The griefing organization known collectively as Woodbury University has for the third and hopefully final time been kicked from Second Life.
The griefing organization and cybergang known collectively as Woodbury University has, for the third and hopefully final time, been kicked out of the MMO Second Life. Their current incarnation was headquartered in the virtual regions of Red Square and Revolution, which were opened to the public on April 22, 2011. Openly brandishing a Soviet Russian theme and playing host to the The Wrong Hands (TWH), their continued existence was one of the worst kept secrets on the grid. Nearly all the original Woodbury members had returned using ban evasion alts; visitors to the Woodbury regions were forbidden to openly speak the phrase “Woodbury University” for fear of attracting the attention of the Second Life administrators. This was despite the fact that the group had even made a machinima style video to clearly state that they had returned to SL.
The situation was finally rectified when, in the early hours of July 18, 2011, it all came to an abrupt end. These two regions were removed from the grid along with their owner Atlas SaintLouis, the Woodbury / Wrong Hands ban evasion alts Twinkie Swizzle (Tizzers Foxchase) and Overbrain Unplugged (Intlibber Brautigan).
Also removed were the regions along with Bronyville, Derpy and GameTime, each owned by Rembrandt Flux, who, far from being some new griefer king, had apparently gotten caught in the crossfire between Linden Lab and the Woodbury refugees owing to the high number of Woodbury in the Bronies groups. According to Flux, he had no efficient means of doing in-depth background checks, going instead on the quality of the example work submitted as to whether or not content creators would be hired. The two facts that he was paying them, with thousands of dollars changing hands, and that so many were Wrong Hands / Woodbury may have contributed to his ban.
Linden Lab acting on information submitted by the Peacekeeping community and other sources, reviewed the SL group The Wrong Hands for materials which could be used for disruption of Second Life services. This action was prompted by Tux Winkler, a known leader in The Wrong Hands, who had supplied images of the TWH groups to Justice League members in an attempt to prove that he had not sent a group notice (which was supposedly leaked to Peacekeeper groups) instructing his fellow TWH members on the availability of new a copybot client. The authenticy of the leaked notice was never established.
The image as shown at right (provided by Tux Winkler), features a group notice sent by now banned TWH member Twinkie Swizzle. The notice contained an attachment which was felt could be an object or device to be used to grief with.
While we will never know if the object was actually a griefing device, it is also possible that Linden Lab removed Twinkie Swizzle for ban evasion, his original account Tizzers Foxchase was removed during the banishment of the second incarnation of Woodbury. The exact reason for the removal of Atlas Saintlouis the owner of Red Square and Revolution, is unknown but suspected to be related to the material used in The Wrong Hands group.
The Bronies Plight
The Bronies are an internet phenomenon, born of a fandom surrounding the My Little Ponies television show. Bronies is a My Little Pony for guys fandom, born of the 4Chan.com partly as a reaction to all the negativity of the /b/tard chan boards. Later invited to form their own chan board and leave 4Chan alone, which they did at http://ponychan.net
The Bronies group in Second Life was founded by Twinkie Swizzle, a known alt of the banned Tizzers Foxchase of Woodbury University / The Wrong Hands. And Overbrain Unplugged, a known alt of the banned IntLibber Brautigan of the same two groups.
(The reader should note that most of the accounts discussed in this article are of avatars now banned; discussion of banned alt accounts where both accounts are banned does not constitute Disclosure, and that this is a third party web site – the Linden Lab Terms of Service prohibiting Disclosure in Second Life do not apply here.)
Curly Fride, a supplier of Bronies avatars, claims to have met the two in April of 2011, stating that he was invited by the pair to join them in a new Bronies-oriented venture. Surprisingly, neither Fride nor a significant number of the Bronies who would later join the group realized exactly who Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged really were. Twinkie and Overbrain supplied organization and funding, whereas it would be Curly Fride who supplied the My Little Pony avatars themselves, without which the community could not flourish.
The group enjoyed explosive growth between April and July of 2011. As an open enrollment group and because of its saccharine, squeaky clean public face, it became popular amongst griefers to join. It’s important to note, that the Bronies group is NOT a griefing group by nature, it is simply a common practice for some griefers to find large open enrollment groups with certain themes or memes they enjoy, and join to try to corrupt the group for their own purposes. While the group was ironically founded by a known griefer it was policed very heavily by its management.
The group stayed peaceful and reasonably trouble free most times, and we should also note that out of the group of 3000+ good members, only a small handful (10-20 if that) were actually considered possible griefers.
The chain of events is a little difficult to follow, but piecing together what we’ve been told from various sources, here is what apparently happened:
The Woodbury / Wrong Hands Connection
Tizzers Foxchase (Twinkie Swizzle) had apparently gotten bored with the stagnant and politically unsuccessful Wrong Hands and Woodbury University groups and decided to try something new. He convinced Intlibber Brautigan (Overbrain Unplugged) to join him. Seeing an opportunity, they invited Curly Fride to join them and created the new Bronyville estate in April, with a second sim called Derpy added two months later.
Curly Fride’s Second Life account login information was apparently either phished or socially engineered to acquire the password sometime prior to July 3rd. Fride’s in-world funds were spent buying troll gifts for various people, with the list of recipients conforming in general to a list of people not well liked in Woodbury University circles.
Rumors flew, one of them being that his account had been hacked by Foxchase, or somebody Foxchase knew, or somebody he had put up to the task. Another rumor says that Fride tried to have his two co-owners removed from the Bronies and Bronies land administration groups via support ticket based on this suspicion. The Bronyville management response was to ban Fride from the Bronyville estate. Within a day, Fride was no longer listed as an owner of these groups, but by this time both Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged had lost their accounts, and the regions of Bronyville and Derpy were taken offline.
Far from being disconnected or detached from the two griefing groups Woodbury University and The Wrong Hands, Tizzers and IntLibber retained their ties to these groups. It cannot be a coincidence, therefore that Atlas Saintlouis, the money figure enabling the existence of Red Square and Revolution, lost his account on the same day that Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged also vanished.
According to a reliable anonymous source, following the destruction of Red Square and Revolution, a stream of griefer alts made their appearances at Superville at Tux Winkler’s Wrong Hands base all morning.
Persons of note present included :
- Alexy Romanov
- Dicking Highwater (dicking.highwater) (“Docking”, now banned)
- samuels Aboubakar (samuels.aboubakar)
- Doctor Yootz (dimitrij)
- Narika Niosaki
- Queen Korpov
- Crafty Waxen
- Spin Dash
- Pixeleen Mistral
- PurgeThis Spot (another alt of Tizzers Foxchase, aka Jordan Bellino)
- Tux Winkler (now banned)
Kalel Venkman had the opportunity to interview Curly Fride on the evening of July 19, mere hours after the five regions of Bronyville, GameTime, Derpy, Red Square, and Revolution were taken offline and seven of the core members of the Wrong Hands were banned. Here is what transpired :
[19:56] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): Hi, Curly.
[19:56] Curly (curly.fride): hey
[19:57] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I heard about what happened. Did you have any advance warning that the sim was going offline?
[19:57] Curly (curly.fride): no i didn’t
[19:57] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): This really sucks.
[19:58] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): Did you have any idea Overbrain and Twinkie were involved in subversive activities elsewhere?
[19:58] Curly (curly.fride): no I didn’t
[19:59] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I should back up a little – I’m asking questions because in addition to being Justice League, we also have a news outlet called SCIFI.radio.
[19:59] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): If you don’t want to answer questions, I’ll respect your privacy.
[20:00] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I should have said that straight up, I’m sorry I didn’t do that first thing. Are you okay with answering questions?
[20:01] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): An awful lot of Bronies got caught in the crossfire on this, and it sounds like that included you.
[20:03] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): For what it’s worth, I thought the Bronies idea was really something special.
[20:03] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): And I hope you can regroup.
[20:11] Curly (curly.fride): me too
[20:17] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): You must have known Twinkie and Overbrain for some time before joining them in this venture.
[20:20] Curly (curly.fride): nope
[20:21] Curly (curly.fride): I built the brony avatar and was approached by twinkie
[20:21] Curly (curly.fride): Twinkie pretty much said “Hey, we’re setting up a sim, wanna come?”
[20:21] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): So -he- found -you-.
[20:21] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): You had something he needed and couldn’t make himself.
[20:21] Curly (curly.fride): pretty much
[20:22] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): How long ago was this, would you say? It hasn’t been that long and the Bronies have been wildly popular and grew quickly.
[20:23] Curly (curly.fride): april
[20:23] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I’ve seen the Brony avatar, by the way, it’s very impressive.
[20:23] Curly (curly.fride): thanks
[20:23] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): Moves very well, and it’s spot on model.
[20:23] Curly (curly.fride): I’m not as happy with it as everyone else is
[20:23] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): The creator always sees the flaws no one else sees.
[20:24] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): Did you have any suspicions as things went on that something wasn’t quite right with Twinkie and Overbrain? Did they ever refer to their past?
[20:25] Curly (curly.fride): no, I heard rumors that they were part of woodbury
[20:25] Curly (curly.fride): And interestingly enough, the woodbury sims went down today too
[20:26] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): They were not only part of Woodbury, they pretty much WERE Woodbury. They ran the place.
[20:27] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): When Overbrain was taken out, they took out Atlas SaintLouis too, so Red Square, Revolution, Bronyville and Derpy all went down at once.
[20:27] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): So you were not aware that Twinkie Swizzle was Tizzers Foxchase?
[20:28] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I’m guessing no.
[20:32] Curly (curly.fride): No, I wasn’t
[20:32] Curly (curly.fride): I didn’t know
[20:33] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I’m guessing Overbrain Unplugged didn’t tell you he was IntLibber Brautigan either.
[20:33] Curly (curly.fride): nope
[20:34] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): His estate collapsed last year due to financial reasons – though he was also running his own in-world securities exchange, the oversight being provided by his own oversight committee.
[20:35] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): If you Google him, there’s a lot of stuff out there on him. I don’t know how much is true, and I don’t care to speculate particularly.
[20:38] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): Oh, one last thing – what is it that you think appeals to people about the Bronies, and what appeals to you about Bronies specifically?
[20:41] Curly (curly.fride): I think there’s appeal in the moralities that the ponies portray, and that they aren’t portrayed right out in front of you like alot of things in TV are
[20:41] Curly (curly.fride): it’s hard to say though
[20:42] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): The Ponies represent a sort of social ideal?
[20:42] Curly (curly.fride): in some ways, yes
[20:42] Curly (curly.fride): A certain form of innocence and happiness that you don’t see very often
[20:43] Curly (curly.fride): That was my dream as well
[20:43] Curly (curly.fride): I made the pony avatars to bring people together, I never charged any money for them
[20:44] Kal-El (kalel.venkman): I didn’t know that. Wow.
The Bronies groups’ administration continue to talk amongst themselves and with Linden Lab about “fixing the money situation” that they believe caused the loss of their themed estate. However, Atlas SaintLouis, Twinkie Swizzle and Overbrain Unplugged were banned within minutes of one another and all five regions taken offline at once. If they were truly banned for doing what they’ve been routinely observed doing in the past, then no recovery of Bronyville will be possible, and as most of the builds were created and owned by Twinkie Swizzle, much of what made Bronyville what it was will not be recoverable.
Even so, the Bronies, led in part by Atheron Alter of Lamp and DarthBlueAfro Cummings of Woodbury University, seem optimistic about their chances of restoring their estate in some fashion.
Update: Within mere days, a new region was created called “Bronytown” which lies two region’s widths north of the original Bronyville location. Should Bronyville and Derpy be restored, they would be able to resume their original positions on the grid map.
Region and Account Destruction Synchronous with FBI Raids on Anonymous Across the Country
Simultaneous with the third destruction of Woodbury were American FBI raids on sixteen Anonymous meme-using hackers in a nationwide sweep this morning, on the same day.
Recent arrests have been taking place around the world in a new global crackdown on Anonymous and anything resembling it. Dutch authorities arrested four individuals. British authorities arrested a 16 year old going by the handle “TFlow”, and American authorities made sixteen arrests from approximately 30 to 40 warrants. This means that there are still some 14 to 24 warrants still unserved in the United States alone, and we can presume that at least some are still open.
These events would not have been worth the mention had the precise synchronicity not been so striking. The best we can do, however, is wonder at whether there is a connection.
The first mass ban of Woodbury University took place June 23, 2007. The second took place April 20, 2010. Now that Woodbury has been mass banned three times, with a total loss of ten regions, perhaps they’ll finally decide to seek out greener pastures – while the Bronies, largely victims in the Wrong Hands crossfire, simply seek to restore the ones they already had.
Update – July 22, 2011
Newly minted alts of the Wrong Hands are warning certain residents not to interfere with the distribution of Bronies avatars. The Wrong Hands has a spyware system implemented in-world that is used to track the movements of people they don’t like – just peacekeepers at first, but this was expanded to included anybody Tux Winkler had a problem with. As the general tone from The Wrong Hands towards the Bronies is one of disdain, citizens are advised not to accept Bronies avatars unless they come directly from Curly Fride.
Comparisons between Twinkie/Tizzer’s Woodbury Documentation & Bronies group information
Again, we know full well that the Bronies are not a griefing group, but we wanted to show you further information to say we feel the Bronies got the raw end of the deal. Twinkie Swizzle’s past actions cost them a excellent place to hang-out and enjoy their fandom.
This was the Bronyville Code of Conduct, written by Curly Fride and distributed on July 8, 2011:
Welcome to Bronyville! While you are here, you are part of our little community. Because of this, we have a few simple rules for you to follow, outlined by the Six Elements of Harmony.
Feel free to speak whatever’s on your mind, but please do so in a respectful manner. We won’t fuss over foul language in the course of normal conversation, but please don’t verbally harass anypony. This includes text chat, voice chat, sounds, and gestures.
Bronyville is not a warzone. You can carry a weapon as an accessory, but please detach any scripted or “unsheathed” weapons.
Please don’t use up all the sim resources with laggy scripts, object-spammers, sound spam and particle-spam.
Public displays of affection such as hugging and kissing and snuggling are alright as long as you keep it PG-13. If you want to take it further, please keep it private. Please detach any mature attachments, even if they are set turn transparent.
Be respectful of the Moderators and Admins, listen to their requests. They volunteer their personal time to be here and they work very hard to keep Bronyville safe, and secure from all the ghosties that try to make us frown.
The most important element of all… You’ve gotta Have fun!
Some other rules to keep in mind:
~~Official Bronyville Moderators have a “Royal Guard” tag.
~Griefers will be immediately ejected and banned from Bronyville. ABUSE REPORTS will be filed on anyone who is griefing.
~Bronyville isn’t an advertisement tool. Please clear with a Moderator before you start handing out landmarks and shouting about the new club or shop you just opened.
~Bronyville isn’t a store. Please clear with a Moderator
~Please, no requests for money. Some of the best things in Second Life are FREE! But if you really need money so bad, you can upgrade to Premium and get a weekly check, or just toss about 15 bucks into SL.
~Bronyville isn’t “Hiring.” Our entire staff consists ONLY of volunteers and they don’t get paid for their invaluable services.
~Keep Bronyville clean. If you rez something, pick up after yourself. It’s easier to find something in your Inventory where you expect it than it is to find in your Lost And Found.
~Please keep your Religion and Politics out of Bronyville. Nothing divides a community faster than a religious feud.
~Only report things you know for fact to be true to moderators. You get in trouble with the Bronyville Guards for dialing 911 and lying, so don’t do it!
Some of our Moderator Rights
~If a moderator sends you an IM warning and you do not comply, the Moderator reserves the right to Eject you from Bronyville. If you return and still do not comply with the moderator’s request, you may be banned.
~Moderators reserve the right to immediately eject and ban griefers.
~Moderators reserve the right to keep and transfer chat logs for rule-enforcement purposes.
~Moderators reserve the right to immediately eject and ban avatars with offensive or abusive names.
~Moderators reserve the right to use personal discretion in regards to language rule enforcement.
~Our security system logs everyone who enters the sim and their use of Sim Resources. Moderators reserve the right to use this data for security purposes.
If you have any questions, feel free to IM one of our staff members, We’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Compare the above to Woodbury University’s “Bro Code”, penned by Tizzers Foxchase. A language warning is in order, the following contains terms readers might find offensive. It is presented here uncensored.
The Ethos of Woodbury (AKA THE BRO CODE)
—– How not to suck at being at Woodbury moderator —–
1. Woodbury exists as an open environment where any Second Life avatar is free to express
themselves in a manner which would typically GET YOUR ASS SACKED in any pubbie sim.
2. As a Woodbury SS / Sandbox Gestapo / FIC / Goderator, you are here to make Woodbury a better place for the members. We NEVER EVER EVER abuse ban/eject powers on other Woodbury Members. THIS IS A HUGE VIOLATION OF THE BRO CODE.
3. You have been given powers in the group because you have proven yourself to not suck. Please strive to maintain this.
4. There are only two reason we should EVER ban an individual from our sim:
A. This person is crashing the sim.
B. This person has admitted to abuse reporting Woodbury members.
Banning somebody because they successfully trolled you is never okay. Grow a pair fgt.
5. The road to becoming a Woodbury Mod is easier than you may think. Actively contributing
to the group, building things, and recruiting is automatic promotion to SS/Gestapo. FIC is given to those that have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Goderator is reserved for founding members and individuals who become RL students at Woodbury University in Burbank, California.
—– How not to suck at being a Woodbury member —–
1. Because of the open-ended nature of our sim and group, you will be fucked with. You will be
trolled. You will be called names and treated like shit. Get over it. TROLL BACK HARDER. Welcome
2. Being openly furry is just asking for it. You have been warned.
Most importantly, have fun. Blow things up, be the horrible monster you really are.
Woodbury University: Not quite your typical Second Life experience.
Update – July 26, 2011
Because Linden Lab will not read the protests of people who have lost their accounts, under the circumstances, Kalel Venkman felt compelled to speak on Rembrandt Flux’s behalf, and posted Service Ticket 01177676, the text of which is as follows (including the comments, since the ticket text length was too short to allow for the entire filing to be submitted in one pass):
Regions Down: Bronyville, Derpy and GametimeThese regions belonged to Rembrandt Flux. He was banned because of his deep and ongoing association with several members of the Wrong Hands and Woodbury University, specifically over their association with the Bronies group.It is my firm, heartfelt belief that Rembrandt Flux had no clear idea that he was hiring some of the most notorious people in Second Life to work on his regions, and that he had no proper means of vetting these
people during the hiring process other than the submission of examples of their work, which they provided.Yes, some of the members of the Bronies group received a large number of abuse reports over several months.No, it was not the Bronies themselves that were the problem. It was Woodbury that had quietly hoodwinked Rembrandt Flux and ended up making him pay for their own transgressions.I am Kalel Venkman. After this much time, you’ve probably heard of me. I’m the guy that runs the citizen’s watch organization known as the Justice League Unlimited in Second Life. My team helped Linden Lab with the griefer wars of 2007-2008, when the Patriotic Nigras were so active. And my team played a role in providing Linden Lab with enough information about the activities of Woodbury University and The
Wrong Hands to get these people taken off the grid, en masse, three times now. You have accepted my word and the word of my team on these matters for over five years. I am about as uptight about rule following and seeing justice served as anybody on the grid. Please accept my word now when I say that I believe that Rembrandt Flux carries no malice toward anyone, facilitated no griefing in-world, was about the furthest thing possible from a griefer king-pin that it is possible to be, and deserves to have his account – and his lands – restored. If there is someone in specific that I should speak to about this decision in the hopes of getting it reversed, I would like to be put in contact with that person so that I may plead Rembrandt Flux’s case.Thank you.
– Kalel Venkman
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