Sunday, March 15, 2009

awake and unafraid, asleep or dead

Deltango Vale made me giggle insanely for a bit:

Originally Posted by Vye Graves
Amen, so why bother making faux safe areas that won't be safe regardless?

I agree. LL is digging itself deeper and deeper into a hole with its California mentality. They really need to leave the state, see the world, meet humans.

"Meet humans". Hee. That's just tremendously amusing, there. But not a bad point, beyond that, though I'd go deeper and focus on the internals: The Lindens, maybe en masse, need to leave the Lab and get into the grid, meet their residents. And not just at 'face time' office hours. I mean, get out there, wander the whole world they've made. Hit one of the StarGate networks, set it to random and wander gate to gate, see where they turn up. Pick up random landmarks, follow them. Find out what's really going on on the ground.

If the goal really is to make Second Life just like the real world, then that means leaving things exactly as they are now. In the real world, mature people make their own informed choices about where they want to go and what they want to see. There are no walls separating what is adult from what is not. We all have access to adult content. Adult enterprises are in the phone book and the yellow pages, bookstores do have an adult section, and big cities do have brothels and red light districts. If you don't want to go there or see that, simply don't, and if you end up there by accident, walk away. (Gentle Tornado)

Gentle's got a good point too, but at this point in the debate, I think we're far past logic and rationality winning the day.

I must have skimmed past Briher Destiny's post, wherein is included the now-removed "definition" of "Mature" (note, Mature, not Adult):

The definition of mature is:
"For instance, social and dance clubs, bars, stores and malls, galleries, music venues, beaches, parks, and other spaces for socializing, creating and learning all support a Mature designation"

The definition of PG is:
"For instance, institutions such as universities, conference organizers, and real world businesses whose users may not wish to view or interact with the broader Second Life experience"

Soooo, let's break this down. Mature means, according to this definition:

Blues clubs * dance clubs * strip clubs * bars * pubs * clothing stores * malls * art galleries * anyone playing live music * all beaches * all parks * anywhere people gather to hang out * anywhere people build things * college campuses


Are they serious?? That's EVERYTHING!

Then look at what their definition of PG would include:

Universities (but apparently not colleges) * Conference organizing and booking businesses (but not actual conferences) * Any RL business (as opposed to ones purely in SL) * Any group which contains members who only want to stay in PG zones

...the way I see it? That's everyone, too! What the hell?

Matthew Dowd was baffled too:

So rather than introduce a new classification for "institutions such as universities, conference organizers, and real world businesses whose users may not wish to view or interact with the broader Second Life experience" and leaving the existing terms alone, they are
a) changing the definition of PG so that it is even further from the normal RL usage of PG
b) effectively changing the new definition of Mature to be that currently used for PG (which will mean almost everyone not a [university] or RL business on PG land will have to move)
c) creating a new classification of Adult with the definition currently used for Mature, which will mean that almost everyone currently on Mature land will have to move.

If that's what they're planning, then I don't know where any of us are going to end up! On the one hand, we're assured that art galleries, skin shops and non-strip dance and music clubs are fine and won't have to move, as well as personal adult equipment in homes and private spaces. But by this, everyone's going to be shifting around. What. In the. HELL.

Ceera Murakami adds another note:

They have made up their minds that they are unable or unwilling to come up with a technical solution that will allow residents to peacefully coexist, even though many viable solutions, such as the "Privacy in a Pocket" and "Privacy Zones" ideas have been proposed by residents. So with that close-minded viewpoint, the only way to keep the eventual flood of 13 years olds (When Phil has his way and they merge the teen grid with the main grid) from camming into the XXX sex dungeon is to isolate all Adult Activities to their own continent, and somehow ban the unverified kiddies from teleporting to regions tagged as "Adult".

But the fact that they are utterly unwilling to acknowledge is that 100% of those teens on the teen grid ALREADY HAVE PAYMENT INFO AVAILABLE, and would therefore have COMPLETE ACCESS to the porno continent if they are allowed on the grid, and having payment info on file is considered adequate as proof of adult status. Because it is a REQUIREMENT for the teen grid that they provide some sort of payment info - usually their parent's credit card.

That's a point I hadn't even thought of. You know, I had a dancer apply once. She wasn't that articulate, and I had concerns over her, but she'd also attended the strip club for weeks before, and really wanted to be on stage. She'd started seeing one of my loves at the time, and they were getting serious.

Unbeknownst to me or him, she was also seeing another fellow, and to him she let slip that she was thirteen.

He--being a responsible adult--told me, told the club owner, both of us banned her avatar from the spot, and I told her she'd have to come back when she was eighteen to apply.

"But that's six years from now!" she wailed to me in IM.

Which made her twelve.

She'd been on the grid, in and out of strip clubs--she eventually got a dancing gig in a club I didn't manage, and begged me not to "tell"--for over a year, which means she could have been as young as eleven when she walked into the adult grid.


It's already happening, people. Plus she had that all-important note for strip clubs on SL: "Payment info on file". Which means she'd tossed up a credit card and LL had taken payments from it. She was VERIFIED.

This proposal by the Lindens? Won't go even that far, so why are we here again?

Grady Vuckovic agrees:

I think there is a very very simple solution. Rename 'TeenGrid' to 'CleanGrid' and name the main grid 'AdultGrid'! The folks in TeenGrid aren't meant to be doing anything adult-rated anyway, so let those adults who prefer to have the teen experience just go there. And just don't allow any teens to enter the AdultGrid. Hell, those adults with the child avatars could go to the teen grid too then. Since those with child av's aren't meant to be doing anything adult rated.

That way people can choose their experience yes? And little johnny or whatever is still safe.

"Tick yes to certify your an adult: Yes [ ] No [ ]" Why not just have that at the registration page for SL? .. "Because it's silly! A teen could just lie about their age!"... Correct. But aside from LL manually sending a security guard to every SL user's home, and standing next to them while they are logged in, to make sure they aren't a child, what other option is there?

Credit cards can be 'borrowed' from parents. Passports, and other documents can be too. If a child is determined to get in, they will, and get in easily too.

Deltango Vale's response later down the page is worth reading in its entirety, but I wanted to preserve just the end bit here:

By definition, everyone in SL is an adult. That means one has passed through puberty, has learned to relate to people and become responsible for one's decisions - including the decision to be in a virtual world with other adults. As an adult, one recognizes and accepts that people have different styles and tastes and that rudeness or harassment should not be confused with sexuality. Welcome to adulthood, folks.

See, it's that "personal responsibility" tangle again. The rest of the world has some idea of what those words mean. In America, most of our citizens fight with tooth and law to prevent adults from having--and accepting--personal responsibility for their actions. It's an ongoing battle between the folks who want laws to cover everything, and the folks who want breathing room.

Now that fight's landed on SL.

And I have nothing more to say than to add that everyone who can desperately needs to read Leather Chaffe's entire forum post.

Coughran Mayo brought it around again to individual avatar behavior:

I think the single biggest issue in this topic area is sexual harassment. I know a dozen people whose first, and only experience with SL was ruined by some avatar coming up to them and badgering them for sex. It's one thing to "hide away" adult content (I have other opinions on that for another post) but what do you do when it comes at you unbidden?

And see, there it is again. STOP LETTING IDIOTS GET ON THE GRID. That's it, it's that simple. Anyone who's been on SL for a day, who is wandering around naked with a huge prim penis, wearing only shoes (IF they wear anything at all!), and badgering people in broken English with longer strands of Portuguese for sex--THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM, LL! That, right there, larger than ANY other concern on the grid.

TRAINING is needed for new avatars. TRAINING and GAME EXPLANATION. (And maybe a temporary ban on Brazilian men joining the game for a while, though I do realize that is a potentially racist comment, but good gods, when ALL WE SEE of the naked pervs on the grid are WANDERING NAKED BRAZILIANS, a country gets and KEEPS a tremendously BAD reputation!) BEFORE THEY'RE EVER ALLOWED FULL GRID ACCESS.


Honestly, I'm two pages from page twenty on the first forum posting alone, and already I'm getting bored of ranting! This is stupid. It's crackheaded and it's completely mentally challenged, and everyone who thought it up should go lay down for two weeks and grow the hell up after.


I adore the idea of "CleanGrid" and "AdultGrid"; I think that's a great solution to the problem. Or at the very least, make TeenGrid work right, so teens can actually log in like the rest of us. So they'll stop "sneaking across the border".


I'm just sick of this. Sick. It's not necessary, it's yet another problem that doesn't need to be solved, or could be easily solved in other ways by the Labs. Why are they choosing this one? Why, for the love of all gods, do they want to push everyone to these extremes?

You know, I haven't set foot in SL in four days, outside of brief mail-clearing excursions so things won't cap. Four. Entire. Days. If I don't go in tonight, that'll be five.

And if I do this for another week, that'll be a fortnight.

And the naked honest truth is, I'm not missing it. Most of the folks I want to keep up with I can keep up with beyond the grid. Most of the others I can email offline, or go in long enough to drop an IM and get out and wait for a response.

When did Second Life stop being fun and start being a chore? This stifles creativity. This stifles invention. This stifles production, and it stifles the in-world economy. When is LL going to see that? How long is this stupidity going to continue?

Well, I for one have had it. No more rants, I'm going back to music posts, this is a waste of my time, my heart, my spirit and my convictions. No more. They want to roll downhill on fire, I say LET THEM. Maybe the Lindens will learn something out of it.

Even if it's how to fail by "thinking" they're doing the "right thing".


Rhianon Jameson said...

Judging from my experience reading newspapers, there are *no* 13-year-old girls on the 'Net. They are all middle-aged police officers or FBI agents. :)

Alexandra Rucker said...

And all desperate bastards too...

Emilly Orr said...

This may be true in many cases. Also, all working for the post office, by report.

But there are some genuine children out there, and some of them are on SL's main grid.

The big problem is not that kids are getting on. Kids will get on. They're curious and most of them are smart enough to get past a lot of things.

No, what really worries me is it's getting really hard to tell the genuine thirteen-year-olds from the supposed "adults" of nineteen-to-twenty-five. Because they talk nearly EXACTLY alike.

"lol u r funy lol"
"haha no i don kno"
"jejeje tenha a foda comigo"
"lol ur kiddin me lololol"

I'm all for emotes and net shorthand, if it's still readable as language. But stuph like that, line after line? I mean, not one emote or contraction here and there, but their constant typed output?

I don't know if I'm dealing with someone underage, or worse, not dealing with someone underage, who just has the combined brain wattage of a lightly stunned fruit fly.

Rhianon Jameson said...

While we may disagree about the ultimate effect of more little buggers, er, charming youngsters on the main grid, we are in complete agreement regarding the typing and/or thinking prowess of many in the young adult segment of the population.

Emilly Orr said...

Thing is, I know smart, articulate kids. I don't want to date them, but I'd have no problems talking with them. I'm talking about the ones where, five minutes into the conversation, I start to wonder how they keep passing courses in school, and if their grandfather donates to the education board or something. I'm not objecting to the ones with brains--and minds that think, reason, feel, react...I'm objecting to the knuckle-draggers. No-nothing bozo wonder-humans.

Really, I object to them at any age, 13 to 130. Life's too short to live it stupid.

Anonymous said...

I think what LL is trying to do is cover themselves, legally. They MUST know that any measures they attempt to verify majority will be circumvented by even the least resourceful teen with motivation to be on the adult grid. By taking steps to verify age, at what point do they legally cease to be responsible for underage people who steal their parents' identification and fascinate themselves with mature content on the adult grid? I am Pretty Sure They Know exactly at what point. And that That Point is all they're aiming for.

Just an idea. :)

You've done a grand job of condensing and summarising the controversy, Miss Orr. You appear to me to have written with commendable objectivity, as well. I thank you very much, as I have not had time to read much about it since LL revealed this newest master plan.

Elspeth Woolley

Emilly Orr said...

Thank you, though I think I'm starting to become very invested, which is why I'm backing away--I just don't need the stress. :)

I know it can't be as simple as:

I am 18 years of age or older. [_] Yes [_] No

...but I find myself wishing it were. I grant you, there is no way--now--to even imitate sexual situations on Runes of Magic, my newfound semi-joy, and even when one removes all clothing, the men are left in a brown leather loincloth, and the women (bafflingly, for a fantasy world) are left in white cotton panties and bra, but even there, it's not impossible--there are houses one can invite people into, there are in-game IMs--called "whispers"--but Runewaker and Frogster, to circumvent this, have (in their Terms of Service, which is re-presented every time one logs in to the game) an age statement in their ToS (stating roughly, by hitting Confirm you verify that you are 18 years of age or older).

It may be just a diversionary tactic, but it's something they can point to if there's controversy--We didn't force this, we did not know anyone was under 18 on our system, we have everyone confirm that they are, in fact, old enough to play--and, while there are no mandatory "modesty layers" (and, in fact, the beds--and several other items of furniture--do work)--there is that tenuous but affirmed idea that only 18-year-olds (or older) are playing.

*reads back and hmms*

That may win the award for 2009's longest run-on sentence.