Pick your world carefully.
Online games and worlds have different ways of dealing with security. Second Life is based on principles of self-governance, and it’s by and large up to residents to police behavior. maintains a higher level of control. For example, ads are banned and players need approval before creating content. Software makers, including Tixeo, build tools that let companies build their own private virtual world.
Create guest lists.
Letting only specific residents or players into a meeting or event can prevent disruptions. Land owners in Second Life have rights to limit access to property. To build a list, right-click your parcel of land and choose “About Land,” then click on the “Access” tab. From there, you can admit guests either by checking “Group” or “Avatars,” to specify which individuals get access.
Block baddies.
Keep out known malcontents from property or events with tools that let you build a banned list.
Buy an island.
Owning an offshore land mass can give residents more control than having property on the mainland. For example, island owners can block flight across their airspace and decide whether to allow property damage. Disruptive visitor? Teleport the avatar off the island.
Enlist anti-griefers.
Call in volunteers or hire residents to help police behavior on your land. IBM has enlisted anti-griefing units to prevent attacks and clean up after griefer disruptions
Ignore attackers.
Linden Lab recommends ignoring griefers. Insulting, attacking, or pleading with them just encourages them. Sinking to the griefers’ level will only worsen the situation and waste your time.
Report abuse.
If you catch someone violating your property or breaking terms of use, tell the authorities. In Second Life, the system takes a snapshot of what your camera sees at the moment an attack occurs. Anyone in the vicinity of the violation should do the same; it strengthens the validity of your complaint.
Do unto others...
A rule of thumb from Sandy Kearney, IBM’s director of virtual worlds and 3-D Internet, is that if you wouldn’t do it on the streets of New York, don’t do it here. Virtual worlds are public places where almost anyone can see what you’re up to. Behind every avatar is a real person with feelings and character. Respect that.

Tip Sheet: When Griefers Attack

How to prevent virtual-world vandalism and what to do when your property comes under fire

By E.C. Hoffman III

As more companies and groups set up shop in online spaces like Second Life, they’re learning that even virtual property is vulnerable to vandalism. Just ask the folks at CNET who were inundated with flying anatomical parts during an interview with Second Life millionaire Anshe Chung. Or consider the state of John Edwards’ virtual campaign headquarters after it was plastered with Marxist and Leninist posters and offensive images.

Those are just a few recent high-profile attacks by so-called griefers, online game players who set out to disrupt or discomfort others through theft, cheating, harassment, or vandalism. One way to deal with griefers, of course, is to avoid virtual worlds altogether.

Some who take the virtual plunge are turning to vigilante groups like Anti-Griefer Special Operations (AGSO), a 30-member volunteer contingent in Second Life. These groups are cropping up to guard against griefers and help victims clean up after an attack. Each member serves a specific role, such as informant, undercover agent, combatant, or officer. Like homeowners who advertise the security company protecting their home, Second Lifers hang posters to show they’re protected by AGSO.

Here are some other ways to come to grips with griefers:

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