Thursday, June 19, 2008

I think I'm drowning, this sea is killing me

[18:23] Meghan Dench: Second Life Birthday is being Restarted. We're sorry for any inconvenience. You'll need to leave the sim or you'll be logged off. Enjoy the event! : D

If you say so...

Speaking of Miss Dench, interesting exchange overheard on the Exhibitors' group for the upcoming celebration.

Seems one builder--without desiring to name names--is a tad, hmm, concerned, shall we say, over the PG-appropriateness of certain builds.

Shay Sunnyside stated:

[17:53] Shay Sunnyside: Under the definition of PG some of but not limited to the following will be prohibited: Nudity: Exhibits must not contain Mature content, if you are unsure of the rating of some of your content please contact a Coordinator. Ropes and Chains, graphic images or exhibits showing someone being bound will not be allowed, this also includes other content that may represent someone being bound in a sexual way.

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That's a reasonably clear definition, actually--surprisingly so, considering Linden Labs' marked and continual ability to vague up everything. But here's the problem.

Within this particular builder's range of vision, there's a bondage display of women in sexualized positions, cuffed and kneeling; there's a Gorean display of women being bound, in provocative attire; several booths down, there are images containing full-frontal adult nudity.

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It does make one wonder, just a bit--child avatars with their general insistence now on self-policing their community, to keep presentation, builds, and images kid-safe and kid-friendly, are not allowed; but a woman bound and kneeling and obviously made so to be more sexually attractive to adult onlookers, well, that's just fine?

What level of double standard is Linden Labs trying to feed us, here?

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Don't mistake me--my intent with the mention, and these images, is not to say oh-how-wicked, those-naughty-people--I, personally, am completely in favor of a Mature-rated, adult-inclusive celebration of five years of grid existence. Bring on the furs in rubber, the ladies clad in silk, bring on honest, open discussion of bondage, submission, dark RP, angels and demons, challenging art--hells, let's invite the churches in, too, and the homemaker groups, and people who prefer elderly avatars, and people who want to support their political candidates--let's even set up a big arena so anyone who has a problem with anyone else can go in and pillowfight to the death. Two out of three falls wins, and the loser has to move closer to Everett Linden's booth, which will consist of Everett sitting in happy-face boxer shorts in a dunking booth. Say, five Linden a throw, proceeds to benefit the RFL, or mass grid literacy, or to feed the starving gay puppies, or something.

I'm telling you, it would be a runaway success. And we might actually learn something along the way, and maybe have a true reason to celebrate--instead of resignedly realize, yet again, that we'd rather bicker and argue about what's appropriate, than proceed forward in a spirit of cooperation, tolerance, acceptance and education.

And in what may be the last comment from the SL5B blog entry, this one comment #142 from designer Raudf Fox:

Raudf Fox Says:
June 18th, 2008 at 5:42 PM

@Everett Linden,

"Child avatars are welcome at the celebration. However, we do respectfully decline the submissions we received to create exhibits for the event."

I think I see the reason for the 'confusion.' See, you say, "Child avatars are welcome at the celebration," followed by the "However, we do respectfully decline the submissions we received to create exhibits for the event." The implication is that you did decline the exhibits by the child avatars that did submit to you and that you did so BECAUSE they were child avatars.

Sure, they weren't banned because they could attend the event all they wanted, but be darned if they were going to be able to get an exhibit, because it would be automatically "respectfully declined," regardless of whether or not it met the PG guidelines.

This is what we are hearing. Now, it's great you've guys have "changed your minds," but we'd forgive you a lot faster/easier if we heard an, "Oops, we screwed up, sorry." than a, "There never was a ban, they weren't automatically declined, either." We
['ve] heard/seen what you said, we've looked at the track record for LL cutting in on resident run events, and we aren't stupid.

Excellently put; that's the heart of the issue in a nutshell. No, it wasn't that they said "ban", that they used the word "ban"; it was that their actions deliberately excluded a section of the grid population after exclaiming how wanted all cultures were.

Lest we all have forgotten how all of this started, let me refresh your memory in exactly what Katt Linden said:

Each year, on the date that Second Life came out of beta (June 23rd 2003), Residents and Lindens have gathered to celebrate the amazing world we've been creating. This June 23rd, our community marks its Fifth Birthday, and the volunteer Birthday Team (who has been planning this party since last year) picked a theme that will be hard to resist--"Celebrating the cultural diversity of Second Life".

Who do you hang around with in Second Life? What are your communities' traditions and signature characteristics? Are you proud of your sexy blue fur? Your excruciatingly detailed tea ceremony? Your murky environments? Your sculptures? The help you've given to others?


Now fast-forward to where we are, in this moment--a fully PG-rated celebration, under the thumb of Linden control, sans many communities that make the grid such a diverse place to begin with, rife with vague and indistinct rules threatening inspecific harm if these rules are broken. Gosh, yes, something to celebrate indeed.

Last thing, and it's completely off the topic--Nightwish goes steampunk? And is it just me, or is there more than a hint of Jethro Tull in that song?

2 comments:

Meghan Dench said...

Just want to clear that up. What Shay stated is what the Wiki says at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/SL5B and I know that for a fact as I am the one who wrote out the policies onto the wiki. Also I meant the Sim was being restarted not the event, that is the sim name and I was working with a Linden to try and resolve a bug. : )

Emilly Orr said...

Right, and I do know that, that is the current policy--and to be honest, I quoted the top quote because of the amusing perception, not because it directly referred to SL5B closing.