Privacy and Protection, Second Life

Second Life Abuse Reporting: Grading Degradation

Linden Lab has refined its abuse reporting system but not its Community Standards (best as I can tell) which, I thought, was the point of ARs - to provide a mechanism for enforcing those same standards.

Well, now it almost feels lawyerly and constitutional, as in, “which clause and sub-clause was committed and please file only one at a time, a general “he griefed me” is no longer sufficient.”

Suzanne Baskerville points us to the new abuse categories:

Age > Age play
Age > Adult resident on Teen Second Life
Age > Underage resident on Adult Second Life
Assault > Combat sandbox / unsafe area
Assault > Safe area
Assault > Weapons testing sandbox
Copyright or intellectual property violation
Commerce > Failure to deliver product or service
Disclosure > First life information
Disclosure > Remotely monitoring chat
Disclosure > Second Life information/chat/IMs
Disturbing the peace > Unfair use of region resources
Disturbing the peace > Excessive scripted objects
Disturbing the peace > Object littering
Disturbing the peace > Repetitive spam
Disturbing the peace > Unwanted advert spam
Fraud > L$
Fraud > Land
Fraud > Pyramid scheme or chain letter
Fraud > US$
Harassment > Advert farms / visual spam
Harassment > Defaming individuals or groups
Harassment > Impeding movement
Harassment > Sexual harassment
Harassment > Soliciting/inciting others to violate ToS
Harassment > Verbal abuse
Indecency > Broadly offensive content or conduct
Indecency > Broadly visible mature content
Indecency > Inappropriate avatar name
Indecency > Mature content in PG region
Land > Abuse of sandbox resources
Land > Encroachment > Object/textures
Land > Encroachment > Particles
Land > Encroachment > Trees/plants
Trademark violation

OK, so first, well….there is no first.

Because in the absence of clear policy and enforcement residents will take the law into their own hands. If the system of reporting is cumbersome, if there’s no chance for a fair hearing (as the reportED rather than reporter) or if enforcement isn’t trusted (especially in the case of content theft), then you can expect people to bypass the system.

I’ve long advocated for clear policy coupled with appropriate enforcement. As an example of how an imbalance can occur, I recently wrote about a sim used by the child avatar community where reporting an age offense (in this case it would be “Age > Underage resident on Adult Second Life”) is enough to have the person filing the report banned from the sim.

Police all around, and no where to be seen

Their logic was this:
- The AR system is broken
- Because abuse reporting is too open for abuse itself, ARs aren’t to be trusted
- Therefore someone using this broken system should be banned from the sims on which they reported an underage minor because it’s more likely harassment
- If a kid shows up on the grid leave them be, it’s a form of ageism to exclude them in any case.

And I have to say, with these changes to the A/R system, I can’t help wondering whether it hasn’t become even more ripe for, well, for abuse, leading to the types of resident-initiated actions that seem to make so much sense from a micro perspective. I’ve argued, however, that there’s a wider global picture at stake not just for Second Life but virtual worlds in general.

Not to mention that we’ll need a whole series of Torley videos to even make sense of the new A/R reporting procedures. And can someone explain what “excessive” is when it comes to “Excessive scripted objects” please?


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