Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are we human? Or, are we griefer?

I warn you a head of time. TL-DR...

To start: I am Immy. I am my own person, embodied in an avatar. I am the maker and keeper of all of my own decisions. That said, I have a big decision to make. In addition, I fear that this decision is a lose-lose situation.

I am a member of NCI. To expand, I am a Helper in the New Citizen's Inc. group, I am an Instructor and Land Officer in the NCI Land Holdings group, and I am a Mall Manager in the New Citizen's Mall group. I teach one class a night, every Thursday night at 6pm. I co-host a Question and Answer event every Saturday night at 6pm. I am currently substituting for the host of the Show and Tell event every Sunday night.

I am also the creator of the NCI Spam Central *NO ADVERTISEMENTS* conversation group that allows more idle group chat so that the main group can remain an effective support portal for new and old residents alike.

In addition, I spend my time in the Kuula sandbox mingling with the crowd, my friends, and new residents. I have over a year long history of helping people, befriending people, building, scripting, and I won't deny my fair share of drama. I don't pretend to be a good person. I don't believe I am one. But, if someone says I'm worth while, I'll take them at their word. Numerous people have said so. So, I don't believe I'm in a position do deny it.

I am a member of Second Life Mentors. In addition to my time spent in NCI; I frequent infohubs, welcome areas, and help the random strangers I meet. I find fun in gesturebating my way through the mob and if someone asks for help I'll gladly face them and offer what resources I can for their benefit. Honestly, this is my idea of fun.

*** I think I've done plenty in attempt to duct-tape a halo over my head...

I am a member of Woodbury University. For those of you who don't know, WU is a group that contains people with common connections to the *chan culture, SA forums, and I think even Ebaums World. Many of these communities are older than SL. A less than liberal mind would consider them to be the gutter of the internet. In some cases, proudly so.

I personally was an anonymous poster to 7chan for quite a few years. The spark to convince me to join SL was a screenshot of the Windlight First Look client posted on 7chan. I had made attempts to join SL since beta, but, never had the computer to do it. That screenshot combined with some disposable income at the time was enough to finally pull me inworld for a second time and finally make the account you see here today. I'm not sure if anyone remembers, but, up until SL5B I used to maintain the group tag over my head reading /cake/.

I'm in the group because it's an inworld contact to people that share my commonly twisted sense of humor. Group notices contain new gestures. Group chat is funny, random, insane and a good diversion from the 'normalcy' usually found in SL. I'll visit the group sandboxes once in a while and play with some gadgets that I normally can't play with anywhere else on the grid.

It's a diverse group. I know the reputation the group has due to the treatment of a certain mad blogger. I have been told details and history of some horrible events. So, I'm more than prepared to believe that there is a large number of A-holes and psychopaths in the group. My thing is, in my point of view, they don't make up the entire group.

For argument's sake, the Roman Catholic church knowingly has priests and volunteers that molest children. As a result, I believe in Association Fallacy and personally can't libel an entire group because of the activities of one portion of it's members, even if the group as a whole doesn't vilify these members for their behavior.

*** Now... Why bring all this up?

I have been blogged about in regards to my membership in both groups. In this blog, I have been both described as a sort of supergriefer/hacker who joins 'grief posses' in order to disrupt discussions. I'm apparently 'evading bans' using my 'hacker nature'. This blogger has stated that I repeatedly have been seen in 'posses' and made multiple attempts to disrupt events. This blogger has connected me to gangs of bobbing and weaving avatars dropping particles and self-replicating cubes.

Because of all this, the blogger considers me to be a liability to NCI. I am referred to as some sort of griefer/recruiter that puts a legitimizing face on an evil group that doesn't deserve daylight in many peoples' points of view.

The details can be found on this person's blog and my own. I have made attempts to comment on the blog with as much fact as I have available and nearly each response has been deleted. So, I'm having to resort to other outlets to keep the story straight. Nobody has to believe me, I don't ask for that.

To make my own statement here, and reiterate what I've already said in my blog and in responses to that person's blog:

I don't grief.

I didn't go to that person to disrupt. Two of the three times, that person came to me. One of the times, I was genuinely helping two other people navigate the Freebie Wall inside an NCI infonode. Honestly, the other bannings didn't bother me a bit. But, to ban me for helping others under the pretense that I'm in some griefing mob just doesn't fly with me.

*** On to my question:

I'm in Catch-22 now. I see three choices.

Choice 1: Leave Woodbury University.

Pros: It would sever my association with what people strongly believe to be a griefer group. It may lift some peoples' opinions of me in regard to my personality. It would “prove the blogger wrong” to a certain degree.

Cons: I don't think it will solve a thing. What's done is done. I have been vilified and the publicity of both groups will not change. I am who I am if I am in the group or not and with or without people may continue to assume that I am influenced by WU. In addition, people may believe I am influencing NCI in order to turn it into a griefer haven. Me leaving the group will not change this. At the same time, WU is diverse. I and many other people are examples that there are facets of *chan culture that are often overlooked. If I leave, I'll be letting the people that blatantly ignore this “win”.

Choice 2: Leave NCI.

Pros: It would sever the most visible 'legitimizing link' between WU and NCI. It will shift the opinions of detractors of both groups. It will allow the “good guys” to claim their “win”.

Cons: NCI will lose a volunteer, or two, or three, or more... In my wake. I have friends in all circles of NCI and they respect and support me. As a reaction to my exit, they may decide that the group has lost its sense of direction and also leave. If I am genuinely an asset to the group, my one exit alone will leave a dent. My exit may also bolster my falsely derived reputation of me being a griefer. The people who have decided to make up false stories about me would be able to pat themselves on the back in their own reward for 'separating the chaff'.

Choice 3: Ignore all of this and don't change a thing.

Pros: Things can be as they were two weeks ago. I can have my laugh in the WU group chat, help new residents in the NCI nodes and sandboxes, play with gadgets in the WU sandboxes, and teach lessons and host events that help new users get oriented into enjoying SL far better than any effort Linden Lab has ever paid someone to do.

Cons: NCI may still be a target of 'anti griefer' ramblings on blogs. People may decide to no longer direct new residents to the group for help. Advertisers and supporters may pull their funding into the group.

***So, what am I to do?

In the end, this mad blogger will still be a willing target of some of the most horrible harassment I've ever heard of in person. With or without the WU group. There will always be someone 'out to get this person' as long as this person is so very public and stubborn about controversial opinions. At the same time, this person exaggerates to a huge degree what people are actually doing. My own case, as an example. And, in my point of view, it detracts from this person's credibility to a very large degree. You can only cry wolf for so long.

I asked a question in a small meeting last night. “Who is the most important person to NCI?”

I was frankly quite shocked at the responses I got. The names given in reply were not all that surprising. But, in my point of view, that question is NOT supposed to be answered with any one person's name.

My answer to the question is in the name of the group itself: The New Citizen.

Do new citizens, residents, users, players (use any name you like) know anything about me? Do they know the groups I'm in? Should it matter at all?

I have suggested that the NCI group should be focused on the community that makes up the sandbox. That community is made up of new residents, older regulars, helpers new and old, and the supporting staff they need to stay productive. The most important part of the New User Experience is the new user. NCI is genuinely part of the NUE and I believe it to be a disservice to hold the group and anyone within the group (including myself) responsible for anything in regards to grid oldbie politics at large.

Thank you for reading, if you did.

I will not defend myself against any genuine claims of bad behaviour. But, I will not allow myself to be lied about.

I will not stake claim upon being a good person. But, I will not sit idly by while I'm slandered.

I want to see NCI and organizations like NCI succeed in helping the new resident. And, I do not want to see oldbie politics be the cause of any group's downfall.

Immy. (^_^)y


Brinda said...

Doggone it! Well said Immy. Personal ethics are whats important.... I define ethics as what one does when no ones looking. My ethics can not and will not be determinded by what another thinks or says.

In the time we've known one another you are doing exactly what i see as so important in Secondlife. Helping to bring all of us along. Ive a link I'll add at the end of this comment...As well something I read many years ago. Something I try so hard to do Secondlife as well as first life.

"Live your life so as never to be ashamed no matter what is said about you. Even if it's not true". Richard Bach the book is 'Illusions'
And I'm still such a sentimental sap...everytime I hear this I still cry.

Dale Innis said...

My opinion isn't exactly unbiased :) but I'd vote for (3), at least to start with. No one should ever change their behavior just because someone with a very tenuous hold on the truth says untrue things. I don't think you should worry much about direct negative impact on NCI; everyone who matters knows that the ranter in question isn't a very credible source.

Of course if you think about it and decide that there are too many mean people in the one group, or that the other group's upright reputation is important enough that you feel like you can't really be yourself and still belong to it, that'd be another thing. But don't make either of those decisions based on you know who.

I wouldn't be surprised if there have been some pretty nasty griefing events against the person in question. On the other hand since my main actual evidence for that is statements by that same person, I also wouldn't be surprised if they were mostly made up; we both know from personal experience that things that person says may have little or nothing to do with the truth. So I just don't know one way or the other...

Brinda said...

HMM...guess i shoulda copied my meager dissent and defense of my friend comment before i tryed to post on second thoughts. looks like my comment was deleted.
Just convinced me that the word *reasonable* is missing from such an apparently educated person

quiteoh said...


First, I've painfully slogged though that person’s thick, verbos and hollow ramble of an article. It is typical of their style: unkind and unbearably pompous, that of a little fish in a little bowl, someone who habitually tries such self-aggrandizing intellectual contortions that are basically the equivalent of attempting to relate socio-anarchism to lime flavoured Jello. And it seems they expect to be taken seriously. Why is this even an issue?

Over a period of about 3 years, in many circumstance this has not been my perception of you. You know it. I know it. What makes you think that someone who doesn’t know you is even entitled to be treated as if their opinion of you had any relevance? What on earth makes you think that the solipsistic inflate-a-words of a misfortune hunter should have any impact on either your first or second life? The answer I propose is #4

Treat it as the basic chest thumping rambles of a net loon that they are. Or are you now going to start curtsying to ever one who claims to be Napoleon?

You have better things to do with your life, I'm sure.