Tuesday, September 22, 2009

there's no fight and no flight, disaster leaves your passion overrun

First, Greyworld's Monument to the Unknown Artist in London. Finally, interactive public art--it is made to move into (and mimic the) positions of passersby observing it. And a trailer on an upcoming "documentary" on the proud contributions of America's first mechanical soldier, Boilerplate.

Secondly, Linden Labs sent an email to everyone in Second Life about revisions to the adult content guidelines.

What are "Adult" Regions, groups, events, and classifieds?

The Adult designation applies to Second Life® Regions that host conduct or display content that is sexually explicit or intensely violent, or depicts illicit drug use. Any Region must be designated Adult and therefore require account verification, if it advertises or publicly promotes the following:
  • Representations of intensely violent acts, whether or not photo-realistic (for example, depicting death, torture, dismemberment or other severe bodily harm)
  • Photo-realistic nudity; photo-realistic means that an image either is or cannot be distinguished from a photograph
  • Expressly sexually themed content, spaces or activities (whether or not photo-realistic); we will broadly define what is "sexually themed" to include any sexually oriented activities and conduct
Groups, event listings and classified ads that reference these themes or content must also be designated Adult.

All right, that's what we've heard before, no changes. Including the bit following about how reporting on your neighbors who may be doing Bad Things is Just Good Policy.

Which brings us to the Mature definition:

What are "Mature" Regions, groups, events, and classifieds?

Second Life's Mature Designation is intended to accommodate most of the non-adult activities that are common in Second Life. For instance, social and dance clubs (unless those clubs promote sexual conduct or use adult search tags), bars, stores and malls, galleries, music venues, beaches, parks (and other spaces for socializing, creating, and learning) all support a Mature designation so long as they don't host publicly promoted adult activities or content.

Thus, Residents in these spaces should expect to see a variety of themes and content. For instance, stores that sell a range of content that includes some "sexy" clothing or objects can generally reside in Mature rather than Adult Regions. Dance clubs that feature "burlesque" acts can also generally reside in Mature Regions so long as they don't promote sexual conduct, such as through pose balls (whether in "backrooms" or more visible spaces). However, if any of these businesses uses adult-oriented search tags, it may be categorized as adult and also blocked from appearing in non-adult search.

That's also unchanged, though the question of whether stripping is Mature or Adult is still largely unanswered.

Which brings us to PG, which has this lovely line:

What are "PG" Regions, groups, events, and classifieds?

There are some landowners and Residents who desire a Second Life experience distinct from the activity that occurs in Mature and Adult Regions. Region owners who wish to host this sort of Second Life experience can (but need not) designate their Regions as PG. A Region may be designated PG if it does not advertise or make available content or activity that's sexually explicit, violent or depicts nudity. Likewise, sexually-oriented objects such as "sex beds" or poseballs may not be located or sold in PG regions.

As we've also often said, PG regions are areas where you'd feel free to say and do things that you'd be comfortable saying and doing in front of your grandmother, or a grade school class. Institutions such as universities, conference organizers, and real world businesses, for instance, may wish to designate their Regions as PG. Likewise their users (and others) may wish to employ Second Life's PG search setting to deliver further targeted search results.

Not everyone's grandmother can be assumed to want the same thing. It's somewhat akin to Desmond Shang's gentle question in Caledon about on-theme building:

"Some of you may have noticed I am very gently enforcing theme a little bit more, so as you set up for the holidays, it may be a lovely time to look at your parcel and ask: "Would I enjoy living next door to me?"

Because, you see, most of the time I look at my parcel, and I think, Yes. I would enjoy living next door to me. I could make a blood river that starts in my land, meanders across into my neighbor's, and slides out a little into Morgaine Bay.

Not everyone has the same design aesthetics; just as Do unto others has that staggering flaw in the middle--because, you see, the serial killer with the pick-ax may well be doing unto you as he expects to be done unto.

But we are at least moving into that time of year where my particular design aesthetic, or lack thereof, is at least seasonal. For whatever that's worth.

One last thing I'd leave folks with--especially considering the brash nature of the theft in Woodshed: Jollyjack's comic strip on DeviantArt detailing the average thief mentality. And that's pretty much what we're dealing with--the concept of "free culture". I am all for free things, all for low-cost options when I can: but that doesn't mean copying everything I see. There are some things that will always be wrong.

I've been following the comments on the Prim Perfect blog on this, and after several hours of reflection, I'm beginning to think that even I'm wrong on this, that there's a better solution than the technical.

And it goes back to art.

Think of it--forget the big "names" of SL artists, and there are many, and justifiably well-known for their efforts. But what are we creating when we create, or recreate, objects on the grid? When we make clothing? When we script, when we make homes? When we import our works in pencil, pen, oil, brush?

We are making art. We are creating art. We are makers of art, even if it's just a skirt here, a texture there. We see our world and we see a lack and we want to fill that lack with what we see in our world.

Yes, true, that's not everyone, because as has been amply said elsewhere, some folks don't care in the least about preservation, just destruction; they care not about hard labor, just hurt feelings; and they don't care if someone now balances the virtual cost of what was lost against the very real cost of how they're paying rent and feeding their children, in the world beyond this one.

As long as they made out; as long as they got revenge; as long as they're fine. Because it's all about them, innit?

Forget them. Make it about the art. Make it about the artists. Sure, there may well be no purely technical way to stop people from doing bad things; okay. Fine. Then we're back to choices, and buying options, and it becomes much more about who we like, and why, than it is about how cheaply we can get something. In this light, business groups, shopping clubs, become fan organizations, and in a sense, there's a large part of SL already moving from this model.

I consider myself less a customer at Adam & Eve's, and more a fan of Damen Gorilla's incredible shoes, sachi Vixen's incredible, fanciful frocks. I consider myself less a customer of Bare Rose Tokyo, and more a member of a tight-knit group of supporters of June Dion's amazing, complicated Asian visions. I consider myself less a customer at FallnAngel Designs, and more...well, okay, there I'm sort of hunched in the back behind the bars waiting for the people in the straitjackets to stop feeding each other cherries and lighting things on fire, but you get the point. Plus, Azriel Demain has no equal on the grid; there's simply no one else doing exactly what he does.

In this sense, SL is filled with creativity, SL is filled with art. We choose which artists to support. And we can choose, in this, what not to support: the rippers, the stealers, the Business-in-a-Box fly-by-night alts on XStreetSL, the thieves of art and conscience who don't see the destruction they cause. We can choose not to support them.

In this sense, we aren't buying things just for the things themselves; we are buying things because we like the people behind the objects, the designers, the artists. And their work cannot be so easily set aside.

Support the makers. Support the art. This is not about restriction, this is not about Linden decision, this is not about "no more free accounts", this is not about preventing free accounts from doing the same thing that everyone else on the grid can do. This is not about "no more alts". This is not about turning over responsibility to a higher power.

This is about us, we live on the grid, we work on the grid, we move, we dance, we shop. We need to focus our energies on what really matters.

And in the end, that's each other. In the end, it's valuing those who create. In the end, ultimately, it's about choosing people over pixels. Only then can we be sure that we are not playing the thieves' game, exactly how they want us to play it.

Nothing else matters, in the end.


Rhianon Jameson said...

I didn't see anything from the Guv regarding prodding on staying in theme (perhaps this was in chat?), but was around when one Gentle Lady grumbled a bit about neighbors, and at least one former Caledonian made a public tweet on the subject. I agree with both individuals that it makes no sense to buy land in a Victorian-themed sim and then build something vastly at odds with the theme.

You point out, correctly, that Des's "do unto others" speech has a huge hole in it, but I suspect the man was just too polite to add "assuming, of course, that anyone who wants to be in a Victorian-themed sim would prefer neighbors who keep to the darned theme."

That said, it seems to me that tolerance and civility require people to accept some that their neighbors may stretch the theme in ways that they personally do not care for but are not entirely beyond the pale, and to live with it. (Cake helps in that regard, both by helping to calm and by keeping one's mouth too full to complain.)

And a bit of whimsy, particularly of a temporary sort, such as one sees around the holidays, is easier to tolerate than a permanent presence. For example, I, for one, enjoyed a dinosaur, death's head, and ray gun all protecting a certain parcel in Morgaine while its owner dealt with other issues. :)

Emilly Orr said...

Actually, that's a quote from a notice that was sent out to all Caledonians; it's available should one check the past notices. I would note that it is not a passage found in a notecard, but in the body of the notice itself, which people often disregard.

I will say of all the sundry oddities I've put out on Morgaine, only the giant death's-head over the winter holiday caused someone to fall out of their chair shrieking; and for that, I removed it. :)

(And yes, RL chair. The lady in question had zoomed in by accident whilst talking to someone else; she'd been looking out her window onto the bay. She turned back to her screen and was quite startled. Hee.)

Rhianon Jameson said...

Hmm, will have to check notices. I haven't gotten several from the Guv; I wonder if notices are working about as well as chat.

Regarding the death's head and falling out of the chair: mission accomplished!

Emilly Orr said...

Well, remember that for the move I took off sending notices for *all* my groups; I'm adding them in slowly as I remember.

And hee--it was not my intent, directly, but yes!

Seraph Nephilim said...

I am reading through the comments on Jollyjack's page to which you linked. I should stop. It seems that almost every time I read blog/post comments (save for places such as here), I become more and more a misanthrope. I can't believe the rationalization and justification that goes on in the minds of the modern entitlement society, without morals coming into it at all.