unique in that there are no stated goals and very
	few rules to start with. It's a true open environment... a real "world". 
	> Today one of my kids was on Teen SL and he was being harassed by a
	> resident that kept attacking him with tracking balls.  The balls
	> would follow him, and when they caught him they would kill him, 
	> sending him back to his home marker.  He likes to build in the
	> sandbox, since they (my kids) do not own their own land.  After
	> getting killed a bunch of times he cursed and went to search for a
	> Linden to report the abuse.  Only problem was that there were no
	> Lindens on at the time.  He ended up logging out and moving over to
	> World of Warcraft because he could not do what he wanted to do in
	> SL because of this other player (he was working on a dragon he is
	> building).
	If there were Lindens on, he could say something to get the situation
	resolved. Lindens being the equivalent to police in RW. There 
	definitely should be online areas to report problems with other
	residents, I agree. If you look at the Police blotter, it's obvious
	that Linden does spend some time keeping the peace. However, with
	millions of users, you can imagine how hard that must be. The rules 
	of SL are going to very quickly become more complex. So too will the
	levels of punishment. (out of necessity)
	> Linden Labs required that our project meet two conditions.  First
	> it had to be on the teen grid, because of the age of our students. 
	> Second, they required that we make our island private because there
	> would be adult teachers involved in the project. Each adult, even
	> with the private island, needs to have a full background check.  So 
	> there were some stiff requirements to get this project going.  We
	> are paying close to $1,000 per island (three islands make up or
	> initial land mass).  And it will be an ongoing cost of $450/month
	> to keep it all online.  I am investing money, time, and the future
	> of this project in Linden Labs.  This project has cost us $7,000 to
	> bring online and pay through the end of the year.  So I have a
	> vested interest in seeing SL stay online and successful.
	Yes, of course. We all have a vested interest in seeing SL be
	successful. The definition of successful and quality are up for grabs
	> If a terrorist group set up shop and started planning terrorist
	> activities, and law enforcement got wind of it, I can guarantee you
	> that some new hardware would be installed on the Linden server
	> racks. A few of their offices would also end up being occupied by 
	> non-Linden staff.
	No doubt -- but doing so, making Linden change their technology to
	create a backdoor for the government or create extra rules to rat
	people out, would be a travesty against democracy and free speech -- 
	kind of like what has happened in my RW country (U.S.) the past few
	years under the guise of "fighting terrorism". If SL becomes anything
	like the travesty in the U.S. right now, it will loose its value 
	quickly. Note that in RW, attempts to micromanage the world in the
	past few years have actually caused *more* terrorism, hatred,
	aggression, etc. The same will likely hold true for SL.
	> Requiring a valid email account does nothing for accountability, 
	> you can get bogus email accounts anywhere. I make heavy use of
	> "disposable accounts" myself.
	Of course, but having a valid email account means that the person can
	theoretically be reached somehow. That's the point really. 
	> I think that in order to get online with any virtual world you
	> should be required to provide a credit card to prove your
	> identity.  Any networked application can log IP's for anyone who
	> accesses the system.  There are many things that Linden Labs can do 
	> to take some control over those who abuse their world.
	Yikes!!!! No way man. That would be terrible. Keep in mind that
	Second Life is just pretty candy coating on the internet. Should
	people have a valid credit card to get on the internet? In terms of 
	logging IPs, most network services already log IPs to some extent.
	It's what gets done with that information that is of concern. Look at
	it this way... Does every action you take in RW get logged somewhere?
	no. Do you need a credit card to exist in RW? no. If I suggested you 
	live in a such a way, you'd (hopefully) be abhorred.
	> There really is nothing available to the normal user in SL to
	> combat abuse.
	Because the users in SL haven't created infrastructure to combat it. 
	I predict that just like any other human system, there will be self-
	organizing in SL in an attempt to create law/justice/punishment.
	That's when the real work begins.
	> There are plenty of high tech crimes that can be committed inside 
	> of SL.  And any one of them will bring anyone from the local police
	> to the FBI, depending on the crime, knocking at Linden Labs door.
	> If they do not have auditing and logging built into their open 
	> environment, then they will likely find their servers shut down
	> while the FBI conduct forensics on their databases.  Talk about
	> downtime.
	No doubt. The hard questions of course are "What constitutes a 'real' 
	crime in SL?" and "What constitutes a valid right by law enforcement
	to have access to logging, backdoors, etc.?".
	Again, my stance is that I hope Linden keeps a hands-off approach and
	lets SL develop its own systems of control, legality and justice. 
	Jaime Magiera
	Sensory Research Network
	http://www.sensoryresearch.net <http://www.sensoryresearch.net/>  <http://www.sensoryresearch.net/>
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