Monday, May 11, 2009

made a deal with a man at the crossroads who knew where to find you

More problems with the current RC client. This one? I do believe I can state this quantifiably, just from observance: LL rushed it, and the coding collapsed.

And man, the latest Girl Genius...I have to hand it to the Foglios, that's very nearly Whedonesque.

I did not know Rheta Shan, save as a name here and there in design news. Last month, Second Life lost her, and didn't even know why for some time. I admit, the news shook me slightly, sent me back to earlier losses. Some things will never truly stop aching, I know this, I know this well.

But it's not even that, it's not even the "Why doesn't [X] log in anymore?" question. I know I'm covered--in the event of my death, my RL wife will likely (if able) be able to tell people I've passed. But there are others I know, including at least one love, who'd have no one around them to send me word, their dear friends word, if they passed away suddenly.

SL or RL, that's scary to contemplate.

Changing the topic, this remains brilliant. (If you haven't heard the Bob Dylan original, then listen--but the soft plaintive strains of Dylan, while wonderful, have been transformed into glass-glitter rage by MCR; it's a shockingly feral version of the song.) Even more impressive? Gerard Way wanting to record something, anything for the Watchmen movie. Why? Because he wanted to be a comic book artist after reading that comic. It's what made him a comic book artist, and, in a weird way, helped launch him and the band on the music scene in the first place.

So without Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and the Watchmen? We wouldn't have My Chemical Romance. That's all kinds of nifty, right there.

(And, errm, yes, the vid's fixed now.)

From Lightesword Xue in this forum thread on XStreet:

A big thank you to LL.

Thank You for screwing things up.
Thank You for not listening.
Thank You for ignoring the little man.
Thank You for designing a pretty paper weight.
Thank You for stomping the common player flat.
Thank You for ruining the SLX, since same passwords have no real importance.
Thank You for hiring monkeys to do a programming job.
I also Thank You for making things harder on the rest of us and our customers.

Yeah. By report--by loud clamoring report--the Labs, in their unquenched zeal to link up Second Life and XStreet in every conceivable way known to avatar or pocketbook, have broken the sales platform.

Nearly everyone spoken with or heard from to date has had the same problem--log in (with their fancy new "You can use your SL password, how easy is that?" system), then hit virtually anything save the forums...and have to log in again. Browse the site, log in again. Look at your own items (if you're a merchant), log in again. Edit the picture on something, log in again. Look at another maker's line, log in again.

Even more telling? Transactions are down. So not only is everyone having to log in every two seconds, but they can't pull funds out of their XStreet accounts--even just back into Second Life!

Massive, massive breakage. And no word I've found from the Lindens about when--or if--they plan to fix it.

SL is turning SIX this June! Want to party with us? the log-in screen chirpily asked.

NO was the only answer that came to mind.

And this ran across the eyes today, referring to this JIRA post, wherein your Faithful Correspondent had to weigh in, even if only briefly.

I'll say here what I won't say there--that has to be the single most idiotic JIRA filing I have ever seen, and I have willingly participated in some stupid JIRA filings! There is zero comparison being being deceived on someone's gender in SL, and being actually, physically raped, and I--and I'm sure I'm not alone in this--am actually deeply offended that someone is even trying to compare the two as equivalent trauma.

Now, I have made no bones about the fact that--to lift her pointless term for a moment--I have been "cyber-raped". I've spoken about it here, I've spoken about it on other blogs. Do I think such an action can cause emotional harm? Yes. Do I think such an action can cause some mental stress? Sure. I am thoroughly understanding that some (emotional, mental) trauma does occur.

But at the end of the day, even if I get caught up in roleplay, that is my choice. I have to agree to the situation, even if only by clicking on a poseball set. It is then my responsibility to play the scene out, or to say no, or to leave. If I am in a situation where there is continuing IM interaction, it is then my choice to mute the other avatar, or to leave the grid.

Damaging? Sure. Forgetting my ability to stand up, say no, and walk out? Absolutely, but at that point, it's as much my problem as the fellow who's not listening to me say no.

(And I'll tell you something else, I haven't told anyone--one of the fellows I used to roleplay with, and no, I'm not telling you which one--IMed me after six months of not playing in Lumindor. He thanked me. Why? Because I gave him--how did he put it? An authentic rape experience.

(I had no idea what else to say other than, You're welcome--I mean, really, what do you say to that? Do I think that now he's safe from raping someone else, in the real world? Hells, no. Do I think it satisfied some dark urge in him, at least for a while, and maybe--just maybe--he won't make the switch to real life rape? Some part of me does, whether that's my naiveté or not.

(And no, before the outrage pours in--rape is still a not-good thing. Don't even come back to me and tell me I'm on the side of rape, I am not. I'm simply saying--even as traumatic as that particular instance got, because I stupidly did not teleport away--even that was recoverable, understandable, as time passed.)

But to connect partnering with someone in world, who was not honest about their gender beyond the screen? To call that "cyber-rape"?? I still have burn scars on my real arms, that are never going to go away. IT IS NOT THE SAME THING.

And to tie things up on a less ranting note...


This is a still-screen capture from a zombies vs. humans game called Left 4 Dead. You must click for the larger version to really get the joke. The character in the bloodied panties and the crop top? Is a perpetual hazard called the Witch.

The reason that capture made me giggle insanely when I found it, though, has nothing to do--per se--with the character, and everything to do with the personals ad above the character. The one that starts out, Are you single?



Sphynx Soleil said...

I can NOT believe someone actually created that JIRA entry... My gods, wtf crawled up people's arses and *rotted*?!?!

*shakes head*

Is it because they didn't "grow up" on IRC and never got into the habit of making a connection to the -brain- behind the keyboard? That's all I can think of.

I'm with you on that. Should Never. Have. Been. Created. I'd weigh in myself, but I'm afraid it may get reopened in the process, and gods, I'd rather THAT one stay closed.

Anyone who's going to worry that their virtual boobies don't match RL? NEEDS A FIRST LIFE.


Emilly Orr said...


I think the most damning statement that can be said is Prokovy Neva is strongly in favor of that passing and being implemented.


I rest my case.

Rhianon Jameson said...

And why is gender the only characteristic at issue, anyway? If you're worried that your partner isn't who (s)he says (s)he is, then why not insist on truthful disclosure about, say, hair color? Or taste in apparel? Or that any random statement made in group chat is accurate?


Magdalena Kamenev said...

Aye, aye, amen on the JIRA. If one cares about that sort of thing, one should a) gather proximate indicators and/or b) ask outright. If they give you false information, then you dump them for being a lying, deceitful such-and-such and not trusting you.

I have to admit, I recently asked a 'friend' of mine if he was male and he replied "No." and I had a topsy-turvy 15 seconds before he said, "Wait, what did you ask me? Yes, I'm male ... sorry, misread the question. Hah." Silly.

BTW, Miss Orr, did you mean to link to MCR's Desolation Row? Because when I click on the link, I'm taken to a video labelled VAST's "Pretty When You Cry". Which looks like a fun video.

Also BTW, Gerard Way's comic "The Umbrella Academy" is quite entertaining and not at all the vanity project I had feared when I first heard about it. So, multi-talented boy.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Jameson: Precisely. Also, I have my own two things for gender and all other characteristics: a) virtual world, where we are allowed to drop our baggage at the counter, rather than drag them about everywhere we go; and b), one can be many things and not have them impact, or disallow liking of, the personality itself.

My best case in point is one of my former best friends on the grid--he likely is still, I still like him very much, it's just I don't play WoW and he's another who's left SL for WarCraft.

He is Republican. I am not. He is a fundamentalist Christian. I am not. He is homophobic. I am not. He is a card-carrying member of the NRA. I am not. He lives in Texas. I do not.

Despite all this, this revelation-Christian, gun-toting, Republican hobby hunter who voted for Bush--likes me. Who was emphatically anti- Bush, has zero intention of picking up a gun, is anything but Christian, and add in the bi and the pagan and the anarchistic tendencies--I mean, if we met on the street, we'd be screaming at each other, right?

But not here. Not in SL. In SL we tease each other about our cultural precepts and our ethical choices, but we can move past that and just look at each other, eye to eye, mind to mind.

It gives me some scant hope that someday, if we all pause to think about it...we can do the same thing in RL.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Kamenev: Oops. It's fixed now, and also, here is the direct link. (Though yes, VAST's "Pretty When You Cry"--trippy video, cool song. Wish I could figure out who directed the video...)

Another point that I think people forget in all this--it is, technically, against the SL ToS to ask for personal info. It is against the ToS to give out personal info of other people, also. So any gift of personal information should be treated as the great trust it is, and if one needs more, one needs to carefully press.

And if one is going to get outraged, every time they discover the lovely lady on the screen, is male-bodied beyond it--well, one really needs to get out more. One is obviously too sheltered at that point.

(And yes--"The Umbrella Academy" is marvelously witty, I'm very happy he's had the time to venture out to get his ideas published.)

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the Rheta Shan story and wrote about it just this morning.

Rhianon Jameson said...

Gee, Miss Orr, don't sell yourself short. I'm a Christian Republican who voted for you-know-who, and I like you, too. :)

Seriously, one of the reasons that people who don't have much in common in RL can get along famously in SL is that one is not obligated to take a person wholly in the latter, as one would in the former. It's hard - not impossible, mind you - to have a deep RL friendship with someone who does not share core values. How much are you *really* going to open up to a homophobe, for example? But in SL, one can find a common set of interests and ignore the rest - if "the rest" even comes up at all as a subject. Our common interests may be neo-Victorian craziness, or zombies, or building impossible structures, and you would never need to know, for example, that I enjoy eating lightly sauteed infants. (Just kidding. They need to be fully cooked.)

Emilly Orr said...

Dagny: Responded on your blog, but following up here: yeah, if the whole thing never happened? She's going to have a *lot* of ground to regain with her close friends. I think pretending to be dead--with the baby dead, especially--that's going to go beyond the pale for many.

Miss Jameson: I think you have a point. There's not that observation-and-involvement, in a certain sense, that can happen with RL relationships. Does this mean SL/net relationships are less important, or less involved? I don't think so. But knowing someone only by the facets they present publically--it creates a certain level of intimacy, in the sense of us, fully embracing those facets we see. The rest comes later.

I can't speak for everyone, and I know it hasn't worked with everyone--but as far as my one friend? Just to chip away at the homophobia, I would present 'life excerpts'--descriptive or personal details that I wouldn't, necessarily, share with anyone else. We finally compromised: lesbians were cool, "fags" were just wrong, and then it became a polite battle to get him to stop using that word.

We're still working on that one. :)

And sure, part of it is--this is a virtual world, this is play, this is 'free time' in a sense--one will not necessarily 'dip below the surface' with everyone.

But I'm fascinated that many still do, and still are friends with those they form deep friendships with. From a sociological standpoint, it's compelling as hell--the concept that we, as discrete individuals, can still form deep and lasting connections with those 'beyond our tribe'--whatever that definition of 'tribe' is.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Rheta Shan story. My take is here.