"There is no amount of pretty in the world that can cover a venomous heart."

Ah, the irony! Rhonda Huntress said that, and she also said:

http://forums-archive.secondlife.com/327/85/252954/3653.html (The quote in Rio's post, sixth post down.)

http://forums-archive.secondlife.com/327/85/252954/3828.html (Top post.)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What I did this morning

I got up early to talk to Cato because she/he is over on the West Coast this week. We had a root around in the Jive support forums and after going down a blind alley over Jive Forums (a different product which was discontinued last year) we found some interesting stuff about the software used in the SL forums and especially about the way in which the AR facility works. Essentially, our suspicions were confirmed that it was possible to set a five AR threshold after which a post would automatically be made invisible until it was moderated by a human (mass delete time anyone?) and that ARing an OP five times would make the whole thread invisible until acted upon.

I persuaded Cato to register for their forums (an IP ban on him/her would stop everyone who tried to log on from a Hilton Hotel, which would probably attract the wrong sort of publicity for LL) and we put together the following post:

I am a user of Jive SBS 4.0.2 as part of the Linden Lab community who participate in their Second Life virtual world. Last February Linden Lab migrated the last of several official forums from a vBulletin based platform to Jive.

Following the provision of an AR (Abuse Report) facility for both the original post and comments (of course the model is not a true forum model but a blog-based one) one particular participant started to use it in an attempt to censor their nemesis, only partially successfully as it seemed that at least one of the official moderators was considering the Abuse Report rationally, although at times it seemed that other moderators were carrying out mass deletes on anything that was reported, presumably on the basis that if a post annoyed another poster enough to warrant a report, it automatically qualified as Harassment or Intolerance and was against the Forum Guidelines.

Then things changed.

Linden Lab sacked about a third of their staff and it became increasingly apparent that moderation of the forums was being carried out automatically, without human intervention so that if a post or a thread received a number of ARs which exceeded a certain threshold it would be rejected or removed from public view for further assessment - which never happened. This was apparently noticed by participants who then, it appears, started ARing posts and threads using gang techniques, either with their peers or by using alts (alternate accounts) and soon a full scale AR war was in process.

This is the current situation, with the life being drained from what was previously an active General Discussion forum by the refusal of regular posters to offer input when they know that their posts Will disappear quickly making threads incomprehensible to follow. Further, it has been attacked by spammers, who are not prevented, it appears, from creating multiple accounts and posting to multiple subforums.

My critical questions (although I have several more regarding the process of moderation) in relation to this are as follows:

1. Is it true that posts and threads can be suspended, rejected or deleted when a certain number of ARs are submitted?

2. Is it true that it is not possible to ban a user temporarily?

3. Is it true that there are problems imposing permanent IP bans which would keep out spammers?

Oh, I am posting this here because Linden Lab refuses to allow ANY discussion of ANY aspect of the moderation process, and I believe may have extended the filter list (I am assuming that they are using one now) so that words such as "moderation" automatically qualify posts and threads for deletion.


  1. Well done! I couldn't have put it better myself.

    Effectively there is no point in having the general discussion forum when any individual or group can target a poster they dislike, have all that poster's comments removed and silence them completely, using an auto process which is not overseen by a human. Unfortunately this may suit LL just fine, stand by for the announcement, ".... and your friends at the Lab believe that residents would be best served if they developed their own forum...."

  2. Good job, now let's hope something constructive comes out of this!

    By the way, Cato's post on this subject on GD got Torley's attention :