It’s a fact of life that griefing is part of the subculture of Second Life. It’s not necessarily an agreeable subculture or one we particularly want or need, but it is there all the same. I say this not to excuse what goes on, but to underline the fact that right or wrong, most of us in hearing about it tend to shrug our shoulders and then carry on with our lives.
There are times, however, when griefing – which is actually crossing the line each and every time it occurs – crosses a the line not only in terms of resigned acceptance, but also in terms of criminal behaviour.
The fashion world in SL has recently been subject to this latter situation. This saw an SL user already complicit in copying skins and shapes, and whose profile boasted they had scant regard for the ToS together with outright threats against content creators, start to use griefing as an attempt to extort money from others. They did so by crashing large fashion events and then demanding payment in order to not crash future events.
Much of what happened in this matter appeared to go unreported outside of fashion circles – few blog (this one included) reported on the matter, despite the problems apparently occurring over a span of months. The Lab also appeared unwilling to engage in the matter, despite extortion being a criminal act. In the end, many of those affected by the situation saw no other choice than to themselves disrupt in-world user group meetings in order to try to voice their concerns and frustrations directly (if unfortunately inappropriately) to the few remaining Lab employees users can actually contact nowadays.
(I say “inappropriately” not as an admonishment here, but because those who were confronted by this extortionist were demanding direct action from those Lab personnel the least well equipped to provide meaningful feedback on matters.)
In the end, the approach did appear to work, inasmuch as the account of the individual concerned was banned from Second Life and all content relating to it (apparently ripped from other merchants) was removed from the Marketplace.
Of course, in an age and situation where alt accounts are freely available, the removal of a single account is no guarantee the individual responsible has actually been removed from SL – or more particularly that their modus operandi will not be repeated elsewhere by others.
Yordie Sands brings word that the latter appears to have happened, and the use of extortion has been taken up elsewhere. Writing yesterday, she details a situation where Junkyard Blues, a renowned SL blues club run by Kiff Clutterbuck and Dina Petty, has been recently subjected to repeated griefing attacks which comprised, in Kiff and Dina’s words, “Multiple griefers with blinding graphics card attacks and sim lag/crashes … In some instances the computers of many staff and patrons actually shut down or rebooted as a result of the attacks.”
Such was the frequency of the attacks that patrons began staying away from the venue. However this was not an “innocent” (if such a term can be used with any form of griefing) attack. Junkyard Blues were contacted and informed that if they handed over cash, the attacks would stop.
This is again extortion, plain and simple.
As a result of both the threats and the attacks, Junkyard Blues has been forced to resort to restricting access to their club to “members only”, which impacts both their business and their customers.