Alternates are used by griefers to build the appearance of multiple people having problems with a target avatar. They create a false sense of the numbers-must-mean-right argument. Griefers create alternates that I’ll label sleepers. They are created and used very little for months or years then logged in to file an abuse report from an avatar older than 24 hours.
Suddenly the target abuse-reported by a load of Alt’s is wondering why the Lab blocked their account or banned them. The, say 35, people that filed AR’s against the target may be the griefer’s alternates or pawns asked or socially engineered into filing AR’s based on the griefer’s story. The Justice League was known for group AR’ing.
When well done it is difficult to tell propaganda from legitimate information. Even those working with griefers daily can be sucked in. Pawns play an important part in giving griefers cover and legitimacy.
In RL law enforcement, presumably unbiased people, investigates, uncovers evidence, facts, and decides based on probable cause whether to arrest or not. A judge and/or prosecutor, supposedly an unbiased party outside law enforcement, at some point rules on what the police decided and issues or denies a warrant.
In SL there is only a very abbreviated process for deciding what to do with a mass of AR’s and other complaints. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Lindens often get it wrong or that griefers can play them.
Bury a well thought out campaign in a blizzard of IP address and network MAC’s and it is looks just like the real thing. It is also possible to make a griefing campaign so bizarre or intricate it is hard for people to believe anyone would go that far or be that devious. A person would have to be really sick to do something like that. It is an axiom that griefers are mentally ill. We have sick minds that stalk, kidnap, torture, and kill children in RL. So, I believe there is no limit to what a sick mind can come up with. But, good people have a hard time believing it possible. And remember: sick does NOT mean stupid.
If you have been dealing with griefing, you know there really isn’t anyone in the Lab to talk to. If there were, would they have the time to talk with you? And… what would you say so they would believe you? How would they tell you from a griefer playing them? Put yourself in the position of a griefer lying to a Linden. What would you say to them and how is that different from what you would say if you were for real?
I think you can see from what I’ve pointed out there is not currently a good RL law enforcement solution, at least not any making economic sense. The criminal or civil route is likely to cost tens of thousands of dollars. The griefer is likely to lie to law enforcement in an effort to turn them on you. Remember Hush/Curio.
There is no simple or easy solution. There are systems in place to help resolve problems. But, those systems are under attack and tend to be ineffective as criminals play them.
All we can do is keep providing abuse reports with as much information as possible. When we find a problem, such as the TID people have, where a griefer is being vile and especially persistent we start looking for some way to demonstrate to the Lindens how much of a problem it is. Some type of response from the Lab is demanded by the abused and that becomes another problem. So, the abused start to abuse Lindens and others to get a response. They become what they are fighting.
Problems are most prevalent among the uneducated, I don’t mean uneducated in a schooling sense. I mean this more in the sense of being socially aware of human nature, political systems, and life in general. Many simply do not know how to defend or protect their self, property, or friends or what is possible. The uneducated depend on OTHERS… police, legal systems, etc. Those are fine for a set of scenarios. But, the educated prepare in advance so they won’t have to rely on them. There are limits to how much protection can protect us. But, not having what is available is foolish.
Your first step in anti-griefer education is Fr43k Paine’s user page in the wiki: Dealing With Griefers. The article has a Part II that provides more information for land owners and estate managers.
In RL we have locks and safe guards to keep people out of our homes. We plan, some of us do, for power outages and loss of various services we depend on. Those depending on FEMA in the northeastern US are freezing, starving, and homeless and media is ignoring it. One has to wonder why it is not getting the coverage Katrina did. From Katrina to Sandy FEMA has not changed.
For home invasions people arm because seconds count and police respond in minutes. The prepared have generators, food, and other supplies. In SL we also need to prepare for the problems we can foresee.
With any viewer it is currently possible to steal any texture one sees. There is a debugging tool for OpenGL that allows one to capture any texture passing through the OpenGL render process. There is no possible defense that can be built into any viewer. I’ve experimented with it. It is undetectable server side. It requires no changes to the viewer. Copybot viewers just make a similar process easier.
Since the viewer must have every texture, mesh, prim object, and sculpty to render the scene. Everything you see must be downloaded to the viewer. It can be intercepted and saved.
THERE IS NO DEFENSE. Your stuff placed in digital form anywhere on the Internet can be copied and misused. In fact it can be turned against you and the thief can claim you stole it. Your only protection is in preparing for that scenario. Learn about watermarks and hidden copyright marks for your images/textures.