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June 15, 2006


Gwyneth Llewelyn

Thanks for your input, Daniel. It's good to know that the system is not being so abused as the most pessimists around here tended to believe. :)

I must say that I applaud your courage to create an "open sign-up experience", no matter what the risks. For all of us relying upon word-of-mouth to spread the news about SL to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, nothing is so positive than telling them "oh, just get an account to try it out, all it takes is 5 minutes and a 25 MByte download" :) Previously we had to patiently explain that LL did NOT charge you ANYTHING for a basic account, despite needing a valid credit card, a PayPal account, or an SMS in US/Canada to validate your identity... and this was a major turn-off for many potential new users. That barrier is now past us.

Prokofy Neva

Daniel, please, I can't believe you'd make this evaluation in a week where at least half a day is lost with a new patch -- actually several patches -- and when many, many people report log-in problems. You can't evaluate something like griefing by new accounts in just a week or even 21 days. These new people -- if they are genuinely new -- will take awhile to learn the game well enough to grief in it. Sometimes people figure out in 1 or 3 days, but to do more sophisticated griefing there's a learning curve for that, too.

What amazes me -- and this is how you get blinded by science, Daniel -- is that you could assume that if the percentage of griefing in the population remains steady, that this is "good" or that griefing "isn't increasing exponentially". But that's completely shortsighted. If only 1 in 100 is griefing, and that's one percent, that may seem like a nothing. But one percent of 500 is 5 -- and each griefer affects a circle of people around him that ripples out and disrupts more and more people -- and makes them leave.

You're not the ones losing actual U.S. dollars from griefing like I am, and having your business harmed -- you get paid regardless of whether there are griefers in SL, as does Gwyn. But I don't. I lose tenants. They move out. They press refund. I spent the entire evening yesterday losing time, money, and tenants over a scam artist -- a new resident -- who put invisible cubes to accept payments over many of the rental boxes, siphoning off tenants' payments.

What's also mind-boggling is how blind you are to the reality that if you once had the occasional teen on the adult grid, you have hordes of them now, and 9-year-olds on the teen grid -- you had that even with the cell-phone sign up, and now it's far worse.

You're treating Second Life like Yahoo. Just another page on the Internet. Wipe your feet on it, so to speak, scribble on it, grief it, discard it, flip to the next page. That's not a world, and it shows a profound disrespect for the world and the people working hard to create it. I don't understand why you, the original creators and maintaines of the world, could take such a cavalier attitude toward it.

Driving up the subscription numbers in this insane fashion doesn't fool anyone. All the more sophisticated gaming blogs and academics see right through that gambit, and ask to see the concurrent numbers and the trailing numbers of 7, 14, 30, etc. days. How many *stay*? Not how many you signed up.

Another effect of your numerous free accounts -- which is never encouraged -- is that less and less pepole then go premium and buy land. And that means you are really whacking the concept of the mainland. You are driving all the new customers into the arms of the private island dealers, and discouraging them from buying their own land or even going on the mainland into first land to experiment on their own with terraforming, creating, building, socializing with strangers.

You are stratifying the world, making people file into their niches in themed islands, so that they are easier to manage.

That's why the true numbers of griefers are masked. *You* aren't dealing with them. Island owners are dealing with them -- summarily, by mass-banning them, expelling them, denying them service even for the slightest rumour, or slightest infraction. What happens to these people? Who cares? You've washed your hands of them.

You so believe your own fake numbers and propaganda that you actually imagine that there would be a rush. There was never going to be a rush. This is a world that has 6000 people signed on at any one time, not actually 250,000 people doing something. And that means that the numbers of these alts will rise -- as more and more existing residents figure out that the way to take care of relationships or business deals gone sour is to get a griefing alt -- and that we will see more and more and more of various types of sophisticated griefing.

So once again, here we are with the usual Linden analysis: over-facile and over-rapid manipulation of statistics merely culled off the server, with no patience for any longer-term trends, no patience for actually doing inworld focus groups and listening; blindness to how the problems have in fact been passed along to island and mainland managers who take care of griefers far more summarily without due process as you do; and the bounce that will occur and increase as more and more longer-termed residents understand how they can get revenge.

This new sign-up system is like crack. It makes you feel like you are doing something to increase your numbers. Instead of doing the real work of trying to retain people by overcoming the user-interface problems, bugs, the huge list of user issues especially around systems not working with SL at all, getting rid of grey squares, lag, etc. -- doing the things to really make people stick and make it easier for them -- instead you will substitute volume of these kinds of Yahoo-type accounts.

I'm just so discouraged by this.

Frans Charming

Besides looking at the amounth of AR's and the overal percentage, do you also look where the AR's are comeing from?

I can count the times that i have been griefed on one hand, and don't expect that to suddenly increase. Just because i'm not a worthwile target, and i can imagine that is true for most residents.
But Places like Luskwood or Ravenglass rentals that already had trouble with griefers will most likely see more of that.

I would like to see some info on that. Maybe even a map with dots on them from where ARs are reported. So we can see if the hot spots are getting hotter.

Daniel Linden

Frans: The numbers I quoted above are based on the unique logins; they reflect the number of unique individuals who reported abuse rather, regardless of how many reports they filed. Another number I track is the average number of ARs per reporter -- in theory, if the new registration system were causing some number of individuals to file more often, that average should increase...

So far, it hasn't -- it's acually decreased a bit, from 1.5 ARs per reporter in the week before the change to 1.25 first week of the change. This suggests that abuse reporting has not become more concentrated.

Prokofy Neva

Daniel, thanks for ignoring my post, and pointedly answer Frans only (one of the tribe). So let me try again: your numbers are decreasing, as I noted, because you had a) a game patch this week b) numerous hours -- days -- of log-on problems for many people. I know, because I'm one of them, as are many tenants. Unable to log-on, and unable to do abuse reports.

I'd also like to hear a response about my rather obvious point: that if 1 percent of griefers is 1 out of a 100, and the world grows to 500 and the percentage of griefers remains the same, 1 percent, that's still 5 griefers -- that much more surface area of grief, that much more people effected, that much more ripple effect! It's not progress!

I'm going to be religious about filing abuse from now on, because when there's been such a slew of attacks, I don't have the time or stamina to keep filing them. I often find tenants don't bother, either, out of a sense of despair.

Perhaps we're right, because your attitude seems absolutely firmly entrenched, and you don't want to look at anything but your own numbers, and your own take on those numbers.

Daniel Linden

Prok: The numbers I offered are rates based on unique logins and reflect the percentage of logged-in Residents who filed Abuse Reports rather than the number; while the total volume of reports filed might be affected by patches and downtime, the rates I quoted are not.

Indeed, the volume of Abuse Reports HAS been increasing, but the increase has been in scale with the increase of our community as a whole.

Prokofy Neva


Please study this over more than a week or 10 days or even 30 days and follow up here if you can. It's very important to follow this over time for the reasons I've already stated -- that there are an awful lot of kids, and an awful lot of vengeful adults, and there's going to be a real alt-o-rama going down in SL with obvious repercussions.

Let me try again to explain why absolute increasing numbers of griefers, even if *percentages* don't decline, mean a deterioration of the qualify of Second Life.

Imagine 15 happy tenants on a sim, each paying, for the sake of argument, $15 USD per parcel. The first month, one out of 100 new residents comes to grief them, accidently, deliberately, who knows. One moves out, and they aren't replaced for two weeks, loss, $7.

Now, imagine that your percentage holds, and now there are 5 griefers who arrive. They attack five happy tenants and 5 of them move out. That leads to $35 loss.

Lather, rinse, repeat. The available number of tenants remained static like sitting ducks in their area to be griefed. The surface area of tenants remained the same, but the surface area of griefers increased. Add to that word of mouth, and the tendency of griefers to form groups, as I've documented many a times (the persistent ones, not the chance ones who are usually gone in a day or 7).

Anybody with a "hot spot" as various venue owners have explained on the forums keep getting griefers at the same percentage rate, but in fact now that there are more because there are *more* griefers, they are *more* attacked. If you are thinking of the griefing 1.5 percent or whatever getting washed out significantly by the other 98.5 percent of law-abiding citizens growing exponentially, think again. Certain venues magnetize griefers. And one reason for that is that Lindens treat all alts as innocent until proven guilty, so that alts returning even obviously and provocatively joining the same griefing groups are ignored until the cause harm. And now there are more of them.

By looking at the raw numbers of "the increase of our community as a whole" you're ignoring the obvious problems of the mainland and the regular targets of griefers. Improved group and land controls are being promised and could address the griefing problems. A willingness to acknowledge that your free and unaccountable accounts is also causing it would be helpful, too.

Ordinal Malaprop

On a separate issue, I wouldn't expect the number of ARs to have a direct linear correlation to the number of residents.

I'd expect more that ARs generated by each resident would follow a function based on the number of reportable offences that they experience (obviously) but also their age. Anecdotally, I find that newish residents frequently do not know anything about ARing or the TOS - they're annoyed at being shot or cheated or whatever but they have no idea that something counts as an "offence". They are also more likely not to bother reporting anything and just quit, as they have far less invested in SL.

In periods of rapid growth, the average age goes down so one would expect fewer ARs proportionally based on that. Of course, this is a bit of a vague theory, but I thought I'd throw it into the ring.

It's been a while since I ARed anybody, but there's a dropdown list, isn't there, with different categories? It would be interesting to see things analysed by that as well.

FlipperPA Peregrine

I agree with Prokofy on this one; and I think that says it all. However, I'll go into a bit more detail.

While this system may be working for YOU, internally, at Linden Lab, it is SUCKING for the rest of us. As a merchant, it SUCKS, explaining to people that scammers are running rampant. As a store building, it SUCKS, being required to put up an ugly billboard prim stating that I and only I am the manager of the store, and not to give anyone else money. As a VOLUNTEER, it sucks, because you've outsourced your responsibility of verifying age to the mentors, Live Helpers, and Instructors.


Eponine Basiat

So the abuse reports are going up. Griefers and throw-away alts are not going be filing abuse reports.

A better metric would be to check the increase in ARs filed by paying members or verified accounts only.

Travis Lambert

Dan - I understand that proportionally, abuse report percentages have remained steady against the number of users we have.

Thing is, Abuse is not evenly distrubuted throughout Second Life. There are certain 'hotspots' that are grief magnets. As such, places like the Shelter or Luskwood are getting a much greater share of this 'steady percentage'.

Just speaking for myself, in the nearly 2 years that the Shelter has been open, up until a couple weeks ago we had only 18 avatars on our permanant ban list. In two weeks time, that number has increased to 43. That's an amazing jump in just a short amount of time.

Very shortly, we will reach the 50-avatar cap that limits ban lists - much like Luskwood has long ago.

Once that happens, we will be 100% dependant on scripts to handle grief control. Unfortunately, the tools at our disposal haven't changed much since they were introduced in 1.2.

I understand that its not all bad, that there are some good things to come out of opening up the registration process. I just wish this decision would have been made *after* better measures to prevent grief before it starts could be put in place, such as those asked for in Proposition 244, which was submitted 14 months ago, and acknowledged by Linden 8 months ago.

If *proactive* tools to prevent grief before it starts get more attention as a result of this exercise, maybe there's a silver lining.

Is there one?

Hiro Pendragon


The "con" that you list is "weakening of identity". How about your thoughts of:
- Misbilling SL as an adult platform?
- The legal chasm LL has opened that it can potentially fall into should a parents' group get 1 case of an endangered child?

What about a compromise? Keep the initial startup easy, but make the age verification after a week and/or if they want to access Mature areas? *Every* legit website with adult content verifies age. It would be a tragedy for many developers in SL if the buck was passed to them and they were somehow responsible for checking age themselves.

Cocoanut Koala

Here are some more numbers for you (unscientific though they are), from those in the trenches:

On June 12th I made a poll on the General forum about whether or not people agreed with the new registration system (yes/no/other).

Of 217 respondants, 78% said no.

Today a new poll was started by another resident, Jennifer Christianson.

Of 108 respondants so far, 87% chose the option: "I hate it! It opens up SL to unlimited griefers / teens getting free access to the main grid."

That represents 10 percent more than were against it a week ago.


Talarus Luan

Well, I admit that I don't know the numbers behind-the-scenes, but I also don't know that reported abuse levels have any direct correlation to actual abuse levels, either. All I DO know is that abuse levels around the Isle of Wyrms, the Elven sims, as well as all the business scams going on ARE on the rise. There is factual proof to back it up, so unless the griefing has "moved" from one area of the grid away from us to our area of the grid, I would tend to call the results of any such analysis flawed and incomplete.

Lastly, to be frank, it appears that people are becoming more jaded as a result of lack of apparent action on the part of LL to deal with the abuse problems. I know that I have reported several instances of abuse, one which was reported by around 6 other people of a griefer setting off explosive devices at one of our sales, knocking patrons out of the business establishment, and lagging everything to nearly the point of crashing the sim, yet no item appeared on the blotter about the incident. Emails of "the situation has been reviewed and resolved" do not lend any level of comfort that such was the case at all.

Ben Lineker (on the TG)

Well, here is the flip side. On the TG, seemingly, everything is fine. There are your random people holding you for money at gun point, but, it's pretty peaceful. Then again, being linked to the MG economy has hurt us. A lot. While your market has lots of selling and buying, here, we have a load of selling, and not much else. The money isn't moving hands very much, creating a market that is very stand still.

At-least things are moving with these new accounts. The TG needs this to get things going.


perhaps a better measure should be incidents of griefing in proportion to PAYING CUSTOMERS. PAYING accounts are a much better measure of a user base than 10$ or free accounts.

PS: help cory win his bet!


Just out of curiosity, why is this based on number of people filing reports rather than the number of people reports were filed ON? Because I know in a lot of places, if something's going on (other than pvp abuse), only one out of the people affected will report the incident, and within a particular sim full of regulars, usually it's a few people who are first to jump to report, and they will tell the others "I reported them", and I imagine in some cases that means more people won't report, since they know it's already been done.

On a personal level, I have, in fact, witnessed more rude newbies. Granted I have met some nice ones as well, but in my usual hangout, I VERY rarely had to deal with people shooting at everyone, insulting people, and being a general pain... until the new system. I tried to ask around to find out if an influx of rude people was common in the summer, but never got an answer. But now it's rather frequent for me to encounter griefers. Usually I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and simply mention they can't use their gun in this area or they'll get into trouble. But some ignore it, at least one has blatantly said he didn't care about the rule (can't remember the name, I think a friend reported him), and one I couldn't find so just IMed the land owner who banned them.

But yeah, it's usually one of 3 people in that sim (and we're almost always hanging out there) making the reports, so basing it only on the number of people making reports doesn't seem quite right to me. Maybe number of reports, but even that might *over*estimate, since multiple people do occasionally report the same incident. So I would say maybe the number of people having reports filed *against* them instead as a measure. Does this make any sense at all? I tend to be terrible at articulating, hence why I'm so wordy.

Karmianna Hartunian

Well I for one have given filing AR's some months ago, nothing ever became of them so why waste my time. Did your study estimate unreported abuse? I would thn\ink that for everyone that is reported 2 go unreported.

In anycase It would be worth while for LL to give a formal response on the forums. Many paying customers such as myself are quite upset by this action, and we are wonder who is more important to LL those of us who pay to play and own land or those that come on to grief and go away when they get bored witht he lack of gore.

Maggie Morgan

I have owned my shop at the same location for well over a year now. Up until the beginning of June, I have had little or no trouble. The occasional newbie flexing his/her digital muscles which was typically dealt with by friendly conversation in which I explained the impact that his/her "flexing" had on my business.

Since the non-verification registration was put in place, I have had nothing but problems. I have been blown out of my sim several times, I have been griefed with spamming chat and sound more than once and I have found more "junk" on my land than I can list here.

Enough said.

Dash Curry

I am relatively new to SL. Been at it for about two months now. I started before the implementation of the new registration system. It was truly a wonderful experience. I spent most of my time just exploring... looking for interesting things and meeting interesting people.

Since June 6th, the number of restricted areas seems to have increased substantially. I can't fly for very long (unless I stick to the road) without running into a No Entry barrier.

I'd like to see some stats as to how many more places in SL are becoming restricted. Let me just say that I concer with the sentiments above. This is destroying Second Life -- and folks will move on and not look back. It is a transparent, short-term attempt to boost your numbers for the business/game analysts.

ARs? Please. People aren't filing ARs because you've made them into a joke. We all know that even if you DO ban a griefer, he'll just come back the next day with a different identity. And probably looking to cause more trouble for the poor slob who filed the AR. How can you base your numbers on something so pointless?

Access without accountability allows people to indulge their basest whims to the fullest. "See how many people I can mess with." "That guy ticked me off.. I'll make an alt and get him!" "I'll bet I can scam people out of a lot of money!"

Can't you see this? This isn't some philosophical theory here. These things are happening right now. I had someone put crap in my home. Did I file? No -- what's the point? I expect there are a lot of people here who feel this way as well.

On the other hand, all things change. I do appreciate that I had a little taste of the Golden Age of Second Life, certainly not as much as I would have liked, but I did enjoy it. I expect that it will now descend into the wasteland that is inhabited many other nondescript MMORPGs, filled with pedestrian content and griefers. I doubt you'll admit this to yourselves until it is too late. You guys had something there for awhile -- too bad you're killing it.

The concept isn't unique. Hopefully someone will step up to replace Second Life.

Charlene Trudeau

Maggie makes a valid point about the numbef of people bothering to file AR reports. I have to wonder how many folks that run into issues do file reports. Our youngest residents may or may not even know how to file one. Even if they do, they may not consider it important until they own a considerable amount of land or have a lot invested in a business.

Our own forum members continually drum out that its a waste of time to report AR's and lets do something else. I try to always chime in that it *is* important, that we *must* take this step, but I don't know that it helps any. :)

I have really mixed views on open registration now, however. I can see the the $L value seems to have gone beyond stabilization and begun to strengthen and I'm looking forward to seeing if the trend continues. I attribute this to a higher number of people in game who don't have a stipend and can either muddle along without buying anything or can purchase lindens. Ok, that's an upside.

The issues that worry me:
Teens on the main grid. They've been there before, they'll be there again, but its easier now. What are my personal risks here?

Griefing. I have land that has been griefed. It happened yesterday in Pando Square, all of Pando and even into at least one surrounding sim. One of the other owners in Pando got really upset. Me, I take it pretty calmly. Its easy enough to deal with: sit on a prim, file an AR, scream to live help and wait for a Linden to deal with the griefer. If I'm feeling particularly energetic when they are bombing, I start flooding their Lost and Found with all the prims the bomb has dumped on my property.

I'm attributing it to the holiday weekend, but yesterday's attack is the first one I've reported wherein the av hasn't been gone from SL's Find People within hours. I'll be tracking that closely as the one diff I noted is that this one was a paid/verified user, the others weren't.

Am I against open registration now? Not in general. Am I very concerned about Teens and Griefing (as separate and distinct issues, I don't assume one is the cause of the other)? Yes, I am.

I also trust that there will be a solution that doesn't involve scarlet letters or yellow armbands, though those are in place already if you choose to look at it that way.


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