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nt274

Does second life need to be governed?

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Hi, 

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter studying Human Geography. I am currently designing a research project for my dissertation. I want to look at second life in terms of crime and whether it should be policed or governed. I am planning to use a research approach by which I get to know residents in second life and get their opinions. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of what research questions they think would be interesting? 

Nicola :-)

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Welcome to Second Life Forums.

Second Life is already policed and governed. There is a system of abuse report in place, and anything that requires external intervention by law enforcement agencies can easily be referred.

You should begin your studies by logging into Second Life - the main viewer - and as you do so for the first time, will have to read through the Terms and Conditions.  Take a look around and see what you think needs policing or governing.  It's your project after all.

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Thanks for your response! Yeah I've read the terms and conditions and had a go on second life the other day. 
In the reading I have been doing there is such mixed opinions on the policing of second life - it seems to be a very complex topic.

Some acamdemics think that many of the crimes that can happen on second life - copy righting, violence, money laundering etc need to be stopped by Linden Labs by altering the codes of the game space - so people are unable to commit these activities, however feedback I have got from a lot of residents is that they don't want second life to be policed - it is a game, and as people can make things on Second Life and have the rights to what they make they are in fact co-creaters of Second Life - which suggests self-policing - leaving people to themselves is the best option for second life - as you say there is an abuse report in place already. 

However, as real money is put into second life, copy righting becomes a more serious issue - one which could involve real life jurisdiction. The whole governing question becomes more serious!

Thank you for your feedback!  

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It may be easier to look through ancient forum threads than to look in-world in hopes of stumbling upon "crime".

Personally, I'm utterly unmotivated to wade into the various generations of disjoint forum archives to find relevant threads.

The OP may mean either real world crime or virtual world misbehaviors that are (or should be) governed by the platform provider.  Either way, the reality of the situation and the underlying motives of the players are often intentionally obscured, so any outsider's analysis is apt to be dismissed as naive.

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nt274 wrote:

Thanks for your response! Yeah I've read the terms and conditions and had a go on second life the other day. 

In the reading I have been doing there is such mixed opinions on the policing of second life - it seems to be a very complex topic.

Some acamdemics think that many of the crimes that can happen on second life -
copy righting, violence, money laundering
etc need to be stopped by Linden Labs by altering the codes of the game space - so people are unable to commit these activities, however feedback I have got from a lot of residents is that they don't want second life to be policed - it is a game, and as people can make things on Second Life and have the rights to what they make they are in fact co-creaters of Second Life - which suggests self-policing - leaving people to themselves is the best option for second life - as you say there is an abuse report in place already. 

However, as real money is put into second life, copy righting becomes a more serious issue - one which could involve real life jurisdiction. The whole governing question becomes more serious!

Thank you for your feedback!  

to reply to the boldened part... there are US laws in place to cover copyright infringement..  The violence in SL isnt real. Should WoW be policed if a troll wacks my elf?  and money laundering?:!?!? in SL? How?!?! to make it feasible the exchange rate would have to be much much lower and your sales would have to be through the roof.

As already stated, LL has a system of rules and regs that we have to abide by.

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You want to understand the DMCA and especially the safe harbor provisions. What Linden Lab must and must not do in response to copyright violations gives them very little leeway, regardless of what residents may wish.

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I'm utterly unmotivated too, when it's not my own 'research' project that I'm running round getting the information towards.

Only by mingling with the 'underworld', or having the God-like abilities to be able to click into people's conversations and inventories can we, the resident, see really what crimes are being committed - and I do mean real life crimes, which is what I took the OP to be meaning.

Anything and everything involving human beings and human behaviour needs policing, and, as I said in my earlier post, it is (to an extent), although it is up to the residents to report what we see, if we believe something is happening against the law, be it DMCA infringements, possible pedophilia (oooo too controversial, must be Friday :matte-motes-big-grin-wink: ), gambling, or whatever.

I'd actually love to be able to read some of the writings that come out of all these research projects, the findings, etc. I am sure they wouldn't be accurate, although we all view the world (real and virtual) from slightly different viewpoints.

Back to the OP - as Qie as said - you can look through the forum threads, google DMCA Second Life, gambling, ageplay, etc., and see how much policing has gone on already in Second Life, but reading thoroughly the Terms of Service should give you a good idea of how much involvement residents and Linden Lab both have or are expected to have towards policing and governing the grid.

We were very much aware of how much LL governs the grid yesterday, although not because of criminal activity, when log ins were denied for several hours because of technical difficulties.  For those hours, Second Life just simply did not exist, and therefore, in those hours, there was no crime. (Unintentional, but where did all the criminals go during those hours? - makes you wonder, maybe.)

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SL is "governed" by it's terms of service and US and other countries' laws and policed for the most part by SL's residents/creators.  What is a point of contention is how those measures are enforced, but that issue expands out and further than SL into the internet as a whole and how you would achieve global enforcement or indeed whether you should.

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" In a democracy people get the government they deserve."  - Alexis de Tocqueville : Democracy in America.

Second Life™ is not a democracy.

 Rights obtained here are limited and mainly purchased.

For instance one right every avatar has by default is the ability to attempt to rez an object, but that doesn' t mean you keep that right to rez it everywhere in SL.

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"Anything and everything involving human beings and human behaviour needs policing" was far more controversial than "possible pedophilia".

@ OP - research all the other research done on SL, including this very subject.  SL is already policed far more than RL.  Everything is recorded, landowners and their agents have authority over their virtual land, LL have authority over the whole thing, LL is subject to Californian and US law, every individual is still subject to their own country's laws, etc.

As to money-laundering and other RL crimes.  I am sure that where these happen they are either insignificant to the RL authorities, or that those authorities already have under-cover avatars chasing criminal avatars through grimy virtual alleys.  There have certainly been tax-rulings on virtual goods and earnings in many countries, so those jurisdictions are policing virtual worlds exactly to the extent that they wish.

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Be sure to read the Community Standards too.

Money laundering? Was there ever a documented case of money laundering? Was there ever an arrest and prosecution? Or was it a load of BS used to force LL to submit to the feds demands for control?

No matter what LL or anyone does there is no way to prevent "copybotting". It is impossible. However, with mesh, the so-called "copybotters" would have to have some skills and then pay to upload the rips. But why rip amateur stuff from SL when there is all that pro made stuff in games and on 3D markets? No shortage of that in SL now.

Also there is a recent court precedent that ruled TOS violations are not criminal acts. So LL can't do a thing about banned players coming back over and over unless LL moves to a different and fail loaded method for physical human identity verification at login.

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nt274 wrote:

Some acamdemics think that many of the crimes that can happen on second life - copy righting, violence, money laundering etc need to be stopped by Linden Labs by altering the codes of the game space - so people are unable to commit these activities. 

This doesn't give me a very good feeling about academics. As others have and will point out, physical violence is SL is simulated, just as in video games and on television. In the entire history of human civiiization no govermnent has been able make people unable to do the things you mention except ultimately by executing them, which LL does routinely. These executions are generally based on survelliance done by residents themselves.

In real life, I don't know anyone who has been executed (there was a rumor about my uncle, but it turns out he accidentally fell from the tree). I do know a few people who got traffic tickets. In SL I am aware of several who have been executed. Some have risen from the dead and been re-executed. I know of many more, including myself, who have received tickets here (mine was for wielding satire without a licence). SL already operates a bit like a police state. Vigilante survelliance, jury-less trial in-absentia and death by banning, all balanced by reincarnation.

What more could you ask for?

 

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:

.... (there was a rumor about my uncle, but it turns out he
accidentally
fell from the tree).


Probably started by auntie ? :robotindifferent:

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Just picking-up on the rest of what you said there:


nt274 wrote:

..there is such mixed opinions ...

Some acamdemics think ...

however feedback I have got from a lot of residents ...

So, on the one hand there are some academics who advocate a totalitarian police state ...

And on the other hand there's everyone who would live in it?

I have to assume that these academics support facist countries or, given the nature of European academics at least, communist ones?

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nt274 wrote:

Hi, 

 

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Exeter studying Human Geography. I am currently designing a research project for my dissertation. I want to look at second life in terms of crime and whether it should be policed or governed. I am planning to use a research approach by which I get to know residents in second life and get their opinions. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of what research questions they think would be interesting? 

Nicola :-)

No, Second Life doesn't need to be "governed." The human spirit cries out for freedom. Real Life is already far to regulated & unfree. We go into SL in order to exercise complete freedom. There is no "crime" in SL. No one can harm or kill anyone else, there is nothing to steal or vandalize or set fire to. Anyone can Role Play being a cop or dom or master or whatever .. & everyone else can simply ignore such control freaks. This is my opinion. Anyone attempting to "govern" me in SL will simply be ignorned.

Jeanne

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JeanneAnne wrote:


No, Second Life doesn't need to be "governed." Yes it does

The human spirit cries out for freedom. And laws to protect that freedom

Real Life is already far to regulated & unfree Maybe, depends on perspective, time and place

We go into SL in order to exercise complete freedom. An over exaggeration as you signed a ToS to do so.

There is no "crime" in SL Yes there is.

 ...there is nothing to steal or vandalize Yes there is

Anyone can Role Play being a cop or dom or master or whatever .. & everyone else can simply ignore such control freaks.  Yay a true fact!

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Of course I had to make a stop when reading :'Anything and everything involving human beings and human behaviour needs policing' ... some have already pointed out that there is a bit of a problem with such a statement and ideas like .. democracy .. personal freedom .. human rights even .. besically the things many people have put lot of blood and effort into to overcome (and still do .. of course there are fanatics everywhere who have a problem with such freedoms and like to see them removed either because they are security-crazy, want to control everything and everyone or just can't accept other ideas, lifestyles and cultures)

 

But anyway ... your other post should be a bit more precise. Especially:



nt274 wrote:

 

(...)  it seems to be a very complex topic (...)

(...) Some acamdemics think (...)

(...) altering the codes of the game space - so people are unable to commit these activities, however feedback I have got from a lot of residents is that they don't want second life to be policed - it is a game (...)

(...) However, as real money is put into second life, copy righting becomes a more serious issue - one which could involve real life jurisdiction. The whole governing question becomes more serious!

 

The first thing I have picked out is the one that might be a problem for you once this research is being put into a paper since this issue is not one that is limited to SL. It is Internet-Law in general and would involve all the ideas that have been put forward in recent jears about how to govern and control the internet. How to deal with laws in such a international arena. SL is such a tiny part of it, that it isn't worth much more then a footnote. Unless you want to base it all on SL, but then you would have missed the main part of the problem and have put your focus on a area of the internet where not much crime is happening.

Of course you never want to start anything with 'some academics think ..' .. I have written and read enough scientific papers to want to point out the arising question about who those 'some academics' are and what they have written in their papers (because such statements always need ot be backed up and considering the complex and very interesting topic of internet law/regulation/deregulation etc, I think many people that have commented so far would like to have a look at those too).

The third point -- yay! ;P ... is SL a game or not? Finding the answer to this would be great finally, but the more interesting point in this goes right back to the first comment I have made at the start. Because changing the code so nothing criminal ( - as little as it - ) can be done can happen would remove all ability to create and all freedom form SL. So there we are right at the security vs. freedom argument and at the thing about loosing both when exchanging the second for the first.

And so I am right at the fourth point and again on the need to point out how complex this issue can be. It is however a all RL law one and while SL is governed in the same any other online activity is (by the individual ToS) the things people do here are all goverend by the specific laws in their countries and LL belongs under US/californian law. Those laws and regulations are very much lacking and there is lots to be discussed about their implementation (see PIPA, SOPA, ACTA and the reaction those have recieved) and you will find much more interesting topics then criminal activity in SL .... especially when lookign at criminal activity in the internet, how they are fought and how the wish of security agencies / governments / corporations to control everything relates to the overall reaction the population showed towards it.

SL is just a tiny drop in all this and it's problems with criminal activity are again just a tiny drop in what is going on.

 

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ROB34466IIIa wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

.... (there was a rumor about my uncle, but it turns out he
accidentally
fell from the tree).


Probably started by auntie ? :robotindifferent:

She never did forgive him for wet-testing his homemade trolling motor in the bathtub.

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Madelaine McMasters wrote:


ROB34466IIIa wrote:


Madelaine McMasters wrote:

.... (there was a rumor about my uncle, but it turns out he
accidentally
fell from the tree).


Probably started by auntie ? :robotindifferent:

She never did forgive him for wet-testing his homemade trolling motor in the bathtub.

Hrmpfh .. now did she want that whirlpool or not ? :robotmad:

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nt274 wrote:

 

Some acamdemics think that many of the

Studies have shown that 83.7% of all academics who write about Second Life spend little to no time actually using the platform, and therefore their statistics are pure poppycock.

 

p.s.: Programmatic fixes are simply not viable / feasible. Human monitoring is pretty much the only way to go. In this Sense SL is policed. And there is a system in place for reporting 'crime'.

 

Victims tend to derail the system and demand the crimes against them be addressed, and criminal persecuted - without them having to notify the policing authorities that crime took place... You will see almost daily people pop into forums demanding to know why such and such was allowed to happen, and when asked who they reported it to, they will usually respond with 'why should I report it, they should just do something about it?'

- This is the logical fallacy, among said victims, commonly known as a "stupid idiot." ;)

 

 

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Pussycat Catnap wrote:

- This is the logical fallacy, among said victims, commonly known as a "stupid idiot."
;)

 

 

Ah .. pebcak. Gotcha.

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No, Second Life doesn't need to be "governed." Yes it does No it dont

The human spirit cries out for freedom. And laws to protect that freedom Laws arent necessary, they're authoritarian impositions on freedom

Real Life is already far to regulated & unfree Maybe, depends on perspective, time and place Perspective, time & place dont matter .. RL has been far too regulated & unfree @ least since the dawn of agriculture

We go into SL in order to exercise complete freedom. An over exaggeration as you signed a ToS to do so. So? I do what I feel like in SL .. usually what I do conforms to the ToS but I dont really care if it does or not. LL can ban me if they want. I dont really care

There is no "crime" in SL Yes there is. No there isnt.

 ...there is nothing to steal or vandalize Yes there is No there isnt

Anyone can Role Play being a cop or dom or master or whatever .. & everyone else can simply ignore such control freaks.  Yay a true fact! No, its an opinion. You have trubble distinguishing fact from opinion, dont you?

Jeanne

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We see questions such as this from time to time and my primary advice is to spend some time in the realm. I mean immersion kind of time. Rent some land, build or buy a house.Make or buy some furniture. Explore, a lot. 'Live" in this virtual environment for a while and you may end up reframing your question to be more along the lines of  "What could the corporeal world learn from a virtual world like Second Life?"

As has been noted, SL is already governed by its Terms of Service and Community Standards.The OP's follow up post about IP infringement is indeed an area of concern in SL just as it is in our physical world. The main difference being that in Second Life, ALL things endure with the permission of the almighty Asset Server. Meaning that even though 'copying' occurs and some is never detected, the blatent cases can litterally be wiped from the face of the virtural world. (Enough from me on that for now, back to my original message.)

In Second Life, the residents (with a few excepts) do pretty well governing themselves considering the WIDE diversity of inhabitants. Age, race, gender, religion, physical limitations are practically meaningless here. Education, in the terms of ability to communicate, and social grace play a much greater role in Residents' experience in a virtual world. Taking into consideration each "player's" real-life socital background and the differences thereof of all the players from all around the physical world one may readily obsserve that at a basic level people are very adept at taking care of themselves and exist quite well in an environment which is focused on "Protecting Rights" rather than one driven by "Enforcing Limitiations."

Spend some time here and you too may see how the "Real World" could learn a few things from a virtual one like Second Life.

 

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