Oh, Good Grief!

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Well that’s a contradiction in terms is it not? How can grief be good?

Some people seem to enjoy griefing in Second Life. The problem is, it obviously upsets other residents. Newbies, especially, can be put off the whole of Second Life because of it.

Firstly, what is griefing? Wikipedia describes a griefer as “ a player in a multiplayervideo gameor simulation that deliberately irritates and

Sandbox Griefing taken by SilverFox Rainbow

harasses other players.” Some newcomers to second life are lucky enough to avoid them, but most come across either a few gentle practical jokes or more rarely something that upsets them seriously or damages their avatar and animations. It has been obvious since I asked for comments about griefing, that it is a far more complex and diverse topic than I first imagined. Some people take griefers with a complete pinch of salt, while others are hurt deeply by them and a third category enjoys fighting grief with grief and turning it into an enormous jousting contest. As with most things on SL it depends on your reason to be here. If griefing gets in the way of your enjoyment then it is a bad thing, if it doesn’t then does it matter?

The big problems occur when griefing insults and damages a person along racial or religious lines, or if a person is threatened or stalked. At this level griefing is actually a criminal offence in most national legal systems, but one where it is hard to track down the culprits. Linden Labs have brought in the system of reporting bad behaviour, but this can sometimes be used by griefers themselves to upset their targets. Confiding in friends with more SL experience is a good idea if you have problems, but the immediate response once you recognise griefing is to ignore, back away or leave. The griefer wants confrontation, so do not give it to them. By all means report avatars if they persist and go beyond reasonable limits. Linden Labs will do what they can, but they will not always be able to find evidence and take things further. In LL’s terms of service you will see that griefing is a violation of the TOS. We will deal with these terms of service in a later article.

One thing that became apparent upon talking to many newcomers was how many of them were bothered at welcome areas and info hubs, pretty much as soon as they arrived. It is probably a good idea to move away from these areas as soon as possible once you become familiar with travelling. I was also very pleased to see a fair number of good citizens helping newbies at these sites and giving them starter packs of skills and hints. The problem for the newcomer is how to tell the sincere well-wishers from the insincere, and that is very much up to the individual to decide for themselves. Having said that there are several sites on SL and around the internet that will counsel on griefing and give starters help in an organised and moderated way. Try putting ‘second life newbie help’ or ‘second life griefers’ into google or the search page in your viewer. Here are two useful links.

Zion Kitty’s Newbie Help Zone    SecondLife Wiki Abuse & Griefing

I am still wanting comments and advice about griefers as our readership grows. Some of the most useful comments I have had over the last few weeks have been from absolute beginners. Your views and observations count. Do send them in.

Ricki (Fredricks.erica@gmail.com)

0 thoughts on “Oh, Good Grief!

  1. It would seem obvious to have an SL staffer at the welcome area, to get rid of griefers, to answer newbie questions, etc… any real-world location with 50,000 simultaneous visitors is going to need some kind of security presence around all the time. Why not virtual worlds? Is there a reason this isn’t happening?

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