Watching the Watchers: Power and Politics in Second Life (Part One)

In early 2007, I ran an interview on this blog with Peter Ludlow, who teaches in the Philosophy Department at Northwestern University, and who has emerged as a key observer of how people are interacting within virtual worlds, such as The Sims Online and Second Life. Ludlow, along with his coauthor, Mark Wallace, wrote a book for MIT Press, The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid Which Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse, which I am planning to teach as part of a course I am developing this fall for the USC Journalism school on civic media.

Ludlow emailed me recently with news of some fascinating new developments in Second Life. It was a story which raised such fascinating issues about fantasy and play, about the shifting borders between pro-social and anti-social behavior, about rights and responsibilities, and about the governance of virtual worlds that I felt like I had to share it now. Over the next two installments, I will be sharing Ludlow’s account of what’s been happening in Second Life, an account which places it in the context of the larger history of virtual worlds. Afterwords, I will share a joint statement which emerged from our conversations together about what this all means.

Watching the Watchers

By Peter Ludlow

Dept. of Philosophy

Northwestern University

People who have spent time inside virtual worlds are familiar with griefers – game players (stereoptypically adolescent males) who engage in transgressive online gameplay to disrupt the online experience for others. The transgressive behavior might range from profanity, scatological behavior and racism to the writing of programs (scripts) that tax the servers of the virtual world to the point where it goes offline.

If you are familiar with griefers, then you are probably also familiar with user created virtual security operations that have emerged to counter griefers. For example, Ludlow and Wallace (2008) describe a case inside of (the now defunct) virtual world The Sims Online. Fed up with the behavior of a handful of griefers, a group of players formed a virtual paramilitary organization called “The Sim Shadow Government” (SSG). Organized into an executive branch, an intel branch, and a “war department”, the SSG monitored the movement of griefers inside of The Sims Online, followed them in the game, warned other users about them by using negative reputational tags, and often filed “abuse reports” with the game company (for example, reporting players for violations of the terms of service of the game company).

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SSG Intelligence Branch, organizational chart.

Some players inside of The Sims Online felt that the SSG went too far in their operations. Members of the SSG were quite capable of hounding people out of the game without benefit of fair hearing or trial, and they were also very close to the game monitors of the game company, yielding charges of favoritism. Protest organizations with names like “Freedom Gameplay” and “The Lightsavers” (dedicated to casting out the shadows) emerged and pushed back with anti-SSG propaganda and with griefing attacks against the SSG itself.

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Freedom Gameplay organizes against the SSG

This might seem like an odd and fleeting phenomenon, but in fact it is replicated many times over in virtual worlds. Trouble makers enter the world, and antibodies form to fight the trouble makers, apparently as a completely emergent phenomenon. The only difference is that as virtual worlds become more important and visually rich the intensity of the battles has risen dramatically. A recent episode from Second Life illustrates just how dramatically.

Second Life, of course, is a virtual world in which the developers provide users with robust tools to build and “script” objects, ranging from clothing and homes to vehicles and weapons. The result is that there is much user created content – some of it very edifying, some of it junk, and some of it obscene. For example, a Second Life griefer group known as the W-Hats had a property featuring giant penises, swastikas, and a “build” with a Death Star blasting the World Trade Center.

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The W-Hat “build”

Another griefer group, called the Patriotic Nigras (PN) routinely engaged in racist and transgressive behavior, targeting clubs inside of Second Life and took credit for griefing the Second Life political campaign headquarters for John Edwards (The W-Hats also took credit. The Edwards campaign blamed Second Life Republicans).

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John Edwards’ virtual campaign headquarters griefed. PN take credit.

The PN in turn had been spawned by an infamous internet web site known as 4chan – an online site famous for its adolescent hijinxs that included spamming their enemies with famous scatological internet content like “Tub Girl” and “Goatsee”. More specifically, the PN had been organized on /b/, a section of the 4chan site dedicated to transgressive behavior.

The PN actually came into existence in 2005, when members of 4chan (“channers”) decided to raid Habbo Hotel, a virtual world aimed at younger children. The channers created black presenting avatars with afros, and surrounded Habbo’s virtual swimming pool warning the children that “the pool is closed because of aids.” Thus were born the PN, and their slogan (still used) “Pool’s Closed”. A griefer organization like that with a permanent presence inside of Second Life was bound to be the virus from which a virtual vigilante group emerged.

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Pool is closed: 4chan invades Habbo Hotel, 2005

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Channers get transgressive.

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The PN comes to SL and attacks the Gay Yiffing Club (GYC) with self-replicating Marios

In 2006, a Second Life avatar by the name of Kalel Venkman decided to create a vigilante group to fight the likes of the PN, and he decided it would be fun to do it in the guise of comic book superheroes. He donned a Superman skin, and he named his group the “Justice League Unlimited.” Other familiar superheroes soon followed, including The Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman, and others.

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A New Sheriff in town: the JLU

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JLU Members in happier times.

In real life, Kaleel was a late middle aged technical writer living in Simi California. He apparently had flex time, and he also appeared to have sufficient charm and gravitas to attract members to the Justice League and to keep them well organized and on mission. Their Justice League headquarters had a marvelous NASA quality control room, with monitors that displayed constant updates coming in from sensors all over the Second Life grid. The updates also informed the League members what representatives from the game company were online. As with the SSG, the Justice League had close contacts with employees of the game company (Linden Lab), and utilized those relationships in filing abuse reports against other players.

What perhaps began as a fun exercise in roleplay soon began to go awry. Overzealous Justice League members began abuse reporting heavily, and also began picking fights with unlikely groups within Second Life. For example, the Justice League was banned from Furnation (an area inside Second Life dedicated to players that like to don anthropomorphized animal costumes), because of their excessive vigilantism.

The JLU of course clashed with the PN, but the problem became determining who was really a member of the PN and who was simply in the orbit of the PN. Matters took on fractal complexity when some students of Woodbury University (a real life University with a virtual campus inside Second Life) became associated with 4chan and the PN. In what seemed like a bizarre case of guilt by association, the members of the Justice League took on the students of Woodbury University, at one point successfully getting Linden Lab to shut down Woodbury Island (the virtual campus). Naturally matters quickly escalated.

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Someone (presumably from the Justice League) contacted the administration at Woodbury University to complain about the faculty supervisor of Woodbury and to argue (in effect) that he was corrupting innocent youth and inspiring them to griefer ways. In turn, the students, led by the avatar Tizzers Foxchase (Jordan Belino in real life) turned up the heat on Kalel, to the point where a number of Woodbury students went trick or treating at Kalel’s house on Halloween. Kalel wasn’t home, so the students told his wife to tell him that Woodbury had been there. Kalel naturally flipped out.

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Tizzers Foxchase

Tizzers herself was not a member of the PN; she seemed to have not much more of an agenda than to fight the Justice League and defend Woodbury. For Kalel, however, the Woodbury claims of innocence were nothing more than Eddie Haskelling (“lovely hair Mrs. Cleaver”). Tizzers was a griefer in spite of her nice young lady rap, and that was that. The problem was that more and more people were starting to look like griefers to Kalel, including people who were his competition in the virtual world security business – or at least this was the claim of Intlibber Brautigan, a Second Life real estate mogul, famous for posting libertarian manifestos on the forums. If Intlibber was to be believed, the harassment from the Justice League had been financially motivated and astoundingly heavy handed.

“How about the meanness of the JLU in getting countless innocents permabanned from SL for the mere act of being a black avatar, or saying an internet meme in chat, or being falsely abuse reported with impossible charges (like “copybotting a megaprim owned by Michael Linden”), or participating in public protests.

Yes, these people deserve a lot more than “a little meanness”. Lets get it straight, they are snitches, rats, stool pigeons, LIARS, defamers, collaborators, trespassers, and instigators. Siobahn McCallen, who resided in my sims with her girlfriends yet worked with JLU in defaming me and encouraging my residents to leave. These sort of people don’t deserve niceness.”

Intlibber also complained that the tactics of the JLU worked to get innocent gamers banned:

“Anybody who teleports into a monitored sim within 5 minutes before a sim crashes gets logged to their db as a suspect, and given a score. The number of times this happens jacks up your score. Your score is further handicapped by how young your avatar is and what your payment status is (helps to catch throwaway alts quickly).”

Any account that scores too highly on this system gets automatically abuse reported by a bot to Linden Lab, no further investigation done by human hands.

The JLU contended that IntLibber had hired the PN to grief his enemies in the virtual real estate business, but no evidence was brought forward.

It wasn’t just their competitors that were marked as griefers; the Alphaville Herald, which had been reporting on griefers in virtual worlds since 2003, was a griefer media organ in Kalels eyes. The Herald‘s editor, an avatar Pixeleen Mistral was therefore also a griefer. Kalel came to falsely believe that Pixeleen was identical with me, and so I must be a griefer too. There were griefers everywhere, it seemed.

(More to Come. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel)

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Comments

  1. Let me express my sheer revulsion at the way in which Peter Ludlow has once again seized a story out of a game/world and harnessed it in utterly self-serving ways, leaving out crucial information and spinning the story to exonerate his own and Pixeleen Mistral’s sordid involvement in griefing in SL — pumping it up so they have something to report on.

    Um, it might be helpful to note that I was the first one to report on this issue, because when both the plans for the

    scripted device, and the various chats were sent to me on notecards, I instantly published all of them, in full.

    Here’s the original blog entry removed by Typepad now only available in Google cache:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:bMLxqKhNGrYJ:secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2010/01/woodbury-and-justice-league-goons-develop-new-larp-ar-vw-rp.html%3Fcid%3D6a00d83451cfe069e20120a7d929f4970b+Prokofy+Kalel+Venkman&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Here’s a blog entry that is still viewable normally in which I note that I didn’t get the DMCA notice yet at that date (it had become lost)

    http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2010/01/the-justice-leak.html

    What I published was not only a list of names of people being watched by this surveillance system, quite a few of whom were actual serial documented griefers and stalkers but the plans for the scripted device, which were the equivalent of notes on a cocktail napkin. Kalel Venkman refers to them in the document as follows: “(an early brainstorming session between Maverick Grunfeld and Kalel Venkman)”

    The document is a broad outline of how LSL (the scripting language) could be harnessed to gather intel on people, feed it to an outside server, then suck it back into SL on demand in a customized fashion, were the heart of the story. If the Lindens let them do that, essentially as a hack around their TOS which prohibits the cutting and pasting of chat to other residents

    without their consent, then they are in on it and implicated in having created this “paramilitary force” to do their

    dirty work. That’s the essence of the matter — if people get around the TOS by first exporting chat to a third party

    site (which is legal, and the Lindens and do not claim overreach here in their jurisprudence on this matter, unlike

    other game/world platform providers) — but then import that chat/info/intel back into SL through scripted devices, by now claiming it is altered and some different, outside text, to be used to harass and intimidate and stalk people inworld, then

    they are contributing to the essential violation of their TOS — and their civil rights.

    Now, mind you, I think the ban on copying chat is ridiculous. No one can stop you from copying and forwarding all or parts of an email; it would be hard to be able to try a case like that in court merely for that act unless you could link it to some other crime like libel, or possibly use it in a divorce case or something, but it’s really a stretch. But stalking and harassing and falsely reporting people seems to me it can reach the stage of actionable behaviour — at least, Peter Ludlow implies that by focusing on the crimes of the Justice League, but the far worse crimes of Woodbury University constituting the same thing he ignores and even finds humorous.

    I personally have no use for vigilante groups in SL, have nothing to do with JLU, don’t care for their RP, and merely happen to be harassed by the people they chase in ways likely worse than the ways they’ve harassed him. Even so, I published the plans for this device because I felt that both Lindens and coders should see these plans (and the general public should know about it) — and of course not surprisingly, Karl Venkman sent a DMCA notice to Typepad claiming copyright infringement.

    I claimed that the summation of talks about plans (as the document called it) was not the script itself and not some kind of “business invention” (as they claimed) but a document that should be exposed as essentially criminal in nature in violating community standards and people’s civil rights. Typepad sent me a notice ordering me to remove the material, but merely because it ended up in the spam file on my email, I didn’t see it. I then got their second notice informing me that they’d already deleted the material. I contested it and got no reply. Unlike the Herald, which callously abandoned Typepad/Six Apart as soon as they won their case to have the material restored, I stick with Typepad because they have on many occasions helped prevent or remedy griefing of my site, and they also in fact response very intelligently in dealing with all the kinds of false abuse reports that controversial bloggers like me face. They followed a pro-forma customer service handbook on this one, and it would take more time and resources than I have to reverse this deletion than I have, although I’m confident they’d fix it.

    Not being a well-paid professor with loads of media and legal friends of the sort Peter Ludlow accesses, I dropped it. Of course, Mark McCahill (Pixeleen Mistral’s real-life typist which he has now publicly linked) didn’t mention any of this in his reporting and it’s not reflected here in your piece at all; he ignored the fact I had always been victimized by the takedown strategy and didn’t show any solidarity or attempt to have my blog restored. Not surprising there; Mark McCahill himself regularly and often himself takes part in griefing expeditions in SL so he can report on them in the Herald. It’s a hugely discredited and disgusting practice, one that as recently as Friday night, April 10 he was indulging in again, accompanying a pack of Woodbury Unviversity goons.

    That’s why this is so morally reprehensible — the Herald doesn’t *really* care about protecting people’s civil rights or getting at the heart of this issue with LL because it’s all “meta” for them — if something doesn’t exist as a legitimate scholarly subject to study, they will artificially bring it into existence by going around with griefing hordes, celebrating their exploits in the Herald, inciting them in articles and comments, and generally participating in the entire sordid griefing story of SL just so they can get a book out of it, interviews with mass media, various credentials as lecturers and “experts” and your own high-profile coverage. Everyone who actually

    goes in SL regularly (that wouldn’t be you) knows this about this grown 54-year-old-man from Duke University, former Internet hero, now heading a program on virtual education– that he hangs out with the grief kiddies and eggs them on so that he can report on them. Ludlow is a bit more circumspect (unless he’s on an alt we don’t know about); he drops in perhaps a few times a year to attend an event, but doesn’t really follow it, letting Pixeleen do all the grunt work.

    I could push Typepad to restore my page, showing them their decision on the Herald, and eventually I’ll get that

    done; it’s not on my list of real-life priorities at the moment. My publishing of documents for plans to violate civil rights isn’t a copyright theft or exposure of a business document; I think in any libel or tort case, for example, it would be very difficult to prove that this unregistered business with no Tax ID or anything, which perhaps make a few bucks selling this device to role-playing kids in SL (I have no idea what they’d get for it on the open market) had somehow suffered harm because I “leaked their business document”.

    When human rights groups pick up the rights of terrorists as a subject, which they are right to do, they may be doing something controversial that puts them outside the mainstream, but they have to persist anyway for the sake of the rule of law. But when they fail to find away to address the abuse of rights of terrorists’ victims, or worse, appear to celebrate terrorism with various views on armed struggle, defensive jihad, etc., they begin to be seen as not only immoral, but inciting the abuse of human rights. That’s happening in real life now with the story of the scandal of Amnesty International’s gender advisor resigning over the fact that her organization is promoting a victim of Guantanamo who himself advocates the violence by supporting jihad and makes common cause with those who suppress the rights of women and other rights.

    The Alphaville Herald story here, while a pixelated microcosm with bits and bytes and kids in superhero costumes, is in its dynamics and nature the same kind of story — Those who say they are crusading for rights are in fact inciting the abuse of those rights by those same griefers and laughing at the victims. The Herald is utterly discredited given their history of inciting, celebrating, publicizing, and helping griefers — they aren’t a newspaper, but a kind of cult of personality with a propaganda arm.

    (I could also note that on the history of the Sim Shadow Government, Ludlow is once again misrepresenting the nature of this organization, which I was personally griefed by and also fought vigorously, even though I wasn’t at all related to mafias. They had a cover story that they fought mafias, but that wasn’t *really* what they were up to. In fact, they formed their parallel underground government to take over all the top skill and revenue generating lots in

    the Sims Online game and hound others away from those spots, even renaming them, using the ruse of “fighting mafias” to gain emotional support. It was a marvel to see all the top lots renamed Shadow this or Shadow that for a year, with EA.com/Maxis refusing to do a thing about it (I often felt Will Wright was responsible for this because like Mark Wallace — and you — he found “emergent behaviour” of griefing organizations an interesting phenomenon to study, althought those of us who are harassed by this cyberbulling don’t find it so much “interesting” as a typical banality of evil.)

    (And a P.S. on the usual skewed writing of TSO history — the screenshot you show of a group supposedly fighting the Shadow Government is in fact just a fake front group of their own used for intel gathering. The real group fighting it, my Lightsavers group, is of course ignored as that doesn’t fit into Wallace & Ludlow’s narrative here — although he mentions it in passing in their book.)

    Because neither you or Ludlow ever really go in Second Life (unless you’re on the griefing alts we don’t know), you’re missing the point about 4chan — it’s really more about Jordan Belino in RL, “90 pounds of boy in a 100 pound body” as one critic described the leader of Woodbury University in SL currently using the name Tizzy Teardrop and many other alt names, representing himself as a franchiser of the 4chan shtick in SL, and continuing to push it as his own vanity project well past the sell-by date when other PNs of 4chan regulars have long

    since gotten bored and gone on to greener griefing pastures or dropped their youthful griefing life (or pretended to).

    Re: “In what seemed like a bizarre case of guilt by association, the members of the Justice League took on the students of Woodbury University, at one point successfully getting Linden Lab to shut down Woodbury Island (the virtual campus). Naturally matters quickly escalated.”

    Good Lord Henry, you really need to do your research on this. You’ve merely been shilled and manipulated into becoming part of this griefing operation by tendentiously — outrageously! — reporting what really happened here.

    What happened — as Linden Lab could confirm and as well as real educators doing real educational work in SL who have seen what this group is really about — is that Woodbury University griefed people in SL, including me and my tenants in Ravenglass Rentals, and various other communities on the mainland in particular, so savagely and

    so regularly, including by sexual harassment, simulated rape, particle bombing, prim littering, sim crashing, etc.

    etc. and so abused their own actual rented sim through crashing, etc. that the Lindens finally, after several warnings, closed their account some years ago on valid grounds for systematic and egregious TOS violation, and confiscated their island. Whatever you think about the right of government-like structures to seize land or property (something I oppose on due process grounds) you certainly can’t fall for that old chesnut “group by association” when you

    have dozens of people in a group constantly harassing others and crashing sims. Everyone knows this isn’t guilt by association, by more about the legal concept of “conspiracy,” i.e. planned group action to commit violations. A former teacher for WU confessed to me that there were 4 people in this class in this diploma mill. Do your homework, Henry, it’s embarrassing. And call in a real investigative journalist from a real newspaper, not a blog or a think-tank, to find out how it came about, that Linden Lab, after several years, let the permabanned Tizzers Foxchase back into SL on the name Tizzy Teardrop, fakely repenting, and let him and WU rent a new set of islands via a strange scheme put together by Intlibber Brautigan (a story too long to tell here).

    Intlibber Brautigan, a notorious figure all his own in SL with a throughly discredited reputation now also permabanned with his 30 odd islands seized for non-payment, is hardly a source here. He’s often cooked up this weird idea that people who reported griefing of people that he himself hired in a strange scheme of “turning griefers straight” were merely trying to compete with him in the land business. Given the gadzillions of rental companies in SL, many of them far larger than Intlibber’s, as well as far smaller, the notion that reporting the actual griefing of these people as “false reporting on the competitions” is preposterous — when it was basically only a few mainland communities that they found easy targets. It was a game for him and them. But other people lost real money as their tenants refunded when giant penises were shoved at them in their homes.

    The term “Eddie Haskelling” is a term I invented as the record shows; these kids are too young to have ever watched Leave it to Beaver.

    Pixeleen *is* a griefer. When you spend years “embedded” with griefing groups and go with them riding shotgun on their raids; when you incite demonstrations against people to harass them; when you continually

    publish all this harassment gleefully in the Herald, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The Herald has always made a lot of the news it covered because the news beat can be slow in SL.

    Please don’t tell me that you were going to really tell the story straight in Part 2; you know full well what’s up here. Your friend Peter is spinning a self-serving yarn, which for some reason you find “fascinating”. What would it take, Prof. Jenkins, to get you to get it? Having a penis shoved at you in a virtual world and have your sims crashed every week as I and others in SL have suffered from these griefers incited by the Herald?

  2. IntLibber Brautigan says:

    LOL Henry, let me introduce you to the virtual worlds greatest troll and self-griefer, Prokofy Neva (aka Catherine A Fitzpatrick), in SL a young male avatar whose ethnicity changes with every new feel-good developing world human rights cause, run by a 50+ divorced woman who does propaganda for the CIA’s Radio Free Europe in between doing bad translations of Soviet autobiographies. AKA the Crazy Cat Lady, AKA Dear Leader, AKA Random Unsung. A woman incapable of being told the truth when her mind is made up.

    If you want to know more of the real history of griefing in Second Life and various residents responses to it, including my own, let me know.

  3. I wonder what/who is bankrolling Intlibber to appear on the scene again, after his epic losses of Woodbury University and other investment funds and the demise of his 30 sims.

    A refutation of Intlibber’s regular smearing of me:

    http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2009/09/refuting-a-smear-from-intlibber-again.html

    I don’t write propaganda for RFE/RL. I occasional publish my freelance journalism on its website. RFE/RL is funded and managed by Congress, and has not been related to the CIA since the 1970s. I have nothing to do with the CIA nor any other intelligence agency.

    I’m 53.

    My translations have always been praised by the New York Times and others.

    My known alts in SL include people with my obvious rentals groups, Random Unsung, Dear Leader, and others you can see right on the group officers.

    Crazy Cat Lady is not a name I use. I don’t like cats very much. I’m forced to tolerate two that are my children’s pets because they like them.

    The griefing of my lands in SL is all on the record and results in actions taken by Linden Lab against the accounts, i.e. some of the Woodbury griefing accounts who harassed and disrupted the meeting April 10.

    Intlibber is incapable of telling any “real history” of Second Life, but only his own self-serving account of his escapades. I suppose Henry will indulge in all these, um, “narratives of virtual persons” as much as he likes, egged on by Peter Ludlow and supplied with copy by Mark McCahill.

  4. GreenLantern Excelsior says:

    I’m a long-time JLU member. Let me address some of the inaccuracies and outright lies in this story.

    Allegation: JLU used close contacts with Linden Lab employees to file abuse reports against other players.

    Fact: JLU members use the same reporting system that’s available to any Second Life resident to file Abuse Reports. No special relationship with Linden Lab employees is necessary.

    Allegation: JLU was banned from Furnation due to “excessive vigilantism.”

    Fact: Furnation administrators decided that they wanted to control their own sims rather than ask for patrolling by outside groups. JLU respected that decision and removed Furnation from our patrol list. Stories surfaced later about false abuse reporting and police-like behavior on the part of JLU members. As far as I can determine, those stories are pure fiction.

    Allegation: Some students at the Second Life Woodbury University “became associated” with members of the PN, so JLU went after the students and got Linden Lab to shut down Woodbury University Island.

    Fact: PN members were given free housing at Woodbury (perhaps mistakenly) by Tizzers. They planted caches of griefer weapons, and launched their raids from there. Linden Lab saw Woodbury as a major source of griefing and took action. This was not an issue of the evil JLU vs. innocent students.

    Allegation: Jordan Bellino and some friends from Second Life showed up at Kalel Venkman’s house on Halloween to “turn up the heat” on Kalel.

    Fact: Jordan recently stated that the trick or treat expedition was a spur of the moment decision, not a malicious attack.

    Allegation: JLU was able to get Second Life residents permanently banned for having a black (African-American) avatar and for other reasons.

    Fact: The Linden Lab Terms of Service do not prohibit black avatars. Writing an Abuse Report on someone for having a black avatar would be an act of Intolerance, which is a ToS violation on its own. This didn’t happen.

    Allegation: JLU has a device or system that logs resident names into a database, assigns them a score based on a complex series of factors, and fires off an Abuse Report when the score reaches a predetermined number.

    Fact: Some of the resident names in the JLU database are associated with Abuse Reports written on them by JLU members. JLU members can write short informational articles on the residents in the database. They can also assign those residents a designation such as Person of Interest, Friend of the JLU, or Griefer. That is all the customization that’s available. At no time has JLU ever had a system that assigned a “score” to a resident, and as far as I know there is no way to submit an Abuse Report other than writing it yourself. Intlibber’s Fantastic Lucky Technicolor AR Machine doesn’t exist.

    Allegation: JLU members are snitches.

    Fact: The “Stop Snitching” campaign is not welcome in JLU Headquarters. We prefer to call ourselves witnesses.

    Allegation: JLU is a vigilante group.

    Fact: We have no more authority in Second Life than any other resident, we do not tell residents that we have any kind of police powers, and we never take action against griefers. All we do is observe and report. Linden Lab takes any action they deem necessary. Basically we are a Neighborhood Watch in Second Life.

    Allegation: JLU is building a system that will send local chat logs from Second Life to an outside server, which will then send the logs back into Second Life.

    Fact: The system under discussion is called The Phantom Zone. It is a replacement for the current very popular Banlink system. The basic idea is a security system that allows a parcel owner to add a griefer’s name to the system so the griefer will be unable to enter the parcels of others who subscribe to the system. Banlink is highly effective, and test results show that The Phantom Zone will be a vast improvement. It is not a civil rights issue in any way. Basically it is the Neighborhood Watch taken to its highest level – locking the gates of the entire community against the bad guys while allowing the good guys to roam free.

    JLU is not the insidious, creepy, fascist group that some people make it out to be. I like to say that we stand between innocent residents and those who would do them harm. The truth is somewhat less dramatic than superheroes fighting evil and saving mankind. Although we don’t protect anyone from being seriously hurt or killed, we do assist in removing griefers from the grid, which stops them from bullying those innocent residents. I’ve never understood why someone would be opposed to removing griefers from the grid, but I think a truthful answer to that question would make interesting reading.

  5. IntLibber Brautigan says:

    Have to love seeing GLE, the JLU’s “Bagdad Bob” running interference for Kalel.

    Firstly: My original comments about a system that logged avatars who entered a sim within 5 minutes before a sim crash was describing the system Angel Fluffy, Pat Harlow, and other JLU members and allies set up on their MoonLit Glade 3 server (formerly mlg3.net) and which operated as a group on the SLBanlink system known as PNT, which stood for “Patriotic Nigra Terminators”. The features of this system made it very successful in quickly reporting and banning active griefers, but it also just as quickly gained a reputation for false reports against innocent persons who got banned as a result of coincidences or because they were, in fact, engaging in their own way in fighting griefers by following them and logging their activities.

    Either way, the features of the PNT system are described in Kalel Venkman’s “Phantom Zone” document as features to be included in his more powerful system.

    Fact: JLU members automatically report any avatar who wears a black skin, a large fluffy afro hairdo, and the default Library tuxedo suit, as a “PN Raider”. That PN members prefer that sort of avatar as representative of the character in their “Pool’s Closed” graphics automatically makes anybody with such an avatar guilty in the JLU eyes of being a PN raider. The charge in the abuse report is “PN Raider” not “being black on a sunny day”, despite the fact that they mean the exact same thing.

    Claims that the JLU has no more authority in SL than anybody else is belied by their own wiki database that was leaked by The Wrong Hands. Much like the climategate emails exposed the dirty playing of alarmist global warming researchers, the leaked JLU wiki exposes their dirty underwear to the public, including significant amounts of defamation of myself, my business, and Woodbury University.

    RE: Woodbury University’s sim was taken down due to both the JLU and Prokofy Neva screaming at Jack Linden. After that, Woodbury came back to SL renting land in my estates, which began the campaign of defamation of myself by Prokofy and the JLU membership. Woodbury now operates four sims of their own in SL. One reason they are still on the grid is that many members of the SL community have figured out by now that the organized group griefing by the PN was really organized by members of the JLU on their spy alts within the PN group. They used the PN as a dialectical pressure group to give them an enemy on the grid to fight, to allow them to build influence across the grid as these great crime fighters, to build influence within LL, and also to build public sympathy for furrys among the general public as ‘victims’ of “fursecution”.

    Since I exposed these facts to the public, and outed the JLU’s spy alts, who were then removed from the group, the amount of griefing in Second Life has dropped dramatically. The number of abuse reports filed in Second Life today are less than one quarter of the number filed in the summer of 2007, at the height of the griefer war, and despite a large expansion in the SL user base since that time and a doubling in the size of the grid. With the JLU barred from most furry sims and much of the rest of SL, they are limited to snitching on people in the public sandboxes and placing spies in sims they are banned from (including spying on the Woodbury campus), and hosting “AR parties” on their own sim to mass report people their spies spot in sims they’re not allowed in who they dont like or think are doing something that is against the terms of service, even if it is entirely in private and of no harm to anybody.

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    Fortunately for everybody else, Intlibber, you cannot just make up fabulous, preposterous lies and pass them off as the truth when there are bountiful witnesses who can straighten things out.

    You exposed no facts to the public, because you didn’t have any to expose.

    You could not have identified the Justice League as being the driving force inside the PN, because you had zero access to that information. A lot of people were thrown out of the PN, yes. But it was the PN throwing their own people out. They even turned on their own leadership a few times.

    This is a lie you have been trying to sell for two years, because you couldn’t stand the fact that you got thrown out of Proactive Security for being a conspiracy theorist and a general nuisance, and because you sensed that Venkman had control over the situation and you didn’t, and it comes down to simple e-Penis envy. So you concocted this ludicrous “secret war” explanation, where the JLU had far reaching and ubiquitous control over millions of SL users without a single person ever once putting two and two together.

    And your business failed because you drilled it into the ground all by yourself. Blaming that on anybody else is just lame.

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