Wednesday, June 18, 2008

once that wheel is in motion, don't you lose what you have found (part I)

The infamous JIRA issue of protest has apparently now been resolved. Or closed. Or both. Meghan Dench explains things at the end of the comments:

Meghan Dench - 18/Jun/08 11:05 AM
I'm closing this issue, the confusion about the policies has been cleared up and nothing more as far as I can see will be done, this Jira issue is not needed and a waste of recourses.

Also to clear up my comment, I said No Nudity (Male or Female a nipple's a nipple)
I didn't say it was limited to a nipple. It means no male nudity, just as it means no female nudity.

(Please note I've not Closed the issue, just Resolved it)

So...she says she's closed the issue; but she wants to be clear that she hasn't closed the issue; and either way, it's been resolved. Thank you for coming, exit's that way.

I have no idea.

Katt Linden also muddies the waters further on the SL5B celebration blog entry. She states in comment #28:

Katt Linden Says:
June 17th, 2008 at 11:48 PM


Hi, Abigail, I guess you misunderstood. Allow me to clarify.

There never was any ban on a specific type or group of avatar.

There was a request to keep things PG.

Full stop.

– Katt

By comment #30, of course, the backlash had started. One of the organizers behind the Kids5B celebration stated some (understandable) confusion:

danielregenbogen Says:
June 18th, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Katt??? We seem to have *very* different definitions of a ban - and I think my grasp of the english language is at least good enough to understand that something like “no exhibitions showing the life of kid avatars” or “no pictures that show both adult and kid avatars together” is simply that: a blanket ban. So, please, don’t insult the intelligence of the MANY people who saw it as exactly that - the words by Dusty and Everett are still to find at MANY places!

Why the heck can’t you and some others at LL not admit that they made a mistake! That wouldn’t be something bad, Lindens are humans, too. But what you are trying here with your answer to Abigail is LYING. Or do you deny, that totally PG builds offered by kid avatars, showing the live of kid avatars, were turned down in the first by Dusty? Do you deny, that totally PG pictures, showing adult and kid avatars together, were turned down in the first by Everett? Do you deny, that LL reversed the policy AFTER LL got hit by massive protests from around the whole SL community?

Admitting a mistake and revising decisions is not a bad thing. But coming here and saying that there was no mistake at all, never was, when hundreds and thousands of resident SAW these mistakes with their own eyes, it’s just so totally out of line!

Comment #32 from Sean Heying brings us a terrifying possibility; I'm hoping quite sincerely that he's wrong...

Comment #37 from Day Oh brings up more frustration:

Day Oh Says:
June 18th, 2008 at 1:38 AM

Are you saying it’s not true you’re disallowing images of young and old looking avatars in the same image?

These apologies and scowls from the event’s own art director?

"Before we kick off the event though, we want to spend a little time clarifying in order to clear up some of the confusion around the submission process and policy."


By comment #44 things started (somewhat) to look up--Shoshana Epsilon's mention of a "fringe festival" sounds like something I'd like to participate in, and may well become involved with next year.

But all too soon it was back to the (mostly valid) complaints. Gil Druart's contribution of comment #50 I find especially relevant:

Gil Druart Says:
June 18th, 2008 at 3:34 AM

“All exhibits are PG, because we want to make the SL5B as inclusive as possible

..we are reviewing and approving content to make sure it matches our PG guidelines”

Katt - it’s censorship. You make yourself look ridiculous by claiming it to be anything else, or by pretending that the effect is not to actually exclude goodly portions of the community, love ‘em or loath ‘em.

I, for one would have a lot more respect for LL’s integrity (and potentially yours too) if you made a statement like, “Yeah, it’s censorship. We don’t like the necessity but give the number of neo-con-fundamentalists and desperate politicians and the fact that the US contains roughly 40% of the world’s lawyers, we don’t feel we have an option.”

That might get you support and sympathy instead of brickbats.

— A citizen of a country without First Amendment protections, who is constantly amazed by the way US citizens rush to trample on theirs.

It would have, too. In big major ways.

Ceera Murakami makes a note in comment #65 that Governor Shang and Miss Rothschild are not the only people suffering from the problematic image ban:

My exhibit at SL5B is dedicated to “Youthful Creativity and Roleplay”, and has from initial conception been a G-rated display showing some of the many pass times that one can do as a child or as a young adult in SL that have nothing at all to do with sex, and explaining something about those who for one reason or another play roles that are younger than their Player’s actual age.

And yet, when in response to rumors that any image with an adult and a child in it would be censored, I initially asked for a check on my G-rated display to ensure that there was no possibility of breaking any Linden rules, I was initially told by the volunteer staffer that I could not display a photo of my furry adult avatar and my SL daughter’s furry child avatar (age ten) in the same photo. This, in spite of the fact that it was a formal portrait, in which we were both clothed from toes to wrists and neck in full Japanese Kimonos, were not touching each other, and were not even gazing at each other! She stated this was explicitly because the Lindens in charge of the event had a “no exceptions” policy regarding any image that had a child and an adult in the same pic. Not “any such pics require review to make sure they are PG”, but “any such pics are not allowed at all”. In what universe would that image have been considered anything other than G-rated? So yes, there was initial censorship, and it was going way beyond “Making sure it is PG”.

To their credit, that same SL5B volunteer staffer contacted me several days later and said they had reviewed the image in question in a meeting with the Linden staff, and that they now agreed that there was nothing wrong with my G-rated image. I was encouraged to display it as I had originally done. They even allowed, with no further review, a second pic in which my daughter (in teen form this time) and I were gazing at one another as any loving child and adoring parent might, in a wholesome, non-sexual relationship. We’re both in Human form in that one, both dressed in jeans and T-shirts. So yes, there has been a policy reversal, or at the very least, a “policy clarification”, which has relaxed some of the overly-tight restrictions and censorship.

I am also supporting and displaying at Kids5B. There’s an info sign about that event at my SL5B site, and I have a photo display there that includes images that even now, the Linden Guidelines would not permit, such as a “baby photo” of my SL daughter, innocently standing in her crib in her room…

Yes, there’s tons of sex in SL. There’s tons of adult stuff going on in New York City, too. But we don’t ban children from setting foot in New York, just because they *might* walk into an adult business. So why should we assume that with all the wonderful possibilities in SL, any child avatar is up to no good? Over 95% of what I do in SL has nothing at all to do with sex, thank you. The other 5%? Well, that’s why my SL Partner and I now have a daughter in SL...

Solomon Devoix adds, just one comment later, that there's obviously been some redefinition of terms at the Linden level:

Solomon Devoix Says:
June 18th, 2008 at 5:53 AM

Katt, I’ll add my voice to others here. Robin, everett, and the ‘civilian’ organizers of the event stated, in public, on more than one occasion, that submissions from child avatars, regardless of content, would be declined.

Full stop.

That submissions from Gor and BDSM communities would be declined.

Full stop.

And now you are trying to spin things and saying there never was a blanket ban on certain avatars as participants, or certain types of content, PG or not?


Either you are (a) extraordinarily poor at communicating what you’re trying to say (ironic for the Communication Linden) or (b) you think we’re all a bunch of morons and don’t remember, or have access to, the original statements referenced above. Neither one of these shows ANY respect whatsoever for your residents.

I’m starting to wonder… were the jobs that you and everett held before at the Ministry of Truth? (ref. George Orwell’s “1984″ ;)

You say there was no blanket ban. Well, allow me to quote Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride”:

“You keep using that word; I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

Comment #77 from Tali Rosca I also found interesting:

Tali Rosca Says:
June 18th, 2008 at 8:43 AM

The really stupid thing is how this has turned into a “LL vs Residents” battle, when it could so easily have rallied everybody. Nobody is here to sabotage SL. We would all like to hold it up and say “look what we have”, fully aware that baiting sensationalist journalists would not be in our best interest.
But instead of appealing to this community spirit, LL came down hard, with implied moral judgments and a set of rules so astonishingly restrictive that they would probably disallow every movie ever made. (Irrespective of Everett’s revisionist denial of his documented statements, and Katt’s continued verbal tap-dance over what constitutes a “ban”.)
It may have been blind panic over some recent political posturing; it may be some specific Lindens’ agenda to create the grid they personally consider morally or business-wise acceptable. I do not know, and LL’s refusal to address it only breeds mistrust and unease about the future. I strongly urge LL to display their vaunted transparency, and describe the reasoning, chain of command and changes which has happened during the lifespan of the SLB5 planning. Even if some may possibly lose face, I think it is necessary to rebuild some confidence.

And, since I'm still going through the comments, I'm now splitting this into two parts...


Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

I think the definition of being Lindened is just so appropriate. This whole "there was never a ban" makes me wonder if Everett Linden is a politician or a PR manager.
No. 131:
“Child avatars are welcome at the celebration. However, we do respectfully decline the submissions we received to create exhibits for the event.”

I explicitly welcomed child avatars. Therefore, it can’t be a ban.

I think I agree with Solomon Devoix when he says: You say there was no blanket ban. Well, allow me to quote Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride”:

“You keep using that word; I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

Darien Mason said...

Merging the Teen and the Adult Grid? That would be the biggest SL disater yet!

But you know what? If they spin it as a cost-cutting measure dovetailed with mandatory government ID's for adult sims, I could actually see them doing it.

*starts building a fallout shelter*

Emilly Orr said...

Edward: exactly. He and Katt Linden can insist all they want that they never used the word 'ban', and that's fine--they didn't use that word. But their actions and their refusal to consider builds by certain individuals spoke very clearly to whom they wanted to build at SL5B, and whom they wanted to hide under the rug.

Darien: yeah, I'm hoping that's just outrageous speculation, m'self. Better place to play or not, I think I'd be leaving SL if the 'adult' sectors of the grid suddenly had to conform to 'teen-appropriate' behavior.

On the other hand, the sixteen-year-old son of my roommates? Has pictures of girls in collars and cuffs and smiles on his cellphone. He speaks of 'owning' several teen girls in 'teen-appropriate' playspaces, like Shinobi Legends. So what, precisely, is 'teen-appropriate', now?