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Mainland Extortion Again


Qie Niangao
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Back in 2008 when the Lab set the rules to rid Mainland of adfarms, they left some matters up for interpretation, so they could respond to new threats to the estate they manage for Mainland owners. Specifically, the adfarm policy includes this:


What are you doing about other forms of land extortion and harassment?

This concerns us very much, and we'll be doing all we can to remove this behavior. Deliberately misleading other Residents (for example, with donut-shaped parcels) is unacceptable. You can expect that any practices that negatively impact the Mainland will be looked at and stopped where possible.


Most of the old land extortion rings were broken up long ago, but one extortionist has recently become more active and the violations are more flagrant -- apparently based on the assumption that the Lab just can't be bothered with enforcing its rules any more.

The assumption of Lab neglect may be valid: so far I've not seen any response to reports of this abuser's recent shenanigans. I'm not going to get exercised about whether the Lab responds or not -- I'm pretty far beyond having any practical expectations for SL's future -- but it may be of interest as historical chronicle of this grid's waning days, and possibly a cautionary tale for anyone who still owns Mainland or who might be thinking of buying some.

So, for example, a recent instance of this violator's handiwork:

Elira Ryba vs Hooktip.png

That particular area was bought at auction then chopped into a 512 (at an inflated price) and remaining 64 (at an extortionately inflated price), then both were cluttered with the same eyesore-making debris that's strewn over her other locations in hopes of coercing neighbors to buy and rid the area of her blight. (I'm told the junk is also reselling ancient freebies, but I assume that's just to make it even more offensive.)

Other known locations include:

There are likely others, too; these are the ones that I've seen myself, mostly through Arbor Project postings.

Of possible historical interest, the extortionist posted to the (now archived) forums back when the Lab was instituting the Mainland policies:

 


much to much rules
08-07-2008 05:53

I onli live in Mainland from beginning becours ther was now rules and I can do and live like i want. But now any week Linden comes with new rules and restriktions. I altimes afraid to play with new objekts never can be shur if I not make an Naiber angri and a kraysy Linden take restriktions against me. If you make rules they must be clear ann not like Flummis. And you must help your Custumers with hints and not with restriktions with out explanation. In real live we have to much rules and now you distreu SL also with to many rules but in RL i can take a louer but in SL you bulding a Diktation.


To me, this looks like fake non-native English. Offensively so.

(Come to think of it, the timing of this current round of extortion seems curiously coincidental with the gambling skilled gaming policy. In fact, all the casino crystal queen's microparcels were also set for sale about the time these ultra-ugly extortion parcels got common. Hmm.)

 

 

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Conifer Dada wrote:

Sooner or later the owner will get fed up with paying tier and they'll probably abandon the land - as long as nobody buys it!.

I sometimes marvel at how long extortion priced parcels sit there.  It's almost like "later" is the norm.

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That looks like one of our old friends coming back to life. Maybe we need to get Arbor active again. I'm not inworld much these days, but....

For any younger residents who don't understand where this leads, here are a couple of pictures of what we used to have to deal with...

moaetc_018.jpg

This was visible from my land...

tiretta-20080129.jpg

And connoisseurs will understand this one...

knittingpit3_001.jpg

 

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Perrie Juran wrote:

It looks like an Abuse Report Party is called for.  
;)

In 2010 I had a "land baron" of sorts show up on my then sim doing this with 40m tall prims on top of which he put houses and some spam.

Often colored odd colors like magenta, but some also normal.

My peers in Arbor Project, where I was active at the time, refused to assist citing that it was not technically a TOS violation.

I AR'd anyway - and within a few weeks said Land Baron's land was all owned, if I recall right, by a linden - but not abandoned. Eventually that baron's profile vanished.

So yes...

Even if you cannot find an exact rule that says "faces that are not ads cannot be floating on giant prims above the land that has silly high prices" - AR it anyway... because at least the lindens back in the day understood things like this were what some of those policies were for.

 

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Pussycat Catnap wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:

It looks like an Abuse Report Party is called for.  
;)

In 2010 I had a "land baron" of sorts show up on my then sim doing this with 40m tall prims on top of which he put houses and some spam.

Often colored odd colors like magenta, but some also normal.

My peers in Arbor Project, where I was active at the time, refused to assist citing that it was not technically a TOS violation.

I AR'd anyway - and within a few weeks said Land Baron's land was all owned, if I recall right, by a linden - but not abandoned. Eventually that baron's profile vanished.

So yes...

Even if you cannot find an exact rule that says "faces that are not ads cannot be floating on giant prims above the land that has silly high prices" - AR it anyway... because at least the lindens back in the day understood things like this were what some of those policies were for.

 

For the purposes of this document, "ad farm" means advertising or content intended solely to drive an unreasonable price for the land parcel it is on, usually by spoiling the nearby visual environment for others. Advertisements themselves are not prohibited; Legitimate advertising or using small parcels for promoting events or stores is allowed. But when advertising crosses the line into harassing behavior or "visual spam," and the intent is purely to compel another Resident to pay an unreasonable price to restore their view, it violates the harassment policy in the Community Standards. Although difficult to define exactly when advertising crosses this line, the intent is to be as consistent as possible and Linden Lab will remove offending content that is reported.

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Policy_on_ad_farms_and_network_advertisers#What_is_an_ad_farm.3F

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I dunno. All I know what the other folks told me back then - we can't help you on this one, but good luck getting him tossed.

The giant 40m tall parcel wide/long blocks were a particular issue because at that time - this was a hillside sim with a gentle slope and a road through the middle. A lot of people had lots 1 lot away from the road on either side, or with an L-shape so they had road access but depended on a nice neighbor to preserve their view.

I say 40m because that was the one I measured - but they were all built to be double the height it would take to block someone behind them's view of the road and remaining sim. And we all had nice gardens and views on our lots - other than this.

These were also priced roughly 5-10x the remaining local prices.

I don't think they had any advert signs.

So I was told by others that they couldn't join me in the AR (I always found Arbor Patrol to be very cautious about what it would back for an AR - which I feel is why it retained LL respect when other "grid police" got ignored. A good number of times Arbor members were called to a scene, people refused to file if they saw what looked like "borderline" or just "rude" and not rule-breaking).

Arbor may have been right or wrong on this one...

I did however, manage to get them cleared out. That or the guy had very good timing in getting himself banned for some other unrelated reason. ;)

The Arbor group is a good one to take out of the mothballs and get active again - my comment is not against them above. But to show they have very high standards... and to note that those standards might be so high they might not be able to address the issue in this thread.

But when they do act... they have had a way of getting the Lindens involved - and there's a lot of blight that used to exist in SL but no longer does thanks to them.

 

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Theresa Tennyson wrote:


Aislin Ceawlin wrote:

I went to see, out of curiosity, the only thing left is the ugly hot tub.

ETA: That was the Hooktip location. 

I took a look at some of the extortion plots too. Ironically, some of the nearby "legitimate" plots looked just about as bad though.

Well, it is still the Mainland. Nonetheless, there's a real difference between looking bad and trying to look bad enough to coerce others into buying out the eyesore at inflated prces. (I do hope it's not any of my parcels that "looked just about as bad" -- I don't claim to have the best results on the grid or anything, but I don't go out of my way to be ugly either.)

It seems that the Hooktip parcels actually sold. I spoke briefly with the buyer to welcome him to the area, but I didn't want to bring up this whole unpleasantness in case he doesn't know. God knows he paid enough for his new land, he should be able to enjoy it as much as possible.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

Well, it
is
still the Mainland. Nonetheless, there's a real difference between looking bad and trying to look bad enough to coerce others into buying out the eyesore at inflated prces.
(I do hope it's not any of my parcels that "looked just about as bad"
-- I don't claim to have the best results on the grid or anything, but I don't go out of my way to be ugly either.)

It seems that the Hooktip parcels actually sold. I spoke briefly with the buyer to welcome him to the area, but I didn't want to bring up this whole unpleasantness in case he doesn't know. God knows he paid enough for his new land, he should be able to enjoy it as much as possible.

Well, you do have a reputation for breaking the mainland, so your land might well have been one of the "just as bad" parcels :)

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Maybe so, but you did break it, and perhaps that aspect of your abilities hasn't subsided, so your current land may well be in a broken state and included in the "just as bad" statement :)

I bet you thought that your mainland vandalism/clumsiness was all behind you and forgotten .................. but it's not ;)

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Theresa Tennyson wrote:


Aislin Ceawlin wrote:

I went to see, out of curiosity, the only thing left is the ugly hot tub.

ETA: That was the Hooktip location. 

I took a look at some of the extortion plots too. Ironically, some of the nearby "legitimate" plots looked just about as bad though.

If they made having bad taste in design/fashion, most of the Lindens would have to ban themselves, and we'd quickly run out of male avatars. :P

 

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I popped in to look and see if anything had happened yet. Met several people at one lot that have formed a group against this person! I can't post the name of the group because it contains her name, but if you want to send me a private IM, I'd be glad to give you the group name.

Ryba.jpg

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I couldn't actually find that group in Search, which could easily be something I did wrong. Other than the strange case of Hooktip in which somebody actually paid the extortion price*, the rest of the diced-up parcels are still the same, so I just did another round of ARs.

Incidentally, old timers will know that I'm more than familiar with the Arbor Project. Also, the Hooktip parcel in the picture was not an AR target of Arbor, although at least one of the others was (Odie) because that's how I came to know about it. I'm not sure about the 16m hyperfine landsplitting in that case, but like most of  the others, the extortion plots there are surrounded by other land abandoned by the abuser, presumably after auction purchase.

_______

*I suppose the extortion must occasionally work, otherwise it wouldn't happen at all, so perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised that somebody actually paid the absurd asking price for the Hooktip mess. As awful as it is that the abuser got rewarded for the abuse in this case, I'm quite sure that the plan was to split that 512 if it didn't sell, and abandon all but another extortion slice there along Route 3 and SLRR.

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Yeah, I don't think they can be bothered anymore. That said, Arbor's very success is now proving its downfall: There was a time when the group could raise enough of a fuss that it was hard for Linden enforcers to ignore. Now the few of us who still get in-world apparently aren't enough to get any Linden's attention. In any case, repeated ARs for these offenses seem to get no attention.

I did learn of another site of this abuser's handiwork:

This one is a particularly good reminder of how much damage the adfarms did to the Lab's bottom line: There's quite a nice store next door -- now rare on the Mainland -- but try as they might, they can't overcome the intentional, aggressive ugliness next door.

I'm guessing there are dozens more, but being individually owned, I can't see the total area -- which wouldn't say much anyway: like the old adfarms, somebody paying a ridiculously small amount of tier can scar whole continents.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

Yeah, I don't think they can be bothered anymore. That said, Arbor's very success is now proving its downfall: There was a time when the group could raise enough of a fuss that it was hard for Linden enforcers to ignore. Now the few of us who still get in-world apparently aren't enough to get any Linden's attention. In any case, repeated ARs for these offenses seem to get no attention.

I did learn of another site of this abuser's handiwork:

This one is a particularly good reminder of how much damage the adfarms did to the Lab's bottom line: There's quite a nice store next door -- now rare on the Mainland -- but try as they might, they can't overcome the intentional, aggressive ugliness next door.

I'm guessing there are dozens more, but being individually owned, I can't see the total area -- which wouldn't say much anyway: like the old adfarms, somebody paying a ridiculously small amount of tier can scar whole continents.

It doesn't help that, rather than just derender the objects, people are "covering" them with crap that ends up looking worse than the original problem. (I know that derender isn't working as well as it used to but it still would be better than a kajillion horizontal Linden trees.)

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Actually, I disagree. The damage to the surroundings is already fatal, so there's simply nothing anybody can do to make it measurably worse. The point of the trees, etc., is to make it clear to the abuser that she is not welcome, and that she has no control over the fate of her junky microparcel -- and further to make that clear to any hypothetical buyer, too: they can't simply buy-away the ugly (where any such purchase would encourage further extortion).

In fact, it has another advantage: If this oh so free-thinking extortionist ever wants to regain any control of her parcels, she has to whine to the Lindens about it -- forcing her into a delicious double-bind of hypocrisy.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

Actually, I disagree. The damage to the surroundings is already fatal, so there's simply nothing anybody can do to make it measurably worse. The point of the trees, etc., is to make it clear to the abuser that she is not welcome, and that she has no control over the fate of her junky microparcel -- and further to make that clear to any hypothetical buyer, too: they can't simply buy-away the ugly (where any such purchase would encourage further extortion).

In fact, it has another advantage: If this oh so free-thinking extortionist ever wants to regain any control of her parcels, she has to whine to the Lindens about it --
forcing her into a delicious double-bind of hypocrisy.

Unless she removes the ugliness first.

Question: can't encroaching linden trees be removed by the parcel owner where they encroach?

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Nope. I assume that's why they chose Linden plants to do the job -- they're uniquely immune to encroachment return.

(I suspect the simulation has only a very imperfect model of what their extents should be as a function of their dimensions. Clearly the viewer renders them at some scale, but you'll note that the x,y, and z proportions are fixed at any scale, so they make a lot of "stuff" for very little server-side data.)

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