Friday, March 31, 2023

EOTB: New Tool Allows Estate Owners To Ban Bots, Lab Bot Policy Updated

Good news for those wanting to keep "bots" off of their land. Yesterday, Thursday March 30, in the official blog, Linden Lab announced they had added a new option to estate management, one that when switched on would bar avatars controlled by "scripted agents" from entering. The Lab has also updated their policy about bots.

We are pleased to announce a new feature to enable Estate-level access management of scripted agents. As of Wednesday’s deploy, a new flag to prevent identified scripted agent accounts from entering a region has been added to all regions.
When this new feature is turned on, bots "that are not explicitly listed in the estate’s Allowed Access list" will not be allowed onto the land. Otherwise they can enter and leave like other avatars. 
The feature is active only on the latest version of the Linden viewer, which was released today. For now, Firestorm and other third-party viewers do not yet have it active.

This is in addition to two options that estate owners already had, to ban access to minors and to ban those who the Lab has no payment information on.

Linden Lab would also include a Frequently Asked Questions page to help explain some details about the option. Among them are that large estates may take some time to activate a ban, the action can only be done at the estate level and not by those who have just a parcel.

The Lab announced their new set of policies on bots on a page on the Second Life Wiki. Among them, those who have an account used as a bot "must specify this on the Scripted Agent Status page." Also, using bots to artificially boost traffic figures is against the Lab's rules, as is using a bot to send an excessive number of messages and using them to buy mainland parcels. There was also a reminder that making use of information from within Second Life elsewhere on the Internet is subject to privacy rights and laws, "This applies whether data is collected by Scripted Agents, LSL scripts, or external tools." 

Later, Patch Linden mentioned on the New Linden Homes thread that the feature would be included with Linden Homes.
As we announced earlier today, we have released a new feature that enables estate owners to disallow scripted agents from accessing regions within their estate.

Many of you have requested that we come up with a solution to scripted agents and their presence within the Linden Homes regions of Bellisseria.  Therefore, we have enabled this feature on the Bellisseria Linden Homes estate as well.

Additionally, we have updated the covenant to reflect this change.
While bots have been a sore spot to a number of residents, the issue flared up in January when the Bonniebots began going from sim to sim with the purpose of collecting data and statistics, and many demanded the Lab do something about them, and other less-visible bots. After shutting down some threads in the forums, the Lab finally stated they would be looking into the issue. In their last Lab Gab, it was stated they would soon be updating their bot policy and giving estate owners the power to ban them.

There are two threads in the official forums about the issue (here) and (here). So far, response has been overall positive, "a great first step," with a number wanting it available at the parcel level. Someone did express concerns that certain HUDs may get some residents booted from some areas. 
Hat tip: Gemma Cleanslate

Bixyl Shuftan

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