Tuesday, June 16, 2009

by red hot iron, by passages in books, a balanced hatchet

((A NOTE: While this is not an apology, I will say that this post is only directed at Dale Innis because he got in my way first. It could have been anyone; I'm not, per se, singling him out.

Now then.))

Lemme 'splain this to you people.

I'll go ahead and answer the comments made on last night's rant, but I don't think (with the exception of Sphynx, who just seemed genuinely distracted) any of you understand what we've been handed.

Dale Innis said:

I don't know how much of that conversation you were in on, but everyone was having such a good time just chatting with like-minded pervs [...]

Right. Because sitting in an obviously-designed-by-committee structure "having a good time" was the whole point of the exercise.

I don't know where you were, Dale. Me? I was watching as kids wandered around freely. I was watching adult artists who were heartbroken about what was going on. I was listening to merchants who still haven't been contacted on moving their businesses, and whose greatest fear is that they're going to have to buy land at high rates from land sharks just to continue in business, while meanwhile, their sales are dropping 75%.

I'm sure you and everyone you were with were having a fine time, joking and laughing. The people I was "with"--in the sense of standing next to them, appalled at Linden cupidity--were having a fine time, too. The dancer who'd put on her best slippery oil skin and seemed, for all any of us could figure out, to be doing her best to start an orgy on the spot. The newbies wandering in who couldn't spell, couldn't figure out where 'te sexx' was, and wandered away. The woman who thought the greatest joke in the universe was coming in naked on a horse, didn't seem to understand why few of us found it as side-splitting as she did, and who eventually wandered away.

You also said:

If things work out as I hope and expect, there will be vast amounts of Adult land on the grid, and on most of it there will be nothing sexual or otherwise kid-unfriendly happening like 99% of the time.


Obviously you've forgotten what all of this was supposed to mean. According to Blondin, Blue and other Lindens who chimed in during the several forum posts on the topic, the adult continent was not designed to be for adult activity period. It wasn't designed to be just a rating, where people would only do "those things" on occasion, out of sight of anyone, and the rest of the time be happy little residents of Stepford--I mean, Zindra.

Do you even remember what the set policies were, Dale? If that even matters at this point, because the entire design of the adult continent convinces me that not only are the Lindens not listening in any way, shape or form, but they don't even properly comprehend the question in the first place. But the adult continent was not designed, so they kept telling us, just for sex. Oh, no. It was for the very worst that the human psyche could dredge up, so that the rest of the grid wouldn't have to be exposed to it.

Beheadings. Amputation. Medical fetishes. Torture porn. A happy new playground for the Dolcett crew. Shootings, stabbings, rape, non-consensual anything (though as I've said before, the concept of "non-consensual" on the grid is moot) concerning sex, bondage or (virtual) death. Apparently, anything that touches on Gor and Gorean is in this classification, too.

Photorealistic depictions of penetrative sex. Depictions, even cartoon ones, that feature any level of blood spray at all. Photographic displays of sex or violence. Photographic displays of corpses or mutilated bodies. Drug use. And I'm not even going in-depth into any of these.

Is there anything--anything at all on that list--that would tell anyone with two braincells to bash together that what they most wanted for their extreme gratification needs would be a goddamn industrial park with radiant teal lights??

And you ended with a comment worthy of Torley at his best:

But the people who were there last night were great!

Well, I'm glad you found the 'great' people. Me, I saw despair and confusion, I saw tragedy and resignation, I saw the quick-dawning realization of how deeply and viciously the Lindens have just slapped every adult in the face by presenting this. I saw people who wanted this to be just another free sex room paired with people who were justifiably cynical and depressed. I saw perfectly designed spots for business campuses, sterile landscaping, just about the single most ridiculous and inanely retro graphics to identify sim border crossings--and, might I add, those border crossings? Always either separated by a lane change, or actually occurring at intersections, so that anyone who actually wants to drive through the new and shiny will be unable to change lanes or actually stop at the (scripted! Why is no one more upset by this? SCRIPTED!!) traffic intersections without losing their car in the first place!

Ah, why am I bothering, you're not listening either.

But I do have to make one more comment, simply because I honestly cannot believe bits of your brain didn't leak out your ears when you typed this, Dale:

On the child AV issue, I will go out on a limb and say that the Lindens' current position on the subject, that child AVs are allowed on Adult land as long as they aren't doing anything kiddiepornish, is the right one.

Obviously, your tongue is firmly in your cheek, right? Because to even hint that you mean this seriously indicates such a staggering loss of comprehension, I'm surprised you can still form words that string together in sentences.

Let me try and explain this, since you seemed to have missed it the first time.

Regardless of anyone's personal reasons for climbing into a child avatar, nearly every single child avatar on the grid then expects to be treated like a child. Oh, maybe not talked down to, maybe not sent off to bed at a set hour, but they want to be treated commensurately with their appearance.

So. Regardless of whether the woman behind the screen is a 47-year-old housewife with five kids of her own in Detroit, she's wandering around as a six-year-old moppet on the grid. Fine. Let's go through this, then:

PG: She's fine. She's six. She has swings, she should have nothing offensive to say or be exposed to, she is a child surrounded by protection. Nifty.

Mature: She's still pretty fine. She's six. She's at a tea party in Caledon, or she's wandering Animania, or she's shopping for child-sized formals at Evie's Closet. The conversation may go over the head of the average, actual six-year-old child, but as she's an adult playing a child, more or less there's understanding and while she may chide people who act "adult" around her, things are still pretty much fine.

Adult: She's six. She's in a sim where--at any time--people could start to talk about sexuality, about violence, about drugs. Regardless of whether or not she's doing anything "kiddiepornish"--and really, you couldn't have come up with a better word than "kiddiepornish"??--the porn could start up at any time. Because that's the rating, Dale. The entire point was to push those who want adult dealings in the world, to not deal with children, moralists, and sneering prudes--wouldn't have to. The whole point was to get people verified, so there wouldn't be a problem with anything that might happen in the adult continent.

So. She's six. She's wandering around the adult continent. By merely being there, she's forcing upon rated adults, in rated adult land, restrictions. By merely being there, she's forcing her rating on the sim. Because gods forbit, anyone do anything rated "adult" in front of a child, regardless of who that child really is on the other side of the glass.

Do you get it yet? Does anyone reading this get it? Or are you just shaking your head because you don't understand what the big deal is?

This is a nightmare. And this is a nightmare that the Lindens are expecting us to swallow, because they're that smarmily superior about the whole thing. Now people will quiet down and behave, they might be thinking.



Dale Innis said...

I greatly appreciate the non-apology, and I will equally not apologize for having actually had a good time last night, despite agreeing with you about the fundamental wrongness of what was going on. I even titled my piece "Loving what's bad" for that very reason.

I think, if I may say so without undue offense, that you are giving Linden Research Inc too much power over your soul, over your happiness. They are just a company, and they can and will make mistakes, and act in what they think is their own interests at the
expense of ours, and all sorts of things.

When they do this, get up in arms, get feisty, get mad, let them know in no uncertain terms that they are doing it wrong. But don't get heartbroken, don't get cynical and depressed, don't despair: don't give them that much power over you. The interesting things about virtual worlds, about all worlds, come from you, not from them.

They could decide to shut down SL, or to turn off the user creation tools, tomorrow, and it would be too late. We've seen what user-generated worlds can be like now, and we're gonna get them, whether it's the Lab that does it, or someone else entirely. If they do it wrong it's a pain, it's worth getting frustrated and angry about, but...

Well. :) I have no place telling you how to feel. But that was my first reaction to your post.

I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say about eccentric dancers in slippery oiled latex, or newbies who can't spell, or a woman naked on a horse. Those are all good things, in my opinion, people being people, doing the weird things that they do. You would have preferred a funeral procession? :)

The Lab is screwing up, the displacement of everyone on the Grid with adult content is terribly unfair, and people who have done nothing wrong are going to suffer. And that's all bad. I said it was bad in my first weblog posting on the subject, back in March, and I still say it. But the fact that it's bad doesn't mean I have to spend every moment angry and/or miserable; it's impossible to live that way.

The builds were not an intentional slap in the face, they were randomness, they were inattention on the Lab's part, they were someone saying "um, we still wanted to put some content on Zindra didn't we?" and someone else saying "oh yeah hell I forgot to schedule that, how about that wonky 'green SF' stuff that we had the moles do? that way we can at least check off the box."

See my weblog (I gather you read the entry) for testimony from an ex-Mole about just how much thought apparently went into the premade builds in Zindra.

And that's how it ought to be, imho. *We* are supposed to be doing the builds, not the Lab. We'll build what we want, and their
strange glowing buildings will be buried. The streets, sheesh, maybe if we JIRA them enough they'll just take them away. But that's standard Lab silliness, it's nothing to get angsty about. Life's too short!

I have definitely not forgotten what the Adult exile was supposed to mean, and how that's evolved over time. Originally (days, even entire weeks, ago!) they were saying that the new continent was just for the most unthinkable icky extreme stuff. Then rather quickly they stopped saying that and started saying (as they are now) that it's for anything classified as Adult by the very broad official definition that anyone besides the owner might in any way find out about.

That's exactly why I'm pretty hopeful that there will be lots of adult land: if they really follow through with what they're currently saying, anyone (with two braincells to bash together) will want to be on Adult land and nowhere else.

(And I am listening, so there! :P)

I certainly could be wrong (stranger things have happened); maybe Zindra really will be just a small wall-to-wall porn and sex ghetto. I do hope not, though, and I will do things to encourage it not to be.

(Child AV issues addressed in next comment, 'cause blogger thinks I am too wordy!)

Dale Innis said...

On the child AV issue, I haven't missed anything. I understand your argument, I just don't agree with it. I didn't actually see any child AVs while I was in Zindra, but it wouldn't have appalled me if I had. We've discussed this already in comments to your
previous post, but to respond to your particular points in this one:

"She's six. She's in a sim where--at any time--people could start to talk about sexuality, about violence, about drugs." Oh, my gosh! You mean, like, in an RL grocery store? People are allowed to talk about sexuality and violence and drugs there, we'd better keep the children out! :)

I don't think anyone's suggested that it's forbidden to *talk about* sex or violence or drugs on non-Adult land, have they? That would be just insane.

"The entire point of the exercise was to push those who want adult dealings in the world, to not deal with children, moralists, and sneering prudes--wouldn't have to."

I don't think that's how the Lindens think of the point of the exercise, but yes: if you want a space where you don't have to deal with any of those things (including child AVs), put your space on Adult land, put up a sign saying "No Child AVs please", and if any show up you can instantly eject and ban them. I'll be right there nodding at your right to do it. No one's stopping you from doing it.

I'm just objecting to your wanting to say to me, that since I might want to have an edgy violent sexually themed show in my gallery some day, I therefore cannot allow anyone in a child AV to come to the pretty-flowers art show that I'm having there this week. It's none o' your business.

On the other hand I do understand your worry that if we let child AVs get anywhere close to the nasty stuff, there might be an irrational backlash from the world that would hurt the SL we love. It is a worry, and a valid one.

I share that worry enough that I think child AVs probably should be prohibited from places on adult land where there are actually adult things going on (even though there are in fact no actual children involved). I'm just not willing to go as far as you are, and prohibit them from places on adult land where there *aren't* adult things going on (and where the landowner doesn't mind having them there).

And it's not because I don't get it. :) It's just because I disagree with you.

On this particular thing.

In general I think you're right, and that you're good people.

We just differ on the details...

Sphynx Soleil said...


Considering how knee-jerk the Labs react to anyone who might even *hint* at sexual behavior with a child - and hell, even adults and apparent children together WITHOUT adult-rated conversations (where you aware of SL5B officials asking one exhibitor to change their exhibit because they included one adult and one child in a NON-sexual situation?) um, yes, I can see Emilly's point very well.

Emilly Orr said...

Dale: Another public answer, this one far more accepting of personal responsibility. :)

Sphynx: Well, yes. Which oddly, came up independently in the post I just hit save on; I saved it, checked it for errors, checked email, and giggled that this had come in while I was writing about SL5B. :D