Last night saw a number of griefing episodes in Oxbridge. Kathy arrived for one such episode, the classic "falling anvil" gag, hilarious to those whose sense of humor never outgrew the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Kathy has no special powers to deal with these cretins (nor do I, for that matter), but Oxbridge had enough supermen to handle any number of them: Miss Gray, with her new ability to ban, was present, as were several NCI folks, and Kami herself was lurking on site. Des was on-line, too, should Ultimate Authority have been needed. (Well, Ultimate this side of a Linden.)
Nonetheless, I thought both Des and Kami somewhat missed the mark in their reactions to the incidents. Des noted that griefers are really just attention-seekers, and that the best approach is often to ignore them: bored and unfulfilled, they will eventually move on. I think that's correct in general, but may not be as applicable in Oxbridge as elsewhere. Kami made reference to her less-than-pure past with regard to griefing incidents, and suggested the whole thing was more humorous than anything. Again, perhaps correct in general, but not in Oxbridge.
Here's the difference: I've been at this for a year, and others much longer, and even a few months in-world gives one a good perspective on what matters and what doesn't, especially if friends provide a support network. Friends can explain that this, too, shall pass. Experience shows that the anvil, or particles, or whatever, have no effect beyond temporary annoyance.
Contrast that with the brand-new avatar, still in Oxbridge or Oxbridge Village, trying to get a handle on this Thing Called Second Life. In addition to figuring out how to move gracefully, get rid of the duck walk, find something decent to wear, and make a friend or two, all of a sudden anvils are raining down, or singing phalluses appear (as one lady explained to a bemused Kathy). Imagine the reactions. "Is this what Second Life is about, dodging annoying objects? Can the anvil hurt me? Will I have to spend much of my limited in-world time dealing with immature adolescent a**ho**s whose idea of a good time is to create singing private parts and to harass me?" As the marketing folks would say, a bad out of the box experience is likely to drive the customer away. In fact, it's a great deal more likely to do so in Second Life, where the only investment the user has made is a 30+ megabyte download, than a game that's been purchased.
My feeling is that there is no reaction too aggressive in dealing with the bored teenagers - at least with regard to Oxbridge and Oxbridge Village. Ban them at once, report them, vaporize them, it's all good to me. Elsewhere, in the realm of more experienced folks, perhaps ignoring them makes more sense.
Why do I care? I was fairly neutral about the value of having a gateway in Oxbridge. On the one hand, more traffic in and awareness of Caledon is a good thing - more people = more revenue at shops, more demand for land, more social interaction. On the other hand, many of those people are not specifically interested in the Caledon theme, so there will be more bling, more naked men with absurdly oversized genitals, more prim litter as noobies decide that anyplace with build permissions is a sandbox, and more griefing. Oxbridge may be a net benefit to the community, but it's not clear-cut. Yet Des, knowing all this, made a decision to do it. I'm not qualified to second-guess the decision, nor is it my place to do so. Having made the decision, Des has every right to expect the rest of us to help make it a success, by being polite and helpful to noobies, explaining the whole Caledon "thing," and so on. I don't spend a lot of time in Oxbridge, but I swing by when I can and talk to noobies who look as though they need a friendly voice. But it seems to me that one of the big items is: don't scare the noobies. Don't frustrate them with a bad out-of-the-box experience. Don't tolerate griefers.