Have you ever been slandered in Second Life?
The dictionary defines slander as:
1. Oral communication of false and malicious statements that damage the reputation of another.
2. A false and malicious statement or report about someone.
Has anyone ever lied about you?
Slander in real life can be hurtful or damaging, but slander happens in the virtual world too.
If someone says they don’t like us, it may not be nice to hear but that’s not slander. Slander is when individuals deliberately lie about us or pass on false information someone else told them.
I once knew a guy turn against a friend he knew for years because he heard something bad about them. He didn’t check with them to see if what he heard was true. If he had, he’d have learned it was completely false or at the very least a gross misunderstanding. He’d likely be friends with that person to this day. Instead of going to them to sort things out though, he railed against them and got them kicked out of a group. Finally, he sent a letter accusing them of something horrible.
The person on the receiving end of the letter would have replied under normal circumstances, but the letter was so full of hate and untrue accusations, the only thing they could do was block the man. His fury left no room for discussion or debate. Basically, he burned a bridge – for nothing!
In my experience, five things are a major cause of why people choose to slander.
1. Jealousy or competition. This can happen with both sexes but women, in particular, can exhibit “mean girl” behavior while appearing to be a paragon of virtue in public.
2. Becoming offended by someone: It doesn’t matter if there’s a reasonable explanation for why someone behaved as they did, or if the person didn’t mean to hurt them, once this individual is offended they get filled with a kind of poison. Anger builds, and if they don’t straighten things out with the one who offended them, they end up saying horrible things about that person.
3. Believing someone is slandering them: A person who believes someone is talking bad about them will often fight by trying to slander the other one back. Often the individual is not even being slandered, but just believes they are. This could be for various reasons like self-esteem or bad experiences in the past. Others may get paranoid due to a guilty conscience and don’t want to be found out, while some get stirred up because a “gossip” lied to them.
4. Covering up what they did: Certain people hide their own bad behavior by blaming others, even if it means lying. Example: A man pursues a woman (or several), but when his partner gets a whiff of it and becomes jealous he’ll claim he’s innocent, and that the girl is the one who pursued him. This individual will lie to save his own skin. He doesn’t care if it isn’t true or hurts someone else.
5. Being a follower: This is the hardest reason for me to understand, but sometimes people engage in slander to go along with people they hang out with, be it a persuasive partner, or a group. They have no personal vendetta against the victim of the slander but engage in it to bond with their friends or partner. Sometimes they believe the slander they go along with, sometimes they don’t. Either way, these people are “followers.”
There are also those who don’t engage in slander but remain quiet while others do it in front of them. These are usually decent people who may believe that by keeping quiet they’re “not getting involved” but really, by not speaking up, they show they’re not a good friend to the victim. Real friends don’t sit there and say nothing if people say untrue stuff about you. They defend you, or they leave.
Everything I mentioned here could be true in any life, real or virtual. What makes Second Life different is it’s a place people come to have fun or to escape painful things in the “real” world. It’s sad that even in a world meant as an escape, slander can still happen and cause pain.
Is there a solution? Some deal with things like this by saying they could care less about what people say about them, and they probably mean that for the most part. Everyone has a trigger though, and there’s bound to be something that could hurt anyone. No one is invincible.
The people I admire most are the ones who could easily take vengeance on those who slander them but forgo revenge and leave things in the hands of the creator.
I do believe those who tell lies about others will reap what they sow eventually though. Or, in the words of Ratt, “Round and round. What comes around goes around.”
4 thoughts on “Slander in Second Life”
It isn’t so much slander but pure bullying in Second Life. Slander is nothing compared to the manipulation, verbal and written abuse that causes so many so much pain. I think slander runs into to this category. It got so bad it went to my real life where one bully wrote me an email stating that he hoped I would get cancer and that my first unborn grandchild would be a still birth. That pain was so bad I temporarily took time out of Second Life. This bully was relentless. The worse thing about the whole thing was I couldn’t reach out to anyone for help. Linden Labs were useless.
That’s terrible, Bella. I’m sorry that happened to you!
Thoughtful and insightful piece.
In my experience, this sort of behaviour is often cumulative too, somebody starts as ‘a follower’, then the cover-ups, misguided beliefs, uwarranted offence and jealousy all pile on, and you end up with a whole world of grief.
I think there’s another aspect to it also: The power play, where someone uses coercion and slander to show off or wield power over someone they consider less important than themselves. It’s insanely damaging and utterly despicable. The sort of person you’d want to run into in a dark alley sometime, with baseball bat conveniently within reach!
Whilst I agree, forgiveness can be an incredibly powerful and affirming action – I also believe that contrition and repentance play their part too, and it would take a lot to persuade me to forgive someone who maliciously wronged me, and still doesn’t give a f**k! In my world, if someone burns their bridges, it’s up to them to put the work into reconstructing them, and even then, I may choose not to cross them.
I’ve been dealing with this recently. The person hassling me is insanely jealous of any time not spent with them, and furious because her attempt to separate my small circle of friends ended with my friends standing up to her and defending me. She’s escalated to making rl threats against the parents of some of the group members, causing TOS issues for other property owners in world and in general making herself appear as though she never got out of middle school. After a few responses, I just started blocking every alt she came at me with. Everything she did in world got the same. She’s still raging, but I’m not being subjected to it any longer. My personal theory is that if she wants to show out like that, it’s on her. I don’t have to validate her or respond to her. As a matter of fact, if I don’t respond to her, she escalates even further. Eventually all the reports to FB for bullying and harassment, and all the reports to LL for bullying, stalking, harassment, etc; will catch up to her and she’ll get IP banned. Meantime, I won’t have to deal with the drama.