Group bans: an overview

On Tuesday June 17th, Linden Lab released the Group Ban project viewer (version 3.7.8.290887) which, as the name suggests, allows group owners (and those they nominate by role) to ban individuals from their group.

Group bans, which are enforced server-side, like parcel and estate bans, are intended to remove troublemakers from a group / prevent them from joining the group. This article will hopefully provide an overview of the group ban tools within the project viewer (and which will eventually progress to the release viewer).

The following general points with group bans should be noted:

  • By default, only a group’s Owners role has the Manage Ban List ability for banning other avatars from a group /removing avatars from the ban list
  • The ability can be granted to other roles, if required
  • Roles which are granted this ability are also granted the Eject Members from this Group and Remove Members from Roles abilities
  • The ban list for a group can store a maximum of 500 entries. When this limit is reached, some avatars must be removed before others can be added
  • Group Owners cannot be banned from a group (just as they cannot be ejected)
  • When a group member is banned from the group, they are automatically ejected and will receive the usual ejection notification, but will not receive any notice that they have also been banned
  • A user who is banned from a group cannot join it either directly or through an invitation
  • If a group member is banned while using group chat, they may be able to continue using it until they close the group chat window (this problem also exists when ejecting someone from a group when they have the group chat window open)
  • Any attempt to invite one or more banned avatars into a group, whether individually or as a part of a list, will generate the message:  Some residents have not been sent an invite due to being banned from the group.

The viewer itself includes the necessary options to allow a group owner (and those they nominate by role) to:

  • Add or remove avatars from the group ban list
  • View the group ban list
  • Add the ability to ban avatars from a group to any other roles within the group, if required.

Applying Group Bans

Avatars can be banned from a group in one of two ways:

  • By selecting them in the group members list if they are already a member of the group
  • By using the Group Ban Picker to ban one or more avatars from a group, whether or not they are already members.

Banning via the Members List

  • Display your groups list (CTRL-SHIFT-G), select the required group and open its profile
  • Click on Roles & Members to open it, and then click on the Members tab
  • Locate the first avatar you wish to ban and left-click on their name
  • If there is more than one avatar you wish to ban, press CTRL and left-click on each of the remaining names
  • Click on the Ban Member(s) button
  • The highlighted avatars will be ejected and banned from the group, and you should see the normal confirmatory notification(s) that they have been ejected.
Banning someone from a public droup via the Members tab (l), and confirming they are listed as banned on the Banned Residents tab (r)
Banning someone from a public group via the Members tab (l), and confirming they are listed as banned on the Banned Residents tab (r)

To confirm the selected individuals have been ejected and banned, click the right scroll buttons at the top of the panel to scroll / jump to the Banned Residents tab. This should display the name of all avatars banned from the group. If the name(s) of the avatar(s) just banned do not appear to be listed, wait a minute or two and click the refresh button in the lower left corner of the panel. Continue reading “Group bans: an overview”

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SL projects update 25/1: server, viewer, pathfinding and surprise guest

The Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday June 17th was busy even before the unannounced guest dropped in (see below)
The Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday June 17th was getting busy even before the unannounced guest dropped in (see below)

Server Deploys, Week 24

As usual, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest information.

Main (SLS) Channel

On Tuesday June 17th, the Main channel was updated with the Group Ban project, which was previously on the LeTigre RC.  As the name implies, this project adds the ability to ban users from groups (see also SL Viewer Updates, below) – release notes.

Release Candidate Channels

On Wednesday June 18th the three RC channels should be updated as follows:

  • LeTigre should receive a new server maintenance project this week, which comprises an anti-griefing measure – release notes
  • BlueSteel should remain on the Sunshine / AIS v3 project, the viewer for which was promoted to the de facto release viewer (version 3.7.9.290582) on Monday June 16th. In addition, BlueSteel should receive the Main channel update with the Group Ban project and the anti-griefing update deployed to LeTigre – release notes
  • Magnum should remain on the Experience Tools project. In addition, Magnum should will receive the Main channel update with the Group Ban project and the anti-griefing update deployed to LeTigre – release notes.

SL Viewer Updates

Release Viewer

On Monday June 16th, the MemShine release candidate viewer, (version 3.7.9.290582, was promoted to the de facto release viewer. This viewer includes the final Sunshine AIS v3 updates (promoting the Lab to issue a blog post announcing the long-running project Shining is now complete), and also a series of memory leak fixes to help stabilise the viewer and hopefully reduce the number of memory related crashes.

Group Ban project Viewer

As noted above server-side support for the Group Ban project is being deployed to the main grid. To coincide with this, the Lab issued the Group Ban project viewer (version 3.7.8.290887) on Tuesday June 17th, which provides the necessary viewer-side support for accessing group ban functions. Initial instructions for using the viewer can be found in the release notes, and I’ve provided an overview as well.

Group Chat

Simon Linden recently completed an initial amount of work on group chat, implementing some small-scale optimisations which, while not expected to have “fixed” group chat, should have improved some aspects of using it, reliability-wise. He’s more recently had to work on what have been viewed higher priority items, but is hoping to make a return to group chat in the very near future and dig into it some more. “I learned a lot on the first pass,” he said on the matter during the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday June 17th, “we got a lot more information on where the load is.  Thus I have hopes the next round will be better.”

Other Items

Pathfinding and Terrain Editing

BUG-772 “Simulator refusing to rez objects after 10 hour timeframe” was raised at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday June 17th. This is an issue where if you are carrying out terraforming work on a region with pathfinding enabled, and are also making frequent Pathfinding navmesh updates, your region will rapidly run out of memory. the way to avoid this is to complete the terraforming activity, then rebake the navmesh and restart the region.

LSL Enhancements

Ideas were tossed around the Simulator User Group meeting on the limitations of LSL, many of which may only be resolved through a complete re-build of LSL, something which is unlikely to happen, as Simon Linden indicated in the meeting, “I don’t think we’re going to touch the internal design of LSL if we can help it.” Which doesn’t mean there will not continue to be enhancements to LSL functions etc.

One suggestion made to get around some of the issues was for the development of a viewer-side scripting language which might handle certain local functions and abilities. Responding to this, Simon would only say, “That would be a wonderfully big project :).”

Continue reading “SL projects update 25/1: server, viewer, pathfinding and surprise guest”

SL projects updates 23/1: server, viewer, group bans

Simulator UG meeting (stock)
Simulator UG meeting (stock)

Server Deployments Week 23

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread in the Technology forum for the latest updates, news or changes to the deployment schedule and for any issues which may have been reported.

Main (SLS) Channel

There was no main channel deployment on Tuesday June 3rd. Instead, the maintenance work which had been scheduled for May 22nd, but which had to be postponed due to problems earlier in the week, took place. Some of us who report on server updates, etc., had mistakenly believed that this maintenance work was actually carried out May 28th; so ho-hum on that score!

Release Candidate Channels

The release channel updates for week 23 will be:

  • BlueSteel will remain on the inventory update project, and will not be rolled this week.  This project enables support for a new version of the inventory service, AISv3.  To make use of this new feature, login with the Sunshine RC Viewer
  • Magnum will remain on the Experience Tools project, but will gain some minor changes related to the project – release notes
  • LeTigre will move to the “group ban” project.  As the name implies, this project adds the ability to ban users from groups (more below)  – release notes

The release candidate channel rolls (Magnum and LeTigre) should take place on Wednesday June 4th.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday June 3rd, the Lab released the MemShine release candidate viewer, version 3.7.9.290582. This viewer combines updates from the MemPlugs RC viewer (a variety of fixes to address memory leaks in the viewer and to improve crash rates), and the Sunshine / AIS v3 RC viewer (additional server-side appearance improvements and AIS v3 improvements aimed at outfit changes). Both of these RCs also remain listed on the Alternate Viewers wiki page at the tim of writing.

For the status of all SL viewer releases, please refer to my Current viewer Releases page.

Group Bans

As noted above, the server-side code for group bans is due to start its deployment to the main grid. This functionality, which comprises both server-side and viewer updates, provides the means for owners (and selected roles) in an open enrollment group to selectively ban people from either joining / re-joining their group, in order to help with issues such as group spamming.

The following general points apply to the group bans functionality:

  • By default, only the Owners role is assigned the ability to ban other avatars from a group
  • The ability can be granted to other roles, if required
  • Roles which are granted this ability are also granted the Eject Members and the Remove Members from Roles abilities
  • Group members with the Manage Ban List ability will be able to add or remove other users to and from the group ban list
  • When a group member is banned from the group, they are automatically ejected
  • A user who is banned from a group will not be able to join it either directly or through an invitation (once the capability is fully deployed)
  • The ban list for a group can store a maximum of 500 entries
  • Group Owners cannot be banned
  • When a user is banned from a group, their viewer version does not matter; they will be ejected and banned whether or not they are also using a viewer with the group ban ability
  • Additional notes on the capability can be found here.

The code is initially being deployed to the LeTigre RC, and the remaining RCs and the main channel will follow in due course.

There is currently no formal release of a project viewer able to use the group ban functions available via the Alternate Viewers wiki page. According to Baker Linden, speaking at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday June 3rd, the project viewer will most likely be formally released once the server code is fully deployed across the grid.

Group bans provides the ability to ban (and remove, where appropriate) people from a group. The Group Bans prject viewer contains the necessary updates to manage the ban process.
Group bans provides the ability to ban (and remove, where appropriate) people from a group. The Group Bans project viewer contains the necessary updates to ban individuals or lists of people from a group (whether or not they are already members of the group) and to view the names / dates of all those banned

However, those wishing to test the capability can obtain the current version of the project viewer (Windows / Mac / Linux). If you opt to do so, please keep in mind that until the server-side functionality has been fully deployed across the main grid, group bans will only be enforced by simulators which support the feature.

This means that user who was banned from a group may still be able to join or re-join the group by moving to a region running on a channel which does not currently support the group bans. This may  result in them appearing on both the Members List and the Banned Residents list, so once the project has gone grid-wide it might be necessary to either eject or re-ban them once more.

I’ll be providing a complete overview of the group ban function once it has been fully deployed to the grid and the project viewer is officially available via the Alternate Viewers wiki page.

SL projects updates 21/2: grid issues, server updates, viewer

Server Deployments week 21 – Recap

On Tuesday May 20th, the Main (SLS) channel received the server maintenance package deployed to Magnum in week 20.This includes a bug fix for a networking-related issue that sometimes affects busy sims. Issues encountered during the deployment, but unrelated to it (see below) meant it had to be curtailed.

As a result, the Main channel deployment resumed on Wednesday May 21st, with the result that the deployments scheduled for the 21st in fact took place on Thursday May 22nd, as follows:

  • The BlueSteel and LeTigre RCs remained on the Sunshine / AIS v3 server-side code, and received the networking-related bug fix deployed to the Main channel
  • The Magnum RC received a new project, which includes changes related to the ‘Experience Tools’ project.

More on the Log-in and Grid Issues, Tuesday May 20th

Simon Linden identified the issue which caused log-in issues on Tuesday May 20th
Simon Linden identified the issue which caused log-in issues on Tuesday May 20th

During the Server Beta meeting on Thursday May 22nd, Simon Linden, who identified the problem, gave a further explanation of Tuesday’s grid issues, which prevented people from logging-in to SL.

Essentially, the log-in server was failing to give the viewer the correct token for it to connect to a region, so people actually got through the log-in phase when starting their viewer, but never connected to a region. “The conversation between the login server, your viewer and the region didn’t work any more,” Simon said.

Maestro then added, “After logins were restored, there was a period where the inventory servers got pretty ‘heated up’, probably from people logging in after hours of downtime, so inventory was bad for an hour or two.” It was apparently at this point that the decision was taken to suspend the Main channel server deployment and resume the work on Wednesday May 21st, pushing the RC updates into Thursday.

It is not anticipated that the problem will recur now it has been identified and rectified.

As a result, the scheduled maintenance that had been planned for Thursday May 22nd was cancelled. This work has yet to be rescheduled, and is apparently to be focusing on the database hardware. “Sims should have slightly faster access after the maintenance,” Maestro said of the work, “though I wouldn’t promise anything major.”

The Grid Status page will carry the revised date and time of the work once it has been rescheduled.

SL Viewer

As noted in these pages, The Lab released its Oculus Rift project viewer to the public on Wednesday May 21st, with an announcement in the main blog. The viewer, version 3.7.8.289834, is aimed at getting people started on using the Oculus Rift in Second Life, rather than at providing a finished product with UI optimisations, and appears to be aimed towards encouraging early adopter of the Oculus Rift to try-out Second Life.

Also on Wednesday May 21st:

  • The Zipper viewer for faster installation was promoted from project viewer status to release candidate status with the arrival of the Zipper RC viewer, version 3.7.9.290133 in the release channel
  • The Sunshine / AIS v3 RC viewer returned to the release channel in the form of version 3.7.9.290131, referred to as “Sunshine v2”.

These two viewer updates see the total number of release candidate viewers in the release channel rise to four once more. As also, details of updates in my Current Viewer Releases page.

Group Ban list

One of the required central updates for the group ban updates was deployed to Agni on Wednesday May 21st. A further update is needed before a server RC with the group ban code gets deployed, however. These updates are related to the central service to manage group bans.

 Other Items

LSL Functions for Materials

Not a lot to add here. As mentioned in part one of this report, Simon is now actively working on this functionality. He didn’t have too much to add during the Server Beta meeting, other than Maestro Linden has also been looking at the work Simon has done and has fixed a few issues. There’s still no date when the work might become visible for people to poke at.

LSL Functions for Projected Lights

Talk of LSL functions for materials saw talk of LSL functions for lighting projectors resurface (see SCR-163), prompting Simon to ask, “Does anyone have ideas how people might cause trouble with the projector LSL functions? I wondering how it might cause problems, other than lots of updates … and if it would be any different from rezzing stuff?” Nothing of any serious impact could be identified, although it’s not clear whether the Lab will poke at that or not once the materials LSL functions have been sorted.

Hiding Objects from View and Parcel Privacy

BUG-5671 is actually a feature request, and concerns the provision of a check box in the viewer’s Parcel Properties so that all objects outside that parcel would be not be rendered for anyone within the parcel boundaries. The request appears to be for a server-side function, and the JIRA has seen some heated debate on the matter.

Simon Linden revealed that while working on the parcel privacy option (which hides avatars inside a parcel, and blocks their chat from those outside of the parcel (and vice-versa), he looked at also blocking object views, “and even played with a prototype,” he said. “It’s pretty ugly because you end up with nothing there … at least in my simple code. “Then you walk onto the parcel and all the trees and house and stuff pops up … it was odd.”

However, he revealed the request has been imported by the Lab, so there might be some interest in doing something with it. Part of the debate around the idea on the JIRA has been on whether the setting should be enforced server-side or just within the viewer (so the user retains the choice as to what they see outside a parcel). Commenting on this, Simon said, “server-side would be better so you wouldn’t get updates for things you can’t see, but a cosmetic viewer-side option might be possible.”

So that’s another one to watch out for.

SL projects updates 20/2: server, group bans

Server Deployments Week 20 – Recap

There was only one server channel deployment in week 20, which went to the Magnum RC.

This was a new sever maintenance project deployed on Wednesday May 14th, which included a bug fix for a networking-related issue that sometimes affects busy sims, which Maestro Linden described as, “busy sim hosts would suddenly run into a bunch of networking issues, where you’d see failures creating inventory, accessing capabilities, etc.” The problem can also apparently affect LSL email registration for receiving email from outside the region, causing it to break without automatic recovery.

Maestro indicated that the Lab has a hotfix for regions reporting the problems (although that number appears to be low) which involves a configuration change for the sim host, but the update deployed to Magnum (and which will obviously progress to the other sever channels) has this config change set by default.

SL Viewer

There have been no further updates to any of the SL viewers currently in the release channel or available as project viewers.  Releases are as per my Current Viewer Releases page.

Group Bans

The group ban work is inching closer to the main grid. However, it’ll still be another couple of weeks (ish) before anything visible is seen as far as this capability is concerned. As noted in week 19, the Lab will be deploying things cautiously, with an initial back-end host code update being undertaken first, prior to anything being seen on the simulator channels.

“We’re just running some final tests at this point; the server which runs the group ban service also provides some other services, and we want to check that those didn’t break,” Maestro Linden informed the Server Beta User Group on Thursday May 15th.

He went on, “After the back-end is out, we’ll want to give it a few days to verify that nothing broke because we don’t want to roll back the backend service after group ban is on server RC.”

This probably means it’ll be another couple of weeks before the server-side code appears on a server RC channel. The plan is that when that happens, a formal project viewer with the viewer-side group ban code will appear for public use.

When formal deployment to one more simulator RCs does commence, it is important to remember that until the server-code has been fully deployed across the main grid, the group ban functionality will only work as advertised on those servers / simulators / regions which have the necessary server-side code. It therefore may appear to give unpredictable results.

For example, you will only be able to effectively ban people from you group when the viewer is connected to a server supporting group bans (although they do not need to also be using the group ban viewer in order to be banned). Also, even when someone is banned from your group, they could successfully rejoin it from any simulator / region which does not have the server-side code deployed to it (leading to further confusion as they’ll appear in both your group members list and your group ban list).

Obviously, these issues will go away once the server-side code is fully deployed across the main grid. However, until such time as that has been achieved, people should be aware they may encounter what appear to be “issues” with the functionality simply because it isn’t available right across the grid.

More information will be posted on this when the project viewer surfaces and the code has been made available of a server-side RC.

SL projects updates: TPV developer meeting, Friday May 9th 2014

A TPV developer meeting took place on Friday May 9th. The core items discussed in the meeting are reported below, with timestamps in the relevant paragraphs indicating the point at they are discussed in the video embedded here. My thanks as always to North for the latter.

SL Viewer Status

[00:35] As noted in part one of this week’s updates report, the de facto viewer was updated on Tuesday May 5th with the promotion of the Interest List viewer (version 3.7.7.289461). The viewer contains what’s being referred to as a number of “non-trivial” merges, as the team responsible for the viewer took the opportunity to clean-up “a lot of old and unpleasant code”, and this “touched on a lot of things”. As such, it may be a while before this code filters into all TPVs.

[01:27] On Thursday May 8th, the SL Share-2 RC updated to version 3.7.8.289775 (download and release notes). This viewer includes the ability to upload Tweets and snapshots to Twitter and / or snapshots to Flickr, and to use pre-set filters on images being uploaded to either service and / or to Facebook, and to create your own filters.

The remaining viewers in the release channel (Sunshine / AIS and the Maintenance viewer) and the Zipper project viewer will be updated in week 20.

[02:11] There are two or three other viewers which are expected to be appearing in the near future. One of these contains a number of Snowstorm contributions (such as STORM-1831, currently awaiting two minor bug fixes), Baker Linden’s group ban work should be generating a viewer soon (see below for more), and there is a viewer which contains a series of memory leak fixes which is currently in QA.

Group Ban List

[03:40] Baker reports he has two “major” bugs and three or four “minor” bugs still to deal with; however, it doesn’t appear is if these are going to stop the viewer arriving as a project viewer. As noted in part two of this week’s report, the repository for the code has already been made public, and TPVs have been invited to pull code from the repository if they’re in a position to do so (the group ban viewer is built to LL’s 3.7.8 code base).

Obviously, and again as noted in part two of this report, the code will not be usable on the main grid until such time as the server-side changes have been deployed, and this isn’t likely to happen for a couple of weeks or so, so don’t expect it to be appearing in release versions of any viewers for a while.

The server-side code is available on a channel on Aditi (DRTSIM-234 14.05.05.289712 – which includes the Morris region where the Server Beta meeting is held and now includes the BUG-5929 fix), and there may be a grid-wide Aditi deployment of the server-side code. If this is the case, it will likely be confirmed via a Server Beta group meeting.

One aspect that has not been looked into as yet is ensuring that when someone is ejected / banned from a group, they are also ejected from group chat. Currently, due to the way the back-end services operate, if someone has the group chat window open when they are ejected from a group, they can continue to chat / spam into the group chat up until the point where they close the window. Commenting on this, and given that Simon Linden has been working on the chat service, Baker has indicated that he’ll look into things with Simon and see if this problem cannot be resolved.

Leap Motion Integration

[12:18] In November 2013, Leap Motion approached Linden Lab about integrating their gesture controller into the view.  Due to the amount of work the Lab had on its plate, the work was handed-off to TPV, with members of the Firestorm team working with Leap Motion to get things integrated.

Since that time, the work has been subject to a number of hiccups – including the need for Leap Motion to update their software. As it stands, the work is slightly stalled as the Firestorm team no longer have the resources needed for the work, so a call has gone out to TPV developers who are willing to take a lead in bringing this work to fruition.

Third-party Library Work (Webkit et al)

[26:14] Monty Linden is continuing his work in cleaning-up the third-party libraries used within the viewer build process. This work has been focused of late on Webkit, which is used for a number of tasks, such as powering the built-in web browser and to display profiles, and is used with Media on a Prim (MOAP) and many in-world televisions. However, Monty has more recently been working on the COLLADA DOM library as a means of “taking a break” from Webkit. He describes this as the “last big one” on his list.

Despite still having to finish-up with Webkit, Monty is already in a position of being able to use a windows version of the viewer which makes use of his updated and cleaned-up libraries, although he emphasises the work is not ready to enter prime-time use as yet.

Continue reading “SL projects updates: TPV developer meeting, Friday May 9th 2014”