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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Monday, May 01, 2006
Green Lantern
I ran across something kind of interesting in the SL news this morning. Take a look at this article about recent activities of the Green Lantern Corps in SL. The Green Lantern Core (sic) has been mobilized to protect Camp Darfur, an educational installation about the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Sudan.

From what I gather, the Green Lantern Corps group has several related subgroups, including mentors, helpers, fundraising groups, etc. The Green Lantern Core is apparently the ruling council, more or less, and now the pseudo-military vigilante arm as well. The Corps started as a fan roleplaying group for the DC Green Lantern comics, mostly as an excuse to trot around in green tights and blast people with green-tinged particle effects. (Nothing wrong with that! I sorely wanted to join when I first saw their HQ over a year ago. In the end, I decided I'd look awful silly in tights.) But they've grown into a self-appointed law enforcement arm, dedicated to stopping griefers, preventing in-game abuse, and watching for violations of local laws (in the form of the Community Standards and Terms of Service).

They're not the only ones. There are several security firms (mostly for hire to clubs, casinos, and various large events), and at least one private detective agency (that last link is from a real-life newspaper). The SLPD, one of the larger law enforcement and security groups, has recently come under fire for griefing practices of their own, general abuse of power (in the form of scripted objects and general bullying) and subsequent reports and disciplinary action against them. This has culminated in Linden Lab forcefully removing the "SL" from their group name (there is no rule or policy against putting "Second Life" or "SL" in a group name, under normal circumstances), possibly in a attempt to dissociate themselves from the Police Department. The status of such groups seems to be smack-dab in the middle of the grey area, as far as official LL policy is concerned.

In any case, we now have the Green Lantern Core/Corps patrolling Camp Darfur and running off griefers. This all started a few weeks ago, when a known griefer sidestepped his permanent ban (showing yet again the futility of banning as an enforcement tool- not that I've heard a better answer) and reportedly trashed the exhibit. (He did so by exploiting a hole in the scripted building methods used by the Darfur creators. This leads me to believe the Camp Darfur folks might have been less than wise in their building and cleanup practices, but that's beside the point.) Since then, two more attacks have been launched by other parties, and there's even been reports of attacks against their websites (which may or may not be linked, but the timing is suspicious). Now Camp Darfur is not even bothering to call LL to take care of the problem, but is instead just dropping an IM to the GLC. The Core has built scripted security devices to track visitors, and has taken to patrolling the camp and investigating "suspicious characters."

While I'm happy to see someone take an interest, especially when said someone is dressed up as an iconic superhero (the fanboy in me is turning cartwheels here), I'm waiting for the abuse reports against the Green Lanterns to come in. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, and all that. They seem to be operating above board, and I have no doubt of their intentions. And they're getting results, at least for now. But, in the end, strong-arm tactics - even in the name of protecting the innocent, etc. - are going to run afoul of the CS and TOS one way or another. I'm just cringing and waiting for the excrement to hit the green-tinged energy-construct fan.
Hey thought i would come and let you know a bit about how we do things

I would not call our actions strong armed we are a defensive group scanners shields and words our number one rule is "DONT SHOOT BACK" we take the hit and send the report and try to be a wall. we also dont just patrol darfur
the members that are on watch there have been learning all about the effort and act as guilds and hosts when they are there.

we are striving to be a help in the world in any way we can. we are a role play group but if we can help in some way then we will try.
Thanks for clearing that up. It sounds like the Green Lanterns are taking every effort to stay firmly on the right side of the TOS, then. That's laudable, and prudent besides.

The only potential hitch is that any organized resistance or defense can be construed (or deliberately misconstrued, by those it's directed against) as intimidation tactics. Especially when said resistance has no official authority beyond numbers. It's a fine line to walk. But if you are acting solely as a passive defense- a wall- it sounds like you're handling things in as safe a manner as possible, with regards to the CS and TOS issues.

In any case, as I reread this entry, I realize that I sounded a bit more derisive and cynical than intended. Sorry about that. Let me clear it up: you guys rock. Keep up the good work.
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