Automated Mainland Vehicle Guidelines

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KBwarning.png Warning: These best practices are based on unofficial resident interpretation, gained from experiences of automated vehicle creators and evidence from past disputes. Since discipline for violating Community Standards is handled case-by-case, best practices are helpful but not strictly enforced. Therefore the information on this page cannot be endorsed by Linden Lab.[1]


Along mainland protected routes [2] there are two types of automated vehicles regularly seen, self-navigating "roaming" vehicles and pre-programmed "tour" vehicles. These have been a topic of heated and polarised discussion for some time [3][4] with little official line on the subject in public from Linden Lab®. This page aims to dispel myths and clarify the boundaries for their use as indicated by Linden Lab's employees, Terms Of Service and Community Guidelines.

Relevant TOS and Community Guidelines

Terms Of Service[5]

  • 8.3 You agree that you will not post or transmit Content or code that may be harmful, impede other users' functionality, invade other users' privacy, or surreptitiously or negatively impact any system or network.
(iv) Engage in malicious or disruptive conduct that impedes or interferes with other users' normal use of the Service;[6]
KBtip2.png Tip: This implies that automated vehicles should not be deployed that deliberately interfere with other residents use of the protected routes. Where automated vehicles might interfere as a by-product of their functionality, all possible steps should be taken to minimise any negative impact. As past incidents have shown, if the owner of the automated vehicle can show that (within the capabilities of the grid) everything possible has been done to minimise problems, the vehicles appear to be tolerated by Linden Lab. Spamming can also be seen as disruptive, so this should be avoided too.

Community Guidelines[7]

(excerpt) "treat each other with respect and without harassment"

  • 2. Harassment

Given the myriad capabilities of Second Life®, harassment can take many forms. Communicating or behaving in a manner which is offensively coarse, intimidating or threatening, constitutes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or is otherwise likely to cause annoyance or alarm is Harassment.

KBtip2.png Tip: This implies that automated vehicles should not exhibit offensive or intimidating content, or spam passing residents either. However, it appears that riders of such vehicles can be sent information (as long as within TOS and CG) because sitting on the vehicle can be regarded as consent.

  • 3. Assault

Most areas in Second Life are identified as Safe. Assault in Second Life means: shooting, pushing, or shoving another Resident in a Safe Area (see Global Standards below); creating or using scripted objects which singularly or persistently target another Resident in a manner which prevents their enjoyment of Second Life.

KBtip2.png Tip: This reflects on automated vehicles much the same as the TOS section quoted above. Again, by-products of some vehicles might mean that their behaviour could be interpreted as assault, but the defining point appears to be whether or not it is deliberate and avoidable. All possible efforts should be made to ensure that residents are allowed to freely roam the routes. Second Life is not and never will be a perfect environment and constant evolution of the grid means that avoidance behaviour should continually evolve along with the grid where possible.

  • 4. Disturbing the Peace

Every Resident has a right to live their Second Life. Disrupting scheduled events, repeated transmission of undesired advertising content, the use of repetitive sounds, following or self-spawning items, or other objects that intentionally slow server performance or inhibit another Resident's ability to enjoy Second Life are examples of Disturbing the Peace.

KBtip2.png Tip: This implies that automated vehicles should not interfere with events scheduled along the protected routes, such as Relay For Life[8] or the Cross Grid Rally[9]. Residents should feel fully entitled to request that automated vehicle services be suspended to ensure smooth running of such events and owners of such systems should fully respect that. It appears that deliberate spamming or exhibiting advertising on automated vehicles is not tolerated, neither is the deliberate use of automated vehicles to disrupt residents enjoyment of the routes.

Quotes from Linden Lab's employees

Relevant excerpts from the Official Blake Sea Code of Conduct[10]

Advertising is not permitted in public or shared areas. Advertisements are understood as personal objects used to advocate personal businesses or regions, including:
  • Chat or notecard spam
  • Floating ads
  • Vehicles piloted by scripted agents

Blondin Linden in IM with Yavanna Llanfair (19-May-2011) regarding the concept of tour vehicles (excerpts)

Blondin Linden: :)when you say ON THE ROADS, what do you mean specifically?
Yavanna Llanfair: I mean, sending it off my own land onto Linden land
Blondin Linden: yeah I dont see a problem with that. The roads are meant to be used by vehicles
Blondin Linden: be it car or pod
Yavanna Llanfair: OK... and unmanned vehicles are fine then
Yavanna Llanfair: Well, I don't just use roads
Yavanna Llanfair: These don't rely on roads
Yavanna Llanfair: I use waterways, and any Linden land I can find that is a through passage
Yavanna Llanfair: They self-delete in 4 minutes if they don't move though, so no littering
Yavanna Llanfair: And they also send me an IM to say what happened, so I would soon spot it
Blondin Linden: oh gottcha
Blondin Linden: yeah, Its fine
Blondin Linden: it would be cool if it would like, stop at historical sites and give an update or soemthing (sic).
Yavanna Llanfair: I have my logo on this, not the YavaScript name, just the YS symbol. Any problems with that?
Yavanna Llanfair: (actually the name is faintly etched on the windshield)
Blondin Linden: not really. I dont see a problem with the logo
Blondin Linden: So here is what I would do. If someone complains, take a moment to try and explaint (sic) to them what it is you are trying to do. If they still have an issue, let them submit an AR I wouldnt worry about it until a Linden contacts you about it, At that point, reach out to me and Ill look into it
Yavanna Llanfair: Good. I think it would be a nice thing to do. I have been cautious what I've said, I guess maybe I am too worried about offending people
Blondin Linden: no, Yove made an effort to be respectful and it shows

Michael Linden at the Rail Community meeting (03-June-2011)[11] regarding vehicle appearance

  • Michael Linden: Mild note #3: one area the Lab won't act on is the "appropriateness of appearance". [12]
  • Michael Linden: If a train looks like a potato with twelve noses and "eat at joes" written on it, that's fine with us (TOS-ly speaking). [13]

Response from Michael Linden to Ana Imfinity

The original discussion was lost in chat, so the exact words cannot be reproduced. Michael Linden says that he is not the one in charge about this subject. However, he gave to Ana Imfinity a few guidelines about the SLGI Trains:

  • It is not good to have too many prims
  • Not many ll's (not too lag scripts)
  • Not to use excesive lights
  • Avoid excesive alpha textures
  • Try to use a good, nice design for the vehicle.

Known issues which cause confusion

Issue Type-Bug.gifStatus-Open.gifPJIRA - Sitted (sic) Avatars 'ghosted' by losing contact with a vehicle are not removed from the prim settings: 29/November/2008[14]

This bug causes a vehicle to retain its status as an occupied vehicle when it is not. This means that sometimes when an avatar crashes on sim entry, the vehicle is unaware that it has lost the avatar, and the results can be:

  1. Sometimes residents are unable to sit on an automated vehicle, leading them to believe it serves no purpose other than to advertise the scripting abilities of the maker.
  2. Being able to operate on no-script/no-object-entry parcels, sometimes leading to complaints about griefing.
  3. Avoiding auto-return causing unwanted litter.

Issue Type-Bug.gifStatus-Closed.gifPJIRA - Self Cloning objects reproducing: 31/July/2010[15]

This bug causes exact replicas of automated vehicles to be created upon entry into a new sim. This issue is aknowledged and under investigation by Linden Lab and responsible for "swarms" of vehicles sometimes seen on the mainlands. This issue often leads to residents mistakenly accusing owners of excessive rezzing of vehicles and sending abuse reports for "unfair use of region resources".

Other Information

Protected Route - description/info page.

Route Problem Guide

Automated Transportation

External Links

Forum entry discussing scripting methods for roaming vehicles