#10. My Second Life: Permissions

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I wasn’t planning to add to this series about Second Life so quickly after the piece on building, but I got a very good question in a comment. To wit, Scott asked why he was able to fly to a house, walk into it, and manipulate objects. He then wanted to know if he could prevent such intrusions on his property. The answer is yes, though you you might not want to do it.

SL has a system of “permissions” which describe what others can and can’t do with your land and with objects you own. They are different, so let’s start with land. This is just the basics, so read the official information.

If I am standing on SL property I own, I can go up to the World item on the top menu item and choose About Land… . Under the Options tab, I can check whether I want to let others Edit the Terrain (raise, lower, flatten, roughen, or smooth parts of the land), Create Landmarks on the land to allow a later revisit to the spot, or fly over the land. I doubt you want people to terraform your property, so leave the first unchecked. I don’t think creating landmarks is that big a deal unless you are in the middle of construction, so you can probably check that one. As to flying over your land, this limits the altitude at which people can peer down at you but also disturbances on high if you are doing business. I usually check the Flying option.

For the other options there, you likely do not want to let other residents do things but you do want to let other group members do them.

Now we’ll move on to the Access and Ban tabs. If you check nothing on these two tabs then anyone can come on your property. If you add anyone on the Ban tab, they are specifically prevented from coming on (perhaps some sort of troublemaker). If you add anyone specifically on the Access tab, then only they can come on. If the land is Group owned, then you can restrict access to group members plus any specific avatars.

So you can let everyone come on, everyone except certain avatars, everyone in the owning group plus certain avatars, or the last combo less some specific people. This should give you enough granularity.

You know when you are not allowed on a piece of land when you either see the red NO ACCESS warnings or bounce of the force field shooting up from the property lines.

If you do not let your immediate neighbors on your land, it will be difficult for them to build on their own land. So if you restrict access, you might want to include them, at least for some times.

When I was building, I restricted access except for neighbors so i didn’t have to chat with strangers who stopped by. Once I was in pretty good shape, I opened the land up generally. This may change and you should consider carefully what you are using the land for. Think about what you would do in RL. I recommend you either start with it wide open or completely closed and then actively consider how it should be moved to the middle, if appropriate.

I have a pool in the basement of the house I’m building (the parts cost me L$1). So I’m home alone and all of a sudden I heard the pool making the splashing sound it does when someone gets in the water. Now this was not really a problem and nothing else would be an issue, so I just let it be. However I am thinking more about limiting access. In any case, if I were to host an event at the place I would probably limit it for a time to the people I was expecting.

For object permissions, right click on the object and choose Edit. Click the More>>> button if necessary and look at the General tab. The more boxes that are checked at the bottom, the more that people can do with objects you own (except the For Sale box). Check everything except For Sale to allow people to take a copy, move, modify or copy the version they grab, or give away their version. This is quite liberal and rather open sourcey.

In my IBM team office building, I have it set so that people can move their own chairs and desks, but not everything else. They don’t need to move the rugs, for example. New people playing with the edit controls sometimes do things they don’t expect. Last week I found a divider section floating in the air outside the building. That particular object is not movable by others right now!

Turn off “Allow anyone to make a copy” to not let them take copies of your objects, especially if you are selling them. If you do allow people to take copies, consider letting them make additional copies or modify what they get. For example, they might want to stretch the dimensions of a rug or put a copy in each of several rooms. Finally, if you and only you should position objects, do not check “Allow anyone to move.”

So there you have it, at least in basic form.

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