Ok. So. How many of us have actually read the SL TOS? I can't be sure but I think most people click accept and go on their merry way without ever stopping to read the rules. Because of some icky interpersonal behavior I have witnessed recently I have been thinking a lot about how we treat each other inworld.
Some things people do *all the time* concern me because as I read the TOS they are violations so serious you could be permanently banned as a result. In section 4.1, Conduct by Users of Second Life, we are advised "you shall not...
"take any action or upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit Content as determined by Linden Lab at its sole discretion that is harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, causes tort, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable."
"Any violation by you of the terms of the foregoing sentence may result in immediate and permanent suspension or cancellation of your Account. You agree that Linden Lab may take whatever steps it deems necessary to abridge, or prevent behavior of any sort on the Service in its sole discretion, without notice to you."
After reading the TOS and talking with people familiar with these sections, I understand that if you take an IM I send you and share it with someone else and you violate my privacy or in any way harm, harass or threaten me your account could be immediately and permanently cancelled. By its very nature IM is a private conversation so sharing IM is considered a violation of privacy.
Think about that a moment if you will. How many times has someone copied and pasted IM conversation they had with someone else and shared it with you? How many notecards have you seen where private IM conversations are quoted? How many times have you done these things yourself? insert wind noises.......crickets sounds....avatars looking around avoiding eye contact.....Yeah.
So, before you send me that IM where your neighbor's partner's new pet told you he is cybering your bff who you met last week at Bad Girls? Please remember sending someone's IM to you to anyone else is a TOS violation. Just.Don't.Do.It.
I have also been thinking about the issue of RL privacy. The first life tab of my profile tells you I am happily married and have two kids. If you are clever and you read the rest of my profile you can deduce that I am from New York. If you take an extra step and read this blog you can probably learn more about the RL person who drives my avatar. If you want to know anything else please take some time to get to know me and I will likely be open about who I am. Asking me direct personal RL questions may or may not get you a direct answer depending on my mood, what I had for breakfast, whether or not it is a good hair day, and/or if I trust you to hold my personal information in confidence.
Now that we have cleared that up I respectfully request that you do not ask me RL information about my friends and expect that I will tell you. Recently I have been stunned by the number of RL questions people are asking me -- not about myself mind you -- but about other people. Please? Just don't ask me. If you want to know about someones RL ask *them* or use your mad google skills and see what you can learn. I am not going to violate my friend's privacy and I am not going to intentionally violate the TOS. Thanks for your understanding on this one kids.