The following notes are drawn from a presentation Governance Team manager Tommy Linden and team member Corky Linden are making to various communities within Second Life as part of an initiative to better disseminate information about the Governance Team, and on filing Abuse Reports (ARs). The hope is that the information provided will give users a better understanding of what the Governance Team hope to see provided in an Abuse Report in order to fully investigate it.
Note that official information on Abuse Reports can also be found in the Knowledge Base.
Governance Team: Quick Facts
- The team is relatively small – under a dozen in size – but handles an average of 400-500 Abuse Reports per day
- All Abuse Reports get reviewed as the first stage of an investigation, with priority given to those seen as critical (such as an in-progress griefing attack)
- All ARs that can be investigated are investigated
- How far the investigation goes largely depends on whether the AR is filed against something Governance is empowered to investigate, and how much meaningful information is supplied in it
- The Governance Team intentionally does not report back on the outcome of their investigations for a number of reasons. Just because the outcome might not be visible to the reporter / match their expectations when filing an AR, does not mean the report was ignored.
- One of the biggest issues with incoming Abuse Reports is that they often lack the basic information required in order for an investigation to be properly carried out.
What is an Abuse Report?
The Abuse Report (AR) is for reporting any individual or group of avatars or any in-world object engaged in an activity deemed inappropriate under the Second Life Terms of Service / Community Standards and/or is in contraction to the maturity rating for a region.
ARs apply to: griefing, spamming, age play, assault / pushing / disturbing the peace, disclosure of personal information, fraud, harassment, indecency and Skill Gaming violations. In addition, there are Welcome Area Guidelines governing places like Infohubs, which contain restrictions on what should not be done in those areas with any violations also subject to ARs. Report.
There are also certain things that do not apply to ARs. For example, being banned from a particular group or region or parcel, or a dispute over rental payment between residents are not actionable via AR.
ARs can be filed by anyone suffering abuse, or by those directly witnessing an abusive act. However, this does not mean teleporting multiple people into a location and having them file reports as well. Rather than “speeding up” any investigation, it can actually slow down the entire process by forcing Governance to spend time reviewing dozens of additional (and possibly contradictory) reports.
Accessing the Abuse Report Floater
The AR floater can be accessed via:
- Menu bar > Help > Report Abuse
- By right-clicking on an avatar or object and locating / selecting Report Abuse from the context menu / pie menu.
- Make sure you have the right avatar / object selected when doing this
- Launching the AR floater using either of these two options will auto-complete parts of the form.
The following guidelines are intended to help with filing an AR.
Where possible, try to include a screen shot of the situation you are reporting. It can be the most effective means of illustrating what is going on, and gives the Governance Team clear visual proof / evidence of what has happened. It can also make up for information missed from the rest of the report.
The slide below outlines some of the key points to remember when using the AR floater to capture a snapshot – click to enlarge it in a separate browser tab for ease of reading.
Note that most viewers do not have a refresh button for the snapshot preview, so try to make sure all the information you wish to capture is on your screen. If you are unable to get a screen shot for whatever reason, it is important you provide clear, accurate information in the Summary and Details section of the report (see below).
The Object Picker allows you to identify an abusive object (e.g. a particle / noise spammer, a weapon, etc.), and include its name and owner in the body of your Abuse Report. Instructions on how to use it are included in the AR floater, and this section will be auto-completed if you launch an AR by right-clicking on an abusive object. Remember you can further verify the item by including it in a snapshot with the Edit floater open to show the object name & owner.
The Abuse Report floater includes a pre-defined, drop-down list of categories which should be used when filing a report. Notes on the *valid* categories can be found here. Note that filing under the wrong category doesn’t prevent a report from being investigated, but it can slow things down, particularly if there is insufficient information provided elsewhere in the report.
This allows you to grab the name of someone causing abuse from those around you. If you launch an Abuse Report by right-clicking on an object or avatar, this section will auto-complete (make sure you have selected the right avatar), otherwise click the Choose button and follow the on-screen instructions.