Griefing, Then and Now

Mowry Bay Mayhem

Two months ago the Mowry Bay region was hit by a griefer attack. It was not alone; several other popular spots were also inundated by a flood of flying posters that announced:

“BAD LAB OPEN CARTEL
VR6 KABOUL”

On behalf of SL Sailors, let me offer Kudos to the SL Coast Guard for their response. They stayed on top of the griefing problem everywhere it impacted open waterways. That wasn’t so easy: the attack lasted several hours, and it took considerable Linden support to suppress the multicentric mayhem that ensued.

VR6 KABOUL seems to be the source of this terrorist sim-spam shutdown. I don’t know who VR6 is, but its notable that Emilly Orr posted similar pics of a griefer attack in the Neko-Zone. Her logos were somewhat different, but they were all labeled VR6 KABOUL. The spammed textures in Mowry kept changing design in a similar fashion to Emilly’s griefer, too.

I’m guessing VR6 is the latest in a series of grid-wide terrorist groups, whatever that means.

Sixty Second Global-Griefer History

Griefing has a long, multifaceted history in Second Life.

Way back in December 2006, CNET sponsored a conference honoring Anshe Chung, SL’s first inworld-enterprise millionaire.  It was a pretty significant milestone; it revealed SL had a future and showed SL was more than a fun web platform. SL was actually a capitalist tool (I use that phrase with all kindness); it deserved our respect and admiration. 🙂

The CNET  2006 extravaganza celebrated SL’s “Coming of Age.” People could live and work in SL, and some could do quite nicely at it!

However, the story didn’t stop there. SL was still a diverse, creative, and unruly community, and so I guess its no surprise SL users were unready to accept a uniform code of creativity and marketing progress. Many were still stretching their wings… many still finding the limits of possibility in such a novel, virtual environment.

key: FP=Flying Penis

Anyway, that’s sort of my understanding, and it explains what happened next. The stage for the  CNET event was deluged by a Flood of Flying Penises. (Cough)

I guess it’s no surprise that happened, given the enthusiasm and creativity of SL residents. Lindens were certainly at blame also, since the communication between individuals and community groups had fallen to serious, dysfunctional levels.

What might have seemed silly turned somewhat- semi- super- serious several months later, when Chessmaster Vladimir Karpov held an important press conference to advocate for political rights in the nascent Russian democracy. His real-life event was — incredulously — grief-attacked by a platoon of penises in flying formation. (OK, I apologize. That comment was inappropriate; I mixed military metaphors.)

Anyone online at the time was left gasping in wonderment. After all, what was real, what was Web?
Which was Worth keeping?

I admit that some of the comments attributed to the SL Room 101 griefers at the time of the CNET attack were among the funniest, most intelligent commentary on SL from that era.  I won’t give you the links because I’m not sure which ones are truly legit, but I’m sure you can easily find them posted and reposted from back then.

I’m writing this short article because I now think things are different. SL has moved on, and griefing is neither humorous nor productive. It’s simply no joke, and it halts the trust need to allow solid, creative users to invest in Second Life.

I think many old icons of Second Life would probably agree with my sentiment here. Griefing was once a common part of a growing-up process in SL… but now it’s time to genuinely grow, and make sure griefing stops.
Permanently.
But that’s just my view.


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