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Roth Grut

Alternate Accounts and Harassment

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An issue that affects many residents:

Most of us live the second life for fun and leisure. Respecting other residents and their opinions, differences and diversity of the world. However, we note that malicious residents are able to create dozens of alternative accounts, with the sole purpose of chasing, harassing and annoying other residents.

Over the years, we have met good residents who have abandoned the second life for this reason. Even being told to report abuse. Many can not cope well with this problem. This should also generate thousands of Abuse Reports - which could be reduced, with more control and less facility to create alternate accounts from the same address.

It would be very good for the whole community if there was any way to limit the number of accounts created by a single device; or other way of controlling the excess of alternative accounts so that malicious residents do not easily hide in alternative accounts. Are there any plans to address this issue?

Congratulations on the initiative and thank you for the opportunity to present this question!

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An issue that affects many residents:

Most of us live the second life for fun and leisure. Respecting other residents and their opinions, differences and diversity of the world. However, we note that malicious residents are able to create dozens of alternative accounts, with the sole purpose of chasing, harassing and annoying other residents.

Over the years, we have met good residents who have abandoned the second life for this reason. Even being told to report abuse. Many can not cope well with this problem. This should also generate thousands of Abuse Reports - which could be reduced, with more control and less facility to create alternate accounts from the same address.

It would be very good for the whole community if there was any way to limit the number of accounts created by a single device; or other way of controlling the excess of alternative accounts so that malicious residents do not easily hide in alternative accounts. Are there any plans to address this issue?

Congratulations on the initiative and thank you for the opportunity to present this question!

Edited by Roth Grut

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Even though it was a Question for Ebbe, there are days I would love the Lab to bring back a better alt policy.

Maybe 5 alts for free, then a one time US$5 per alt (or premium for a minimum of 1 month) after that.

It *is* a fact that there are a few bad apples around who create alts to harrass others. And with the small charge for more then 5, it would clearly drop as those alts would be tied to financial records, and bannable when they start harrasment.

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The vast majority of "alts" are not malicious, though. They're store models and land management bots, or test bots, or just ways for people to try different things.

I personally have a pair of scripted bots I used to use a lot more, for land management and DJ work, and a couple test accounts for transfering products and testing permissions.

Imposing restrictions on all the honest people out there isn't going to make griefers suddenly stop griefing. They'll just keep changing their MAC or IP numbers like they do when they get banned currently.

Edited by Gadget Portal
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1 hour ago, Gadget Portal said:

The vast majority of "alts" are not malicious, though. They're store models and land management bots, or test bots, or just ways for people to try different things.

I have a number of bots, and I still think that linking financial information using a set fee, to any alt greater than the 5th is worth it.

Consider that so many griefers are casuals. So, while it might not work with the griefers who knows how to mask their ID0, this will help combat the more casual griefers who gets offended by something and goes on an alt spree for a few hours/day/weeks.

The butt-hurt ex-lover, the overly infatuated stalker, the outraged sin police, the offended club nuisance and the 100K traffic sim owner could all be countered by this.

It would also add another TOS strike against the ID0 masked griefers. Most evetually make mistakes, with the TOS requirement of 5 free of charge as a maximum ... come that mistake, suspended.

And it adds a little extra money to the Lab's coffers.

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1 hour ago, Callum Meriman said:

And it adds a little extra money to the Lab's coffers.

I'm all for linking accounts, adding perks, or implimenting new ideas if the idea is to improve the platform.

But adding restrictions to honest residents despite admitting that it won't work to actually stop griefing, just because we hope it might stop the casual griefers? Bad idea.

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Maybe we can get the alts to pay for this new wall too?

I mean seriously...

Pointless security measures that are directed at the wrong target and do nothing to address real issues are never a good idea.

 

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2 hours ago, Pussycat Catnap said:

I mean seriously...

Pointless security measures that are directed at the wrong target and do nothing to address real issues are never a good idea.

Then what's the solution, we know the problem exists and is quite prevalent.

How do we stop all these posts we get in the forums saying "my ex is stalking me on alts" and how do we stop the habitual profile griefers?

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8 minutes ago, Callum Meriman said:

Then what's the solution, we know the problem exists and is quite prevalent.

How do we stop all these posts we get in the forums saying "my ex is stalking me on alts" and how do we stop the habitual profile griefers?

I don't think the "problem" exists anymore than assorted other fantasies about "those strange people from somewhere else" or "those people keeping secrets" and so on...

There are problem individuals... and those are individuals...

Wildly casting doubt and hysteria about others only helps fabricate further problems.

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10 minutes ago, Callum Meriman said:

Then what's the solution, we know the problem exists and is quite prevalent.

How do we stop all these posts we get in the forums saying "my ex is stalking me on alts" and how do we stop the habitual profile griefers?

Who says we have to?

There are already tools in place, both technical and behavioral to deal with this stuff. If people don't want to use said tools, some part of them wants the drama.

We have too much nanny state in RL, we don't need it in SL too.

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Just now, Gadget Portal said:

There are already tools in place, both technical and behavioral to deal with this stuff.

I consider a good part of the behavioral would be charging for alts over qty 5. I respect you feel different.

We've both made our points.

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Most of the people using their time to harras others are expecting and thriving on certain negative reactions back towards them. This fuels them into going on and on and on. I can only advice to ignore them or block them right away and don't worry too much about it.

I'm known for being not normal, but what always helped me (when I want a bit of fun too) is to react in a friendly and inviting way. Telling them that you totally understand why they behave like that towards you, is a classic in my book. 9 out of 10 times that pisses them off and you get blocked by them. 1 out of 10 times they realise what they are doing and they go their way or even apologize.  One time this resulted in a friendship even. If you want to try the above, just make sure that you can handle rude, all over the top accusations, up to death-threats and what more. Some want to try everything to get you angry and mad, but as long as you reply understanding and friendly they will eventually give up. Also, save the logs of the chat just in case the harasser tries to report you for harassing. Never happened to me yet though. 

 

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Fact of the matter is that Linden Lab gave up on enforcement of the avatar/account limitations they had in place some time ago and for good reason - they had no reliable way to enforce that limit. 

They actually did have a limit in place and at one point they actually did charge for accounts created over that limit. Circumvention wasn't all that difficult to pull off.

As an idea to "prevent" or "curb" griefing .... It's a placebo at best. The lowest hanging fruit in this instance is simply not worth it.

Mute/block and move on. Stalker/ex decides to up it a notch? Report, report, report. They persist? You've got a few routes open to you outside of Linden Lab to pursue (assuming you have accurate RL information).

Drama mongering goes both ways and frankly services like Second Life really aren't for the types that would be placated by the sort of speed bump Callum has suggested.

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8 hours ago, Elijah Pyrithea said:

Most of the people using their time to harras others are expecting and thriving on certain negative reactions back towards them. This fuels them into going on and on and on. I can only advice to ignore them or block them right away and don't worry too much about it.

Take it from me.

I'm pretty sure most of the regular know that I happen to get my foot in drama often enough around here... :)

Usually it ends when I or the other party/parties step away. Things end when one side simply has the wisdom (or has calmed down enough) to disengage.

Side thought: Sometimes I think the best feature for these communities would not so much be a block, but a timed block. 1, 2, and 4 week options. You'd have to use a total of 12 to gain access to permanent... because most of the time there is some 'stupid' going on and you just need to give yourself a time out.

The best solution to drama is to walk away. Usually one realizes that 2 steps too late... but even late is better than never.

 

This belief that there is an army of alts out there stalking everyone...

Well I grew up with a couple of friends that believed they, their parents, and everyone they got close to was being wiretapped by the FBI.

Today we call that Facebook...

But back in the 70s and 80s there were people who "believed" they were being spied on.

We'd indulge them or not... but I'm fairly certain none of them were actually being watched. It takes a lot of work to that...

It takes a lot of work to sit there 24/7 on an army of alts and think to yourself

"today my evil minions, we will wait at all the places Pussycat likes to go and if she shows up... put on furries and chase after her for the sexxy time..."

... It's just not... logical...

Now if they'd put on some hot guy avatars and do that... I might go for it...

 

 

Edited by Pussycat Catnap

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but is it possible that the programmers of the second life do not understand that the block they have done is useless? that is, what is the purpose of a block if the blocker can still see and even be pushed by the avatar of the locked one? The block must be complete! this means that when one blocks the other regardless of who does it, both no longer have to see each other! and interact in any way, including the avatar, only this can guarantee true security! So we solve this problem because it is a very serious cause that ruins the safety of users and makes them move away from the second life. >:(

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It's important to understand that Second Life blocks are asymmetrical and incomplete for many good reasons. Bob blocking Jane, imposes no new rules or controls on Jane, her Second Life experience is unaffected. This is done because the system can not determine context. There is no way to know if Bob blocked Jane for a genuine deserved reason.

Blocks are implemented client side. Your viewer knows who you have blocked and does all it can to keep that person from you.

Physics is server side and the client is simply told what has happened, so there is no way to change how collisions work in the client. Likewise blocking a person does not remove all their objects from the scene. If Bob goes to Jane's home and blocks her, he is still bound by the rules of her home - such as walls. If Bob were immune to collisions with Jane's objects following a block, he could walk right though anything she had out. I'm not sure Jane would appreciate Ghost Bob.

Symmetrical blocking comes with some serious problems and could be used aggressively. If possible then Bob blocking Jane would hide both avatars from each other. Bob visits Jane's home and blocks her. He would be free to run around harassing everyone and Jane wouldn't be able to see or hear him. Mega Ghost Bob.

Before resorting to a block to relive you of a problem avatar , first - ask them to stop - If that fails, then you should seek a higher power - contact the land owner, or file an abuse report. Asking someone not to do something and being ignored is solid grounds for the owner of a location or linden to act upon and comes with no unnecessary he-said-she-said drama to unpick.

 

Edit : To add - When sending an abuse report - Always include a screenshot of the offending incident if possible - Lindens like pictures.

Edited by CoffeeDujour
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but I'm not talking about homes for the House when you block someone gets thrown out and then no longer the ghost, simple but the problem is in public rooms that when you block someone you still see his Nick fly around you and pushes you with his avatar because  sees you! If he doesn't see you and cannot go with the avatar, it can't bother you and the block would make sense. Do not Center anything the user experience no one has the right to disturb another if anyone likes to bother one he doesn't have the right to see whether they like it or not like the ban which are personal decisions that one takes based on their rooms so it must be based on your current security of your avatar.

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3 hours ago, art81 said:

but is it possible that the programmers of the second life do not understand that the block they have done is useless? that is, what is the purpose of a block if the blocker can still see and even be pushed by the avatar of the locked one? The block must be complete! this means that when one blocks the other regardless of who does it, both no longer have to see each other! and interact in any way, including the avatar, only this can guarantee true security! So we solve this problem because it is a very serious cause that ruins the safety of users and makes them move away from the second life. >:(

 

7 minutes ago, art81 said:

but I'm not talking about homes for the House when you block someone gets thrown out and then no longer the ghost, simple but the problem is in public rooms that when you block someone you still see his Nick fly around you and pushes you with his avatar because  sees you! If he doesn't see you and cannot go with the avatar, it can't bother you and the block would make sense. Do not Center anything the user experience no one has the right to disturb another if anyone likes to bother one he doesn't have the right to see whether they like it or not like the ban which are personal decisions that one takes based on their rooms so it must be based on your current security of your avatar.

I'm not sure I'm understanding your problem.

If you block someone and they still push you, ban them. If you're not the land owner, ask the land owner to ban them. If the land owner won't, then go find different land.

Only a land owner can restrict how someone moves around on a parcel.

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1 hour ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Edit : To add - When sending an abuse report - Always include a screenshot of the offending incident if possible - Lindens like pictures.

Years ago I included a screenshot of the chat someone had sent me in an abuse report. The responding Linden told me I was violating the ToS by doing so...

- Of course that is usually the response 'folks of a lighter shade' make in response to racism or 'folks of a masculine anatomy' in response to sexism, they blame the victim for daring to report or speak out... And find some technicality upon which to base that flipping of things...

But... it is something to consider when filing an AR...

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I think it depends if your screenshot (as taken by the abuse report floater) shows the offending conversation on viewer UI .. I can see you getting a slap on the wrist if you had copy pasted it onto a notecard and screenshot that.

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