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Thursday, March 17, 2016


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Harassment is absolutely not an unsolvable problem, and Scott Jennings is exactly right that it just costs time and money. This is why Second Life is also a cesspit of harassment and abuse, because Linden Labs no longer looks at or responds to abuse reports. I think that they tried it - years ago they used to actually take action on abuse reports, and at some point decided that it's no longer worth it. They have put in the mechanical solutions you mention that they hope will be enough: you can block someone, ban from your land or from groups. But that person can endlessly sign up alts to harass you with, while you submit ARs against each of them in vain.

Another possible solution is to turn over enforcement of community standards to vetted volunteer moderators. If there is a sufficiently large and engaged social community, you will have people who are eager to volunteer to protect it. It would still require oversight, but would be less expensive than hiring full-time investigators and enforcers.


Initially I believe it is an impossible thing to deal with. The Virtual world is no different to the real world. No matter what you do, there will always be people who randomly break the rules. There is not much you can do to stop people who attack others randomly, but what you MUST do is make sure you prosecute those people for their actions as soon as you can after the initial attack. Everyone kind of understood that it was impossible for LL to protect them from random attacks by griefers. But it was their total lack of action and seeming care less attitude once these attacks were reported that eventual got them a shameful reputation in this area.
There could also be far more done to empower the individual player, by giving them client side options for deleting or at least making invisible the offending player, even if it is only initially from their own viewer. There is nothing a griefer hates more than to be ignored or muted.
It should also be made clear to anyone getting involved in any close quarters VR experience that the possibilities of griefing exist. Some people are very naïve about virtual worlds “well they are not real are they”
The off switch is always just a click away yet some people act as if they are forced to stay. I have seen many people suffer griefing unnecessarily simply because they hang around to long when they should be long gone. In our sims we even had women complain of being raped or molested, in a Virtual world? what were you doing for god sake, just turn off the machine. Of course after any of these experiences are reported it is the owner or game developers total responsibility to do all they can to make sure the offending player is removed forever from the game. But of course they will return, there is nothing a griefer likes more than a challenge. Community policing is fine in free games, but is a lot more difficult when money is involved. We had selected moderators, but we spent a lot of time sorting out claims of wrongful banning, one mans griefer is another mans passionate player.Can be difficult to decide at times, especially in an adult virtual world.

sirhc deSantis

'The implicit answer being No Fucking Way' I think is the most honest statement I have ever read here. Kudos.
I find it a tad annoying that there are, for want of a better term ahem, males now discovering that this is a problem because 'immersion'. Its always been there, welcome to the shitfest, even if late.
If we are to focus on SL (as we have lived it) then telling users what tools are available as part of orientation would be a major plus. FFS I have had to tell people who have been active for years that yes you can mute, derender and ignore....but no one ever told them. Go figure that one. I know the new gateway thingy is being brought in and hope thats a major focus, but I doubt it.
On the lab ignoring ARs well yes this is claimed so many times it has to be gospel but - I would like the lab to actually say how many they get swamped with on an hourly basis. Last 3 I put in had results. But I don't do social so YKMV.

As for 'vetted volunteer moderators' I have one acronym - JLU.
Spandex clad or not, if I see one on anywhere I have control its mute derender ban etc. Thats just me =^^=

pussycat catnap

As others note - it is perfectly solvable but you need to invest to make it happen.

What it all boils down to is companies, just like much of western media - are too afraid of offending the bigots to put the tools in place to prevent them harassing the rest of us.

Much as both gamergate and the blacklivesmatter movements demonstrate, the lives and safety of a 1000 minorities mean less to society than the thin-skin of one single caucasian (and this includes supposed liberals).

They are looking at it wrong though...

Consider how much more profit could be gained by making your online communities welcoming to the rest of humanity. On a global scale - the "redneck" is a very tiny segment of the population...

NPR was recently noting this in relation to tech companies and the diversity problem - which they often think is "solved" by hiring a white woman...
- But those brave enough to offend a few 'good old boys', and hire more diversely... find it very profitable and valuable for development to gain wider perspectives when trying to solve challenges.

- And that works as well when thinking of the audience you can market a product to...

Toss the bigots to the curb... embrace the tools needed to make diversity welcome, and you will boost your userbase with the vast majority of the rest of us who your competition insists on sidelining.

The money spent to combat and end harassment, will pay off in significant returns, if you are genuine about it.

A few decades ago sexual harassment and racism where the norm in US companies. At the start of my career I've even been stuck in a work meeting with my entire department of a US tech firm, in a strip club... and once, the US team met in a brothel during an overseas assignment, and I'd had a supervisor refer to people of ancestry that was a part of my own as "little brown f--k machines"...
- But try to pull that today and and such a person would be out the door, with a negative reference following them.

Business changed - litigation forced it to. And the returns have been a workforce much more able to compete on the global arena.

However in so many online communities, we not only get no response to reporting such people, if we do out them for their bigotry somewhere, we get in trouble for it.

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