Monday, May 4, 2009

Why I A.R.

Written 21 April, 2009

Why I A.R.

Since I had a few idle minutes this afternoon, I teleported to the Violet Welcome Area to pass the time. I wasn’t there five minutes before a newbie walked up to me and said, “Hello, slut.”

The welcome areas of Second Life are filled with new citizens, most of whom have no idea about how to behave in world—and even if they get an inkling, the sheer power of being able to annoy others without getting their lights punched out tends to go to their heads. The welcome areas also tend to attract alts who are rezzed for the sole purpose of harassing people. I pegged the slut-utterer for one of the latter.

Since there were no other female avatars around, I said, “I sincerely hope you weren’t addressing me.” He told me he had indeed been addressing me. I sighed and opened an abuse report.

It wasn’t much of an insult, but why should I put up with it?

So I filled out the form (it’s under the Help menu) and sent it to the Lindens.

In real life I’m trained as a behavior analyst. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that behavior is maintained by its consequences. For this reason I never give money to beggars and for this reason I report people who harass or threaten me.

Here’s the thing. If no one ever gave money to beggars, they wouldn’t beg. And if everyone reported people who abuse them (and if the Lindens would do something about it), griefers wouldn’t be around for very long.

Oh, but wait a minute! Since Linden Lab allows people to create unlimited numbers of avs, banned griefers can just open another account. So ARs won’t really work, right?

Yeah, that’s a problem, but ARs still help because it’s a minor pain in the butt for a griefer to have to make a new alt. If every time griefers abused someone they were reported and promptly disciplined—if their alts lasted 30 minutes in world instead of 30 days—they would soon grow annoyed at having to make new avatars and at least slow down their annoyances.

But even if nothing ever happened in response to abuse reports (and many people believe nothing ever does), I would still file them.

So please don’t call me a slut.

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