Tuesday, April 28, 2009

look the leaves are dead, the moment's gone, there's no surrender

I so want to be done with this. But in a sense, in one form or another, this debate is going to rage somewhere long past August of this year--because we still have the move itself coming up, after established definitions, then the settling-in period from June to August...

...and then six months, say, for everything to fall apart and 50,000 active users to walk out of SL for good.

Oh, yeah, that's going to be fun.

Ceera Murakami once more:

When will we, the Residents who are your affected Customers, see these "clear and consistent definitions"? The first attempt at the "Maturity Ratings FAQ" was anything but clear, consistent, or in line with Linden claims that the plan will only affect 2% to 4% of content in SL. Why does Linden Lab REFUSE to answer any resident who questions the validity of that 2% to 4% figure? Why does Linden Lab not reply to residents requests to validate and make clear the assumptions, definitions and methodology used to arrive at that 2% to 4% figure?

I'd add one more: why aren't we getting consistent responses? Blue Linden hates full frontal nudity; Blondin doesn't seem to care. But Blondin Linden does think that the mere act of stripping is an extreme sexual act and needs to be classified as "Adult". And Jack Linden simply says, no no no, we're not going after things you may have in private homes, we're just after the extreme content.

Which Linden are we to believe?

Argent Stonecutter sums it up quite neatly:

Different Lindens have given different explanations of what's "extreme". In one definition, an avatar with a photorealistic skin would be "Adult". In another, it required an erection. In a third, it required mutilation. You're picking one particular answer, but until we hear something official we don't know whether their definition of "Adult" encompasses Barbarella, The Abominable Dr Phibes, or Faces of Death.

In other words, will the Labs' definition of adult be sensuality, nudity, maybe a little edgeplay, like Barbarella; will it be sex, zombies, implications of torture and heavy roleplay, like the Abominable Dr. Phibes, or will it be restricted only to the extremes of what's virtually possible: mutilation, torture, pixeldeath, all the horrors lurking in all the dark corners of the net, like Faces of Death? (And, for anyone following along, no, that's just the cover--I did think about linking something horrible, but...y'all don't need that, and really, neither do I.)

It's really not the worst way to categorize things, at least right now.

I'd say, just go read Selkit Diller's post on page 219, but if you can't get there or don't want to, here's the passage that stopped me dead:

...Linden Lab, as a business service provider and an educator-builder staring down just over seven whole-dollar figures US$ for this year alone, I humbly request the resignation of Mark Kingdon and the reinstatement of Philip Rosedale. Phil may not have been perfect, but at least he had a bloody clue.

So let me get this straight. Linden Labs--who, to many of us, seem to be doing this to cave to those educational and business interests (along with the professionally intolerant) who want a "cleaner" SL--is quite intently pissing off a business person, and educator, who is willing to spend SERIOUS MONEY to keep the Labs solvent.

Like, seven figures money.

Like, that is a loooooot of zeros, people, and they're not answering this one complainant? Who apparently has sent in letters, made concierge calls, spoken in-world with Lindens, and gotten no answers on any of it.

Wau. Way to sink your whole business, guys. What are you planning for an encore, set the San Fran offices on fire?

I'd also point anyone interested towards the issues listed here, which--while they are all British/Irish/Scots issues to wrangle with, also detail the scope of the problem the Labs have reeled in.

Selene Gregoire retorts (back on page 218):

LL is NOT, I repeat, NOT removing the adult content from SL. They simply want to move the MOST EXTREME forms, i.e. torture, dismemberment, snuff... the really kinky, twisted stuff... to an area of it's own on the grid. That is the 2 - 4% adult content that has been refered to.

What is so frakking hard to understand about that?

Ceera Murakami (fairly calmly) answers:

The fact that the only OFFICIAL DEFINITION that they provided in the Maturity Ratings FAQ was MUCH more broad and all-encompassing that that "most extreme" range. If LL's official policy on this was simply "We only want to move the MOST EXTREME forms, i.e. torture, dismemberment, snuff... the really kinky, twisted stuff... to an area of it's own on the grid.", they why didn't they SAY SO by replacing the earlier definition in the Maturity Ratings FAQ with that one?

Individual Lindens have stated less drastic and draconian ranges of material. But no OFFICIAL and LL Sanctioned definition has yet been produced. Blondin and other Lindens are still saying that a "sexually themed area" or a strip club are examples of something that would have to move. Most are saying that ALL adult merchandise vendors would have to move, from the snuff simulators to the prim nipple vendors. They are sending extremely conflicting signals, and we don't know who, if ANYONE, is [actually] "in charge" and making the final decisions on this issue.

Which has been part of the problem all along.

Couldbe You sighs in resignation:

Every time they do something contentious like this they always follow the same path, never even learning the basic lessons from it. Either these fabulously well educated people at LL are so stupid that they are incapable of learning or they actually see this as part of the corporate culture. I believe it is the latter.

A year after I started SL, they offered up the post of Liaison for people to apply for. I actually really wanted to apply. I knew I spent enough time in world to qualify, and I had a good idea of things that I could help out with on the ground, at that point.

Then gambling was taken out, and it became nearly impossible to pay my rent dancing.

Then banking went down, and with it, my L$17,000 nest egg. By the time the WSE stock options came along, my funds had been reduced mysteriously to just over L$14,000, but as I still thought I'd be seeing that again, I didn't so much worry about trimming L$3,00 off the top somewhere.

And then things got really odd. Incident after incident that lost our trust in the Lindens' ability to manage problems. Problem after problem just keeping the grid working, the sims up, lag from freezing us all in place.

Somewhere along the way it became a serious choice to ponder: should I submit my application to become a Linden liaison, or should I just take a cheese grater to both elbows? Because the elbow thing, that might actually work out better.

And it's not going to get easier to be a Linden, I know that--because soon, we'll be dealing with script limits for avatars. And past that, there are hints of prim limits for attachments. Oh, are the jewelers and the furs going to scream about that one...

GreenKnight Kaul replies to Lillani Lowell here; I'd like to share the bit near the end, the three quotes from Blondin Linden:

[15:39] Blondin Linden: there may not be actual sex in BDSM but from my understanding its still sexual isn't it?

[15:41] Blondin Linden: I wouldn't classify that as a strip club. Someone dancing in a cage at a club is different than a room full of people watching someone take their clothes off.

[15:42] Blondin Linden: Strippers suggest sex

See, and there it is again, Linden inconsistency. Now it's not extreme adult content, it's just sex? Any sex??

Can we please get some kind of definition up? On what does and does not constitute "adult" content?!?

And I'll end with another quote from Selkit Diller, at the top of page 230:

Don't rely too heavily on Blondin/Jack/Blue/Whoever Linden's definition of "adult" too heavily; It depends on whichever Linden reads the AR and responds to it. And I can assure you, there will be a massive spate of false positives resulting in lower-end "adult" content getting ghettoized while stuff that really ought to be there is either glossed over, or simply overlooked in the rest of the deluge.

I have no hope whatsoever that enforcement will be consistent.

Damn straight. It won't be. But how can we honestly expect better from the Lindens who've already made so many mistakes down the line?


Anonymous said...

I have been following these postings with interest, but I didn't really expect any of it to effect me. Now, however, I am beginning to wonder. I live in a Steampunk/Victorian/Gaslamp Fantasy area that does not allow public nudity, but I am also a crazy flirt and like to pose for artistic pin-ups.
I have been on SL for two years and I hardly EVER encounter the things that Nany Kayo seems to think are *everywhere*. Where in the heck does this woman *go*? I shop all of the time and don't see the things that she apparently sees. Yes, the mature content is all over Search, but don't check the mature box!
Honestly, I think she's being obstinate on purpose. She has to be seeking this stuff out because I don't see it on a daily basis. (Unless you count things like my shirtless Lunar poster and LL will take that from me over my dead body!)
Where can I find this woman's postings to argue with her?

Emilly Orr said...

Unfortunately, everything I'm quoting is from closed threads. Though if you go to the forums, and hit Search, and type in her name, you'll get a search hit on those two terms, everywhere she's posted.

In fact, this should get you started. And most of her comments? Oddly seem to be centered on the adult content issue threads...as if she's only interested in that one issue.

Ciaran Laval said...

The idea that it is extreme content only is completely being washed away with Blondin's responses tonight:

Any mention of gorean or gor makes a parcel adult in nature.

Any mention of sex makes a parcel adult in nature, I'm paraphrasing but that's the gist of it. You use those words only people who search for adult content will find the parcels.

This is so not about only extreme content like snuff.

Emilly Orr said...


I was so hoping they'd be semi-rational on this...

Also, really starting not to like Blondin.

That being said, though, is there a new thread, now? Because I'm still finishing up on the combined thread, and haven't even really started on the last "new" one I heard about--

Gods, this entire issue is out of control.