Wednesday, November 12, 2008

graverobber, sometimes I wonder why I even bother...

Vint Falken goes into what (first) life might be like if the Lindens ran things:

* Health care, she says, would only be available for citizens filed under "Premium". Others might request health care, but they would never receive it, even if they managed to contact a doctor and explain the problem.

* Government funding would be given to the developers of shiny new toys--new .mp3 players, for instance, or the ability to speak and have your voice heard over miles--but serious problems, things like patching the roads, Alzheimer's, neurological destabilization and visual difficulties (think, the way your head shakes spastically at times, or the way your cam zooms in and out rapidly until you're seasick staring at the screen), would be left to citizens to solve as best they could. Should cures for these issues happen to be found, she said, Linden Government would feel no great need, or hurry, to dispense them.

* Birth rates would go up, generally a sign of a good, thriving culture--but lack of decent medical care and society-wide support would result in an 80% death rate of all newborns, across the board.

* Caring for the environment, preventing loss of native life, or preserving natural (read finite) resources would be nil; all research and development would concentrate on the problem of increasing the maximum amount of citizens Earth (TM) can sustain right now.

* Should a child survive past its first twenty-four hours of Linden life, they would immediately be shipped off to continents far away from their parents, where they would live their lives until age eighteen, when they would finally be allowed to leave. Trade embargos would keep the 'Teen Continents' cut off from the outside world.

* The mission to Mars would have gone off without a hitch; the shiny new rocket would have propelled intrepid astronauts to Mars; they would have died to a man (or woman), how'ver, when the discovery that they had been sent without any supplies was made.

* The Linden government would copyright and trademark the worlds World (TM), Earth (TM) and Global (TM), and prosecute (or at least threaten to prosecute) anyone found using them to describe anything non-Linden-owned.

Anyone who is not considered a full citizen with payment information in Linden files would be prevented from moving at higher speeds. (Whether this is by means of shackling and/or wearing lead clothing, Miss Falken does not say.)

* There would be no fear of rising sea levels, as weather technology was fully developed back when it was shiny and new.

* Each Linden resident would be involved only with 25 individual groups of friends. Period.

I'd add only a few things to this list:

* Rent on Linden-made artificial islands ('bought' from the Linden commerce department, and thereupon put entirely under the control of the citizen or citizens who bought it, to use as they saw fit, without government assistance whatsoever) would undergo a radical upwards hike of nearly double the cost every few years, because the Linden government never outright said these artificial islands couldn't be used (much like a houseboat, or a yurt in a forest) for citizen habitation.

* Arbitrarily by whim the Linden government would ban things: banking one day, gambling the next, sending the economy into a tailspin while government-funded news sources said everything was okay.

* Linded-funded news sources would continually trumpet how much the Linden government valued free speech and hearing from its citizens; one of these reports would surface nearly every time the citizens were prevented from communicating with their government at all.

Come to think of it, just in this little experiment in 'what if'...I'd rather have President Bush back over the potential of President-CEO M.

There are now fledgling broadcasts on various OpenSpace sim issues to be found (even downloadable!) at Voices in the Machine (also note the link to the left). And there's a pertinent entry on how far the Lindens have lost their way on Rivers Rock.

Miss Eladrienne Laval was there when things began in late October; I can't decide if Common Sensible is being truthful or deeply sarcastic; Ravishal gets it; Nexeus Fatale seems to, but ends up blaming private estate owners for the flaws on the mainland and flaws in the Linden economy. Huh?

Veyron sees disaster ahead; and Wagner James Au wraps it all up with the top five posts on the OpenSpace sim issue--including Fatale's.

Moving on: the latest controversy in the freebie/scavenger hunting community: posting hunt locations on blogs. This is causing quite a bit of stir.

Now, I'll be honest--on occasion, I just can't find something, or don't have the time to really spend searching for six days until I do find it--especially if it's only a forty-eight hour hunt, or something. And I have accepted, will accept, help from others to get me there.

There are places I don't do this, period, regardless of the challenge of the hunt. FallnAngel Designs, for once. Mr. Demain has made it quite clear, both in his group and in his hunt rules--no 'cheat lists'. Once I stepped over the line--we're used to hunting in a pack of three to four souls, and one of those souls had to leave world. So I was taking down 'hint locations' to give to her later.

As it happens, I made some small reference to this, Mr. Demain heard me, and he soundly--and rightfully, I would say--discouraged me from such a practice. And I've never crossed the line since.

There are makers who understand that hint tips go out, and gently discourage people from using them. There are makers (I'm thinking the grid-wide ghost hunt, a month ago) who list locations for all the hunt objects--you just have to go to that place; actually finding the prize is left up to you. And there are makers like Demain who staunchly discourage what they consider "cheating"--and they're not wrong, it is getting around their stated rules to go directly to where the "good stuph" is.

But honestly, people, really--I'm not the only one who sees where this is going, am I? Sending lists to your friends--that bends some makers' rules, but it's private. Sending lists out on freebie/hunting groups--okay, I'd say that breaks some makers' rules, but again, it's kept in IM group discussion, not out in public.

Posting hunt locations in public blogs--and the Baking Cupcakes blog has done this more than once--that, IMO, is just wrong on all counts.

Think this through--you put a lot of effort into a hunt. Most hunts really are intended just for group members, though most can be hunted out by anyone--so really, it's more of a fun thing to do for your group. You design; you want to show off the shiny newness; you hold a hunt.

But. If people keep posting your hunt locations, if people openly tell anyone who might read that blog where everything is--really, honestly, how long is it going to be before you're burned on the concept of all that work just so people can cheat and grab the goods?

Scavenger hunts are supposed to be fun, first, and a challenging way to spend time, second. Hunts like the one at Magika, mentioned on the blog--which I didn't hear about until I'd already completed the hunt--give people who participate a great idea of what that designer does, who aren't in their group. Maybe those people will end up coming back and becoming customers (and, based on the quality of the hair, I'd agree with that, I intend to go back and peruse the styles Miss Harlow has to offer), maybe they won't, but at least, everyone had fun--right?

What happens when it stops being fun?

If makers feel as if they're being taken advantage of, they generally become resentful at the least, angry at the worst. There's already widespread content theft, that already sets a lot of designers on edge. Now something they might be doing just for the fun of it, just for customer appreciation, in a sense--is tarnished by people publishing the locations on their blogs.

Here, they're being told. This is where you want to go. And they're left with the option of moving everything--which sucks if you're one of the hunters who've obeyed the rules--or killing the hunt.

And not doing new ones.

My advice? Don't encourage makers to be more bitter, they have enough problems. Don't publish hunt locations on your blog.


Skinkie said...

Good to see a different side to the "Blogging Hunt Co-ordinates" argument. Thanks for your comments.

Emilly Orr said...

I know a lot of makers, I hear how business has dropped off grid-wide, plus the switch to Google-based browsing has made it nearly impossible to find businesses just by typing in their name, sometimes--hence how many are now offering special 'pick' rewards or actual cash outlay, just to keep that designer in your picks--because each pick is noted by Google in a higher-priority way, thus making them easier to find.

So you have all of that, you have the Lindens themselves making it harder for designers--and all of us--to survive, and a lot of designers set up scavenger hunts just to blow off steam. Yes, it's advertising, yes, it's meant to draw customers in to the sim--no maker would deny that.

But it's also supposed to be fun.

There are those who disagree on this, they reference game walkthroughs for virtually every console and PC game in existence. And there's some of that in-world, too, I can't deny that. I just personally believe, with all the work that goes into these, posting actual locations is designed to make makers crazy, irritate them, make them bitter pessiments.

And bitter pessimists don't do scavenger hunts, don't create, and soon, maybe, take that vitality off the grid entirely. That's the most extreme what-if, but it's a possibility, and it's one I don't think anyone wants.