User:Fr43k Paine/Dealing With Griefers

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Intro

To hear all of the talk regarding the problem of "Griefing" in Second Life, one could be excused for thinking our world is overrun with juvenile delinquents with nothing better to do with their time than spoil other people's fun. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth!

In my experience, Second Life is full of wonderful, creative, intelligent, talented people who contribute positively to the content & culture, the economy & ergonomics, the diversity & direction of our world -- but if you do happen to come across one of the sad few whose purpose is to diminish your enjoyment of Second Life, it helps to know how best to deal with the situation and what tools and services Second Life has in place to enable you to do so. This tutorial presents some tips and tricks to help you out in this regard. Here they are:

Part I (Beginners)

Griefers

Ok, so what is a "Griefer"?
It's a person who wants to upset your enjoyment of SL. "Griefing" is harassment, bothering, shooting in a safe or non RP-related zone, verbal abuse and other types of violations of the Terms of Service (TOS) or Community Standards (CS). Griefing is willful and likely some teenaged boy who shouldn`t be here anyway :) And their motivations are simple they get their kicks out of irritatiting and dominating you.

So rule #1 is:

Stay Calm

But why stay calm? Because it spoils their fun. They're looking for a reaction, so they get bored if you just stay calm.
So, don't give them the attention they want: the reaction. Avoid under all circumstances to make any damage on the griefers avatar. It gives them the chance to report you and make you look like the bad guy!
Abusive Language, Intentionally Bumps, Shot by weapons, Caging, Orbiting and Deforming are the most used forms of griefing in SL. We`ll have a closer look on them in this article.

Basic Knowledge

Whatever a griefer tells you, do not believe him or her. They have no real powers and most important:
They can not kill you, even if you are on a damage enabled sim and they use guns! You can not die in SL!
If you should "die", you will just teleport back to your home location. Also, you will NOT lose any money or inventory. Again, stay calm, and NEVER pay a griefer who menaces to kill you, delete your items, account or would sent you a virus. That is absolute nonsense!
Best thing you can do is to mute them, or just leave and go on exploring. :)

Muting

So, for abusive language, one way to make them to "shut up" is muting. Muting will give you five advantages:

  1. No chat from that person in the chat history, including gestures.
  2. You can`t receive IMs from that person, including group chat msgs.
  3. You can`t recieve items from them.
  4. You won`t hear their Voice, if Voice is activated on that area and last but not least;
  5. All objects from this person are muted too, including attachments.
How to mute Residents and objects.

The SL client offers you 3 simple ways to mute an avatar and 2 ways to mute an object:

  1. R-click on the persons Avatar and select Mute from the pie menu. Remember muting the owner of an object will also mute all his/her objects for you.
    1. To mute a specific object, do a r-click on it and select more -> more -> Mute.
  2. Mute the person by Profile. Use the people tab on Search, if the person is not near you to get the persons profile and then click on the "Mute" button there.
  3. Mute button in history. If chat history is activated (CTRL-H), click on the blue button at the upper right corner with "<<" on it. Select the persons name from the list and check "mute" on the bottom.

You can see that "mute" can be a powerful feature. To view previously muted text, activate the "Show Muted Text" box in the chat history. If you scoll up, then you should see how much spam has been filtered by muting it. To avoid you will see spam in the future, after you have muted a person or object, please uncheck the "Show Muted Text" option again.

Please note: Muting cages or their owners won`t prevent them working. I will teach you later how to deal with them.
More options how to mute objects and residents will be tought in the advanced section of this article.

EDIT: In Viewer 2 and later, Mute is called "Block". (submitted by Lindal Kidd, Nov 15, 2011)


Pushes & Hits

Some griefers will become more agressive if you ignore them and will try to push you, or even worse. So, let`s take a look at Bumps, Pushes and Hits. Ask a friend to bump into you and then please look at Help -> Bumps, Pushes & Hits... See what it says, what is a great tool to figure out who your griefer is, if you get hit or even caged, shot, orbited etc. If they cage you it shows up there (i.e. Griefing Griefer hit you with a scripted object).
One thing to be mentioned: Not every bump is griefing.
Most newbies really have some problems to move and have no idea it`s "unfriendly" to bump someone in SL. Same if you teleport into a new area that uses a landing point and people will tp on your head or bump into you, it is not their intention. Anyway, a lot of residents will apologize if they bump into you, even if it was caused by lag. Depends on the persons character and experience though.

Avoid Pushes

A Movelock is a great tool to lock your AV at it`s current position, so it can`t be pushed by people. But if you can sit, sit. That`s right, sit. Try not to sit on the normal ground though, it`s still possible to push you with physical/scripted objects. While you are sitting on a seat, bench etc., that is not physical (can`t be pushed/moved) you are safe from beeing pushed and even orbiting! Sitting is a great defense along with rule #1 - Stay calm.


Find Invisible Objects

Find invisible objects.
Sometimes things are invisible, so you can not say what hit you. Then press CTRL-ALT-T to highlight transparent objects.

Transparent objects will become highlighted in red and half-transparent. Now there you are able to detect invisible objects, you are also able to mute or report them if necessary. :)
So, use this feature to check out stores because sometimes griefers leave invisible prims in stores where "build" is allowed and put a transparent prim over a legitimate vendor. When you think you are paying a vendor, you are actually paying the griefer. The griefer gets the money and you get nothing... So, if you are a victim of such a scam, file an Abuse Report (we will come to that) and IM the owner of the real vendor.
Press CTRL-ALT-T again to deactivate "Highlight transparent objects".
How to detect invisible micro prims will be tought in the advanced section in this article.


Particles

You can`t "mute" visual things but you can make them disappear on your screen. Particles are rendered client side, which means they cause no lag, it`s all up to your computer. The next powerful feature I will show you is the "Hide particles" option, which is under "View -> Beacons". Check that option to hide particles. This way you can get rid of real strong particle spam like these xxx picture spam (some of you might know that crap). That`s pretty useful, if you want to stay in a sim, where some particle spam is going on.


Cages, Orbiters & Deformers

Cages

Okies, now we`ll go on with the bad stuff ^^

How to escape a cage.
A cage will...well, cage you. Some low-tech cages will just catch you and thats it. High-tech cages will orbit you as well. Means, they will catch you and carry your avatar high in the sky.

Sometimes they are invisible, so if you got hit, use the learned "Highlight Transparent Objects" option to see if it is one. If not, check the the "Bump, Pushes & Hits" box, to see who hit you with an orbiter.

If you got caged by a usual cage, just try to sit on the cage and then stand up again. If the cage won`t allow you to sit on it, but there is something else you can sit on, sit on that. In the case, that the area you are in has "build" allowed, you can rez a box and sit on that one.
If there is "no build" you can do a short range teleport: Open the map and double click on a position near you. The loading time will be short, because it`s still the same sim. The "high-tech" cages with an orbiter in it, to push you really high into the sky, will requiere to teleport out. At least more than 96 meters away, else the cage might catch you again.
Do not forget to report (We will come to that soon) the cage(er) first, then tp out.
Please note, some cages have a "Deformer Tool" active, so if you sit on the cage to get out it will deform your avatar. You need to unDeform your AV then (We will come to that).

Orbiters

Usually orbiters are scripted tools that griefers use to push you into the sky. If you find yourself a victim of an instant "push" high in the sky, check the "Bumps, Pushes and Hits" box to get the griefers name. Then file an Abuse Report and include a screenshot. Finally teleport back to the ground will "fix" this problem.
Worst case: You are invisible after the teleport and you have to do a relog.
As mentioned earlier, sit on a non-physical prim to be safe from orbiting.

Deformers

Rarely used, but out there. They will deform your whole avatar. First point: Never save your shape at this point! If you should get in such a situation: "Bump, Pushes and Hits" box, file an Abuse Report and include a screenshot. There is an unDeformer Kit at SL EXchange for free. If it doesn't work, clear your cache and relog.
If you have the permissions, then create a copy of your skin and shape, just in case such a tool should really break your shape, you still have a back up copy.
See also: User:Lum_Pfohl/Troubleshooting#Help! I'm A Monster!


Fake Police & Fake Power

Check groups in profiles!
Do not trust the "SL police" groups. It`s a scam! They don`t have real powers in SL. It doesn`t matter what they say or wear. Most newbies are impressed because they have uniforms or even weapons...

Some jerks even try to "rob" newbies like "Give me your L$ or I`ll kill you", or offer "protection". Ignore, mute, and if needed, report them and leave! The only people in SL with real grid-wide powers are the Lindens! They use their official "Linden" name, if they are on duty.

Other people with powers in SL, are group related! Like for example the "NCI Land Officer" only has special powers on "NCI holdings". This is important to know, because it happens that griefers claim to be a manager or an officer, and tells residents to do this and that... Not only at NCI, everwhere in SL.
So, if you have any doubts who you are dealing with, check the persons profile and double click the groups name (2nd life tab) and a window pops up with more detailed info, about the group and their rules.
Speaking of rules: Don`t become a griefer by ignoring rules. Kindness and Respect goes along in SL. Follow the rules and you`ll be fine, else you may run into trouble. If you want to shoot or do any other roleplay, go to the right places, where it is allowed. If you should get reported and warned or even temporarily suspended from SL and you would like to become a LL associated at a later point of time, like an official SL Mentor, you are out of business.

Spoofing

"I didn't say that!"
Spoofing is when a griefer gives a prim your name, and has it say things. It will appear as though you said whatever it was. The trick is to watch the *color* of the text. If you look in Preferences -> Chat, you'll see the colors assigned to different sorts of messages. Only text in the "Users" color came from an actual person. Anything else is not someone talking. Unfortunately a lot of people will just look at the name and ignore the color, which is why spoofers continue to work for griefers.


Texture Spam

"Someone is giving me lots and lots of textures!"
Thats a texture spammer. They're fairly harmless now. Until the last update, there was no limit on how fast you could be given textures, and a texture spammer would bury you alive in spam, and likely crash your client. And there was no way to tell who did it. Now though, theres a reasonable limit on the speed with which you can be given textures. Also, look under Preferences -> Pop-Up, and *uncheck* "Automatically accept", and the "Automatically view after accepting" (just in case), that will prevent them from automatically opening, and burying your client window in garbage. If someone is still trying to use a spammer on you, click Mute in the dialog that pops up, then abuse report them for attempting to spam you.


Getting blitzed

A blitzer is an unstable physics prim. Basically its a prim rotating at a ridiculous speed. When it hits you, it transfers a *LOT* of kinetic energy to you. This will often knock you so hard that you'll end up getting bounced so high that your altitude will roll over into negative numbers. Don't bother waiting to fall, you won't. Relog. The bad part is, theres a *small* chance that scripted attachments you're wearing at the time will crash. If this happens, the best you can do is reset the ones you have perms for (edit the object, then click Tools -> Reset Scripts in Selection). For things you don't have perms for, and have no backup copy of, try talking to the creator of the object, a number of people are fairly sympathetic about things like that, and may replace the object for free. They aren't obligated to, however.


Abuse Reporting

Now lets talk about the nearly most important: Abuse Reporting:
Does anyone think they have privacy from the Lindens?
NO! Everything that is said in chat or IM on server is logged, also all inventory transfers. Now the good news is that only the detectives can access it and there are detectives people paid REAL Money to investigate crimes in SL and Abuse Reports are how they find out who to chase.
There are two teams, one checks groups of Abuse Reports and the other deals one at a time with the leftovers. So when you file an Abuse Report it will be taken seriously. Just don`t give them an excuse to ignore it, fill out as much as possible.
To bring this menu down, go to Help -> Report Abuse OR r-click the object (i.e. Cage) -> More -> More -> Report Abuse.
I`d recommend the last option, so the owner of the object and the object itself get caught as well and you don`t have to do it.
MOST important thing in a report:
Who - It really speeds the investigation and the exact time and date. The place is recorded. Please get sure you have checked the "Include Screenshot" option. Together with the information you`ve entered on the Abuse Report and the screenshot displaying you IN the cage of ....., it`s a good proof you`ve been caged by that person. Other things on the Abuse Report menu are pretty easy.
Category: What kind of griefing/abuse was it and a short clear headline. "A guy was mean" would just suck. "I got ... by..." does better. Other info such as chat quotes (if there are any) help too. Depends on the "category".
"Assault" should be for weapon usage and screenshot is more important then. Chat quote(s) would be good to proof harassment. (Remember the 0 privacy rule and logging everything? Makes sense now, doesn`t it. :) )
"Disclosure" is used if you report someone who tells other people private informations about you or other people such as e-mail, or even RL name.
"Age" is used if you report someone who admits to be under-aged (less than 18 years) and should be on the SL teen grid....etc.

After you have reported the object or incident (if you think it is worth is, but I would recommend to report at least strong stuff like caging, because it clearly breaks the TOS), then try to get out of the situation.
You`ll receive a mail from Linden Labs if your report has been received and they are on it to investigate. Else you won`t receive any further informations, what has happened to your griefer
What happens to some "subjects" can be reviewed here: http://secondlife.com/community/blotter.php

Summary Part I

So, to come to an end for the basic part:

  • Got griefed? Stay calm, report it and use the learned techiques to have peace again.
  • If you are building, have a chat... try to sit on a non-physical object, or have at least your movelock on. Especially at public sandboxes.
  • If someone is rude, don`t care, just mute him/her. (I know it`s sometimes hard, but it gives you a better chance to get them busted and it will take their fun for the moment and maybe, even for the future...)
  • Do NOT trust anyone: Never give out personal informations to other residents or to people who say they would work for LL or they are the "SL police".

It`s not a guarantee you will never be griefed in SL, but it will keep you out of trouble as good as possible.


Part II (Advanced)

Mute List

As we already discussed earlier in this article, muting is a great feature. Now more advanced: Mute by Mute List (Useful if you can`t see or find the object).
Get the objects name from the chat history if it is not visible and spams the chat. Then go to the menu at the top of your screen: View -> Mute List.
You can also access the Mute List by clicking on the arrow besides the "Communicate" button on the bottom left of your screen.
Finally click on the "Mute object by name" button. Enter the name of the spamming object and click on "Ok" to mute it. Done. :)

Please note: Names are case sensitive. Also copy and paste won`t work for objects, if you want to mute them by the Mute List. Additionally, muting objects this way will only avoid IM and chat spam.

If you should ever need the Mute List to mute a resident: Copy and paste the name works for residents.
Click on the "Mute Resident..." button (instead "Mute object..."). Enter the name, or paste it, on the empty line and then right next to it, click on "Find". Then select the persons name on the list and click on "Select" at the bottom of the list. That will add the person to your mute list as well. And don`t be afraid, it won`t mute any of your friends, even if some of your friends calling cards will be displayed under the list. As long as you only select the griefers name from the list you`ll be ok and your friends too.
After muting the person, his/her name will appear on the left side of the Muting List.


Beacons

Using Beacons to detect objects.
Use Beacons to find scripted sources: View -> Beacons -> ...

You will see some different options there you can chose from. If you "x" them, they will appear on your screen as a beacon, when you activate beacons. I would recommend to activate them all, so you can easily switch the beacons "on" and "off" by pressing CTRL-N.
ADDITIONALLY you have to have "Render Beacons" and "Render Highlights" enabled, else it won`t work!
Now I`d like to ask you to go to View > Beacons > Beacon Width and select "4". It will make the beacons more obviously. (Requieres client 1.19.4) Ok, now activate the beacons and look around. You will see a lot of Beacons and their center is a red little cube and red lines are going away from it and the X,Y, and Z axis. It`s the beacon showing you "here is scripted object". The color of the Beacon depends on the source.

  • RED outlines mark a scripted object.
  • PURPLE outlines mark an active particle source.
  • YELLOW marks an active sound source.

Note: If a source is not active, outlines are red to highlight at least that there`s a scripted object. If the source becomes active, outlines will change their color.

Use the beacons to locate scripted sources and for sounds, use the volume as a track too. If it gets louder, you`re coming closer. You can not select the beacon of an object! Beacons are only there to show you where a scripted object is located. In order to select the object, you`ll need to r-click on the ground and select "Edit" from the pie menu to enter the edit mode. Then either left click the spammer, or drag a box around it to select the object.
If needed, zoom in a bit to get closer to it and then mute it directly via r-click -> more -> more -> mute.
You have to mute it directly! As mentioned earlier in the article the "mute object..." by the Mute List will only turn off Chat/IM spam.

So, why should you know that? If you own, administer land or even a whole sim and there`s sound/particle spam attack, you`ll be able to detect the source, which is often well hidden. And if you are able to detect the source, then you`re able to report the spammer, delete the object and put the owners name on the ban list (we will come to that). Under the bottom line: Beacons are a very good feature to detect invisible, tiny, "not-on-chat-appearing" objects which may annoy you.

Abuse Report

For the advanced Abuse Report you need to activate "Show interface in screenshot" option under "File -> Take snapshot". Orbiters only use scripts on you, but a cage as object offers more ways to get a griefers name. I prefer to r-click them and go to "Edit" and show the "General" tab with the owners name on it.
Additionally I bring down the "Bump, Pushes and Hits" box with the griefers name on it and then I r-click the cage to report it. Because you have activated the "Show interface in screenshot" option, all the info displayed on those windows can be seen by the investigation team as well, if you sent them an AR and include a screenshot.
This way I`ll have 6 proofs:

  1. You got caged (Shown on the screenshot)
  2. Cage with owners name on the screen (General tab info on screenshot)
  3. Cage owner hit you (Hit box on screenshot)
  4. Cage owners name on the AR (Caught by SL)
  5. AR screen shows the current height position in SL (Shown on the screenshot)
  6. Object itself is picked by the AR and shown on the Report

I bet there are some jerks out there who will say something on the chat, before they`ll grief you. So, if you quote them on the Report and have the chat history displayed on the screen, you`d also have additional proofs that this person was your griefer.


Land Security

If you are on land which you own, or allowed to administer, Second Life offers you powerful tools to prevent griefing attacks. You can control who is able to visit your land and what they can do there.
If you are on group land, the ability to use land management options can be assigned to you through the "Allowed Abilities" for your Role in the group. Right-click on the ground and select "About Land" from the pie menu, or select "World -> About Land..." from the menu, or click on the parcel name at the top of your screen to open the "About Land" window.
The "About Land" window contains six tabs which allow land owners to set various land options. Three of these are interesting to minimize griefing attacks.


About Land - Objects

The third tab, Objects, allows individuals with the appropriate abilities to see who has objects on the land and to return objects to owners. You can return all objects owned by the parcel owner, all objects set to the parcel`s group or all objects owned by others. If your land has been junked up by prims left by a large number of different people, quickly return all of them by hitting the "Return..." button on the "Owned by others" line.
If, you want to allow others to keep objects on your land and there is only one (or a few) individuals who have left litter, you can selectively return these Avatars` objects. Click the "Refresh List" button to update the list, then select the offending avatars' names from the Object Owners list and click the "Return objects..." button immediately above this list.


About Land - Options

The fourth tab, Options, allows land owners to control what can and can not happen on their land.
"Allow other residents to" should be clear so far. But you shouldn`t allow other residents to edit your terrain... On the right side, "Create Objects" is needed so residents can build, rez items on the land. "Object Entry" means an object is allowed to enter your parcel, if it was rezzed somewhere else. "Run Scripts" will allow residents to run scripts on your land.
If your land parcel comes under attack by self-replicating prims (in order to crash the sim), immediately turn off "Create Objects", "Object Entry" and "Run Scripts".
Then file an Abuse Report, return the junk and finally change back to normal.
But I would recommend you to wait about 15 minutes until you allow other residents to create objects and run scripts again. This should be enough time to file the AR and put the griefers name on the ban list.
If you run a shop it might be best to turn off "Create Objects" and "Run scripts". This way you can avoid griefers will leave scripted, or invisible stuff there. If you have full parcel powers, you can sub-divide your land later and offer an "Unpacking Area" in the middle of the shop, where vendors are out of range.
The "Land Options" option "Safe", means that no game "damage" can be done on the land.
By selecting "Restrict Pushing" you are able to prevent griefing, done by push weapons.


About Land - Media

Just a short advice: "Voice Settings", "Disable spatial audio on this parcel" may prevent harassment by voice feature. But the "Mute" option makes this setting not really necessary.


About Land - Access & Ban

If you want a quiet parcel of land without interruptions from outsiders, you can limit access to your parcel, either to a group it is set to, or to a list of specifically designated avatars in the "Allowed Residents" list.
"Allow Public Access" allows all SL residents to visit your land. If you own mature rated land you can limit the access to residents who have an age verified account. Same for the payment info option. It might keep out some newbies, but also potential customers...
The "Banned Residents" list is like the Mute List. Click the "Add..." button below, type the name of the avatar you wish to ban in the text-entry field which pops up. Then click on "Find" and choose the avatar's name from the list and click "Select", to ban the person.

If the griefing avatar is on your land, you can also Freeze, Eject and/or Ban, him from your land. Simply right-click on the offending avatar, choose "More" from the pie menu, then either "Freeze" or "Eject" from the second menu. If you choose Freeze from the pie menu, a window will pop up enabling you to Freeze the avatar (rendering him unable to move, chat or interact with objects), Unfreeze an avatar who has been previously frozen, or Cancel the freeze request.
If you choose Eject and also have land ban privileges, you will see a choice to simply eject the avatar from the parcel or to eject and simultaneously add him to the parcel's ban list.


Contributors



fr43k Paine
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Useful Links for Mentors


Wiki Links for Knowledge Seekers


External Wiki Links


Not even Lindens ask for your password.
Using a tool to undeform.
Bumps, Hits and Pushes.
How to hide particles.
Police groups in SL.
How to use the mute list.
File correct Abuse Reports.
Abuse Report screenshot
How to (un)freeze, eject and ban.
About Land - Access List
About Land - Media
About Land - Options
About Land - Objects