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10/18/2008

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Ann Otoole

You can thank the few for this. The professional spammers, and they exist in SL, advertise activities such as "multiple and continuous forum postings". They are a constant annoyance. If things keep going the way they are going then DNA signatures will become the standard for accessing communities and people who are spammers or investment bankers will find themselves unable to function as part of society when they are mass banned and are no longer able to do anything anywhere. The end of freedom is coming because of a few morons that put themselves before others.

Spam is big business btw. I was curious. One day some ripper spammed fashcon with the latest temporary location and price of his/her latest stolen goods. I popped in to watch. the flow of avatars streaming in to buy obviously stolen merchandise was impressive. In fact the ripper spammers can charge more than the original because the vast quantities of people that buy taboo will hurry to buy something they perceive to be stolen without price comparing to the original. They will happily pay 6000 for a set of ripped mangled/distorted sculpties that the original artist charges only 3500 for the legitimate good quality resolution. Go figure eh?

So groups had to be set up with social enforcement mechanisms so no one person, except the owner(s), can seize control of the group forcing the group members to endless spamming of useless ideologies and/or advertisements.

Find a way to eliminate selfish jackass genes from the planet and we would not need to socially ostracize undesirables from communities. Never gonna happen so banning will be part of everything in all social communities forever. At least with SL a person can learn from mistakes and start over clean on a new account and not be a jackass. I guess you can do that in real life too with a purchased new identity. But not as easily.

Clubside Granville

While I don't care one way or the other, I understand your comment about the needs for an occasional administrator-driven announcement and the lack of a "mute all" to guarantee it. While I don't believe this would have been hard to implement, there was another option that could have achieved the effect: mute by role. As an owner you'd open the group chat, a dropdown combo with a checkbox next to all roles (but owner) would be available, and you could then silence all or maybe everyone but officers, you get the picture. A group member types in something, the chat handler checks their role against the temporary role mute list and either deliver the message or presents the individual with a "can't deliver message, your group role is currently muted" or somesuch. This would be locked to the current user and chat window so if you closed yours all of your temporary mute settings would go away. Oh well, I can't help with the tech recommendations and that's all I've got on this topic!

ichabod Antfarm

How in the world could anyone see this as a good thing? If someone is in a group and I find their chatter annoying, I have the option of muting them or just leaving the group entirely. I have never done this except for spammers but the decision ought to be mine.

The idea that Joe Anonymous Group Officer can mute someone they find annoying or disagreeable and, thereby, deny me from hearing what that person has to say is atrocious, violating that person's right to speak and everyone else's right to hear. Terrible.

This is all about that BS "internet troll" thing. The group (read "tribe") finds a person difficult and will cheer to see that person muted but forced to remain in the group.

They should rename the Mute button to the Shame button as that is the real purpose behind this move.

Crap Mariner

"violating that person's right to speak"

Do people have a right to speak through every medium, public and private, in any manner they choose, even if it's disruptive, off-topic, or an unsolicited commercial message?

If so, toss me an address - I'd like to spraypaint my podcast's URL on your driveway.

Yes, I can see how this would suppress debate on political and philosophical groups. All the more reason to hold those discussions at various venues in public.

If a group gets over-moderated, yes, it'll get a bad reputation and fade. If it attracts good discussions and the off-topic/angry noise is suppressed, it'll grow.

ichabod Antfarm

Crap, of course they don't have that right in "every medium, public and private, in any manner they choose". I never suggested the thing.

I am arguing that it is enough to use the existing tools to deal with speech you don't like. If someone is spamming a group with either commercial messages or "suck dick faggot" then boot them from the group. What is the purpose of muting someone but leaving them in the group? It isn't the way to deal with spammers nor with aggravating teenyboppers and I am arguing that those annoyances are not the motivation for implementing this "feature". I shudder to think what the real motivation was.

"Yes, I can see how this would suppress debate on political and philosophical groups." It was these sorts of groups that I had in mind.

The obvious example of what I mean is Torley Linden deciding that Prokofy is no longer allowed to speak on the Linden blog and, as a result, the resident community as a whole is no longer allowed to hear what Prokofy has to say. It's shameful.

It's this kind of arbitrary interference with valid (if controversial or generally disliked) discourse that disturbs me. I don't buy the notion that vigorous speech is necessarily disruptive and needs to be squelched for the "good of the community."

Spray painting your url on my driveway is vandalism. I read your blog too, Crap. Somehow I don't think you are the sort of person who would deface someone else's property so I am not worried.

ichabod Antfarm

sorry forgot to add this:

"If it attracts good discussions and the off-topic/angry noise is suppressed, it'll grow."

I believe that's called an echo chamber and, yes, they do grow. They grow magnificently but only in size, never in scope.

Desmond Shang

Additions of such group tools don't surprise me.

We've had such tools all along, in a sense. Group eject. Got a problem with someone? Pop, they are gone. This is a sort of... intermediate kind of thing. Quiet people, but let them stay.

Who would stay in a group after being silenced?

I can think of only one scenario - that of a group used purely for its mass notice capability. Where people specifically *want* to only hear from the group owner. Say the group owner makes rare pet dragons or something, and you are eager for the next announcement of one. Perhaps the Fashion group might be another; I wouldn't know because I'm not versed in that sort of thing.

Other than that - for a group used in the more full sense of the word... I tend to agree with Prok here. That's not to say there aren't legitimate uses; if people *want* to use such powers, then I don't see any personal need to tell them they shouldn't - even if I disagree with the philosophy.

I doubt I'll be using, or granting moderation powers on my Independent State of Caledon group, with several hundred active members in it and over 1000 strong. I simply can't think of a case where someone would say something so vile that they should be silenced... yet still stay in the group. What would I silence someone for, blatantly clear hate speech maybe? That's the only scenario I can think of, and they wouldn't retain group membership in that case.

I haven't had need to eject anyone for any reason for the nearly 3 years the group has existed. That's significant, insofar as there is chatter on that group nearly 24/7.

True, I run a closed group to keep spammers out. Nobody except egregiously blatant griefers or con artists have ever been denied membership - all one has to do is ask, and that's something spammers don't generally bother to do.

I don't see this as a blow to democracy in more full groups, really - I see this as letting people do what they want. One can't paper over these sorts of things and make people democratic via code, if they aren't democratic to begin with.

ichabod Antfarm

"One can't paper over these sorts of things and make people democratic via code, if they aren't democratic to begin with."

Very true but adventures like this latest are object lessons that simply reinforce anti-democratic values. If impressing people with democracy is a valuable thing then we ought to strive for it wherever we can. I know this to be true because I have muted everyone who disagrees with me.

Prokofy Neva

Crap, spoken in the true spirit of the age, the age of mute. In normal office meetings, meetings among friends in cafes, PTA meetings, etc. etc. there is no mute button. You don't push someone away from the microphone. If someone is already in a group, of course they speak. If they are so disruptive and crazy as to shout or scream or swear, they would be removed from the group or meeting, but that is extremely rare.

Think of a typical office meeting or a PTA or tenants' meeting. Can you imagine that expelling people from the meeting or telling them to shut up would be the norm?

And yet practically every single day on Metanomics or Concierge, there is someone calling for someone else to be muted or expelled. Do people behave so much more outrageously just because they're online? Perhaps, but it cuts two ways -- nobody would ever be so outrageous as to shove you away from the podium at a tenants' meeting or shout you down from the floor -- that sort of thing only happens at political meetings with communist or fascist hecklers.

I don't think you can limit free speech "to political meetings". Metanomics or Concierge aren't overtly "political," and yet they contain many, many political disagreements and grievances about land and economy and opensource. Are we all supposed to be shut up while our betters prevail with *their* ideas about how these topics should be run in SL?! Everything is political in SL -- even a dress.

Desmond is right to go to the heart of the matter: who would want to remain in a group but also be muted? Well, all those BDSM and Capture Roleplay groups for one, or possibly some fashion group.

But it's groups like Concierge where you need to get information that people are going to be helpless in and desire to remain in as invited members, even if muted.

In a group like Metanomics, even if their fussy little busybodies muted me, I'd remain simply to find out that they're up to no good, something that occurs frequently, and keep abreast of their troublesome antics.

But of course it IS a blow to democracy. You don't appear capable of seeing democracy as a system, with the top-down view of what happens to a system as a whole when a lot of principalities and fiefdoms -- like your own -- are created that can mute all dissent, and yet people be forcibly kept as members just to lay down a prim on paid rentals, for example. It's awful.

You yourself are saying you won't moderate Caledon. Of course, having an invite-only group and moderating people would be stupid among the refined set of the moors there -- either don't invite them in the first place as they are interlopers, or expel them if they are griefers.

Yet even with open groups, I rarely have to expel someone. Usually it's for commercial spammage and not griefing when I do, and spammage by people who aren't even tenants, but merely opportunists skipping among open groups.

You can't make people democratic by code -- but that's why you cannot and should not code democracy. Coding moderation tools is a great and lasting evil for the 3-D Internet that the Lindens are fully to blaim for planting the evils seeds. Imagine a very large and global 3-D world Internet in which layers and layers of mods are controlling the levers everywhere because no one fought back early enough.

Ichabod is right that this latest action reinforces anti-democratic values, for which of course the Lindens are famous.

I bet one of the chief factors driving this was their desire to control their very own Mentors and other volunteer groups which have "gotten out of hand".

Gareth Nelson

A small thought experiment here prok:

If someone was to post "FUCK YOU!!!!" with the name "Lulz, Prok is an idiot" on your blog, would you ban them?

My guess is yes. So, would you ban someone behaving in the same manner from an inworld group? Again, my guess is yes.

Now, what if the person acting in this stupid fashion is not being so extreme but still disrupting chat? Would it not make sense to remove them?

Gareth Nelson

"and yet people be forcibly kept as members"
There's no way to force people to remain in a group using the moderation tools. If people are forced into staying in the group due to wanting other benefits from that group, then they aren't being truely forced as they made a choice.

People can of course be ejected instead (which you have no issue with apparently), or they can be temporarily muted (and thus allow them to still have SOME of the group's benefits). I don't see how partially silencing someone is worse than totally silencing someone.

Khamon Fate

It does cut both ways, every way in fact.

People are more likely to join electronic groups because it's safe and anonymous and free.

People are more likely to scream childishly at those groups than they are fellow parents in a school meeting.

People are more likely to react emotionally to those outburst, take them personally, and respond in a equally childish fashion.

People are more likely to mute or ban other people without any concern for their feelings or well being because "they're just another kiddy griefer alt interrupting my perfect wora'uld" yeah?

Oh and people are more likely, for some reason, to feel like they *must* belong to this group because it is *the* fashionable group. And they're right; in this better world, where we can be anybody doing anything, we're entitled to be allowed that freedom without anyone else being in control of any aspect of it.

Gareth Nelson

" And they're right; in this better world, where we can be anybody doing anything, we're entitled to be allowed that freedom without anyone else being in control of any aspect of it."

You are not entitled to have the "freedom" of acting however you like in other people's groups.

Prokofy Neva

I think we can get a glimpse into our totalitarian future here:

1. No one is forced to leave -- it's a choice. Why, if they wish to keep getting the group's benefits, that's their choice.

Except...if it's a home, a shop rental or purchase on an island, or a group with vital news, or some other benefit someone requires -- today virtual, tomorrow reality. Running the Internet this way -- making people dependent on divas for their benefits, fearful of crossing them and losing their homes -- that's wrong. But a glimbse of the Bright Future.

2. Someone griefing a blog in violation *of a rule* (not on my whim) which is "post with your SL or RL name" and puts "LULZ" is rightfully banned. If they post with an SL name and say "fuck you," that's fine, they can stay as they have provided accountability for their actions to a recognizable inworld name (a temp or alt will not do).

3. If someone disrupts a group to the point that they need expulsion, they are expelled. My groups are open, so they could join again. It sometimes takes a dozen expulsions before they move on. I see no reason to mute anyone ever. Their "disruption" may be expressing a legitimate grievance. Again, glimpse the bright future, when obsessive nits like Gareth decide arbitrarily who gets to speak, and yet they always get to disrupt themselves.

Khamon, I don't see that the way to deal with childish online behaviour is to throw more arbitrary childishness at it, like "You are banned from my treehouse forever, I am pulling up the ladder."

Ciaran Laval

I'm a bit torn on this in so much as I think there should be chat only groups that don't have land permissions and therefore don't cause the checking to see if a group is banned issue. There could also be update groups where chat isn't allowed, these sort of groups aren't intended for support so I can see why some people would want to disallow chat.

However as you point out, the complaint oft seen about group chat is that people close it down and then it pops back open when someone continues the chat, that's what people have been asking for, they don't want to leave the group but at that moment in time they simply don't want to be involved in the chat. It's a user issue rather than a moderator issue.

Khamon Fate

"You are not entitled to have the "freedom" of acting however you like in other people's groups." - Gareth

Other people's groups, so when I join a group, I'm not a member of it really but just subject to it? That's not a group; that's propoganda.

Sorry Prok, I should've spraypainted "Tongue in Cheek" across my previous post.

Economic Mip

Well this new feature is um interesting (note I did not say useful). If group chat even pretended to work most of the time for me, then I would be more interested in it. I think probably 10 or so of my groups have me at Moderator level, so this could get to be an issue fast.

I only mute people who are a major pain. Typically they only stay on the mute list for a week or two. I do not have the patience to deal with people who for some odd reason think I need to instantly answer their every question without compensation.

Darien Caldwell

It's no different than moderating a forum really. If you can't stop group spammers from constantly rejoining after being kicked out, at least you can shut them up now. :)

But yes, like any power, it needs to be used judiciously.

Prokofy Neva

Darien, that's my point: if you have a *closed* group, if someone reaches the threshold of seriously spamming the group with ads or very outrageous speach, then expulsion should be the answer. Keeping them as a member, and muting them selectively, to be turned on and off at the owner's whim, is a terrible blow to democracy. It's just plain wrong. It's unnecessary, and you would not have a RL membership group run on that basis.

Nothing in SL is EVER used judiciously, Darien. That's why I fight "code as law". It is *always* served up to us to be used "only sometimes" or "only in extreme cases" or "not perfect, but doing the job" -- and then it has a horrible effect, long-term.

Jahar Aabye

There are a number of groups whose owners state in their group charter that there is to be no chat, or that the chat channel is only to be used by owners and officers/admins, or perhaps that the chat can be used, but only for certain relevant topics. There are a number of different reasons why this might be done, but the point is that many groups already have such rules. All that this does is give the group owner the ability to enforce these rules.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of groups that are not formed for the purposes of chatting. Often groups are used to limit land access, or perhaps to allow users to set their homepoint on a certain land. They can be used to allow the owners and officers to send notices and announcements. They can be used to allow small business owners to rez a vendor in a mall space.

Sometimes these groups can be quite large, several hundred residents. Often those several hundred residents specifically do *not* wish to have their group chat opened just because some moron wants to say something. On the other hand, group owners don't want to kick out newbies who didn't know any better, or who just made one mistake. The ability to mute then becomes very useful and advantageous for residents as well as the group owners.

I see this as giving group owners more control over what happens in their groups, just as LL gives land owners a large degree of control over what happens on their land.

Sean Williams

Group ... democracy?

Um, did we forget that the only members of a Group unable to be ejected are the Owners? did we forget that the Owner has total control at all times over all Group functions?

That's not a Democracy.

Prokofy Neva

I run groups like that -- the largest has some 600 people at times. I have written in the lease and info cards that people should not chat on the group -- it bothers most people. Most people respect that. Occasionally some idiot tries to post some sale or club -- he is dealt with quickly. It's not the problem everyone imagines. I'm much rather keep the group free, and then people can use it for emergencies, or the odd newbie messes up -- but then gets helped. It's not the end of the world. There is no need to have draconian gag rules and the mechanism for it -- it truly is overkill.

More control is not more freedom. It is more control. It is at the expense of everyone else's freedom. It isn't done with some notion of civic good, but just more of the same Linden propertarianism we have always seen in SL.

Owners need not be despots. Sean is a tool.

Sean Williams

Prok, kindly keep your bullshit off of the screen.

Let's go back to base facts shall we? You know, the ones you like to ignore:

1. Group Owners have total control over all Group Functions and Features all the time.
2. Group Owners cannot be ejected, not even by another Group Owner.

These two facts alone show and indeed prove that a Second Life Group is NOT a 'Democracy' in any sense of the word, as even with Proposals the Group Owner has final say.

It has nothing at all to do with being a 'despot' Prok: It has everything to do with the way Groups are implemented in the system.

It does not matter at the end of the day how you choose to run a Group: It is, by the very nature of its system implementation, not a Democracy nor any other political form.

As another commenter has noted: a Second Life Group is far more like a forum in implementation and adding Group Chat Moderation is a logical step.

Now, I do not know what sort of groups you belong to ... But spam and the like happens quite often in some Groups. With the way the current system handles Group Chats (for example, popping it back open after it's closed) this is at the least a temp fix to silence the ones spamming the Group ... or simply disrupting it.

Don't like Groups being treated as they should be? fine and dandy - keep the bullshit out of it however.

Oh! If you'd been tracking along and actually participating in the testing of the 1.21 RC cycle ... you'd have noticed this sooner. It's been in there since 1.21RC0 or perhaps RC1

Prokofy Neva

Sean is a tool -- and a total asshole to boot.

If you don't like what an owner of a group does...leave and form a new group.

But don't take the right of a sovereign individual to make a group as he likes, with like-minded individuals, to do what they like.

Once a group owner makes a group, however, and invites those like-minded fellows, or customers, he should not be despotic over them by depriving them of the right to speech. There is no need for that.

Sean, like many people in Hive Mind, has a very weak grasp of what the individual is, and what individual rights are all about, or what private property really means. Ownership of a group is the heart of private property. Only in a communist collective would you seek to deprive the owner of his rights and somehow restrict him at that level of ownership and configuration.

But once he has formed the group and invited people and they have freely entered. to then silence them is an abuse of collegiality, and he should not indulge in such excesses.

These concepts are over Sean's head, however.

Prokofy Neva

Eject a person if they spam. But do not silent people because they speak. Difference. Failure to grasp the difference is typical weak mindedness.

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