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08/24/2008

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IntLibber Brautigan

"And of course, one of the reasons why intolerant freaks like Intlibber can be so adamantly extremist about permitting ad spam is that they figure any encroachment of even one area of expression will be done in tandem with lots of other areas (as this new set of rules is being done). The answer isn't to treat everything as a First Amendment problem, however. Ad farms are visual spam, and if you have a policy on the Internet against spam, then enforce it on land in SL, it's that simple."

Firstly, I have to say that its interesting how you pick and choose what matters to you and only you, and of course prok is always absolutely right about everything.

Ad farms are not spam. Spam is the repeated sending of unsolicited advertisments to many private mailboxs etc. An ad farm is no more spam than a billboard by the side of the road. I find it positively hilarious that you, a denizen of NYC, do not regard the city you live in, simply walking down your street to be an exercise in what you call "spam".

I agree that this vast expansion in abuse categories is in some areas rather eggregious. The problem is you only have yourself to blame. You have been leading the charge of the ranting NOMELites (Not On My E-Lawn) for the past couple years, without any recognition of the sort of slippery slope you were pushing LL down. You thought getting what you want when you want it constitutes a natural law and so be it. You are getting what you asked for, and what you inspired legions of other idiots to ask for, even if what they want doesnt jive with what you want.

The terrible thing about having a virtual world run by a corporation that it is much more efficient at travelling down the road of good intentions to the hell of tyranny than a government is, simply cause a government typically has a lot more checks in it that allow people to halt things in its tracks.

Nicholaz Beresford

This is the natural consequence of what people termed "slippery slope" and "who's next" early 2007. But this won't be the end of it either.

However, I do like the irony in "Commerce > Failure to deliver product or service" coming from a company like Linden Lab.

Ciaran Laval

"Commerce" -- "Failure to deliver product or service"

That's just an amazing category considering the well known issues of the asset servers not transferring items.

Are they planning to implement a proof of delivery receipt into the system? Or will I be able to AR Linden Lab when a customer im's me that a product wasn't delivered?

As for services not being delivered, how the heck do they prove that? I'm guessing this is largely aimed at landlords, but the scammers often hit and run.

Gareth Nelson

I do wonder how anyone could have a problem with a category of abuse which amounts to fraud: Failure to deliver a service. You complain someone could make a false abuse report for this, but then they could for any other category.

Ciaran Laval

Gareth because there's often no way of proving it and the known asset server issues mean that Linden Lab should be taking some responsibility.

Ann Otoole

All this amounts to is bin sort classification for Abuse Reports (ARs). People have been filing these type of abuse reports all along. What exactly makes anyone think the world is ending since it has not already ended from this very exact type of abuse reporting already? The only difference is less activity type identifying text is needed in the ARs and more abuse incident detail text space is available. It is actually an enhancement that will sort the ARs into more granular classifications so the G Team member assigned to that category can get to it faster. And it allows the resident more bytes for the incident details.

Sorry I just don't see the Doom & Gloom factor on this.

I do think the action of a resident accepting something needs to be logged as a transaction in transaction history. This will allow merchants the evidence needed to file fraud ARs on residents that falsely claim non delivery to get extra copies of transferable goods. They never seem to complain much about no transfer items. It is always transfer items that mysteriously never get delivered. Thus why the era of transferable merchandise is ending.

Prokofy Neva

Ann is so hypocritical, constantly inciting draconian, harsh punishment for people as a solution to every problem.

But the solution to problems is the rule of law, not arbitrary punishment based on rules that can be understood any which way.

Ann, you don't seem to grasp that while many people could have filed abuses like this, they were not actionable. There was no protocol for reacting to them; they were not answered. Now, by creating the bin category of a complaint, and implying there's a punishment, they've created an offense *without creating a law*.

Where does it say *in the TOS* that failure to deliver a product or service is an offense?! It's this creating offenses with no law, punishment with no law, that is the worst feature of this. "Failure to deliver product or service" is NOT DEFINED in the TOS (or perhaps they plan on dropping down a new one with this many changes when they drop down this version?!). It's insane. It's double jeopardy and unjust retribution and failure to notify people of the law, basic legal concepts of due process -- I should have mentioned this in the first paragraph.

Most cases of residents not getting a good delivered out of a vendor, or after a purchase, are due to LL's server lag and inventory loss bugs. That's why it's especially egregious for them to put up as an abuse category involving "failure of delivery" when THEY fail to deliver themselves!

Most people have vendors or automatic buy-sell interface that you click on. Therefore there are only going to be a relatively few cases that involve someone first handing over money, then not getting a product, because most vendors are not going to set things up this way; the whole point of SL is to have automatic delivery after automatic payment.

As for "failure to deliver service" perhaps they put that in there to capture the island fraud, but how are they defining service? What is a failure of service? What if a person who promised to build something can't log on because log-ins are capped, or they constantly crash, or they can't get to a sim because it's full or a hundred other things that happen?

What this "slippery slope" is aimed at it trying to force amateurs out of business, and make sure that only large, real-life companies with lots of indemnity, contracts, insurance will ever undertake so much as to agree to mow a prim lawn.

Ann Otoole

Well whatever opinions one may have one thing is clear. If Linden Lab intends to reverse itself on it's policy of not getting involved in resident vs resident disputes then there is going to be a rather large number of G Team and in house legal team vacancies appearing on the jobs listing.

chicken anon

"Commerce" -- "Failure to deliver product or service"

Oh joy! Asset server failure => AR => Banned!

Rebecca Proudhon

But Prok..

This could force LL to be accountable more then anyone.
For instance, most failures of delivery ARE server related.

This list sounds like they might now start being more involved and that to me is a better business plan for them then it has been---providing it's not as someone said, a way for them to more easily file it in the trash.

If it's all ignored as in the past, then we shall find that out soon enough. This kind of thing will force LL to have a better system of tracking and investigating complaints. It is not really rocket science to determine when a false report is made if all the pertinent info is at their fingetips.

Of course there are some bad bugs with the list and LL may just end up looking stupider, but, face it, especially for people in SL business, SL connot be taken seriously without policing by LL--the alternative is community policing and that is not going to happen unless people get paid for such a service. Paid police Judges and Juries and that would be absurd.

The only other alternative is continued and greater RL involvement in policing and that is an even worse option.

I see it as LL painting themselves into the corner of having to reverse their sleazy, "we don't get involved in resident disputes," past policy. if that's the case then it's a good thing.

They will have to learn from Blizzard--who manages to determine what are false reports and is able to get to the truth of a complaint.

Yes there are some bad or questionable things on this list, but there are alos some good ones that might lead to improvements.

Maybe not throwing the baby out with the bath water is important.

For me, ANY action by LL that makes them look more seriously concerned with scamming and other nonsense in SL is a good thing.

Whether they are smart enough to do it right, is of course, a valid worry.

Prokofy Neva

No, Rebecca, we do not need them to become involved in resident-to-resident disputes. There is nothing good about this. As I noted, they have not defined the crime. You can't have abuse reports flying every which way with no definition of the offense, it's a recipe for vast abuses.

The "failure to deliver service" is also a completely objectionable concept. Is this going to be applied to uninspired whores? Or just prefab makers who fail to make their lousy structurse copyable when they break immediately upon impact?

LL should not be in this business. It is not any analogy to a real life free country, but a recipe for a company town or authoritarian government.

Rebecca Proudhon

Deterence is the best way to stop the problems. A strong company ban stick works.

The fine lines you are referring to are not really so fine, if common sense is involved. The problem is that being around SL, common sense isn't hasn't been very prominent.

I know it can be done right. I've seen in action--just not in SL---yet.

Rebecca Proudhon

"Authoritarian Government," doesn't apply in the case of basic rules against cheating, scamming, sex-ageplay, theft, exploits,etc., if those things are dealt with properly and objectively.

Of course LL has to take responsibiliy if it's their flakey system causing or allowing the issue--including restitution to a resident. Something like the Ginko scam should never have happened and IMO is their responsibility and fault.

Crap Mariner

"Inappropriate avatar name" ?

Oh great. I knew I was skating on thin ice when I picked "Mariner" out of the list.

-ls/cm

Prokofy Neva

If the Lindens froze the Ginko accounts and barred repatriation of the cash to real life, they would have implicated themselves in the scam, and would be held responsible to redistribute the funds, and faced all kinds of headaches.

Remember, Ginko worked for three years and nobody complained. Not because pyramid schemes always work for awhile when new people are recruited, but because it was a High Yield Investment Plan more than some kind of really crude pyramid scheme. It did have investments inside and outside of SL and did pay interest and even gave $100 to each new entrant. The problem is that it invested in gambling, and in other flakey Internet schemes most likely (no one knows for sure).

It's interesting, the Lindens do have TOS language against chain letters and pyrmamid schemes in real life, i.e. using SL to solicit someone into one of them in RL. But they didn't act on one inworld that was taking out lots of cash evidently -- but that may have been because the cash didn't leave SL, it may have stayed there precisely because the plan was to use SL to launder it or something.

In any event, Lindens getting in the middle of user-to-user transactions is indeed about an authoritarian government precisely because there aren't the other branches of government, legislative and judicial, to supply checks and balances on how they do this. It just becomes an unimpeded executive authority taking clumsy and unaccountable steps and sometimes cutting too harsh a swathe or not harsh enough, with the risk of corruption among its own and its pets high.

Rebecca Proudhon

Although I understand your points and agree with lots of it, it is going too far to assume it can;t be done fairly and objectively.

As far as Ginko goes...they are 100% to blame and they should have reimbursed those dumb people, because they allowed it to happen and knew perfectly well it was wrong---they made their money on it.

I hate to dwell on Blizzard, because people hate it when I do, but they are a case study on how to do things the right way. They have an incredible knack at PR, fairness, commonsense, responsibility and concern for their subscribers.

The old adage "copy success" applies here.

Ace Albion

I think Ann has a point. I think people already abuse report for all these reasons, and some of these categories will help LL to immediately disregard and bin stupid harrassing claims. Maybe. On the other hand, the existence of the category may make some people feel more entitled or empowered to bully. I'm not convinced that LL has the resources to chase after every claim of a store ripoff after every asset server burp though.

Prokofy Neva

Ace,

You don't create a legal system by working backwards from what people "think" is justice and what kinds of claims they report, and create bins accordingly merely based on the data to file it -- that is a total technoratic "code is law" sort of approach.

You simply have to start from *what is in the TOS* and then accept complaints accordingly. By creating extra-TOS categories, you incite people to think it *is* law just because they feel like it is, and create "law" out of vigilantism.

It's like saying, "We record 37 cases of lynching, and people think lynching is a legal punishment, so let's add that to our police reporting system and justify it after the fact."

If there are things they are going to "bin" they can just ignore them, which is what they do now, not incite further expectation around them.

Of course your instinct that it will only make people feel entitled to bully is correct. The Lindens deny that people use the AR system to settle scores but I don't know what they're smoking.

Gareth Nelson

4.1 You agree to abide by certain rules of conduct, including the Community Standards and other rules prohibiting illegal and other practices that Linden Lab deems harmful.
...
In addition to abiding at all times by the Community Standards, you agree that you shall not:
...
(iii) take any action or upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit Content that violates any law or regulation (hey, like consumer protection laws or fraud perhaps?)

And under 5.1:
You further understand and agree that: (a) Linden Lab will have the right but not the obligation to resolve disputes between users relating to the Service, and Linden Lab's resolution of any particular dispute does not create an obligation to resolve any other dispute


It seems the TOS has always prohibited illegal activities (of which fraud is one) and given them the right to resolve user<>user disputes.

Prokofy Neva

Gareth, rather than fish through the TOS and try to take very literally and narrowly anything you find there, fish through international law.

There are basic legal principles that hold that should be promoted and applied, not set aside just because "we're in cyberspace" and "in a virtual world".

These basic principles seem to elude you, like many geeks, not only because you're not familiar with them, but because if you were, you would instantly realize they erode your "code as law" and therefore erode your power, and you don't like that, understandably.

A basic principle of justice even in very oppressive countries is that a crime has to be defined in a criminal code and promulgated so that people know it's a crime.

It has never been stated in the TOS or in blogs or in policies that it is a crime not to deliver a good or service. It may be a moral value in the community; perhaps someone can gin up real life law to go with it, but it is not spelled out in the TOS.

So it's not there, and even the Lindens have usually followed the idea that until they pronounce something a crime, it isn't a crime, following the common law philosophy ("whatever is not prohibited is allowed") rather than the civil law philosophy ("what every is not allowed is prohibited") to paint a very broad brush-stroke between two systems differing widely in their various manifestations.

Of course, like all EULAS and TOS that are so unlawful in their wording, the Lindens reserve for themselves the right to make up rules as they go along and not tell you -- "other rules prohibiting illegal and other practices that Linden Lab deems harmful." But even they know that if they don't want to confuse, anger, and prompt to litigation their customers, they will be careful about overusing this concept.

And if you're going to be literalist and narrow, be so until the end, don't stop half way through the sentence. It says, "a) Linden Lab will have the right but not the obligation to resolve disputes between users relating to the Service, and Linden Lab's resolution of any particular dispute does not create an obligation to resolve any other dispute"

"disputes between users RELATING TO THE SERVICE".

It doesn't say "relating to their romantic relationships, their business partnerships, their investment plans, their products and services".

Furthermore, they aren't obliged to resolve disputes and if they do, not obliged to keep doing so -- and they've covered their ass there.

This is legal boilerplate to move liability to litigation, it's not a governance plan. Many people don't understand the difference as they pore maliciously and gleefuly over the TOS to find a "gotcha" they can wield to triumphantly tell another resident that the Lab will "get them".

But again, if the Lindens want a governance plan, they aren't going to be oppressive or arbitrary or they will incite anger and departures. They know that, and that's why when they've had to deal with disputes, like the telehubs, they resolve them by offering compensation in a reasonable manner.

Prokofy Neva

Gareth, rather than fish through the TOS and try to take very literally and narrowly anything you find there, fish through international law.

There are basic legal principles that hold that should be promoted and applied, not set aside just because "we're in cyberspace" and "in a virtual world".

These basic principles seem to elude you, like many geeks, not only because you're not familiar with them, but because if you were, you would instantly realize they erode your "code as law" and therefore erode your power, and you don't like that, understandably.

A basic principle of justice even in very oppressive countries is that a crime has to be defined in a criminal code and promulgated so that people know it's a crime.

It has never been stated in the TOS or in blogs or in policies that it is a crime not to deliver a good or service. It may be a moral value in the community; perhaps someone can gin up real life law to go with it, but it is not spelled out in the TOS.

So it's not there, and even the Lindens have usually followed the idea that until they pronounce something a crime, it isn't a crime, following the common law philosophy ("whatever is not prohibited is allowed") rather than the civil law philosophy ("what every is not allowed is prohibited") to paint a very broad brush-stroke between two systems differing widely in their various manifestations.

Of course, like all EULAS and TOS that are so unlawful in their wording, the Lindens reserve for themselves the right to make up rules as they go along and not tell you -- "other rules prohibiting illegal and other practices that Linden Lab deems harmful." But even they know that if they don't want to confuse, anger, and prompt to litigation their customers, they will be careful about overusing this concept.

And if you're going to be literalist and narrow, be so until the end, don't stop half way through the sentence. It says, "a) Linden Lab will have the right but not the obligation to resolve disputes between users relating to the Service, and Linden Lab's resolution of any particular dispute does not create an obligation to resolve any other dispute"

"disputes between users RELATING TO THE SERVICE".

It doesn't say "relating to their romantic relationships, their business partnerships, their investment plans, their products and services".

Furthermore, they aren't obliged to resolve disputes and if they do, not obliged to keep doing so -- and they've covered their ass there.

This is legal boilerplate to move liability to litigation, it's not a governance plan. Many people don't understand the difference as they pore maliciously and gleefuly over the TOS to find a "gotcha" they can wield to triumphantly tell another resident that the Lab will "get them".

But again, if the Lindens want a governance plan, they aren't going to be oppressive or arbitrary or they will incite anger and departures. They know that, and that's why when they've had to deal with disputes, like the telehubs, they resolve them by offering compensation in a reasonable manner.

Prokofy Neva

Gareth, rather than fish through the TOS and try to take very literally and narrowly anything you find there, fish through international law.

There are basic legal principles that hold that should be promoted and applied, not set aside just because "we're in cyberspace" and "in a virtual world".

These basic principles seem to elude you, like many geeks, not only because you're not familiar with them, but because if you were, you would instantly realize they erode your "code as law" and therefore erode your power, and you don't like that, understandably.

A basic principle of justice even in very oppressive countries is that a crime has to be defined in a criminal code and promulgated so that people know it's a crime.

It has never been stated in the TOS or in blogs or in policies that it is a crime not to deliver a good or service. It may be a moral value in the community; perhaps someone can gin up real life law to go with it, but it is not spelled out in the TOS.

So it's not there, and even the Lindens have usually followed the idea that until they pronounce something a crime, it isn't a crime, following the common law philosophy ("whatever is not prohibited is allowed") rather than the civil law philosophy ("what every is not allowed is prohibited") to paint a very broad brush-stroke between two systems differing widely in their various manifestations.

Of course, like all EULAS and TOS that are so unlawful in their wording, the Lindens reserve for themselves the right to make up rules as they go along and not tell you -- "other rules prohibiting illegal and other practices that Linden Lab deems harmful." But even they know that if they don't want to confuse, anger, and prompt to litigation their customers, they will be careful about overusing this concept.

And if you're going to be literalist and narrow, be so until the end, don't stop half way through the sentence. It says, "a) Linden Lab will have the right but not the obligation to resolve disputes between users relating to the Service, and Linden Lab's resolution of any particular dispute does not create an obligation to resolve any other dispute"

"disputes between users RELATING TO THE SERVICE".

It doesn't say "relating to their romantic relationships, their business partnerships, their investment plans, their products and services".

Furthermore, they aren't obliged to resolve disputes and if they do, not obliged to keep doing so -- and they've covered their ass there.

This is legal boilerplate to move liability to litigation, it's not a governance plan. Many people don't understand the difference as they pore maliciously and gleefuly over the TOS to find a "gotcha" they can wield to triumphantly tell another resident that the Lab will "get them".

But again, if the Lindens want a governance plan, they aren't going to be oppressive or arbitrary or they will incite anger and departures. They know that, and that's why when they've had to deal with disputes, like the telehubs, they resolve them by offering compensation in a reasonable manner.

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