Scripted Agent Access control for Second Life regions

via Linden Lab

Updated: Yay! between drafting this, having dinner and coming back and publishing, LL have updated the Scripted Agent Policy – see: Linden Lab Official:Scripted Agent Policy. There is also a discussion thread on the forum.

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023 saw the Scripted Agent Access control – also known as “Ban the Bots” update – became a grid-wide capability in Second Life.

Designed as a means to provide estate / region holders with the ability to prevent unwanted scripted agents (“bots”) from accessing their regions. It is a response to increasing concerns over the use of scripted agents to gather data – including user data – from across the grid and send it for processing / viewing outside of the Second Life.

It is an issue most recently brought to the fore by the BonnieBots system (see these locked forum threads: Has anyone else noticed the B[xxxx] accounts?Sorry. This is not OK. B bots profile scraping and Questions for the Lindens), and the new control was first mentioned as a coming feature during a March 2023 Lab Gab session (see: Lab Gab summary: Grumpity, Mojo &; Patch – SL Mobile, land, bots & more – Bots and Policies).

The following is quick overview of the functionality as it is now – full information can be found in the Scripted Agent Estate Access FAQ from Linden Lab.

How does it Work?

Currently, the Scripted Agents Access control uses an estate-wide flag called deny_bots, which for most viewers is currently accessible as a Debug Console setting, although a viewer UI update is available in the most recent official RC viewers found on the Alternate Viewers page, and will eventually be coming to the official release viewer and TPVs as they adopt it.

  • When ON, the flag prevents any properly indicated Scripted Agents from accessing a region. The only exceptions being:
    • Those listed on the region’s access list.
    • Scripted Agents specifically granted Estate Manager privileges.
  • It is region / estate wide, meaning it cannot be set at / excepted from individual parcels within a region.
  • When the the flag is OFF, all Scripted Agents are treated the same as any other avatar with regard to estate access.

Setting the Flag

The flag can be set in one of two ways: via the Region Debug Console or (for those viewers that have the update) via World Region / Estate (CTRL-R).

Via the Region Debug Console

  • If you do not have the Develop(er) menu option displayed, reveal it in one of the following ways::
    • Go to Advanced → Show Developer Menu.
    • Press CTRL-ALT-Q.
    • Go to Preferences → Advanced Show → check Show Developer Menu.
  • With the Develop(er) menu displayed, either:
    • Select Consoles → Region Debug Console from the menu, or:
    • Press CTRL-SHIFT-`
  • The Region Debug Console floater window will open; in the input field at the bottom of the console, type:

set deny_bots TRUE

  • Press ENTER. If the command is accepted, the floater will echo:

estate setting deny_bots = on.

  • If the console fails to echo for some reason, type the following and press ENTER:

get deny_bots.

  • The console floater should respond with the Estate setting message, above.
  • If you do not have permission to set the flag, the console will respond:

unknown or unauthorized parameter “deny_bots”

Left: the Region Debug Console, showing the deny_bots command options. Right: denying scripted agents option within the Region / Estate floater (when available in all viewers. Images via Linden Lab

Via the Region / Estate Floater

Again, note that this option is currently being rolled-out on Linden Lab RC viewers, and may take time to reach all third-party viewers (TPVs).

  • Type CTRL-R to display the Estate / Region floater.
  • Click on the Estate tab to open it, if required.
  • Look for the option Must Not Be A Scripted Agent, and click the check box to mark it.
    • If there is no such option, use the Region Debug Console option, as described above.
  • Click Apply.
  • Close the Region / Estate floater.

Additional Notes

  • If your estate has multiple regions, it may take time for the setting of the deny_bots flag to propagate out to all of them.
    • If a region does not appear to update with the flag being set, try restarting it, this should force the update.
    • If you have attempted to set deny_bots with the region console but the region continues to fail to reflect the change, please contact support.
    • If you get the error message “Estate already allows bot access, no change”, please try restarting the region, and then toggle deny_bots again. If you’re still having trouble after restarting, please contact support.
  • Note that the flag only applies to registered Scripted Agents (and all bots should be properly registered as such via the account’s Scripted Agent Status page on the account dashboard); it will not prevent unregistered bots accessing a region / estate. However:
    • It is a violation of the Second Life Bot Policy for anyone to operate a bot or bots which are not so identified. Failure to do so on the part of a bot operator can result in an account suspension.
    • If you have set the deny_bots flag, but believe your region is being repeatedly visited by an unregistered Scripted Agent, file an abuse report under the Disturbing the Peace category with the scripted agent’s name, where (region name) and when (date / time) it was seen.

Stories and colours in art in Second Life

PsyGallery, March 2023: Deyanira Yalin

A recent visit took me to Psygallery, operated and curated by Twister Grut, for a couple of small exhibitions by two well-known Second Life artists: Ilyra Chardin and Deyanira Yalin which, while individual in content, do compliment one another quite nicely.

Located in the lower level hall facing the landing point, Ilyra presents Once Upon a Where, a selection of her original paintings reproduced in-world. This comprises a series of nine images located around a central sculpture – Time in a Bottle -, which nicely encapsulates the central theme of the exhibition: fairy tales, stories and flights of the imagination.

PsyGallery, March 2023: Ilyra Chardin

The images are all mixed digital media finished in the style of paintings, eight of which plumb the depths of visual storytelling to great effect, with the ninth forms a superb life study of a coastal bird bearing the title Not All Who Wander Are Lost, which. The latter, depending on your perspective, might call to mind Tolkien, Shakespeare or perhaps Lana Del Rey. Whichever might come to mind, there is no denying that the title fits the images perfectly allowing the imagination to take flight – if you will – in thoughts of the subject’s life on the wing, and where it might have journeyed from and journey onwards to.

Accessed via the teleport board is Col-or-ing, a series of vividly striking images by Deyanira Yalin. This is a richly diverse selection of pieces all joined one to another by equally vivid narrative content as well as their sheer beauty. As with Once Upon a Where in the gallery space below, the eleven images are framed around a central sculpture by Deyanira, a piece as rich in colour, and with a life and motion which matches the vitality of the digital paintings.

PsyGallery, March 2023: Deyanira Yalin

The latter – as is all of Deyanira’s art – are immediately captivating in tone, content and style. Each speaks to its narrative equally as strongly  the next, but I confess I was very much drawn to Africa, Lady Under a Red Moon, and In My Room – the latter very cleverly bringing a certain literal interpretation of the old metaphorical idiom about elephants and rooms in a most delightful manner. Africa, meanwhile, caught my eye as an expression not just of natural beauty, but a beauty encompassing the whole of the temperate African continent.

That said, all eleven pieces within Col-or-ing are attractive and engaging, the stories waiting within them  – as noted above – joining this exhibition with Ilyra’s as eye-catching expression of storytelling through art.

PsyGallery, March 2023: Ilyra Chardin

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