Friday, March 13, 2009

fragments of a life you shouldn't miss

Someone needs to fire their translator. This Google text ad began, Lets custom sticker, and went on from there to say We will offer the outdoor sticker by the price of the surprise.

But back to the forums:

First question that springs to mind; is it your intention to move all landowners who currently define their parcels or have businesses built around mature content to this new mature continent, and in case how is this gonna happen?

Land swap?

Migrate parcels and content to the new continent by automated process?

How do you foresee business owners with extensive development and builds to sensibly move their environments (mainland) without business disruption and significant effort to integrate into the new environment?

We need some answers here.

Also, is this not gonna stifle development and investment for what must be a significant portion of the SL business for months on end?
(Gavin Hird)

Excellent questions all, Gavin. Look, barring the glacial slowness of my building, I doubt I'm that different from a lot of builders--I make the building, finish and texture it, slide it into place, then, a day, a week, a month later, I need a shelf or an extra floor or an extension somewhere--and I just tack it on, I don't re-save, take back, and re-set out the build. And some of these businesses span entire sims--they're supposed to uproot everything and just go happily?

And more than that, this would entail thousands and thousands of LM remaps, let alone those that can't be remapped, and even with that, there will still be people who will use the old LMs who haven't heard.

So. Scenario. Leather shop is forced to move. They contact everyone on their mailing list. They remap their LMs, and amazingly, there are no glitches in the process. Everything goes smoothly, new land gained, old land released, at--just for the utopian dream of it--no cost to the owners.

What happens when the land they've left behind, then, is rezoned for "family friendly" fare? What happens when subalicious1 and MastrBadnzz drop in to check the latest offerings from their favorite shop and end up in a daycare center? Or a school designed for teens only, with the adult teachers sequestered in the next room? What happens then?

And then Blondin Linden chimes in:

That was a great post, thank you. I totally agree with you. This is all about a resident's choice to access whatever content they want. We're not trying to censor or punish the content creators or those who participate. The goal is to make sure that those who want it, can find it, those who make it can sell it and those who don't want it can avoid it. Its part of making the SL experience as predictable as possible.

As predictable as possible. As predictable as possible. I thought the whole point they push at tech shows for Second Life was the creativity, the innovation, the sheer imagination left unfettered and free!

Now it's about predictability.

Predictability for what, though? The media? Corporate business? And what predictability? How about lag, that's becoming predictable. And down time. And rubberbanding and expired region handoffs. And hey, what about predictable errors, and glitches, and of course, the endless number of bugs in the code? That's all become predictable, hasn't it?

If residents cannot tell when they are going into a mature content region and therefore can expect to see mature content then frankly they deserve everything they get. (Meradoc Falworth)

Which is apt and entirely understandable. Do I even need to comment on Meradoc's words?

I do not know what the problem is with those who don't want to witness adult activities or products why they just can't TP away. Better yet, do searches for places to go that doesn't include mature areas. Honestly, this is still more of the same that I've seen at the other site - adults losing the right to choose to be an adult. BAD IDEA after BAD IDEA. (Nadine Zeid)

The adult industry will be wiped out. SL will become [Disneyland] but emptier. (Elanthius Flagstaff)

Again, these statements stand on their own, and are reasonable, understandable, rational comments on the proposal. Then Blondin Linden chimed in again:

This will help you identify and target those who are specifically interested in your goods. With the Adult content in one place, it'll make it so much easier to find. I would expect increased foot traffic.

Blondin is high if he/she thinks that having all adult content in one location will do anything but mire the entirety of Pervistan in thick lag, lower script performance overall, and irrevocably change the nature of everything most of us understand and expect from Second Life.

Let me break this down for anyone who might not get my main objection to the whole thing. This sharply points out the conflict between how the Lindens see Second Life, and how the residents see Second Life.

The Lindens' perspective, by and large, from the owners of the company to the tech guys in the basement, is simple and simply put: they see SL as a service. And they see us as customers. They're not entirely wrong, by the way, either, but it's markedly different from how most of us see SL.

For most of us, even those of us who see things in definable terms of 'game' and 'client' and 'grid', we see Second Life as a place. And we see ourselves as residents in that place.

This is a core difference, this is a difference that screams out to be understood. Not for any I'm right/they're right nitpicking, but to understand why there is such hue and outcry. Because in the end, all the Labs thought they were doing was telling us, we're relocating assets onto specifically dedicated servers that can then effectively block their content, and your accounts will be migrated to the new server bank. Bear with us.

And what most of us heard was, We, the Linden government, care so little about our citizens that we are going to herd you from your lands, force you into blockaded internment camps, where you will not be allowed to interact with the rest of the grid, and no one will be allowed to come to you who is not slapped with the same identification marks as we've now given you.

It's more than a little insane, mind you, but people are using these terms--internment. Ghettoizing. Pogram. Trail of Tears. They are seeing it in these terms--forced relocation of residents, being stripped of land and rights, being thrown into gaol, being repressed, being marked.

The yellow star. The black triangle.

Service. Place.

It's not a simple issue, and it's becoming highly emotionally charged. I really, truly, think the Lindens don't grasp how the "end users" are seeing things at all.

Plus? At the end of the day, outside Caledon, no one walks around in SL. I'm serious--most people even port store to store in a walking mall. So the concept of doing this to cause an increase in foot traffic is so completely beyond idiotic, it barely survives writing it down without my brain falling out in baffled incomprehension.

Dale Innis comments again:

The choice that's been made seems to have been the maximally disruptive one, and definitely has an "adult content is bad and must be moved under the rug" feel to it.

We already have the Mature/PG system, including the Mature checkboxes in Search and so on. Presumably that wasn't working in terms of the goal you state above. Do we have any reason to think that this new, far more draconian, system will do a better job? I'd be very interested in the thinking that went into this particular choice of solution.

So would I. But as I learned some time ago, some Linden meetings don't even have minutes kept of what is discussed, so how would anyone reasonably be expected to follow suggestions offered or problems noted? Especially with no record of the proceedings...

Jo Linden also chimed in:

It sounds like Yahoo and Linden Lab have different definitions of adult. We don't consider the LGBT community in and of itself adult, the same way we wouldn't consider any other community adult in and of itself. Adult is a very small portion of the large amounts of content and activities in Second Life.

Let me go out on this limb just a wee bit further, then, and make some broad and potentially wrong assumptions.

Assumption One: Skin shops feature nudity, which is not adult in the way the Lindens seem to be meaning it. Inference: skin shops are safe where they are.

Assumption Two: Art galleries--that do not feature themes that are essentially adult in nature, id est, bondage, gay (or heterosexual) sex, serious leather fetishism, any broadly understood portrayal of sex involving pain or fetishistic behavior, half-exploded corpses, non-artistic decay, and full frontal active male probably safe.

Assumption Three: Simply belonging to a group that is sexual and adult in intent does not mean that that avatar, or that group, needs to be definitively sequestered in Pervistan per se; but it might mean that if they wish to express that group's intent in public, that might well be disallowed. (See our dear Miss Sunshine.)

It seems what they want us to understand and accept is that it's not the normal clothing design houses, shapemakers, skinmakers and artists on the grid that need to worry; it's just the escorts, the strip clubs, the bondage clubs, the leather gods and fetish kittens, Necronom, the Doomed ship, any sexually-based business that does not already own their own private island, and all publishers of magazines that involve heavy fetishistic, sexual, or furversion content.

Right? But the rest of us, the normal people, we're fine, right?

Jane Rule once said, "If it's real in the world, you better learn about it." She was very specifically referring to sexuality and politics, and the infamous places where both intersect. But I think it holds doubly true for Second Life. If it's real on the grid, you better learn about it. And that doesn't just mean the foibles and the kinks; I think that also means the politics and positions of the company under which we play and build, discuss and debate.

Because there were so many other ways they could have done this; yet the Lindens, again, chose the most divisive way to cause controversy in the Second Life community they could. Because remember: server. And place. They don't see the community we see, they see a bunch of game players, a bunch of customers of their product.

We see the communities we form. We see the bonds of family, friendship, love and business. We see the support people can provide for each other, and the world at large.

Second Life, the Lindens used to say, was where the future would be written. It wasn't just a game, we were told; it was, truly, a second life, a second chance to live life over, a chance to embrace different aspects of our personalities, relate in different ways, experience things we may not get the chance to in the real.

It was a place for dreams. A place for ideas and ideals. It was a place to be better, be kinder, realize the greatness of who we truly are.

And we believed it.

And now that we believe it, the Lindens want to convince us it's just a game. It's just a product. It's just a business, and it's no big deal when these changes are proposed.

Well, the one thing we are convinced of, or should be at this point, is that it's fully and completely their game. They want these changes, these changes will be enforced.

It just makes it all the easier to walk into the next SL that comes along, in the hopes that we can make that the better dream we want. Because if we've learned anything, living under the Lindens...we've learned that anything we truly value, truly honor, and truly believe in....can be found beyond the grid.

Even if that's just a move sidewise to another virtual world.


Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

As predictable as possible.

Random Restarts

All predictable as possible.

Actually read a very interesting analogy from Stephen Fry recently (love that man).

"The internet is a city and, like any great city, it has monumental libraries and theatres and museums and places in which you can learn and pick up information and there are facilities for you that are astounding - specialised museums, not just general ones.

But there are also slums and there are red light districts and there are really sleazy areas where you wouldn't want your children wandering alone.

And you say, "But how do I know which shops are selling good gear in the city and how do I know which are bad? How do I know which streets are safe and how do I know which aren't?" Well you find out.

What you don't need is a huge authority or a series of identity cards and police escorts to take you round the city because you can't be trusted to do it yourself or for your children to do it."

Full article here.

Emilly Orr said...

Every now and again, I forget how much I adore that man. Then he says things like that and I remember.