The fallout, criticism, claim and counter claim from JLUGate continue to ripple through the Second Life Blogsphere and Forumsphere …. I made that one up!
Tracer Graves linked to a petition in my recent blog post on the JLU issue, the petition can be read here. Whether you agree with the petition or not, it’s worth reading as it has some background as to why this issue has blown up.
The JLU have made an official response on to the allegations on their site, which you can read here. This is an important development because JLU have been quite quiet in official mode, GreenLantern Excelsior has been making a lot of comments, he’s made some here too which I’ll come to later but he has never claimed to be an official spokesperson. This is an official statement.
GreenLantern Excelsior was interviewed by Prok, which can be read here.
The Alphaville Herald have an interview with the Prime Minister of Antiquity who explains why he regrets asking the JLU for help, which can be read here.
The Prok interview and the official response both give us a perpective from JLU and the people within JLU, however both also leave more questions to be answered and are vague in other areas. However it’s only fair that all sides are given airspace. This is not a good v evil issue however, the goodies are at times acting like baddies, the baddies are at times acting like goodies and have been wronged and in the middle are plenty of people who simply want to get on with their Second Life experience without worrying whether they’re being spied upon.
I’m not as anti JLU as a lot of people who are posting, well not based on their core aims anyway, but the leaks about their actions have revealed some distasteful allegations, allegations that have not been put to bed and whereas some people will want to discredit JLU, there is some truth in the allegations as the JLU themselves admit, unfortunately we don’t know which allegations and they themselves muddy the waters by being so vague about that.
In the comments of my recent blog post, I brought up the issue of the vagueness of the official statement and queried what information they store, GreenLantern Excelsior replied:
“There is no more real life or personal data in the JLU wiki. Everything that’s in there that’s about Second Life residents consists of Second Life information only.
Do we put undercover alts in various groups? I know it has happened in the past. Do we have any now? I don’t know. Would I tell you if I did know? Nope!
Will the griefers try to cause problems for us? Yes – they always do. There’s nothing we can do to stop that.”
So the conclusions we can draw from this are that allegations that real life data was stored there at one stage, but no longer is, this isn’t news as it has been mentioned elsewhere. The part about undercover alts is a bit unnerving but undercover alts have infiltrated the JLU, indeed a big leak came from these very tactics so it’s not surprising that such tactics are employed by the JLU, this doesn’t make such tactics right, but I can see why it happens.
I would say this would be fair game if these were roleplaying groups, you know, roleplaying with each other. Eve-Online has had some notorious incidents with people infiltrating the enemy and then stealing everything and running away, it’s controversial but Eve-Online is that sort of game, Second Life isn’t in the same category really is it.
There have been a series of unsavoury allegations made from alleged leaks from JLU chat logs,one can’t help but get the impression that they take themselves too seriously and there’s also the distinct impression that they are so far into this that they can’t see why what they’ve been alleged of doing is so unsavoury.
Then there’s the issue of Phantom Zone and here we need to rewind a bit and go back to Redzone. JLU were advocates of Redzone as can be seen in this post and both in the post and the comments they try and suggest that griefers are whipping up a frenzy, Emiley Tomsen in the article:
“It is clear that at least some percentage of the Green Zoners have an agenda in which the public welfare plays no part. Even some otherwise responsible journalists have fallen for this ruse, unintentionally siding with copybotters, known trolls and sim crashers.”
Sound familiar? The same sort of accusations are being thrown around now, it’s also interesting that the time JLU clearly supported the concepts of alt detection. Kalel Venkman gives an insight into the JLU mindset in those comments too and maybe this explains why JLU have gone so far off the beaten track and can’t see why they’re being criticised because this is a gem:
“To put the flame war and ad hominem attacks in perspective, the Green Zone Users appear to be about 70% BDSM, about 4% age play, about 3-4% griefer alts and about 5-6% business people or landholders. Somewhere between 10% and 20% are alts of other members, mostly belonging to just a half dozen people – mostly just there to “stuff the ballot box”. For the most part these are people with something to hide, not political activists. There’s a smattering of people in the group who are there out of civic responsibility, but not very many.
But even if the body of evidence that zFire had amassed against the creator of Green Zone was entirely fictitious (hard to imagine given the detail), we are left with this, Pacha: Green Zone began as a vendetta, not a public service. It began as a personal conflict between zFire and the founder. That’s the point at which any rational person takes a step back and asks themselves, “What’s really going on here?”
One thing I feel sure of, though, is that whatever veneer might have been applied to it, this was not civic responsibility in action.”
Let’s put this into clear perspective, JLU were wrong on Redzone, those opposed to it were found to be right and the harvesting that went on was wrong too. I’m not at all sure where Kalel got his statistics from that 70% were BDSM and 4% ageplay, seems made up to me.
So back to Phantom Zone, you can read about it here, first of all, I would never use such a system, partially after seeing their comments on alt detection and Redzone. I’m also not a fan of such a networked banning system as they are ripe for people with grievances to put people on them in the hope their Second Life experience is ruined in other parts of the grid. There’s also a lack of information as to how these probes work and whether everyone is scanned and added to the database or whether it’s only a device that compares a visitor to the existing database, I don’t like the sound of it that’s for sure.
Once again I urge Kalel Venkman to reign his people in, show some leadership and get back to patrolling and reporting abuse, JLU still look far off track to me, maybe they’re too far gone now to see it, there are times when it seems the JLU have got confused about the good cop/bad cop concept and are playing bad cop/bad cop, really reign it in Kalel and get your group back on the straight and narrow.