27 February 2011

Answering RZ users' complaints

Another member of the Phoenix Viewer Project posted a rather lengthy reply to Avril Korman's excellent column at Search Engine Watch on the RedZone war. I posted my own reply to that, and will reproduce it here just in case it's removed or edited at the RZ forum.


I'm going to wade into the lion's den here, to raise a few points. As with Srilania, these are my own personal opinions, and not those of The Phoenix Viewer Project, Inc. or any other member of the project.

Yes, I'm the nasty evil person who added Sione Lomu's media filtering patch to Phoenix, and will add it to Firestorm. I did that and will continue to improve it because your profits don't override my right to privacy. I'm not a copybotter, or a griefer, and do not engage in, condone, or support either. (Comments that I do, whether because I added the media filter patch or for some other purported reason, will be summarily ignored.)

I am a content creator and vendor myself, as well as owning a store and a play area and a private sim. I don't have these kinds of problems.

Fundamentally, I have to ask: are you using the tools already in place? Those of you getting hammered with object spam, why haven't you turned rez and object entry off? Those of you calling for unlimited ban lists, have you filed a JIRA asking for them? (And if so, what's the number? Those of us on the other side of the argument would happily lend our support.)

Don't like getting flooded with freebie alt accounts? Have you turned on the option on your land to require payment info on file? Are you on mainland? If so, WHY? Band together, get a private sim, set whatever restrictive covenant you like.

Some things just aren't possible. For example, it is simply not possible for LL to stop copybotters. Never mind blocking copybotting viewers. They're not needed. It's entirely possible to have a proxy program in between a legitimate SL viewer - even, or especially, ones supplied by Linden Lab - and SL, and have it pass things through unaltered, but save textures and object data and everything else locally so it can be used later. It is not technically possible to stop such a proxy. Don't like it? Tough. It's a limitation of the platform.

Yes, I use alts. Some are public. Some are not. The ones that are not are nobody's business but my own and those who I choose to tell. The rest of you can simply butt the heck out. I have good and sufficient reasons for this, and it's neither open for discussion nor negotiable. Quit trying to destroy my privacy, and I'll reconsider my opposition to RZ. Until then, as far as I'm concerned, it needs to be killed with fire.

I refuse to be scanned any more than I doubtlessly already have by RZ. Don't want me on your property because I refuse to be scanned? Fine. I don't want to be there anyway. Had the club not dropped RZ, I would have stopped going to one of Avril's DJ sets (she's a close RL friend, and the one responsible for getting me into SL) rather than support a RZ user.

RZ is the wrong answer to solve legitimate problems. The fundamental technology is subject to far too many false positives, and yet RZ users treat it like it's gospel. Use the tools you have, and get LL to give you better ones. Don't destroy the privacy of legitimate users to solve problems you can fix in other ways.

I'm disappointed in all of this for a more personal reason. I use and like zFire Prim Animator. Stuff it made is in one of my products. However, I can't trust it any more. I can't use or recommend something from the guy who produces RZ.


  1. I still haven't seen the thing. I know SEW has a comment limit, but it could have been broken up.

    But the point still stands- the tools to deal with this issue (other than the unlimited ban list, which I'd happily support myself) already exist, and they do not compromise anyone's privacy, or cost them 17 bucks.

    It is absolutely no more effective than wishing copybot would cease, is mediocre (at best) at alt detection, and does little more than offer a false sense of security.

    Here's the deal-

    1. If you want unlimited ban, JIRA for it. It's a legitimate feature request. If you're too lazy to bother to do the work on that, you don't get to compromise everyone's privacy for your laziness.

    2. Most alts are unpaid accounts. Throwaway alts are *definitely* unpaid accounts. Many people using RZ believe there should BE no unpaid accounts. There is a simple solution to this- go into your land tools and allow the parcel to be accessed only by those who have payment info on file with the Lab. This ***SOLVES*** the throwaway alt problem. Gone. Poof.

    3. Griefing- those tools *already exist*. Object entry and rez can be controlled via land tools. Other than in a sandbox (which is a legitimate issue), there's no reason to have open object entry/rez. You can say "I shouldn't have to turn those off." Well you shouldn't "have" to lock the door to your house, or your car, but you almost certainly do. Same principle applies.

    4. As a *technical matter*, there is nothing the Lab can do to prevent copybot, if one is determined enough to do it. That's it. That's reality. It sucks and no one likes it, but RZ can't stop it and neither can the Lab, and anyone who tells you anything else is lying to you, out of ignorance or the desire to make a quick buck from your fear and desperation.

    When you add these four things together, the overwhelming bulk of issues are now taken care of. What's left? Stalking, harassment, privacy invasion, snooping. And that's what's left to defend.

  2. I just wanted to say thanks for your work on including the media filter into the phoenix viewer. Now I can choose what I allow to connect to me in SL. I can't fathom why redzone supporters are against people protecting themselves against griefers, stalkers and data miners!

    Land owners can ban anyone for any reason. I was wondering if I as a user could block myself from visiting infected regions in the form of a blacklist in the viewer. when finding an area with an active redzone scanner it would be useful to be able to add the region to a personal blacklist so in future if I tried to TP there a popup would say "are you sure? This is on your blacklist". I really don't want to give these people my traffic or inadvertently spend any money with them. Also it's no good just blacklisting a parcel as the redzone units have been found to scan beyond the borders of the parcel.