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Monday, October 9, 2017

Businesswoman Banned From Second Life Without Clear Explanation


By Bixyl Shuftan

Talking to Furry Fashion, I was told about someone who worked with them, Luna Pawpad, whom had been given the boot by Linden Lab without being told exactly why. "Luna Pawpad helped me set up the FF Halloween area but LL banned her account," one of the staff told me. They had no idea why she was banned, "Every time she opens a support ticket they close it without responding. She keeps getting the run around. She's disabled and relies on her Second Life income. ... She'd been a loyal SL player for over seven years, and now she's banned plus all her alts. She's lost her parcels, her accounts, her store, thousands of items/money down the drain."

I talked to Luna via an Instant-Messenger. She described herself as quite involved in Second Life commerce, "I'm  a major part of Furry Fashion. I was a premium member, and I had a business. ... I was also heavily involved in Quest Fur Cover and other events like Gacha Guild. ... All of which helped supplement my income in real life.  I'm non-working disabled, and my husband and I are struggling as it is. My account was going on nine years old in November."

Linden Lab had blocked her entry into Second Life without saying exactly why, "My account was put on administrative hold. All I got was a lengthy notice that I broke TOS, and that's it." When I first talked to her, she could only think of one possible reason, one that she thought she had straightened out with Linden Lab some time ago, "The only clue I have is that my account was held before because I used my mom's card a couple times to buy Lindens, ... with her permission ... because she had no other way to send me money (according to her). I just provided her ID and my account opened back up."


And with that all was well, until now, "Then suddenly this, like months later. I've opened two tickets to appeal, and they were closed without (an)answer. And the direct case I filed last night, no longer exists."  She wondered, "maybe her bank happened to flag it one day, or maybe she did by mistake. That's really what this all seems like is a mistake." She had explained the situation to the Lab back then, "in the last case I filed I wrote out a very lengthy explanation, the case that now no longer exists. ... The only reason I used Second Life to get money from my Mom, was because I processed credit periodically anyways, from sales of my own stuff."

Later on, Luna mentioned there might be one other possibility, "A couple days before I was buying demos of full perm stuff to look at." And she purchased an item that she found out later was copybotted, "I didn't realize it till after I purchased it, so I just deleted it. It was a whoops."

I would later get an email from a Rand.Lupindo.

I've known Albright (Luna.Pawpad) in Second Life for at least 7 years, and in that time she has been a stable, energizing presence, volunteering at my own Sim (Timber Wilds animal avatars and sandbox) and other communities.  It is thus with sadness that I found that she was recently banned permanently from Second Life for unknown reasons other than an unspecified violation of the Terms of Service, and as far as I'm aware not given any warning, explanation, or recourse.  

For what it's worth, I doubt this ban is deserved, it smacks of the impulsive shadow banning of content creators on flimsy grounds that occurred last year, and I can vouch for Albright as a fixture of our community and certainly not a greifer or criminal.  If the ban is somehow deserved, she should at least be given an explanation as to the specific reason and some recourse for appeal.  

If users are going to be surreptitiously expelled from the game after accumulating years of legitimate accomplishments and relationships, fully intending to be and believing ourselves to be in compliance with the rules, without warning and without explanation, not even allowed to come back on a new account, then it seems that no one can feel safe investing their time and effort into this space.

And then another from Bowno Scarbridge, saying she was talking to Luna the moment she was booted off Second Life,

I had logged onto Second Life on the 3rd of October into the Gatcha Guild event. The BRDMRT Raptors had just been added the night before and I wanted to see how many people were around and enjoying them. Luna Pawpad and a few other friends soon joined me in the Raptor fun! We were all goofing around, clicking people's noses and making jokes over voice. Good stuff and good fun. Suddenly, Luna vanished out of nowhere, completely randomly and without any warning. A couple minutes later I get a message from Luna that she had been banned from SL. Confused and shocked,

I asked her why. She had been transferring her L to her alt account, which is used to store it for safe keeping. She was locked down for  'suspicious activity' because she was transferring L.

 SL replied to her appeal with :
  'Thank you for contacting Linden Lab Fraud. After conducting a thorough review, Linden Lab has determined this account or an alternate account has violated the Second Life Terms of Service. Regretfully, we have determined this account and all alternate accounts will be permanently terminated. Per the Terms of Service, you may not return to Second Life on any account, new or existing.'

Luna Pawpad is a modder of the SL community. Her products are texture mods that she makes by hand. Her work is her own. None of it breaks TOS and none of it is Copyright. She is decently known in the modder community. She has a few enemies from working as security at Furry Fashion.... But that's really about it!

Luna Pawpad thinks that transferring L was one of the causes, but also the fact that she had to borrow her mothers credit card for a bit. Her mother AGREED to this and even let her use her ID as proof.

She has tried to make tickets, and LL continues to close them without replying. Her email that she has sent will likely never be replied to or if it is.. it will likely just be a copy paste message. ... Linden Labs is being very unprofessional about this entire thing. The LEAST they could do is tell her what she did wrong. Right now, all we can do is assume. Luna is a paying customer to SL and deserves to at least have her tickets answered and a chance to defend herself.


This hasn't been the first time Linden Lab expelled someone from a popular business from the virtual world. In 2014, Meissa Thorne, one of the major contributors to the popular fishing game 7Seas, was banned for refusing to provide her Social Security Number and other ID directly to Linden Lab as part of their new Identification Policy at the time. Although the team had time to prepare for her exit, there were lasting changes, such as no further "Fishversary" celebration events.

As for what to do now, Luna wasn't sure where she could go from here, "I've submitted tickets, Ame wrote an email. I don't know if any of my other friends have done anything, but at this point, getting enough people to vouch for me might be my only hope at this point. I've seen people get banned for legit TOS violations, but returned because enough people protested."

And so, as Furry Fashion's team gets ready to celebrate Halloween, the mood has been darkened as one of their own has vanished, not at the hands of a monster, but the heavy hands of Linden Lab, with no clear explanation as to what the reason was for, or if it may happen again.

Bixyl Shuftan

5 comments:

  1. And the lab wonders why people don't trust it. Loyalty means nothing to them.

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  2. I vouch for Luna, I have seen her work for a few years and she does deserve a clear explanation of what part of ToS she may have violated. If it turns out to be just over suspicious activities, she still deserves a clear explanation rather than a generic general message "Banned for violating ToS"

    If this how Linden Labs treat to merchants, I do not know if I should invest my time into creating things. Everyone makes mistakes, but how we can learn from it if there no explanation of what we did wrong.

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  3. The only reason I can see is that she used her mothers credit card and even with the proof of it being ok maybe thats the reason. All other speculations do not add up to being banned. But yes a nice clear reason for this is in order. Not hiding behind "violating TOS" I would want to know so I could be sure not to do that again. really.

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    1. There are 3 avatars with the exact same name and near to the same age. I am going to say that it all does look very suspicious also with the credit card thing. All I will say is that looking at it from LL point of view.... suspicious.

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  4. All of that can be easily clear up if they actually respond her tickets instead of just closing them.

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