2018 SL UG updates 42/1: Simulator and Governance

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuaryblog post

Simulator User Group

Server Deployment Plans

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

  • There was no deployment to the SLS (Main) channel on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018, leaving the simulators on that channel running on server release 18#18.09.20.519894, comprising the simulator update for Bakes on Mesh. However, regions on the channel were restarted, per the Lab’s 14-day restart policy.
  • On Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, the RC channels should be updated as follows:
    • The three core RC channels, Magnum, LeTigre and BlueSteel should all be updated with server maintenance package 18#18.10.04.520268 containing internal fixes.
    • The Snack RC channel should be updated with server release 18.10.09.520401, containing server-side EEP support. This will be an initially limited deployment to regions under LL’s management.

SL  Viewer

There were two SL viewer updates at the end of week #41:

  • The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) project viewer updated to version 5.1.10.520475, on October 12th.
  • the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 5.1.10.520444 on October 11th.

The rest of the official viewers remain unchanged at the start of week #42:

  • Current Release version 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5th, promoted September 26th. Formerly the Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Animesh RC viewer, version 6.0.0.520211, October 8th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 5.2.0.520057, September 28th.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10th. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 5.1.8.518751, released on August 20th.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Non-HTTP Asset Fetching

For some time now, all SL assets have been fetched using HTTP via the Lab’s CDN provider(s), avoiding the need for the simulator to handle all asset transfers and associated messaging directly. While the viewer code has long had the necessary code to support asset fetching via HTTP / CDN, the code for the old, non-HTTP fetching has remained in place in the simulator, allowing much older viewer versions to continue to fetch assets by way of the simulator.

However, Linden Lab has announced that as from January 6th, 2019, they will be removing the old non-HTTP fetching methods from the simulator code. Any viewers still fetching the affected asset types via UDP after this date will not longer work correctly.

The specific asset types affected by this change are: system body parts, system clothing, gesture, animations, sounds, and landmarks (mesh, textures and avatar appearance having long been HTTP only).

Operating System Update

The Lab is working on another major operating system update for the simulators and their back-end services. Part of this work is being deployed to the Morris region on Aditi, the beta grid, on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. As OS updates can lead to some unanticipated outcomes, the deployment to Morris is very much a test of the new code. Those who routinely use the beta grid and the Morris region are asked to raise a beta grid Jira on any issues or other “oddness” they note subsequent to the deployment – “oddness” in this case being anything outside of the usual / expected behaviour of things.

The Cloud and “On Demand” Regions

Questions continue to be asked about the use of “on demand” regions following SL’s eventual move to cloud infrastructure. That is, regions that are only spun-up and active when one or more avatars are in them.

As Ebbe and others from the Lab has indicated, making regions “on demand” is not a priority at present with the move. Rather the focus is on shifting SL to the cloud “as is”, without significant changes to how the simulators and their region appear to operate.

While an “on demand” region offering might be possible in the future, it will most likely be an entirely new product offering when compared to the current Full and Homestead region types, and would probably only by suited to a standalone use, rather than such regions being part of any contiguous land mass, simply because of the complexities of  access (imagine trying to fly across multiple regions and having to stop at each border for 60+ seconds while the next region is deployed and spun-up) and in handling LSL scripts that assume all regions are running all the time, etc.

So , don’t expect anything like these immediately after the move – although such a product might surface at some point in the future, one the Lab have built up confidence in running SL in the cloud.

In Brief

  • BUG-216320 “Error when retrieving grid statistics page via llHTTPRequest”: no fix as yet.
  • BUG-7084 “Prim properties visually revert to an earlier state since Interesting”: again, no progress to report at present.
EEP is coming! server-side support is being deployed in week #42 on a limited basis to the main grid (Snack RC), and Simon Linden has been having seasonal fun with his home parcel. Expect EEP to gain wider simulator availability in the coming weeks. Credit: Simon Linden

Continue reading “2018 SL UG updates 42/1: Simulator and Governance”

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2018 SL UG updates 40/1: Simulator and Governance

[Eclectica] A New Dawn; Inara Pey, August 2018, on Flickr[Eclectica] A New Dawnblog post

Simulator User Group

Not a lot to report this week; some discussion on documenting throttles on various LSL requests (i.e. updating wiki entries to indicate those functions that have throttles, rather than providing specific throttle information), and the inevitable region crossing chatter.

Server Deployment Plans

  • On Tuesday, October 2nd, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 18#18.09.20.519894, comprising the simulator update for Bakes on Mesh.
    • I believe this update still requires a Bake Service update (support for 1024×1024 textures).
  • On Wednesday, October 3rd, the three main RC channels should all be updates with service maintenance package 18#18.09.24.519940, comprising internal fixes.

SL Viewer

The following two viewers were updated on Friday, September 28th:

At the start of week #40, all other viewers remain as follows:

  • Current Release version 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5, promoted September 26. Formerly the Rakomelo Maintenance RC viewer – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
    • Animesh RC viewer, version 6.0.0.518949, August 24.
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 5.1.8.518751, released on August 20.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7. This viewer will remain available for as long as reasonable, but will not be updated with new features or bug fixes.
Rider and Simon Linden, seated, at a Simulator User Group meeting, with Mazidox Linden in between. Note Mazi is wearing Shrek ears – the Lab’s office and in-world indicator that someone committed an “oopsie” – in his case, testing the wrong thing.

Governance User Group

Governance User Group (GUG) meetings are generally held on alternate Tuesdays at 13:00 SLT. They are intended to provide a forum for the discussion and education of issues involving Governance.  They are chaired by the GTeam supervisor, Kristen Linden and are open to the public. Details on dates, times and location can be found on the Governance User Group wiki page.

The Governance Team is responsible for dealing with Abuse Reports, in-world abuse, forum reports, Marketplace reports, etc. It is not responsible for issues with accounts being compromised, account subscription delinquency, fraud, IP infringement, etc.

  • These matters cannot be discussed at the GUG meetings.
  • Issues relating to them should be reported through the recommended channels (e.g. Support for account-specific issues, via the DMCA process for IP infringements, content theft, etc).

Similarly, individual cases involving Governance issues (e.g. the outcomes of abuse report filings), cannot be publicly discussed.

Resources

Meeting CliffsNotesTM

  • General comment on L$ reclaims: somewhat related to fraud, despite notes above. If someone receives L$ amounts as a result of fraud or similar issues, when those amounts are reclaimed via the Lab, they will show up as a transaction record in the user’s account transaction history.
  • Visitor trackers – are these a violation? the Governance Team is aware they exists, and generally do not action reports relating to them (radar systems report more-or-less the same information, available from the mini-map).
    • Similarly, the Governance Team tends not to get involved with tar jars that record tippers names / amounts. The suggestion for those who do not wish to have their name recorded when tipping is to tip directly, avatar-to-avatar.
  • Warnings / Suspensions / Termination: Tommy Linden pointed out that the reason someone is receiving a warning or a notice of suspension / termination will receive “a specific reason” on why the action is being taken in the e-mail notifying them of the warning / suspension.
  • Bans and Termination: the Governance Team only ban / terminate as a result of in-world issues related to platform governance. However, users can be banned / terminated by other LL teams (e.g. fraud, legal / IP), depending on the nature of the infraction / activity.
  • Can SL users be banned for things placed on external blogs, etc? As far as the Governance Team is concerned – no.  It is recognised that the team have no jurisdiction over mediums and services outside of those owned by Linden Lab.
    • Users who believe their personal data is being incorrectly publicised via the likes of blogs, etc., on other services, or believe they are being defamed, are advised to go through the complaints process native to the platform in question, and not file an Abuse Report with the Lab.
    • Issues the Lab have with external services, websites, etc., that are felt to be violating things like the company’s brand usage, trademarks, or which might be seen as defamatory, are dealt with by the legal department.
  • Personal questions: asking personal questions – even repeatedly – is not actionable as an AR. No-one has to answer questions, and other avatars can be muted / block if they persist. However, if someone does repeatedly harass a user with personal questions, etc., even beyond blocking, the an AR for harassment can be raised.
  • 24/7 coverage: the Governance Team is “not totally” active on a 24/7, but are deliberately unpredictable in hours kept so that times when Governance may not be available can be easily calculated by potential troublemakers.
  • Does the GTeam track those banned from regions / parcels? No. The region / parcel capability is there for region / parcel holders to use. However, ARs can be a means to identify serial griefers.
  • Does the simulator save a copy of the simstate when an AR is filed? No, however, the logs, etc are available for review during an investigation  – providing the AR is filed within a reasonable time of the incident occurring.
  • Should specific sections of the TOS / Community Standards be quoted in an AR: they can be, but it is not a requirement. A clear description of the incident, with all relevant information and an accurate AR category filing is far better.
  • ARs against copybotting, IP infringement: these are not investigated, but attempts are made to educate on how to file a DMCA.
  • Nudity on Moderate regions: generally considered OK, but nudity with sexual connotations (e.g. sexual acts or a naked male avatar with an erection, in public places) can be AR’d.
    • Region / parcel holders are free to specify no nudity and / or no sexual acts on their regions, regardless as to the rating.

Next Meeting

Subject to confirmation on the Governance User Group wiki page, the next meeting should be on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018. However, the location may change.

2018 SL UG updates #38/2: Governance User Group

The first of the renewed GTeam meetings, chaired by Kristen Linden (the robotic avatar on the left) – September 18th, 2018

The Governance Team held the first of its renewed User Group meetings on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018. These meeting will be held twice a month, and are designed to provide a forum for the discussion and education of issues involving Governance.  They are chaired by the current GTeam supervisor, Kristen Linden and are open to the public. Details on dates, times and location can be found on the Governance User Group wiki page.

Governance Team

  • Around five people are in the Governance Team, and are all Lab employees – Governance work is not outsourced.
  • The Team is responsible for dealing with Abuse Reports, in-world abuse, forum reports, Marketplace reports, etc.
    • The team is not responsible for issues with accounts being compromised, account subscription delinquency, fraud, etc. These matters should be reported via Support, and not through the Abuse Report system, so they can be passed directly to the Lab’s fraud team.
  • On average Governance deal with over 1,000 Abuse Reports per week, while the rate of reporting can reach 400-500 reports filed per day.

Abuse Reports

Please refer to the following resources for details information on filing Abuse Reports:

There is also a knowledge base article on how to deal with a range of abuse / harassment issues without necessarily the need to raise an AR.

A number of issues related to raising abuse reports – AR categories, how to fill-out a report, use of snapshots, chat logs, video, what is and isn’t “allowed”, etc., came up during the meeting. These are covered in the documents above, and not repeated here. Rather, I’ve chosen to focus on the more esoteric aspects of abuse reports and AR handling by the GTeam as discussed in the meeting.

  • All ARs that can be investigated are investigated. However:
    • 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 (e.g. privacy). 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.
  • Reports are handled on a combination of age / priority. Those reports that tend to get the highest priority are griefing, certain types of harassment, age play, threats of actual violence outside of SL.
    • Those who feel a threat being made against them personally (not their avatar) are additionally advised to contact their local authorities if they have reason to believe the threat is genuine.
  • The volume of reports received about an incident makes no difference to the priority with which it is dealt with or the action that might be taken. So mass reporting of an incident by friends and friends of fiends TP’d into a location specifically to file a report is not a good idea.
  • Banning isn’t the only action taken. Depending on the nature of the abusive action, people may receive a warning, a short-term account suspension (days) or a temporary ban (weeks).
    • Generally, the process is warning, escalating through to a 2-week ban if offences continue, then ban.
    • Offences can be cumulative if persistent / depending on their nature. However, if there are extended periods between offences (e.g. multiple months / years) they are unlikely to be dealt with on a cumulative basis.
    • Major offences (e.g. age play, etc.), will generally go to an immediate ban.

Q&A Element

  • What to do about persistent griefers using alt accounts: continue to AR them (e.g. under harassment), if you are positively able to link an alt to another account, provide details of how (what’s said – via text chat transcript, for example) and indicate the name of the other account.
    • IP bans are not seen as a solution for a number of reasons (e.g. many ISPs around the world assign dynamic IP addresses to their users, hence there is a risk an IP ban could result in an innocent party being blocked from SL).
  • Avatar “Permission Stealing” VWR-13228. This is a long-standing issue which is not easy to resolve, as the object usurping an avatar’s permission (movement, camera, etc), is being worn by another, and the usual revoke permissions options in the viewer cannot be applied to other avatar attachments.
  • Incident Blotter: (for those unfamiliar with it) at one time the Lab used to produce an “Incident Blotter”, a dealing significant abuse issues and their general outcome (not specific details on those involved) – see a 2010 sample here. This was discontinued several years ago, and unlikely to be reintroduced.
  • Retaliatory ARs: people filing an AR in response to discovering they have been AR’d (e.g. because the original reports has IM’d them with “You have been AR’d” or something) can be a thing. The Governance team is aware of this, and does take time to check if a report might be retaliatory, rather than genuine.
  • Vigilantism: The GTeam is aware of a number vigilante groups in SL who may use mass abuse reports either in an attempt to secure action or as a means of retaliation, and they do keep an eye on them.
  • Marketplace flagging: the GTeam handles these, and the volume received means it can take time to get through them. People are rarely disciplined for flagging items, unless it can be clearly shown they are doing so maliciously.
  • Could a generic notification be sent to a reporter when an AR is actioned: a complaint with the AR system is that those filing a report don’t get to hear whether or not it has been actioned. However, the current tool set isn’t geared to sending out even the most generic notification that an AR has been actioned (e.g. “Your Abuse Report of [date] has been actioned”), and it’s not clear if this could be changed.
  • Contacting GTeam members in-world: general contact for advice and / or with questions is encouraged. However, contact to try to circumvent the AR system or to make a “verbal” AR report is strongly discouraged.
    • Generally when in-world, the GTeam is actively dealing with ARs, or reviewing them while their avatars are parked, ready to go.

Next Meeting

Subject to confirmation on the Governance User Group wiki page, the next meeting should be on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018. However, the location may change.