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TayTay Denimore

Is there anyone there that can answer some questions we have about banned/banning accounts?

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Nobody outside of Linden Lab can answer most of those questions, but I can tell you the blanket language that covers them all, from the TOS, Section 6:

"You agree to abide by certain rules of conduct, including any applicable community standards for the portion of the Service you are using) and other rules prohibiting illegal and other practices that Linden Lab deems harmful."

In other words, in addition to all of the specific things that are listed in section 6, Linden Lab can ban you for anything that they consider to be harmful.  Notice also in section 6.1 that "Any violation by you of the terms of this Section may result in immediate termination of your Accounts without any refund or other compensation."  In other words, you might have a chance to appeal or not, and you probably won't get stuff returned. 

Linden Lab's review is not a court proceding where you present evidence and argue a case.  It's an internal review of whether your behavior has violated company policy or presents some threat to the company or other SL residents.  They look at whatever information they can gather and they make a decision.  You get an e-mail notice if it's a negative decision.  You might get a chance to appeal or not, depending on how seriously you have screwed up.  The bottom line is that you are using their software and servers and they get to decide whether to pull your access.

I'd suggest reading the entire TOS and all related policy documents.

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Nobody outside of Linden Lab can answer most of those questions, but I can tell you the blanket language that covers them all, from the TOS, Section 6:

"You agree to abide by certain rules of conduct, including any applicable community standards for the portion of the Service you are using) and other rules prohibiting illegal and other practices that Linden Lab deems harmful."

In other words, in addition to all of the specific things that are listed in section 6, Linden Lab can ban you for anything that they consider to be harmful.  Notice also in section 6.1 that "Any violation by you of the terms of this Section may result in immediate termination of your Accounts without any refund or other compensation."  In other words, you might have a chance to appeal or not, and you probably won't get stuff returned. 

Linden Lab's review is not a court proceding where you present evidence and argue a case.  It's an internal review of whether your behavior has violated company policy or presents some threat to the company or other SL residents.  They look at whatever information they can gather and they make a decision.  You get an e-mail notice if it's a negative decision.  You might get a chance to appeal or not, depending on how seriously you have screwed up.  The bottom line is that you are using their software and servers and they get to decide whether to pull your access.

I'd suggest reading the entire TOS and all related policy documents.

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Just to add:

Bans are for a lifetime.  Temporary Bans are referred to as suspensions

LL can ban or suspend by several methods, including by account, by IP address or even by the computer being or even a combination.  How they ban or suspend someone is not known to anyone, or told to the person banned.  The method they use generally depends on how severe the violation was and/or how many times someone was disiplined before.  If you are banned or suspended by account, and use an alt to come back, that is against the TOS and LL will ban the alts too you may be banned for life then using the most severe method.

If you are permanently banned you lose all your $L's and any land you have with no refund.  That's part of the punishment.  If its a suspension you don't.

A lot of people who get banned or suspended claim they did nothing to deserve it, but LL doesn't do it lightly.  They have logs of everything that goes on in world, including chat logs, and access to all your inventory and will check everything.  If someone submits false claims or evidence they can be banned or suspended themselves depending on how serious the complaint was. You can even get in trouble by submitting numerous AR's that are not for things that are ARable, or are considered by LL to be harassing a person.  That's called abuse of the AR system.

One thing for sure, if someone claims innocence, one of two things is true.  1) they are not telling you the truth or 2) They deserved the ban or suspension but didn't know what they did was wrong.  Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to this.  That's why you have to click that you have read and agree to the TOS every time it's changed, which means all the associated links in it too.

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I REALLY like Amethyst's answer.  Read it carefully!

But, trying to address some of your specific questions...

1.  What data is used to ban an account?  Avatar name? IP address?

It depends on the severity of the suspension or ban.  Maybe only one of your accounts is banned.  If you have a history of violating the Terms of Service, your IP address might be banned, which would ban all your accounts.  If you have a history of masking your IP address, or returning to SL after a ban by using a different IP address, your computer itself may be "hashtag banned."  This is permanent...even if you sell the computer to someone else, it can never be used to access SL again.

2.  Can your account be closed/banned without a reason?

According to LL's policy, yes.  They reserve the right to ban anyone they choose, for any reason.  However, they are running SL to make money, and that means they WANT customers.  They do not ban people arbitrarily.

3.  How is banning communicated to person?

LL usually sends you an email.  For a first offense, you will probably only get a warning.  Keep it up, and you'll get a suspension.  If that doesn't change your behavior, you'll get banned.  Lots of people don't read their email, or it gets blocked by their spam filter.  In that case, the first you'll know about it is when you try to log in and you get the message, "Second Life cannot be accessed from this computer."

4.  Is banning forever?

Suspensions may be from a few minutes to several days.  A ban is permanent.

5.  How do banned accounts have money in account refunded?

Linden Lab takes the position that Linden Dollars are tokens of no intrinsic value.  Therefore, you won't get a refund.  I don't believe you'll be refunded anything in your $USD balance either.

6.  Can you be banned because of a false report?  (you did nothing but are banned)  How is issue verified?

It is possible, and it has happened to others.  Sometimes, LL does make a mistake.  However, they do have access to original copies of chat and IM logs, so if someone misquotes you, they will know that.  You are allowed to appeal the ban, by opening a Support Case.  

As Amethyst says, people who claim they "did nothing" but got banned are usually lying or misinformed.  LL does not ban people for "doing nothing" and they are not often fooled by a false report.

Let me give you an example.

Suzy Avatar belongs to a store group.  Someone posts a link in the group chat and says, "Hey guys, free gifts here!"  Suzy clicks the link and sees what she thinks is a Second Life sign in page.  She enters her name and password.  Her computer freezes.  When she manages to get things working again, she finds that she cannot log in to SL or to the website.

Suzy has fallen for a phishing scam and given her password to a scammer.  He has changed her password.  Next, he logs in to Suzy's account and pays all her $L to his own account.  Then he uses Suzy's account to contact all her friends and send them links to his phishing site.

Suzy, meanwhile, doesn't know what to do, or what has happened.  She uninstalls and reinstalls the viewer, but nothing she tries fixes her problem.  She can't log in at all.  Several days pass.

Now, LL notices that Suzy Avatar's account has been sending phishing links to her groups and her friends.  Several people have filed Abuse Reports on her.  LL verifies them, and bans Suzy's account.

Eventually, Suzy is told by someone what has probably happened.  She files a support case, using a newly created alt account.

At this point, LL might do one of two things.  If they really think someone else took Suzy's account, they might reinstate her.  But more likely, they will uphold the ban.  This is because the Terms of Service clearly states that YOU are responsible for what is done with your account.  If you are careless enough to let your account be compromised, and clueless enough to not report it immediately...well...too bad.  Besides, it may be that Suzy herself is the bad actor, and is only claiming that someone else got into her account.

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