Saturday, November 26, 2011

Don't Copybot Me Bro!

Last night I kept getting messages about somebody using a copy of my avatar. Was it me?  Was it somebody trying to discredit me?  What was going on?

Thanks to Stefanos for the Photo.
It looks like they got the skin wrong!
Obviously someone copybotted me..again...oh, whatever shall I do?

I thought it'd be fun to take a picture of my avatar with my copybot doppelganger, but whenever I teleported to where somebody spotted it, they had left already.

Initially, there was some confusion over whether this was one person or several.  I was able to piece together that it was just one person, and I had a pretty good idea who it was.

His original name was Cyrus something and he wore this big naked devil avatar at Moose Beach.  I made fun of him because he would gladly tell people what a horrible griefer he was.  (Usually, horrible griefers don't have to announce themselves).  At one point he even offered to give me copies of his griefer scripts if I wouldn't name fun of him anymore.

To illustrate how much of a doofus this guy is, he used to have this in his profile:
I do have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long SL career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you tangle with me, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will get you.
Apparently, one of these particular skills includes copybotting my avatar and wearing it around where precisely nobody cared.

Some people do actually care if people copybott their avatar. I've seen them scream about it.  I know one guy who raged and went into virtual hiding because Adam copied his "trademark" avatar.  I, however, don't give two shits.  My avatar is not my identity, which is why I change it to something completely different from time to time.

I used to worry about copybott as a general concept though, I don't anymore.

My thinking used to be that copybott threatened the user created content economy of SecondLife, just like digital piracy threatened the music industry in real life.

That was erroneous thinking.  Erroneous because, unlike the music industry, the SecondLife User Created Content economy grew up at the same time as the ability to copybott and thrived despite it.

Most users, it seems, would really rather pay the low price for virtual goods rather than stealing it.  I suspect because it's more convenient to get the stuff by legitimate means, than by copying it.

Most people who employ copybott these days are users who lose their accounts so regularly, that investing in their virtual inventory would be pointless.  Linden Labs have done their best to get rid of these users, with precisely no effect, and, despite what you might hear, these "uninvited" users of SecondLife haven't posed much of a threat to the existence of SecondLife either.

That means,  there's a very small percentage of SecondLife users who actively use copybott, and they're people who otherwise wouldn't buy anything, so it doesn't really represent a loss to the creator.  Were there no such thing as copybott, they still wouldn't have made a sale.  It might make them mad, but it doesn't do them any damage.

In my case, it doesn't even make me mad.  Different versions of the avatars I wear have been copybotted probably two dozen times by now.  It hasn't made any difference.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why They Troll

What is It?
If you've used pretty much any social tools on the internet, then you've encountered trolls.  If you use SecondLife, you probably encounter them daily.

Evolution gives the human brain any number of nearly automated responses to certain stimuli and situations.  These responses often serve us pretty well in the physical world.  In the ethereal world of the internet though, it's very easy for people to manipulate those nearly automated responses for their own amusement.  That is called trolling.  The more you respond, the more you feed the trolls.

Any number of professional psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists have tried to discover why anyone would spend their time this way, without any consensus at all, so it's probably pointless for amateurs to even try.  They will though and it's usually simply repeating the stereotypes about typical internet users.  They're wrong.

Who's Really In Charge?
It's ironic that the people being trolled always control the situation, but rarely use their control.  All they have to do is recognize that someone is pressing their primitive emotional buttons and simply not respond in the expected manner.  The troll only wants a response to their button-pushing.  Without one, they will simply move on.

Most people aren't willing to do this though.  They either feel they have to protect their imaginary internet turf, or they figure "Hey! I'm pretty good at arguing, I can take this person on and win!" That kind of thinking will only attract more trolls.  Most of these people have no interest in winning.  They only want you to make you respond to stupid things.

There's a secret among most trolls.  The people with the biggest egos make the best targets.  The more you think you can beat them, the more of them you will attract.

How To Respond:
My very best advice is: you choose who to argue with over the internet.  Don't let anyone trick you into making the choice for you.  Trolls want you to argue on their terms and their turf.

The best response when somebody comes into an area talking shit about you or your friends is no response at all.  That's really, really hard for some people to do.  They like to fight and they believe they can win.  They're wrong.  Fighting will only attract more trolls.  Even if you're fighting someone the other trolls hate, they'll still show up, just for the entertainment.

An Example:
Let's say a woman comes into an info hub.  She's tall and asian and she wears braces and she's a low-level troll.  She hears another woman she doesn't know talking on microphone and she says "Wow! That lady sounds fat!"

Now, whatever you've heard, people cannot "sound fat".  She's just saying this to get a response, which she does, almost immediately--not from the woman with the fat voice, but the people around her.  A  much better response would be to just laugh at her half-hearted attempt at trolling, but, for whatever reason, people almost never do.

Making it Stop:
There is really nothing that will make it stop.  People still try to troll me every day.  They usually give up pretty soon though because I don't give them back what they're hoping for.  The best response to a troll is simple honesty and logic in a calm, controlled manner.  That's not very entertaining so they'll move on pretty quickly.  If you can't do that, just mute them and you  won't even know it's happening.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taking Over The Internet

About once a week, I get a message in Secondlife from someone I don't know saying they and their friends are about to take over SecondLife and I should write about it on my blog. 

So far, none of these people have actually succeeded in taking over Secondlife.  I don't really know how one would take over SecondLife, but there are a few things I'm pretty sure won't work.

1) Replicating cubes: With or without pornographic pictures, this tactic has been around since the inception of Secondlife, and it never really made much difference.

2) Crashing Sims: You can crash sims. Lots of people can crash sims.  It might make people mad  and rage in funny ways, but it's not going to make much difference or make you king of SecondLife.  Sometimes a big wedding will crash the sim it's on without any help from anyone.

3) Crashing Viewers: See above.  It might make people mad in funny ways, but they get better pretty quickly and ultimately nothing changes.

4) Doxing: Handing out note cards with real-life information on people nobody really knows or cares about isn't going to change SecondLife.  It might make those individual people mad, but that's about it.

These are the things that won't allow you to take over SecondLife.  If you have something else, then lets see it and see what it does.  In the mean-time, don't ask me to write about you taking over SecondLife before anything actually happens.  Do something first, and then, if it's interesting, I'll write about it.

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