The problem of copyboting with the added humiliation of extortion has been brewing discontent for months in the SL design & fashion community. Because of a UK web site providing copybot viewers (now closed down) and some specific individuals well known as copybot’ers that are moving into extortion things are boiling in the design community and rightfully so.
The griefer is staying in SL via alternates. The group I’ll label TID, for The Irate Designers, are looking for some way to handle the problem. That the problem avatar continues to be allowed to sell what the TID peeps consider stolen goods on the Market Place is not helping. Right now they seem to be concentrating on forcing the Lindens to do something, thinking there is something that can be done and that they have exhausted all other possibilities.
People with a problem often think only about how to solve the problem. The problem is they seldom think about the framework within which it has to be solved. Even less often do they think of, or even know about, the problems from the enforcement side. Nor do they bother to research history to see what solutions have been tried and how those did or didn’t work. Some solutions lead to even worse conditions. For instance governments love to solve problems by requiring citizens to give up privacy and freedom. Also, because of the way governments are creating nanny states, people tend to look for someone that can do it for them. Basically that devolves to who in the government (the Lab) do we put pressure on?
The TID peeps decided to start showing up at Linden lead user group meetings to pressure the Lindens. I doubt they understand how that works… or doesn’t. Their first try was the Content-Mesh user group Monday the 10th. They also made it to the Server Scripting meeting Tuesday the 11th.
Monday they were on about having a Lab employee they could liaison with to solve the problems creators/designers have. But, I haven’t seen any of these people at the Content & Mesh meetings, which is exactly what the group is about.
By Tuesday the group was claiming Nyx Linden promised them a meeting. Nyx agreed to pass their request for a meeting along. So, truth and accuracy is not a big priority among the TID peeps.
For regular attendees of the user group the annoyance is in how ignorant these new arrivals can be. One actually said, “The amount of people here tells you it’s legit…” Right. Anyone take debate in high school? Get clue.
Then there was their refusal to use the agenda by another. Nyx Linden is excellent at going through the agenda handling each issue in turn and keeping discussion on topic. Nyx also allows topics to be added as the meeting continues. It is easy to be heard. But now some of these people are running through SL claiming they were refused a voice and ignored.
Refusal to conform to a group’s meeting and discussion procedures is a trait we often see in griefers. Much of what we see coming from the TID peeps is very much abuse and disregard for other members of the group. That some members of the TID group is so new to user groups as to not know how they work and so uneducated as to how RL/SL groups conduct civil discourse; suggests we are dealing with children or child like ignorance. From Plurk comments made after MOnday’s meeting it was obvious some regular attendees thought TID’s were clueless jerks as bad as the griefers.
But again we need perspective. I know some of the people in the group of people that showed up. So I know there are some are rational people involved. Also they do have a legitimate highly frustrating problem. Frustrated people often behave stupidly.
Most of us do not have to deal with a griefer that stalks us… or stalks a community and attempts to extort it. But, griefers are doing those things in the design community. I doubt that many of us can understand the extent of griefing that is in Second Life without experiencing it. For instance the Gay Gor community has been dealing with a particularly sick griefer. See: Gay & Straight Gor Griefers.
Many of the tactics are duplicitous and oblique. For instance; a tactic is to copybot well known products, bring them into SL, use the near name of another well known designer or a target as the creator. This is all done to shift blame to another and create conflict among opponents/targets. The gullible fall for propaganda until they, hopefully, learn better. Until then they can be manipulated to provide cover for the griefer and create more conflict and likely feed a griefer’s sick ego.
Such tactics are often accompanied by a Facebook page, forum posts, blogs, and web information or sites propagating more disinformation. At a first look the uninformed have no way of knowing what is and isn’t legitimate. Even the informed have a hard time deciding. The high degree of coordination and social engineering sucks, but it is highly effective. Far too many people are clueless to the machinations of the devious. Skepticism and social perception seem to be lost skills.
The even griefers file false DMCA, abuse reports, and various complaints wherever they can against legitimate creators. Remember the Hush/Curio dispute with Gala Phoenix and the One Voice fund raiser, July-August 2012? This left the Lab with a filed DMCA complaint filed by an illegitimate source that for all practical purposes and appearances was legit. Until a RL court rules it is a false complaint and takes action the Lab is limited in what they can do. The griefer/abuser played the system very effectively. In the long run it will cost them and the courts will discover the truth. But, it will harm and cost the innocent in ways from which they likely will never recover.