Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bling, BANG, and a Side of Meat

Some colleagues have been wrestling with a lot of issues relating to groups - things like how many should we have, how often should one post, how does one deal with abuse etc. It's an ongoing problem in SL for the business person, regardless of their field, be it entertainment, retail, PR, etc. Over the last few months, I've struggled with many of these issues too. We all want to embrace the best practice for the most effective means of delivering our interests.

But I have a confession.

JCNY is one of the best jewelry designers in SL. If you don't believe me, check out the bling in the pic. Their staff, although my contact with them has been limited, are very good businesspeople and very nice folks. Having said that, their group was getting out of control thanks to spammers.

This probably is not their fault. No one can be online and monitor a group 24-7, nor should there be that expectation. However, every time I was online it seemed that I was being attacked by large cans of spam. Not in their notices mind you - in their group IM.

Not a problem I say, when it is one person making an error or making a statement once. Just close the window. What got me was the five or six or twelve people who had to chime in after him or her, stating how he or she should not spam. That meant several more close clicks, all on top of a laggy SL day, intermingled with a variety of other tabs open.

Perhaps my frustration was complicated by the fact that I had a person in IM who was highly at risk and I was working with the avatar to find some resolution in SL and RL to protect one's safety. Perhaps I was just really tired of people saying "shut up!"

So this is how it went down. Someone spammed. One or two people told the person to stop. Then a conversation ensued ending with someone (we'll call her W) saying something about how it had to stop or they would loose members in the group.

I snapped. That comment set me off. Someone spamming even more, with a spam about consequences regarding spam!

So I committed the cardinal sin and spammed myself. My response was something like, "Yeap. Like me. Have fun folks! I'm leaving." and I left the group.

Not a minute later, BANG I got an IM from W criticizing me for being THE problem.

Now at the time, I figured it wise to let it go. Getting into an in depth conversation about her bacon, spam, and other issues with virtual meat was going to take me away from the problem at hand. But don't think for an instant I was so mature as to let it go for long.

Okay, I was mature enough to bite my tongue and protect her well meaning, although poorly executed, name. But I must say that her action was not the best solution.

Allow me to propose this course of action. When you are spammed in a group IM, first stop and consider if it was an oops or a legitimate spam.

Secondly, IM the person directly rather than spamming even more.

Thirdly, try and keep your sense of humor. If you do choose to spam the group back, a gentle coaxing and a laugh will make it better for everyone and might even inspire the original spammer to think twice.

Fourth, don't leave the group - instead, make sure you drop a line to the group owner in the event it gets really bad. He or she wants to keep members, not loose them. Be polite, share your concern. They may not even know that they have a problem.

Luckily, my sister sends me all the juicy news anyway so I'm still plugged in. None the less, I owe JCNY's owner a note.

Let's all be better meat buyers in the future.

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