Friday, June 20, 2008

you had your chance to right your wrong, can't we all just get along?

In conversations with a love this evening, I've had something pointed out to me, and frankly, it's something I should have, given time and thought, seen on my own.

That I didn't is more a failure on my part, along with the resurgence of 'we-have-rights' style of thinking.

(Because, let's face it, it's quite true--we don't have rights, it's their world, their game, and if they decide one day to pack the grid up and deny us all access? They can, it's their platform. We have only those 'rights' they choose to give us, and I've said this before.)

The point made was--Linden Labs is not, necessarily, the bad guy in this.

And I'm thinking, having had this discussion, they may well be right. And I may have been wrong.

Oh, but let me tell you why.

What's been our point all along? That the Labs are wrong, inherently and ethically, by banning the child avatars of SL from having exhibit space at the fifth birthday celebration.

And why have we been saying they're wrong? Well, I can't speak for others, and I won't, but for me, it's been that impression from the Labs--my impression of the actions of the Labs--that what they truly fear is another German crisis--some news agency, from somewhere, catching a shot of a child avatar, an adult avatar, and a bed, and spinning it towards fetishistic pedophilia, saying how bad, wrong and evil Linden Labs and Second Life is.

And I think that's valid, really, that perception--I think it's wrong to cave to special interests and let the religious zealots of any world run roughshod over our rights, our responsibilities, and our ethics--but again, as it was pointed out to me, that's missing the point.

This is the point--Linden Labs does not mind, per se, any individual user of Second Life building at the fifth birthday event. What they mind, what they don't want the world to see, is the Second Life childrens' community building a conjoined exhibit, in the manner of Caledon and other large communities.

So...why wouldn't they want this? Solidarity, exploration, exchange of ideas, cultural expansion...why aren't these good things?

Well, we're asking the wrong questions. The Labs, you see...what they don't want seen, what they want even more earnestly than to never again see "child sex" and "Linden Labs" connected in the same sentence...is to be known as the next Gaia.

Follow this through--because it's not a bad theory. The Labs do not want children, child avatars, being shown in accepting, positive, flourishing lights, because to do so might, and well could, convince some mother with a short attention span that SL is the next perfect place for her little darlings to romp about in.

Why is that a bad idea? Because Second Life is not a kids' game. And isn't that what we've been saying all along? Isn't that, in fact, why Linden Labs divided the grid between the teens and the adults in the first place? Isn't that what we've been insisting, in forums and IMs and emails and blog entries? That Second Life is designed for adults, that it shouldn't be sanitized, that it does contain innapropriate content for children? Real children?

So yes, they went about it tragically, and they made mistakes saying so, but if that was their main point...well, cumbersome and awkward as it was, they've held to it.

And maybe that's why they're not, per se, restricting non-PG content with the same aggressiveness--because non-PG content is less of a potential nightmare, for the celebration, than some journalist winging their way home and writing the glowing report about how perfect Second Life could be for the thirteen-to-seventeen set.

You know.

The children.

4 comments:

Frau A. S. Lowey said...

... and there is a place for the 13-17 set, on the Teen grid, but I cannot speak of the status of the grid there, because I am not permitted there. I understand why.

He-who-would-someday-be-on-the-grid has manymany plans for when he gets to the Teen Grid, mostly from looking over my out-world-agent's shoulder while I am building and he sees the possibilities of Things To Build. He has seen the residents of Caledon and Steelhead, and has nebulous plans for when he gets to the Main Grid.

Because my out-world agent is a horrible warning more often than a good example (I did mention she is not a typical parent? Good.) the boy knows there are places on the grid we will not go, because the residents there have different tastes/values/rules from things we are comfortable with, but at least we discuss them. When we can understand them. I still do not want to know about babyfurs, thank you.

But there is a reason why much of the grid is labled "Mature", and I should get down off this soapbox before I get a nosebleed.

Emilly Orr said...

You're not alone, at least--a great number of people, furred and un, have difficulties with babyfurs.

And believe me, functioning as a bad example m'self--one of my favorite RL phrases is "Don't be me!"--I understand that, also.

Maybe it's me, though--I have, over the whole of my life, been exposed to elements of the unusual, so I never really developed that instinctive rejection of anything "not normal"--maybe, because I never really had, per se, any one constant thing that was "normal" at any given time.

So much of what other people completely lose their heads over, I just shrug and either accept, understand, or at least tolerate--because nine times out of ten, even if I don't care for it personally, it doesn't offend or disgust me that others do.

But yes, that's why I thought the adult-grid-for-adults concept works so brilliantly.

*notes her own soapbox*

Yes, well. S'pose it's easy to pontificate on this topic, huh?

Alexandra Rucker said...

I'd be more believing of the "separation" of teen grid and main grid IFFFFF.....

...people I had AR'd for being GROSSLY undersage were STILL on the main grid.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here... but having tried to direct a 13-yr old to the teen grid AND FAILED (because all links I could find pointed to the MAIN grid, not the teen grid), and inquiries gone nowwhere but limbo.... *shakes head*

That said, I can understand what you're saying. And while it may have a grain of truth? *Some* of the lindens need to do a little housekeeping when people find the teens on the MG and report them.

Guh. Not peeved at you, you should know me by now. Got a lotta peevedness at the lindens, though. :)

Emilly Orr said...

No, I do, and you're right, but again, that's not precisely the main point. All of this, this whole manic kerfluffle, this tempest in a sandbox, may be less about rampant pedophilia on Second Life (and it was never rampant on SL, even back in the days when there *were* back-alley businesses that catered to such things) and more about reinforcing that it's not for kids, the main grid, that it's not designed for the underage in mind.

That it is for adults, with adult concerns, adult ideals, and adult desires.

Maybe they thought that keeping all childhood images that might be captured, all childhood interactivity that might be shown, far from the SL5B celebration site, was the lesser evil--than potentially showing a completely kid-safe and kid-approved enclosure, for anyone coming in that weekend to report back to the outside world--"It's a paradise for the under-sixteen sex! Send your kids to Second Life NOW!"

Which is not what they want in the least.

Now granted, they are favoring the business and educational set--because someone in the Lindensphere is convinced that means money and stability and recognition--but even past that, they favor adult occupations. Seriously, there's not enough shine and glitter in the galaxy in most sims to amuse most kids. Second Life, as a platform, as a video game, would be deathly dull for most kids. And the Lindens know that.

maybe this is their backhanded way of telling us, too--"Stop thinking about the kid avatars. What we want is the ADULTS to come in and stay."