PostHeaderIcon Second Life Campers and Bot-Herders: Breaking the Law?

MMMmmmmetalThere are four levels of law in Linden Lab's Second Life, on the Grid, each according to subjectivity and relativity and enforced likewise:

  1. Terms of Service
    (TOS; a.k.a. Terms of Use)

  2. Linden Lab Policy (LLP)

  3. Community Standards (CS)

  4. "Catch-all"
    (a.k.a. Any and all or no reason whatsoever)

These are presented more or less in the order of offense severity and level of enforcement.

The Second Life Grid is, for all intents and purposes, it's own country. And though it may appear there is a democracy, there isn't. The country is dictator-owned and at times marshal law is put into effect (i.e. instant and permanent banning of all gaming/gambling activities across the grid.)

However, unlike other dictator-run countries in first life, the citizens and residents of this one can leave the country in the blink of an eye. So, our dictator is not a tyrant. His army (anyone with a surname of "Linden") are not ruthless solders, but they do obey orders.

We the citizens of this country are allowed in ridiculous ways the luxury of free speech, even when it is ruthless and vitriolic toward our government, and our government does, in fact listen to us. How it reacts to what is said is not as much a "ross-up" as it is a thoughtful consideration (sometimes after the fact) of how best to proceed for the benefit of the nation as a whole and the government specifically, while placating the citizens in a fair and content majority.

Hence, the idea that the Lindens and Linden Lab as a whole are 'bad men' (as in desperadoes).

Some would say that Linden Lab does not enforce it's own rules. I beg to differ. This is not your father's Second Life. M Linden has been working on the Linden team since he entered, stage left. Linden Lab and Lindens in general are incredibly more responsive now than they have been in the past. And in the past, it wasn't lack of effort. It was lack of organization and direction.


  • Purchase a private region (now automated):
    then: two-weeks; now: instantaneous

  • Transfer a private region (requires human action):
    then: two-weeks; now: within a day or two

  • Grid stability and concurrency:
    then: regular viewer and grid crashing, 10,000;
    now: rare region and viewer crashing, 60,000 +

  • Abuse report a griefer or 'gaming' objects:
    within minutes to a day

Linden Lab does take violations seriously and actively works to dispense discipline for violations of these 'laws' If an abuse report comes-in regarding aTOS violation, you can bet your beans a Linden will be on-site within minutes.

Governance Team Office HoursI know, I've seen it myself. If I can't have or play gaming machines, a.k.a. gamble; then the hell if I'll stand on the sideline and allow you to do it. So if I see a speak-easy, or in my actual example a pair of gaming machines, I'll AR the owner.

And when I did, within five-minutes a dot appeared on my minimap. They were way up high. Must have had draw distance set to 512, like I do. it was a Linden. And I see the script sparkles spin around one of those machines, knowing it is being tested and investigated right before my eyes.


The point is that LL does take Abuse Reports seriously. But their reaction will have much to do with the level of offense. Suffice it to say that a TOS offense is the gravest of offense and LL will investigate and stomp on that rather quickly. Gaming is a TOS offense.

Greifing is a CS offense. So I can understand why it might take a little bit longer for the governance team to arrive to handle the situation. But they still arrive much faster than before.

Policy offenses are handled more or less as seriously as TOS offenses, except there is a bit more leeway in deciphering the level of infraction. The investigating Linden has a bit of 'fudging' room in their judgement and chances are, the offender can make their case.

So, TOS violation: serious offense that will gain a heavy-handed judgement. Policy offense also garners a heavy-hand in disciplining the offender, but there is a bit of subjectiveness to it. A Community Standards violation, such as griefing will have a lot of subjectivity in it and the investigating Linden will certainly take all things into account before handing down sentence, or not.

As for the fourth level of law: well, it's a dictatorship.

Among the hot topics on the Grid at the forefront of people's minds right now are a couple policy changes: the segregation of "adult-rated content" to it's own corner of the grid and the gaming of traffic with bots and campers.

Keep in mind, it is not against policy for camp-masters (those who own the camping devices) to place and offer camping and neither is it against any rule for bot-herders (those who own the bots used in botfarms) to own and use them.

The policy is the gaming of traffic while using these devices. Because it is a relatively new policy, Linden Lab is giving warnings to those who are abuse-reported and being directed to the written policy so they understand it is, in fact a policy.

Griefer!!Of course there are those shrill whiners complaining that the policy is in effect and there are still thousands of bots all over the grid still gaming traffic numbers, and that the Lindens must not be even trying to enforce this policy. Yet, if those same people are AR'd against and receive an immediate banning from all search functions, they will scream the loudest about how unfair that was.

I assure you whiners: Linden Lab is taking this policy seriously. I have no doubt about it. But at the same time, they are not tyrants. They are giving warnings and educating those on the receiving end. They are giving time to allow that policy to be known. Nothing turns on a dime with regard to the grid — technologically and policy-wise. Time must be given to allow things (like, ummm... information about policy?) to work their way through to more than 60, 000 people.

However, this is a policy issue. What about the Terms of Service?

I am of the belief that campers, those who actually do the camping, are running multiple accounts to do so, be it bots or not. It is the only possible way anyone could earn anything even close to the amount of Linden Dollars to be a worthwhile effort. So how many alternate accounts are those people running in order to do this? If these campers have more than four alts, they are breaking the law.

And bot-herders: if you have more than four bots, you are breaking the law.

Of course, this is taking into consideration at least one account is used to actually experience the grid with. So camp-masters and bot-herders are actually in double-jeopardy:

  1. Breaking policy if these campers, bots and camper-bots are actually affecting their parcel's traffic in any way - a Linden Lab policy infraction

  2. Having more than five Second Life accounts in the same household - a Linden Lab Second Life Terms of Service violation

From the Second Life Knowledge Base
How many alts may I have?

Currently, you can create as many additional Basic or Premium accounts as you want to pay for, with the following limitations:

  • You can create up to five accounts per household.

  • You can create no more than two accounts in a single 24-hour period.

We do require that alt accounts adhere to all of our policies. For example, by agreeing to our Terms of Service (TOS)you agree to provide truthful and accurate information about yourself when you register for accounts -- that includes not only your contact information and real name but also whether this is your first free Basic account or a new alt (see TOS section 2.1). People who do not provide truthful information risk losing their accounts.

How are these policies enforced?

We have various means of detecting illegitimate accounts and enforcing necessary limits to prevent fraud and other disruptive uses of Second Life and LindeX services. For security reasons, we cannot reveal exactly how our fraud detection processes operate.

So, when you run into a botfarm, under which law will you Abuse-Report the offender—Policy? Or Terms of Service?

First Life Linden Labs Logo ;)It's a rhetorical question actually. My solution is to let the campers camp and the bots drool in place. I don't put much stock into traffic numbers myself. My frustration is how the campers and bots all appear to be active residents on the minimap.

A waste of time to rez the sim, then fly or run-around looking for the throng to join in the fun when the only fun is watching prim-drift. So my solution is simply to add new colors and icons to the minimap that shows when an agent (avatar) hasn't moved in 30-minutes or an hour or something (changing grid coordinates). This way a quick view of the minimap immediately indicates the static, unmoving and likely inactive botfarm or camping field.

If you like this idea, then go here and login. Then click "Vote" link on the left. yes, I'll plug this idea for a few more entries - more or less to be sure you (anyone who actually reads my rhetoric) knows it exists as a feature request than anything else.

Art: Pathfinder Linden; Dimitrio Lewis; Lindsy Sonoda; Vint Falken
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