I remember one time I was in a *protected* sandbox preparing to overhaul my avi. I wanted to be in a place that was script free and up to that day, nuisance free. Well as soon as I landed, I was being verbally attacked first as being “selfish” then escalated from being “selfish,” to being “fat.” Well this was before the voluptuous body I have now, so I guess if they saw me today, they’d melt me. Anyway, I chose to laugh and ignore them. Why did The $##@* turned me into a @#$%** cheeseburger! Funny now but back then i was livid and felt so helpless. By the way, I was accused of being selfish because I had in my profile *please don’t ask me for lindens* with a suggestion of how to get your own.
The behavior I’m describing above is called griefing. A griefer is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game, using aspects of the game in unintended ways. A griefer derives pleasure primarily or exclusively from the act of annoying other users, and as such is a particular nuisance in online gaming communities, since griefers often cannot be deterred by penalties related to in-game goals.
Second Life bans players for harassment (defined as being rude or threatening, making unwelcome sexual advances, or performing activities likely to annoy or alarm somebody) and assault (shooting, pushing, or shoving in a safe area, or creating scripted objects that target another user and hinder their enjoyment of Second Life) in its community standards. Sanctions include warnings, suspension from Second Life, or being banned altogether.( “Community Standards” Retrieved 16 June 2015).
Now that we’ve defined *griefing* as well as SL’s stance on it, and let’s get to the “reality”. Reality states that most people 1 year and older in this game have either been griefed or knows someone who has. One wonders what drives a person to engage in such activity, and the common denominator seems to be: just for fun, racial/hate crimes, and lastly and more virulent, jealousy/love. Oh, let’s not forget the ones that partake in “support” of a “virtual family or friend”.
In 2013, the FBI collected hate crime data from 1,826 separate law enforcement agencies as part of their Uniform Crime Reporting Program. They determined that there were 5,928 related crimes involving 6,933 offenses which were committed by 5,808 separate people. In total, these activities affected 7,230 victims, and, not surprisingly, the largest portion of hate crimes was motivated by racial hatred. The other factors that led to these hate crimes were religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and nationality, gender identity, gender, and disability. Sexual orientation was the second highest motivator on the list, and accounted for 20.8% of the crimes.
These are reported real life crime statistics…Suppose, just suppose, that there is a surprising number of people that haven’t acted out crimes in real life but find second life the perfect outlet for their pettiness; the perfect anonymous way to strike out at the avatars they perceive to be their “enemy”…and the culmination of their hate leads them to hudding non-suspecting individuals. Or if its connected to a profound lack of self esteem in rl so they create a “gorgeous” avatar in second life and feel they can surely “attract and keep a person merely by looks and the attractive part of their personality that they choose to show, only to be rejected by the opposite(or same) sex, not understanding that there are hundreds upon thousands of people who might have those same attributes. Sadly, others engage in it just to keep themselves relevant to their ex lovers, boy/girlfriend or partner. Almost like a child thinking negative attention is better than no attention at all! Yet, there only power the griefer has is in the “reaction” from you. It is easier to say, “Don’t react until it happens to you!”
I’ve been on the receiving end of it “by proxy” meaning I had nothing to do with the initial or subsequent issue but ended up being griefed by association. I am not at liberty to say what my reaction is and remains to be in those circumstances, but I will discuss practical actions later that you can take to cut back on vulnerability.
Both times, and other times reported to me by others, it was love gone awry and psychosis setting in with individuals that grief due to lovelorn reasons. I find people that behave in such a way intolerable and sad. In researching reasons for such cruel and nonsensical reactions such as griefing in the name of love (ha! did i coin that phrase?), I happened upon an article that discussed BPD or bipolar disorder which may account for some of the populace’s behavior.
Check this out: The DSM IV criteria states that a pattern of unstable relationships is a feature of BPD. This is the criteria that can be portrayed especially cruelly in films as it is the element whereby one can appear to veer from idolizing stalker like to dangerous bunny boiler (Fatal Attraction anyone?). But, the reality of this criteria is that fears of abandonment (Criteria 1) have a huge role to play in the ‘switch’ from idolization to demonization. You sit and dream, fantasize, idolize and an urge, compulsion to let your feelings and desire to see this person again take over, so you message them, return to places you know they will be in the hope of seeing them again and maybe, just maybe re-enacting that previous encounter. You realize and know that your behavior is wrong, stalker-like and maybe scary and off putting for this other person, but still you can’t resist – it’s like an addiction. Worse, this can occur whilst you (the BP) are actually in another relationship yourself and your partner may have no idea anything is going on!
Why? Because you are most likely in a impulsive, manic phase; you may also be in a phase where you have devalued your current relationship – for real or perceived failings on the part of your ‘non-the-wiser’ partner. You may have switched – a frantic effort to avoid abandonment that may actually lead to forcing the end of a relationship, due to you cheating on your partner. (c) Sharon Howard https://, showard76.wordpress.com.
If these urges seem to familiar to you, I suggest getting professional help, this does not have to remain your reality.
Internet safety is a major concern which encompasses cyberbullying, griefing, etc. With that in mind, please don’t think you’re safe from victimization in second life! Take measures to safeguard yourself such as:
- Be careful what you post on facebook, youtube, and other social outlets because embarassing and/or incriminating pictures or posts can come back to haunt you. Nomad Aries from SLE 2013 reported that if you don’t have the GPS turned off on your smart phone, people can find your exact location from a picture of you (I didnt’ know that). I do agree that “ignorance of the net and technology can actually help the bullies get to a target who is less informed than they are”.
- Be extremely cautious to whom you give your personal info to on second life. Your email, telephone number, skype information can all be used in nefarious ways. I would even add sharing pictures in sl and sharing pictures of your children should be well thought out before you do it.
- If a club, etc is known to have constant griefers or is a hudding haven, don’t go. Obviously the owner of the place you frequent or are new to is not interested in the safety of their patrons… therefore write them off your list. This is another solution offered from an SLE, 2013 article: “Although Second Life does fall under the laws of the US and the State of California, I believe it would be hard to apply those laws to all of the griefing that goes on inworld. For example, the local police in California are not going to log in to SL and slap the virtual handcuffs on the avatar who pushed you inside the club. The club owner should be watching for griefers in his club and he should eject them the moment they start causing trouble. If he doesn’t, and you still want to hear the DJ, just sit on something. That makes you invulnerable to pushing, and you can ignore the griefers who try to annoy you…”
- Yea well what if there is not an object to sit on? Sitting on an object is a way to not be pushed or sent into orbit (most times). Just like with anything else, there is always a person who finds a way around even that.
- Utilizie the move/lock function on your hud. Speaking of huds, I am really prohibited from advertising or giving kudos to huds, some of which have functionalities that are really against sl’s TOS….but it stands to reason that your attackers are using something right? Maybe ummm knowledge about what they are using and possibly having one for research isn’t bad huh?
- Look at the top of your screen and pay attention to the little symbols that show you what is allowed on the sim you are on. If attacks seem to follow you to different sims, then frequent the ones that don’t allow ‘pushing” or ‘building/rezzing’. Mind you I am only advising the people that have had issues with griefing.
- Report Report Report! Report the incident to Linden Labs using the Help tool at the top of your viewer…Follow the directions and make sure your report is as concise as possible. If it happens multiple times, then report multiple times!
Despite some challenges with griefing, Second life is still a wonderful avenue to express your creativity, talent or a place to just socialize, travel…the sky is the limit. But keep in mind the dark side as well; you don’t know the person in real life and what their motives may be for being here.