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Friday, January 31, 2014

Interview with Greenlantern Excelsior (Hal Jordan)


There's no shortage of occasions on Second Life when someone could use a helping hand. Newcomers at beginning areas often need advice on where to go and what they can do. And of course there's the ever-present problem of griefers. And ignoring them hoping they'll go away doesn't always work. One group with the goal of helping out with both, and more, is the Green Lanterns, led by Greenlantern Excelsior (Hal Jordan).

I recently contacted Greenlantern, and he agreed to an interview. We met at the Green Lantern Headquarters in the Unknown Country sim. He explained, "In the comics, the home of the Green Lantern Corps was the planet Oa. That is already the name of a sim operated by another Green Lantern group, so we wanted to choose a different name."

"So how did you find out about Second Life?" I asked him. "I don't remember where I first heard about Second Life," Greenlantern answered, "But as with everything on the Internet, I asked Mr. Google about it and he showed me a link." When asked how his first days went, he answered, "I wandered aimlessly along a large road and looked at the buildings and signs along the way. There was not a Welcome Area that I remember, and no Mentors to provide help. Finally I found an object called, something like, 'The Big Damn Book of Second Life' that provided some information. I always remember how I felt back then, and that's why I love to go to the Welcome Areas and help new residents." I chuckled a bit at the name.

I then asked, "Where did the idea for the Lanterns come from?" Greenlantern answered, "I joined a Green Lantern group when I first arrived in Second Life in 2006. By 2009 it had changed so that its focus was mostly on fund raising and charity. Many of us who wanted to continue helping people in Second Life were ready to leave. A compassionate friend saw what was happening and created a group called The Green Lanterns in November, 2009, so that those of us who loved the character could continue doing public service in a Green Lantern group. About mid-2010, the founder and its senior leaders had moved on, so the group ownership was given to me."

So what was the purpose of the Green Lanterns in Second Life in a nutshell? Greenlantern answered, "The Green Lanterns can be described in basic terms as a Neighborhood Watch in Second Life. We dress as members of the Green Lantern Corps from the comics, and patrol the grid looking for those in need of help. We assist new residents in making the transition from Real Life into Second Life. We submit Abuse Reports to Linden Lab when griefers attack. We educate landowners about security arrangements. We provide security patrols for Second Life events. We adhere to several standard ethical principles which are described on our blog at http://thegreenlanterns.wordpress.com/about/. We only have three standard rules: 1) No Drama, 2) Have Fun, and 3) Don't be Evil. The group has 105 members, and we are actively recruiting new members who enjoy helping others and removing griefers from the grid through the use of timely and accurate Abuse Reports."

"Recently we have become very active in helping club owners with security," Greenlantern stated. "I think we got started helping club owners early in 2013. The more people I talked to, the more concerned I was about griefers attacking multiple clubs. And I heard rumors that some clubs hired griefers to attack rival clubs, so that was concerning. So I talked to one club owner and offered to help as an officer in their land group, and she added me right away. Now I'm in seven different groups as an officer, and members of The Green Lanterns are being added also." I brought up the "Junkyard Blues" incident last year, and asked him if this and similar attacks were another reason. "Absolutely," Greenlantern answered, "that horrified me, and I was determined that some way we should be able to help in situations like that. The Lab may not have been of help then, but I understand their efforts are ramping up and they have been seen more frequently in the field these days. We are still searching for a way to help multiple clubs and venues without having to join multiple groups, since the LL group limit is still set at 42."

"Was the lab cutting back on security then?" I asked Greenlantern. "I can't speak for Linden Lab and I don't like to bad-mouth them because I don't know what's going on behind the scenes there," he answered, "It did seem that fewer resources were being devoted to Governance than in the past, though. And now it seems that more resources are being added.." "So more recently they're increasing their efforts again?" I asked.  "I believe so," he answered, "We first noticed this back in early November, when it was reported to us that griefers had been attacking people in the Barbarossa sim for several months. We went in and looked at the situation and several of us were griefed as well. So we brought in a large number of peackeepers and wrote Abuse Reports, and about an hour later, Governance7 Linden arrived and the griefers disappeared. Soon afterward, those griefer names could no longer be found in search, and the griefing stopped. After that, we have seen the Governance# Linden (2 through 8) in the sandboxes taking care of griefer objects. The Barbarossa incident is documented in our blog."

"Just why do griefers grief?" I asked him. Greenlantern's answer was, "I wrote about that in the very first post on our blog, and I have come into contact with most of these different griefer types. Here's a canned answer to that: The Exploration of Griefer Play document lists several categories of 'griefer motivations' that may explain many of the reasons that griefers engage in griefing."

Category – Game influenced
Motivations – Anonymity, Boredom, Greed, Protest, Testing, Game premise

Category – Player influenced
Motivations – Spite, Victim vulnerability, Revenge

Category – Griefer influenced
Motivations – Ritualization and group identity, Reputation

Category – Self
Motivations – Bad mood, Wanting to feel powerful, Attention, Enjoyment, Role-playing

" 'Greed' is a new one," Greenlantern added, "some griefers apparently make money by griefing for hire. That is disgusting. It's obscene that someone would get paid to conduct what is essentially a denial of service attack. These venue owners are losing money as a result. It should be referred to law enforcement, in my opinion." Were these incidents on the rise? "I don't have a good feel for whether incidents are going up or down," he answered, "They don't seem to be newsworthy items, so we don't hear a lot about them, or at least I don't."

I then asked a question which I myself had to deal with, "There has been some debate as how griefing incidents should be covered. Some feel they should often be documented to show others, notably the Lab, what's going on. Others feel people should keep quiet about them, as not to give them an audience and too many stories might give Second Life a bad name. Did you have an opinion on this matter?" Greenlantern paused for a moment, then answered, "My opinion has changed on this subject. I used to write numerous blog articles showing how bad and how frequent the griefer attacks were. My thought was that maybe someone whose last name was Linden would see the articles and realize that something needed to be done. But now I think not that the attacks should be hidden, but that they should be discussed in an intelligent way so people can come to reasonable conclusions about what should be done. I even made a couple of videos of griefer attacks, but I think now that there isn't much point to showing a sandbox full of cubes."

Greenlantern added, "If residents can think and talk about how we can all come together and make it harder for griefers to affect people, then that's a positive outcome. And I have some ideas about how that can be done, but they are not yet ready for prime time, so to speak."

Is there such a thing as a reformed griefer? Greenlantern's answer was, "Yes! I know a few of those. They have stopped griefing for several different reasons, including fear of legal action, and gaining enough maturity to leave childhood pursuits behind." *smile*

So besides dealing with griefers, what has the group been doing? Greenlantern answered, "We have been spreading out across the grid. Some of the venue owners we helped have graciously provided space for us to build an outpost on their parcel or sim. It is just another example of how people can exhibit a stunning amount of kindness and generosity to anyone who wants to help them. We are considering rebuilding our parcel too. ... Reduce prim count and increase the number of cool looking gadgets! Actually we have been thinking about it for some time, but today a couple of newer members started talking about it seriously, so I will send out a Notice and we will see what happens."

Have the Lanterns ever had to disclipine a member? Greenlantern's answer was "I can't think of a single occasion when I have had to do that, and no one has ever been ejected from the group. We did have one member who was reported to be griefing in a sandbox. When I talked to him about it and asked him if itwere true, he confirmed it and then resigned. Another member had a sudden change of personality and became very angry with everyone. She went into the same sandbox and attacked a resident using griefer tools. When I talked to her about it, she resigned too. Our rules and code of conduct is very clear about the consequences if anyone is caught griefing, and everyone knows it."

So whom among the Lanterns had distinguished themselves? Greenlantern answered, "There are so many members of this group who have stepped up and done amazing things that I wouldn't want to give a list of names because I might forget someone. A shorter list would be the inactive members. Of the other Lantern groups, the one that stands out in my mind is The Blue Lantern Corps. Several years ago it was led by an amazing guy named Nomad Parx. He energized the group and it was growing and patrolling and creating some impressive equipment. When he left, the group withered away."

"What are the Blue, Red, and other Lantern groups?" I asked Greenlantern. His answer was, "Green Lantern is a comic book character. Members of the Corps wear a power ring that can create anything the wearer can imagine, and the ringbearers can overcome great fear. So the rings are said to draw upon willpower to operate. DC Comics created a story arc called 'The War of Light,' where other Lantern groups were discovered whose rings operated on a different part of the 'emotional spectrum.' The Red Lanterns run on rage, Orange Lanterns run on avarice, Sinestro Corps or Yellow Lanterns run on fear, and the Black Lantern Corps is sustained by death since all of their members are dead. On the good side, the Blue Lanterns run on hope, the Indigo Tribe uses compassion, the Star Sapphires use the violet light of love, and the White Lantern corps uses the power of life itself." Were these groups just about roleplaying I asked him. He answered, "The Blue Lanterns, back in the Nomad Parx era, did the same things we do - they patrolled the grid looking for griefers to report so LL could take care of them. I don't know of any Lantern groups devoted to roleplaying, but I'm not a roleplayer so I could be wrong about that. We haven't done any roleplaying in this group, although if the members want to do that, they can have at it."

Greenlantern described a recent incident, "Last week we got a frantic call from a lady working at the Ocean Casino Hotel. She was being attacked by griefers and her parcel powers weren't working. So several Lanterns responded and we used our parcel powers to eject and ban the griefers. They stayed out on the sidewalk which was the public part of the sim, and we stayed in the parcel and faced them down. It reminded me of a scene from The Magnificent Seven." He handed me a picture of the incident.

It was about then the two of us parted ways. For those interested, one can head to the Green Lantern Headquarters at The Unknown Country (159/147/2023), where one can get information about the Green Lanterns, and an application to join up.

Bixyl Shuftan

20 comments:

  1. I joined quite a long time ago but I got jaded when LL didn't seem to do much with ARs and such and kinda ended up not doing anything. Maybe in the future. --- Xym

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  2. I'll pass on the Vigilante justice these are just other residents like everyone else who seem to want to force some fantasy role play on others,
    Shame on linden lab after all these years making some residents special over others this has helped lead to second life's decline as we can all see who the favorites are.

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  3. Your comment is completely untrue. Please don't call us vigilantes. Vigilantes take the law into their own hands. We do not. We write Abuse Reports just like any other resident, and we get no special treatment at all from Linden Lab.

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    Replies
    1. Your just part of the problem involving yourself in resident disputes as if you are a new friendly Redzone
      No one take my word just read the blog http://thegreenlanterns.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/a-new-solution-to-griefing-in-second-life/
      Red zone was not a solution nor is Green Lanterns

      Delete
    2. From what I've seen, almost everyone disagrees with you and believes that we are doing a service to the grid. I would be interested in what you have been doing to help people be safe against griefing.

      Delete
    3. I completely agree with the Anonymous posts against the Lanterns. Recently you have labeled the SL Military Community as a full on griefer community headed by Caine Constantine, who has, since 2015, focused on his New Jessie projects and has never griefed anyone since. The Lanterns are just as comparable to today's SJW's as they are as cancerous as them. Let the people decide what THEY want to do. Let THEM sort out THEIR problems. If you keep up your green boy scout parade, you'll only attract more griefers who just want a rise out of you as well as everyone you throw into the crossfire along with you.

      Delete
  4. We are not the first residents to suggest having volunteer helpers in the sandboxes, and we won't be the last. And Redzone is a violation of the Terms of Service. Writing Abuse Reports as we do is not a violation. Linden Lab expects and encourages residents to write ARs. Oh and by the way, thank you for reading our blog. :)

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  5. tattle-tales with super powers

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  6. Second Life has a long memory
    Remember your JLU? Your Phantom Zone that was a clone of Red Zone?
    your Second Life Police Department? Soft Linden in your pocket?
    If not all the links can be founds here maybe to refresh your memory
    http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/64116-jlu-privacy-crisis-infinite-threads.html
    You cost many a lot of customers and second life a lot residents so please stop this madness before it starts again .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am unequivocally in favour of residents helping each other and exchanging information for that purpose. For example, there still seem to be a lot of residents who don't realise that Autoreturn is one of the best first lines of defence or how to use it. Also, when a griefing attack happens, the more people who file accurate AR's the better. To that end, I set up a group called Sansara Residents to aid those of us on the continent where I live.

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    2. Neighborhood watch and helping each other in your part of the continent can be beneficial but just know that's much different then starting your own red zone and costing second life over 100,000 active residents thru 3 degrees of separation and at this stage of second life it's very fragile with much more stacked against it then 3 years ago and another Resident Privacy Crisis could put it under for good.

      Delete
    3. Nice article. I'm glad there are people to report these "griefers". I've observed only positive results lately come about from these "hero" groups. Well done guys!!

      I think these groups follow the letter of the law today...keep doing a great job!! I remember my first time in SL and someone trying to crash an area and also take advantage of my character. Groups like this are positive, not destructive, they helped me and many others. Many people like having them around. I support them. Good job!!!

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    4. Right when you happen to be a senior of their group

      Leave the traveling super hero's to the movies were they belong

      Delete
    5. Justice League Unlimited is not a part of this discussion. Neither is Phantom Zone, Red Zone, Soft Linden or the SL Universe discussion forum. There is no invasion of privacy, no secret wikis with personal information storage and nothing to be concerned about unless your attacks on other residents could get you banned by Abuse Reports. Second Life Residents are tired of griefing, so we are banding together and forming anti-griefer groups like Sylvie's Sansara Residents, my Assistance Notification Network, JLU's GridWatch, and many more. Linden Lab's governance employees are back on the job, and they do respond to ARs these days. The life span of the garden variety griefer will soon be measured in minutes rather than days. And the only people I know who will complain about that are the griefers themselves.

      Delete
    6. Neighborhood watch and helping each other in your part of the continent can be beneficial but just know that's much different then starting your own red zone and costing second life over 100,000 active residents thru 3 degrees of separation and at this stage of second life it's very fragile with much more stacked against it then 3 years ago and another Resident Privacy Crisis could put it under for good.

      Delete
  7. This group does some honest, real work. Maybe before you go bashing a group and comparing it to something else, you should take a few moments and see them in action. They don't spy on you or anything like that, they just get the jerk griefers out of the sims using Abuse Reports so that the rest of us can enjoy SL without having our computers crashed, appearances warped or Lindens stolen. Unless you're a griefer who does one of these things, I'm really not sure what complaint you could have about a group of people who wants to dress up and have some fun.

    That's what SL is about - dressing up, playing out fantasies, meeting people and having FUN! Without hurting anyone. Dressing up as a super hero isn't any different than dressing up as a biker, or a hooker, or a furry. And it doesn't hurt anyone.

    So, please, Anonymous person... all I ask is you do some research into THIS group before you post inaccurate and negative comments about them based on past experiences with completely different groups.

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    Many times people don't believe me when I tell them about how much you can make filling out paid surveys online...

    So I show them a video of myself actually getting paid over $500 for filling paid surveys.

    ReplyDelete
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