Linden Lab TOS Change Addresses Harassment Of Linden Lab Employees

Linden Lab today launched a new terms of service, which has been updated in three areas :

  • Remove outdated references to Desura and Authorised Resellers.
  • Explicitly address our intolerance of harassment of Linden Lab employees.
  • Clarify the arbitration provision in accordance with applicable law.

Some of these changes reflect the fact that terms of service changes can be a slow process. Desura went long ago, as did authorised resellers. The arbitration issue, I have absolutely no idea what that’s about, although I’m sure others will highlight those changes. The harassment of Linden Lab employees change is something that can be easily found in section 6.1 :

(iv) Post, display, or transmit Content (including any communication(s) with employees of Linden Lab) that is harmful, threatening or harassing, defamatory, libelous, false, inaccurate, misleading, or invades another person’s privacy.

The important point to note here is the any communication(s) part. That is going to cover, well, any communications. That means outside of Second Life, on Twitter, Facebook, email etc. Now I’m not sure what has happened to force Linden Lab to make this change, as I would have thought that this section would cover Linden Lab employees without explicitly stating that it does. The general points about not posting, displaying, transmitting said content would in theory cover it. However Linden Lab feel the need to explicitly address their intolerance of harassment of Linden Lab employees, so this will give it more teeth I guess.

In short, Linden Lab are explicitly stating that their employees now get the same protections in the term of service as everybody else. This isn’t a controversial section of the TOS, nor should it be considered as a means of shutting down criticism of Linden Lab.

Linden Lab have over the years generally accepted criticism from their customers, not always gracefully in the background I would imagine, but there have been many frank and heated exchanges with Linden Lab employees and residents over the years. I don’t recall many people being banned, but I also don’t recall many people being extremely abusive or even harassing Linden Lab employees. I’m not saying it has never happened, I just can’t recall anything really heinous.

I’m pretty damn sure we’ll all still be able to talk about the tier being too damn high, raising concerns over Project Sansar, pondering whether Ebbe Altberg is making the right decisions etc., without fear of being banned from Second Life.

On the other hand, if you’re abusing Linden Lab employees, harassing them, making libellous comments, you may want to rein it in a bit, with or without a TOS change. People sometimes get the wrong end of the stick, but there’s no need to libel Linden Lab. I have had some recent comments that I’ve considered editing because I feel they go too far in their criticism of Linden Lab. I will edit or delete comments if I feel they have crossed a line by a certain distance. I’m certainly not against freedom of expression, but that freedom should also come with responsibility.

So in many ways, this is a TOS change that is a tidying up exercise, adds a part about harassment and then there’s an arbitration clarification which I haven’t read into, that may or may not be a concern. As things stand, I don’t think there’s too much to worry about.

22 Replies to “Linden Lab TOS Change Addresses Harassment Of Linden Lab Employees”

  1. You may count me as one who has been banned on numerous occasions over the years for taking LL employees to task about their incompetence. I can name a couple more myself that you are also aware of, or should be.

    1. I know people were banned from the forums, some were apparently perms-banned until they unleashed new forum software and didn’t keep the bans updated.

      I also know there have long been clauses that state that bad behaviour on the forum or blog could lead to an inworld ban. The worst I received was a warning that I was sailing near the line.

  2. Then these Lindens appear to be completely amazed hordes of haters start to gather to go after them. LOL

    Looks like Governor Linden just got hit by a brick wall. I am sure they will enjoy the phonecalls at night with screaming customers in their private home while their spouse asks them, what’s wrong honey?

    Maybe Linden Lab should try to file an abuse report. What a shame for CEO Altberg his ambitions to create the platform of the future on the backs of the current customer base and making them pay for it.

    Inworldz exists 6 years and runs solely on angry Linden Lab customers.

    Linden Labs what did you do? Welcome to the age of social media where it is not in the best interest of a company that wants to remain in business to lie, scam and cheat their customers.

  3. Maybe CEO Altberg should have done a better job instead of having tea parties with Jo Yardley while his company lost vast amounts of capital week after week after week.

    Now that CEO Altberg almost needs to report to the board by the end of this year what he has been up to. He is coming to the conclusion that he doesn’t have a whole lot to show for except the amount of sim losses he gathered and now he is going into panic mode.

    Quick update the TOS, tell them they cannot write nasty things about the company anymore. OMG OMG!

    CEO Altberg you cannot f**k with people like you are doing, seriously Altberg if I did what you are doing I wouldn’t be at ease anymore. You are responsible to destruct over a decade of work CEO Altberg combined with all the other crap you are involved in.

    1. I’ve edited your posts, one to remove a tiny bit of profanity and the other because it contained unsubstantiated claims.

      Ebbe Altberg is a long time friend of one of LL’s board, so I’m pretty sure he will be fully aware of how the board view his stewardship.

      Second Life was in decline well before Ebbe Altberg came to the helm, it’s an ageing platform and the tier remains too damn high, there’s no easy way forward there.

  4. The fact that the new tos don’t address any on the legitimate claims from LL customers and the kind of joke, harassment clause, makes me wonder for how long there will be any that will trust LL at all in any?

  5. But my main question?
    If now i post same bad about the way Sl is being directed, OUTSIDE SL, can i be banned?
    That is what one has to wonder,

    1. I would be extremely surprised and more than disappointed if people were being banned merely for criticising Linden Lab. Having seen some of the abuse that people are suggesting is behind this change, your criticism is extremely mild in comparison, I don’t think you have anything to be worried about.

  6. And the Turkey Buzzard says hiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssss…

    Very interesting development concerning the TOS. Especially the part about “harassment”. Would it be considered “harassment” to point out the following? In my opinion, Ebbe is just the latest in a very long line of LL employees that just cannot be straight with their customers. I consider that lying. And people who do that I consider to be liars.

    1. Failure to disclose to land customers that some people are getting huge discounts on their monthly land tier(taxes). Grandfathered regions – 33.3% discount, Atlas Land program even larger. Most customers over the past 9 years purchase land/pay setup fees/pay tier believing they are operating on the same playing field that everyone else is. When LL operating as the “government” of SL set Tier(Tax Rate) the same for everyone, ran the Lindex, and stayed out of the content “marketplace” SL boomed! Since 2006 one bad decision after another from my point of view and opinion.

    Tier is too high. I agree with that. But it is the way LL tilts the playing field to advantage certain “players” – land owners and content creators that keeps people like me and millions of others from investing in this platform or Sansar. Had LL stayed out of the way like they did prior to fall 2006 SL would be something to see now. I can only imagine the thousands of never to be seen “experiences”. And all those long lost regions that would still be on the grid. And would still be there to be enjoyed. LL, the board, and every CEO screwed up. And they cannot admit it. Sad… ; )

    So, if telling the world what happened in the past concerning SL and LL and what we all think about is considered harassment by ole Eb’s then so be it. BAN AWAY!!! ; )

    1. Having seen an example of the sort of harassment Linden Lab may be talking about, then no, what you’re describing isn’t harassment, although the lying part is probably overstepping the mark as I’ve seen nothing to suggest Ebbe is lying.

      I’ve complained about the Atlas program in years gone by, I’ve complained about the tier being too damn high, I’ve complained about LL’s message of the day promoting big land barons, none of this is harassment.

  7. You know Ciaran, the only thing I see is that Linden Lab has been confronted with their actions the previous months. Are you concerned you will fall out of grace with Linden Lab when you allow people to speak their mind Ciaran?

    People call Mark Zuckerburg, well make that suckerburg all kinds of names, Zuckerburg does not do anything wrong Ciaran so what does he care?

    Maybe it could be that Linden Lab is fully aware they do certain things that are not ok and that is the reason why it did strike them so hard.

    Linden Labs their ceo kinda asked for it in my opinion and when their shemes and lies get exposed they start screaming.

    1. I’ve never been in Linden Lab’s good grace, so I have nothing to fall out of. I’m still awaiting a reply to my application to join the SL Press, that was many moons ago.

  8. I do not post often but here goes..

    I owned a good amount of regions fulls and homesteads paying tier to LL. From talking with one of the large estate owners he mentioned this new platform but not by name well that was a yr before Ebb mentioned Sansar. At first i thought he was talking about HIFI but then ebb came out with Sansar and then it made sense. (IE: people knew a yr before Ebb came out with it.)

    My red line for the sale of my estate was if the rentals on privates went below what I was paying LL. They did and I sold the estate.

    LL is still scamming for they continue to sell regions knowing but not telling the buyers that are new, if there are any now, its a rigged game and they will only survive until a larger estate decides to use the grandfathered or discount clout to drive them out of business.

    In my mind Sansar and offgrid will do Sl in its has been in a slow decline weekly for 3 yrs now and no amount of sugar coating can bury the facts on it. Why I also say offgrid and why so many say well theres noone on the offgrid grids is this. Most of the oldtimers and creators only use offgrid right now for private full region homes at $5 to $20 a month and to create all without the $300 a month price tag while makeing linden in SL to funnel to paypal and then back into offgrid to pay for their regions.

    The amount of people that use VWs im sure might increase but now is pretty saturated and with the new platforms coming out and the MMORPGS that see where virtual reality is going and starting to look at putting more social aspects and creativity into the games I think will spread thin the user base in time.

    So all in all LL is doing what LL does best get as much money as they can from the uninformed and hope for the best.

    1. SL is definitely in decline, the rate of region losses has slowed down, it’s actually slightly up at the moment but not as bad as it was in Rod Humble’s first couple of years.

      WoW is in decline too, but both WoW and SL still have plenty of customers and no business will turn that away.

      1. Yes I agree makes me wish for the old days of Dee 8 yrs ago.

        Being a private company not really open. With a EC2 server and a S2 database literally 100s of regions can be put on the grid named and locked down private so the # of regions in SL is or can be totally controlled by LL as can the uniques and currency.

        Now has LL shown themselves trustworthy enough to not abuse that ability in the name of Business.

  9. Tks Claran, for sure i don’t think you are in any ones pocket.
    But why does the LAb makes so hard to believe in its good faith towards SL?
    If just they amended the Tos on what concerns most creators.
    But no, they add more pain for those trying to make a life of SL.
    So better to be plain, stating that SL is not for any ones trying to make a small income for Rl.

    1. Platforms are created and yrs later as they get older and are either upgraded or recreated and improved as with SL you are seeing both. In order for it to be on the cutting edge and able to compete with others they have to learn from their mistakes be it tiers, pricing, controls for griefing or creating a situation where they dont have liability for what the user base does, for open creativity has good and bad sides. Legal and not so legal.

      This is why on MMORPGS you cant put up a pink castle. In a way if creativity can not be controlled it will be abused by someone and some will be scammed. This is the difference between getting people to think that SL plays by RL rules and laws which it does not. The reason why now when you give lindens to someone its considered a gift on your account for LL didnt want to have to deal with the RL Theft or Fraud RL legal policing.

      Why subestate owners can pull sims with $1000s of prepaid tier on them and and keep the lindens, then say I didnt do anything wrong for LL considers the lindens given to be a gift and washes their hands clean of it as long as the estate owner is trying to correct it but really isnt and just waiting for time to pass and it be forgotten. Rinse and repeat under a new subestate name. They have to learn from their mistakes oand correct it or get the legality of the mistakes out of their hands.

      It looks like the way of the wind is that you will create your own space and in doing so take full liability for what you create and who you allow into it. Eliminating LLs responsibility for what happens in that space. This is the same as HIFIs setup.

      Its to bad honest creators trying to make a small income get caught in the image of what SL has become over 15 yrs with their lack of enforcement or control to not allow bad things to happen to some of the user base. Word gets out over 15 yrs. Some think well let me look and see whats out their thats not as chaotic or expensive.

  10. You hear it now Ciaran from someone else? These Lindens just got shaken their pants down and are feeling the cold breeze. Updating their TOS to avoid that people will speak and expose the truth sounds incredible scary to these Lindens.

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