Thursday, April 30, 2009

I grow so weary I'll surrender to what they say

Pandora Wrigglesworth has lost her mind. How many prims is that hair?!?

Rayguns in the time of cholera! Man, I agree with this guy.

Wrapping up the troublesome thread before I head into the new one in a few days:

Anti Antonelli on page 231:

It seems clear to me that the vast majority of us honestly, earnestly, sincerely believe the basic premise is flawed, the proposed solution is horribly wrong for all kinds of reasons, and we are being lied to regarding both the real motivation for all this and the scope of the solution (and the scale of the damage willing to be inflicted in the process). Surely that message is coming through loud and clear despite the noise.

Unfortunately it's not the message they want to hear.

Doesn't seem to be, no.

Patasha Marikh on page 233:

A little math project: The forum seems to be running about 90% BAD idea. of those about 10% seem to be stating that there will be financial impact on them that will cause them to cease their 'paying'. So that's threatened 9% drop in revenue immediately if the people in here are taken as an average of the population (generalizing on that point.. I think it will be more.)... Much like the auto industry, there will be a ripple effect. How many of those who drop away are propping up others in SL like I am? How many more estates will pull the plug because they can no longer afford their tiers now that their space rentals are gone?

There's going to be more of a ripple effect than they anticipate, I can virtually guarantee this.

Ceera Murakami on page 234:

As for what I consider "extreme"?

Does it cause apparent harm/damage to a participant? Things like branding, mutilation, bleeding injuries, or eating/killing someone? Definitely extreme. Should be in a secured area, access controlled, members-only. Fair warning given for access.

Does the activity have the *appearance* of not being consentual, even though in SL all activity is by mutual consent? Stuff like rape scenes, kidnapping, etc? Probably extreme, and at least deserves a warning prior to exposure. This runs the gamut from "Hard Alley" rape areas to relatively innocent [Capture] Roleplay. Consent required to be indicated before entry allowed.

Is it representing a voluntary, consentual activity, and no one walks away with an injury? NOT extreme, even of it may involve activities that some may be disgusted at.

Not sure? Then take precautions to ensure the people who might be exposed to it are willing to see or participate in that particular kink.

Sredni Eel on page 237:

I'm officially washing my hands of the *I* Am Adult Content Group. It was formed by a friend of mine to discuss how to deal with this whole Linden Adult Content Fiasco, but every freaking day I pop online, I get bombarded in group IM from whining, self-entitled, self-righteous pointyheads who compare the Ursula landmass to the concentration camps Hitler created for the Jews during the Holocaust.

Just stop it. Stop it right now. There is NO comparison. Your argument is invalid.

Good gods, no doubt. And I was idly toying with the thought of joining that group...

Valerius Constantine on page 239:

Blondin, it is obvious to me from your comments that you have a very definite idea of what is included when you say "adult". I'd like to request that you come up with a list of "Definites". things that you know, 100%, will be included. Then a list of things that are being considered.

Well, so far, we know he's got "Gor", "Gorean", and "sex" on the list...

Katheryne Helendale had a wake-up call on page 246:

This just made me realize where the scale may be. I am a relatively normal girl who enjoys pole-dancing for the visual entertainment of my audience; if they tip well, I reward them with more to see. I have never, nor ever will, get down and do the nasty with them. I have never worked as an escort before, and am not about to start now.

Yet despite this, I am being placed in the same category with people who decapitate people and pleasure themselves in the newly-created openings, or roast naked women on a spit over a roaring flame.

On a scale of 0 to 100, with the puritans at zero and the decapitating necrophiliacs and vorarephiliacs at 100, I don't think I rate much higher than 20 on the kink-meter. This means, to me, that the bar is being placed awfully low, where the upper 80th percentile of kinkiness is getting banished to Pornadelphia."

Pretty much. I don't know if this should bother everyone else, it bothers me.

* Vore/Dolcett/Rape fantasy/Torture fantasy: Adult
* Stripping: Also Adult??

When does it come down to cuddling together fully clothed being a bad thing?!?

Nany Kayo on page 250:

Well, the point most are trying to make here is that SL was created as a sex tool, is a sex tool, and sex is what most people do here most of the time.

It's not in private either. That is the problem. It is advertised, and everybody sees it whether they want to or not.

SL was not created as a "sex tool"; SL is not just a "sex tool"; and people here do many, many things beyond just sex. Most of the sex is in private, or at least within structures, it is not advertised as often as are skins, hair, eyes, clothing, homes, food, drinks, and indoor/outdoor furnishings and plants...and the only people seeing it "everywhere" are the people who are LOOKING FOR IT EVERYWHERE.

Therefore, I am forced to conclude: Nany Kayo has sex on the brain. CONSTANTLY.

Minx Eisenhart flips out a bit on page 256:

Like i said No where in the Books of Gor does it Mention Native Americans or for that matter Red Savages!!!

Um, actually, Minx, that's very wrong. John Norman wrote about the Red Savages in two books, Savages of Gor and Blood Brothers of Gor.


Now, it's possible--it's even been suggested--that Norman based these two books, and all further (brief) mentions of the Red Savages on the Sioux tribes of native peoples. But it's equally as possible, reading through Burroughs--with the paperbacks' lurid art, some of it by Frank Frazetta (seen above)--influenced his entire layout of Gor, and made him turn to the people-from-all-nations approach.

Beyond that, though, I'd love to know the specific maker of the supposed "bed with the native american flag" that seemed to drive her right off the rails.

Patasha Marikh from page 259:

How does sex silence other kinds of expression?

Excellent question. Somewhat akin to how does gay marriage damage heterosexual/"traditional" marriage in all ways (first, it makes seemingly normal people all crazy, and second, logically, it doesn't).

Sex? Same thing. People get deranged where sex is concerned.

LoreleiLynn Easterwood from page 260:

I would like to know what in the world LL is thinking.

You're convinced they are?

Katheryne Helendale from page:

In a perfect SL, the ratings should give the user some indication of what to expect when teleporting to a given location. That it doesn't today is due to two factors: One being the intermixing of PG and M parcels in mainland that has gone unchecked for far too long; and the other is lack of enforcement on LL's part. Instituting NEW policies that require even MORE non-existent enforcement isn't the answer. Tightening up enforcement of EXISTING policies and cleaning up the mess caused by the lack of enforcement to date are the best solutions.


Ryanna Enfield on page 267:

I want the Employee or Employees leading this charge within the Labs to step forward and start communicating and answering our questions. I want them reading these forums and acknowledging their Customers, the SL Community. Transparency goes a very long way.

Hmm. I don't believe the Labs ever promised transparency.

Ceera Murakami on page 268:

Blondin has also repeatedly stated that ANY "Sexually themed" area is to be tagged as "Adult". There are many such areas that are part of people's residential parcels. If those are also included, it doesn't leave many of the parcels in Mature sims on the mainland untouched.

Blondin's continued blindness to these contradictions makes it abundantly clear that they are either unwilling or incapable in regards to actually seeking any sort of acceptable agreement or compromise on this course of action.

You can't discuss a plan if you are unwilling from step one to ever say the words "We were wrong on that point".

Have the Lindens ever come forward and actually stated that? "Okay, we were wrong, sorry?" Ever?

Ranma Tardis on page 273:

What will happen if the demand for "mature" land goes away? Will people get stuck with land that is unusable? How will Linden Labs "help" move "adult" business? Their possibly large investments will not be worth what they use to be and be unusable to them.

...wait. on my side?

I might need to go lay down. The world just tilted.

Pixels Sideways from the same page:

One thing I have never understood with conservative America and conservative politics and people who embrace conservative ideals is why they are so obsessed over censoring anything to do with sex but have no problems whatsoever with violence? There is something inherently disturbing about this dichotomy.

It's a valid point.

And from Ceera Murakami at the bottom of page page 275, as far as I'm getting tonight:

seriously wonder whose performance review, bonus entitlement, or venture capital funding source is on the line if LL doesn't implement some specified changes in how adult content is accessed in SL by a certain date.

Has Mitch Kapor or one of the other big funders of SL's venture capital stated that if certain things are not "cleaned up" by a certain date, no more money from him?

Have Blondin and some of the others who are pushing this blindly forward been told that if they don't achieve certain impossible goals by a certain date they will get a bad performance review and possibly be terminated?

Good questions all. Love to have answers for them...

After this, another few entries on not this subject. Then I may or may not go into the--miracle of miracles, still unlocked new thread.

We'll see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

why do you want to sit alone in gothic gloom

Anyone remember Cup of Brown Joy? (As if I need to ask.) Well, Elemental wandered in to the post I did last year on the song and the rapper/producer who made it.

According to him, you can now get the album, Rebel Without Applause on Tea Sea Records--which includes "Cup of Brown Joy"--and that page is just fun to wander anyway--there are more artists on the label, and lots of samples, and apparently even a recipe section! Whee!

He says the rest of the album is not very "steampunky" at all, but he's very happy with it, and he hopes we will be, too.

You can also listen in on Elemental's MySpace page for more up-to-date information. And if anyone happens through Brighton, drop him an email--he runs a quirky little Victoriana show there called "Come Into My Parlor". Damn, that nearly sounds fun enough to visit Brighton! (Considering your humble correspondent is in the US, that is rather a long trip.)

After the last post, I am feeling the definite need to get away from the adult content topic. Not because I don't want to cover it, not because some part of me still feels I am somehow invested, but because after today, two things have become inescapably clear. First, that the line between avatar and typist is not so much eroding, as buckling completely and falling aside; and second, now that I'm finally at the place where I face my own prejudices on sexuality and (what is generally considered to be) perversion, I'm having to confront a lot of other issues.

None of which, frankly, I really want to talk about to casual blog-wanderers.

But I did want to make one thing very clear. It's not that I've seen a lot of backlash from this, but reading through the last post, I thought I should state some things formally.

First--I am foursquare against violence to women. Rape is not a good thing. Sexual or physical assault is not a good thing. Torture and murder? Not good things, and I'm not in support of any of them.

There are two things that stop this from being a womens' issue (for me) in SL: first, you can take no action in SL without consent--and while, yes, there are ways to 'force' the issue (spamming some new lass with port requests followed by handing over an item with instructions to put it on is one that still, on occasion, works; there's also, somewhere out there, rumors of a 'date rape' virtual drug that blocks out the visual input from the client, leaving only sounds), by and large, at some point the question will be asked, and it's our responsibility to say yes or no.

The second point is, in my opinion, even more vital: the grid is virtual. There are people doing things in SL they would never do in the real, for an insane variety of reasons. Some just treat it as harmless fun. Some have deeper issues, and are either reacting to those, or actively working on those, again for a variety of reasons.

Whether or not extreme sexual content and violence should be seen in video games or virtual worlds has been endlessly debated--not only this past month, but for the past ten years. There are no clear, solid answers. And whether or not places like Stepford should exist in SL, well, that's not a question for us, that's a question for the Lindens. No one, not even me, is asking everyone to support them; I'm just making the point that fantasy, even dark, disturbing fantasy, is one thing; actually doing things in reality is an entirely different thing.

And doing something we've fantasized about--be that the ability to garden outdoors, clear down to, well, Stepford--that's not a bad thing.

As long as you're not doing things that would harm you on the other side of the screen. (Which yeah, for me, includes being outdoors on a sunny day.)

Amanda Linden also has a Twitter feed where she's listing off business innovations in SL--it may be a good working guideline for what the Lindens at large are thinking, and why.

In the meantime, I want to talk about the paranormal movement in Victorian times, Madame Blatavsky, and intolerance in Caledon.

Spiritualism was huge at the time, one of the few things that transcended cultural and economic barriers. Just about everyone, including those who had the benefit of higher education, believed in some aspect of it, and most of them were willing to defend spiritualism in scientific terms--even if, on occasion, those terms fell short. One of the oddities of the movement, in fact, was that--rather in reverse of other cultural movements--it rose from lower levels to higher; the more educated and cultured the social class was, the more intensely they believed--and defended!--spiritualism.

In another interesting twist, spiritualism arrived in Victorian England after beginning in America, at the behest of well-known mediums who hit the scene in 1848, Margaret and Kate Fox. Later joined by their older sister Leah as manager, they hit stage after stage from New York to London, performing the calling of the beloved dead, and perfecting the art of "table rapping", wherein all hands are visible on the table, yet it 'knocks' with unearthly sound.

Whether or not the Fox sisters were "real" mediums is still under debate--there's evidence for both sides of the argument. But whatever history would or would not prove them to be, what they represented was seemingly "scientific" evidence of life beyond this one. And spiritualism was off.

The core of spiritualism was the belief that the dead could communicate through mediums, seers into both realms trained, or simply born, to communicate with the departed. These individuals would go into "trance" states, and could then answer and ask questions given to them. There were many different ways to do this: the most common ones involved levitating household objects, eerie music and lights, distant echoing voices, and even full-on apparitions, occasionally comprised of a substance that became known as "ectoplasm".


Past this point, "spirit boards" were invented, automatic writing made an appearance, and on occasion things got much more dramatic as spiritualism waxed and waned (the rise of Apostolic Christianity paired spiritualism with religion, for one, and the Civil War in America brought hundreds of adherents to the cause), but at the time it began, from 1848, until just after the turn of the century, spiritualism was a strong driving force in two countries at least.

For some, it was a pleasant pastime--draw the curtains, light the lamp, invite your favorite medium over for tea and table-tapping. For others, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, it was serious business (if for different reasons).

"Theosophy is the name Blavatsky gave to that portion of knowledge that she brought from the masters to the world. It comes from the term 'Theosophia' used by the Neoplatonists to mean literally 'knowledge of the divine'."

William Butler Yeats was one of many who met the famed "Madame" Blatavsky and joined her Theosophist movement, which persists to this day as, literally, theological philosophy--integrating Hindu and Jewish mystical beliefs, Greek myths and philosophies, Egyptian and Gnostic Christian ritual and magic, and the early scientific principles of death and dying. Theosophists believed then--and believe to this day--that all world religion can be understood in a larger framework; similar to Stephen King's mention of the 'communal myth-pool' in Danse Macabre: that all religion draws from the same group of themes, same cast of characters, same archetypal imagery--simply refitted to adapt to the culture of the believers.

"Madame Helena Blatavsky, who founded Theosophy in 1875, viewed the Gnostics as the precursors of modern occult movements and hailed them for preserving an inner teaching lost to Christian orthodoxy."

Carl Jung was a follower; his twelve archetypes, though developed utilizing his own perceptions, were influenced by Blatavsky's work on collective religious mythology. The entire "New Age" movement--as flaky as it gets at times--was started by a revival of Theosophic beliefs. It's still somewhat hazy--for me, at least--whether Freemasonry influenced Theosophy, or whether Freemasons embraced the writings of Madame Blatavsky, but they are definitely linked. And, intermingled in sometimes unusual ways, the Rosicrucians--with their emphasis on personal understanding and Egyptian history--play into it, again either as another information source Blatavsky drew upon, or as a spiritual movement influenced by Theosophy.

But it all started in a humble little part of Manhattan, in the waning years of the spiritualist movement, that "Madame" Helena Petrovna Blatavsky used to set up shop. Born in 1831, dying in 1891, she didn't do that much that was different from the standard round of mediums at the time--the table-tapping, the luminous ghostly presences in the background, the eerie music playing where no source of music was seen. And she had her share of detractors, more than most--and there are those to this day that said she was the consummate example of the "fake seer".

However, little of that matters, in terms of what she wrote. What Blatavsky ended up doing, and quite well, indeed--was provide a conversational framework, that so many follow to this day--a way to comprehend core beliefs of any faith, and identify their roots--all the way back to Babylon and Egypt.

This is quite the fun article on Freemasons, if you're interested. And go through the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary, if you want; it's eye-opening and very nearly exhaustive.

All right, so--what does this have to do with intolerance in Caledon?

This is the tricky bit. You see, Caledon is a wildly diverse place. We have Duchesses and Dukes, Baronesses and builders. We have egalitarian treatment of both genders. We have the Bashful Peacock, Caledon's premier--and mayhap only--club for gentlemen and ladies who prefer the company of gentlemen and ladies.

(For anyone outside Caledon reading this? That does mean what you think it means.)

And we have religions. Oh, my, do we have religions. We have Walpurgisnacht (for the Wulfenbachians) and May Eve (for Caledon nature worshippers) both coming up tonight, and on any given Sunday you can find Miss Elspeth Woolley and other devoted souls in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Magellan Kinvara. There's an even wider diversity of belief amongst actual residents, from the serious all the way down to Miss Poindexter's Church of Rosedale.

Up until recently, I held out hope that--while scuffles have broken out in the past--we were, more or less, able to deal with the major issues, and keep moving forward as a nation.

I may no longer agree with this.

I've recently found out that Mr. Jayleden Miles, one of the founders of the Caledon Paranormal Society, and also the H.P. Blavatsky Memorial Branch of the Caledon Library (it opens May 1st, in Caledon Wellsian), has been called a Satanist for his efforts in celebrating this period of American and English history, and, while Theosophists and spiritualists both were called that--and worse--during the heyday of the movement, I like to think--in Caledon, at least--we're bigger than that.

Yes, yes, I know I'm wrong, I know many of us are petty vindictive people, but come on, it's a library!

Which means, if that doesn't say anything, that it's backed by Sir JJ Drinkwater. NO Caledon Library branch is built in a vacuum.

Which also means, if that still doesn't tell you anything, that it's backed by Desmond Shang.

You want to take on JJ in high dunder or Des even mildly irked? I sure don't, and I make life difficult for Des like it's my hobby.

So knock it off! Jayleden is no more a Satanist than I'm Darien Mason. GET OVER IT.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

blood makes noise, and I can't really hear you in the thickening of fear

Tateru Ninu goes more into the 'secret word list'...which is so very much not a secret at this point.

Though this is morbidly amusing at present.

We're going on another small journey today. You are free to wander on with whatever you're doing, rather than read from this point.


On page 230 (I'm starting to skim...honestly, my sprint ran out long ago, and my long-haul endurance reading is not getting me anywhere I need to be...I think it's just dogged stubbornness that keeps me pushing through this), Kator Bergson had a very very long post going over what he, personally, finds "beyond the pale". The first thing he listed?

Stepford. This is from their official rules handout:

You also agree that should any situation within Stepford take you out of your own personal comfort zone, become upsetting, or disturbing to you, then it is your responsibility alone to remove yourself from that situation - and you should either leave Stepford or move away from said situation. You absolve the Town of Stepford, its owners, management, staff and affiliates of any responsibility in this matter.


This--along with the rest of their rules--sound remarkably rational. How'ver, this was Kator's direct response on the forums:

Take Stepford for example (yes I'm singling YOU out... There are some extremes that I won't even tolerate.. and thats saying something) that on a search for Adult and City I stumbled across this place (to be honest I didn't look completely at the description first so I can be to blame for that yet this is a perfect example) I didn't even know what the frack "Dolcette" was till I looked it up on Wikipedia. I was completely appaled, granted I and a bona-fide defender of freedom of expression but DANG... seriously. I don't see how anybody could like that stuff. That and I swear I could feel my eyes bleed.

I didn't correct any of the grammatical oddities in that post, but on the other hand, I'm not entirely surprised by this, as the keywords in Search:

Dolcett sex death rape snuff murder hanging choking strangling impaling beheading executions meat--

--well, really, do I need to go on? That makes it really, really clear what they do. And for many people--and I'm included in this--there are lots on that list I don't like to do, or occasionally, even consider. But the rules notecard--which is handed out upon entry--is extremely well written. They may be extreme, but they're polite about it, rational, calm, which is...well. Phenomenal, when one considers the subject matter. Refreshing, even, in a sense.

This bit, from their rules handout again:

Second Life, let alone Stepford, is absolutely not for children. Anyone who might be offended by graphic visual images of extreme sex and violence, or the language pertaining to such activities, if anything in the description of Stepford, above, could possibly offend you, please go no further and leave.

Which, again? Remarkably rational.

Stepford is mainland. On the other hand, that section of sim is surrounded by very high walls, and what little can be seen from surrounding locations is...pastoral. Comfortable. Pretty, even.


I do admire the owners for one thing--if you pull up Tissela on the SL map? Stepford's section of it is marked by a large red and white A. (The "Adult Scarlet Letter", made by Tumbleweed Loopen, is free to copy and hangs above the sim, visible for system scans.)


But let's not kid ourselves--the barn beyond the cornfield is rigged for very adult play, the butcher shop stocks human meat. These are extraordinarily dark concepts for nearly everyone. Stepford is, I believe, without doubt in anyone's mind, the definition of "adult" content.

So why am I bringing it up?

Let's break it away from the fetish realm, because let's face it, even the most rational and logical amongst us can go buggy where sex and fetish is concerned. Let's break it down to...hmm, allergies are fairly safe. Let's say...shellfish, even.

You (RL) cannot eat shellfish. Horrible reaction. Worth your life, even, trip to the hospital for half a curled shrimp. You know this; you sigh over it, because you like the taste of shrimp (just not enough to go on an IV drip for one).

Then SL arrives. And sure, it's not perfect, the smell, the actual taste isn't there...but you can eat oysters. Clams. Crabs, even, perfectly primmed out on plates. And all non-lethal. It's a fabulous dream.

Anyone not getting the concept?

The reason SL has so much of the darker fetish moments is not because SL is populated by "sick freaks". The reason is actually two-fold:

1. People are curious. "What is that like?" they wonder. So they try it out. All of us have curious moments, in a lot of different ways. It's how we're wired, it's normal, and it doesn't show any signs of changing.

2. Remember that non-lethal thing? Some individuals--mostly women, I'll grant, but a surprising number of men, as well--like flirting with self-destruction. The smart ones realize it, and for them, SL is safer--they can lose limbs, they can bear scars, they can endure horrifying things--on occasion, they can engage in roleplay in which the point is that they will not survive--and the next day, they get up, they move around, have coffee, have breakfast, go to work--in a sense, RL becomes the ultimate reset switch.

In this light, SL becomes therapeutic, in an odd sense--granted, an extreme sort of therapy, and I do believe not a form all are designed to benefit from using--but imagine, for a moment. Imagine you want something that could damage you. Could be anything, it doesn't have to be sexual. Sky-diving, say. Or holding your breath underwater for ten minutes. It certainly doesn't have to go up to the point of being gagged with an apple and braised with garlic butter--trust me, that's extremity past most extremity, even on the grid.

But imagine. You want it. Whatever "it" is. We can even go back to the the shellfish example. Second Life--any virtual world that offers a wide spectrum of things--can be seen as a way to have what you want, in SL, that you cannot have in RL.

Now--are there things which are socially distasteful to want? Of course. Are there things which are harmful, or at least granted as harmful by the definition sets of most people? Absolutely.

And do not mistake me: now, currently, in place, there are things you cannot do on Second Life, things which are considered criminal, considered illegal, and I'd say rightfully so. There are ways around everything, the mind is endlessly inventive, and some people live for new rules to break. But even without such things, it has to--it must--come down to, who is actually being hurt, here?

While Couldbe Yue did backpedal and apologize for this, this was her initial response:

I always thought that SL had an element of people who should be heavily sedated, now I know for sure. If this is what LL are really looking at when they talk about the 2 - 4% then I'm with them.. put these guys on their own grid and don't ever let them near other folk again. I'd rather be locked in a room with Nany than this lot.

Tolerance be damned.

And see, that's the thing. For me? I'd much rather talk shop with a group of folk who like fantasizing about killing and torturing women, than spend five minutes with Nany Kayo. And I do mean that. At least with the heavy edge roleplayers on SL, they are mostly polite, they know who they are, they know what they want, and they take no for an answer--because without my consent? They have nothing to play with.

And there, right there, is the difference, as Couldbe retracted and rewrote in her forum post:

edited to add.
I wish to apologise unreservedly to those who participate in vore/dolcett activities only in second life. One of the strengths of second life - and the thing that separates SL from the rest of the web is tolerance and consent.

I admit that after checking out a couple of different Dolcett forums and probably reading a couple of dozen stories about women (always women - not one man as victim) being abducted, sexually assaulted, decapitated, dismembered and then eaten, I was feeling pretty unhappy.

BUT. in here you have to give consent to being non consensually attacked. That's the difference.

[ ... ] In here it's different because there is consent and encapsulates the whole problem we have. How do you protect people from things that are outside their experience yet allow everyone to enjoy their second life?

More to the point, how do you "protect" people from consenting to things that bother you? That's the core issue, it really is, and everything Linden Labs is choosing to do--especially Blondin, with his cack-handed and stupendously clueless move of "If it mentions sex, it's 'adult'" thinking--is just muddying the waters and distracting people from that core issue.

Do I believe there are people who cannot handle unrestricted content? Yes.

Do I believe there are people who should not be exposed to all content? Yes.

Do I believe that extreme content, id est, the force/capture sims, the cannibalism sims, the very dark roleplay sims, should have warnings on them? Yes.

However--and this is big--do I believe that they require the implementation and development of an entirely separate continent, in addition to being labeled adult? NO.

Moreover--and this is bigger--do I think every strip club, every brothel, every latex store that uses "sex" or "sexy" in their description, every Gorean business and sim, every escort on the grid--should also be packed off to Pornotopia with the true "extreme content" providers? NO!

Maybe it's just me, but paying for an hour of time with a pretty girl for purposes of personal gratification--whatever that means to the individual--is not equal to asking a similar pretty young girl to be displayed, bound, and chopped into sections. But it's still asking. It's still consensual.

None of the toys on the grid, no matter how lethal their effects are, can harm those outside the grid. Even if you're like me, and the mind writing deeply in the body results in some...interesting situations, at times...even then. Even then. If I (voluntarily, again) choose to walk into an oven, and scream and thrash, and die....first, it's my choice, and second, it doesn't touch the flesh that's not clad in avatar skin at all.

No weapon can truly harm you. At most, you'll be orbited and have to disconnect from the grid, and log on again.

All virtual pain is yours to experience as much as you choose to--walk into a wall? You can say ow, but it's your choice to do so. Walk into a knife? Really, if it's your choice, you can keep walking.

(And yes, yes, I know, the irony of me saying these things, my little wandering self that gets so easily captured by's not lost on me. But someone has to say these things.)

So why are we here again? Could another piece of the puzzle be that someone, somewhere, in the Linden camp is so deluded, that they think that dangerous toys really can hurt people on the other side of the screen? Could that be part of the issue?

At this point, I just want something solid. So many people--including a roommate (RL) who stands to lose her business, thus losing the ability to pay rent, thus potentially costing us shelter, refrigerated food, power, water, garbage, and internet--stand to lose everything they've built up to this point.

Yes, it's changing the rules, and yes, it's like that, the Labs have every right. But they'd best be anticipating a serious amount of wreckage along the way.

And that wreckage? Will not be consensual.


Lastly, I'd leave you with two things. First, this interview from 2007, which is still unsettling today, on pros and cons for open ageplay in SL.

Second, is this one of the single most stupid suggestions that has ever been entered on the JIRA? Or is it just me?

Think it through rationally for a moment--it's not going to, but what if the Lindens agree to change the coding to allow this? We'll end up with three effective search databases, over the proposed two--one unfiltered "all content" (Mature), one filtered "restricted content" (PG), and one filtered "Adult" content...and I'm sorry, that just makes no sense to me.

The fact that the Lindens are caving to whomever they're caving to, and setting up this ridiculous continent, with the commensurate tearing and gnashing of hair and teeth on the part of their residents, is bad enough; now they want to destroy all mixed-content businesses? Because really--the makers are supposed to maintain two separate ads for all of their products? Even maintaining two separate categories of ads for large businesses is cost-prohibitive. Let alone the difficulty in finding businesses that are mixed-content providers...

It's...insanity. Sheerly. Start to finish.

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?

Monday, April 27, 2009

your dreams are here to drown you

Grady Vuckovic again:

Just make a simple start, list the possible variations of being naked in public and which ones of them are considered adult. Then move onto sex and [violence], and the other issues. They don't need to listen to what we want if they don't want to, but they could let us suggest specific cases and let them answer them each. Because they will have to do so anyway when they bring in these changes, because they will need a specific list of what's adult and what's not in order to know who to kick out of mainland.

This is not the worst idea, here. If any of the Lindens do happen to read this? This is a good idea. This isn't your residents trying to lock you down to specifics, this is your residents trying to figure out where your starting points are.

Look, already, from everything I've read in the forums, on blogs and discussed in person, I think most of us already consider these things to be "Adult" in terms of public expression:

* beheading (possibly even within historical context, id est a guillotine display: that would be a Linden call)
* fully nude penetrative sex in public (between any combination of avatars--at that point, it doesn't matter if it's a child form, an adult form, a cluster of tentacles or a spotted monkey)
* explicit wounding (for example: being stabbed, where the animations would let one face show fear and pain, and the other's knife would spurt particle blood)
* explicit sexual descriptions in public (via text to start with, though I would love to have a ruling against vocal sexual descriptions in public, because damn, that gets annoying--and I'm talking typed-out text that should be in IMs, as well as fonts of green spam from Xcite toys and the like)
* vore (soft or hard, doesn't matter, I think it's "Adult" either way)
* gynophagia (Otenth, don't look that one up either--and I'd actually expand that to any graphic depiction of cannibalism, female victims or not)

It can be done--identify your worst offenders first--have that be your baseline for what is absolutely adult. Then work on the grey areas, but at least you'll be able to release something, even if you say you're going to revise it later.

If a club is going to have to move they need to know now, so they don't start building major extensions to their club and instead can start working at packing things up and taking copies of the buildings.

Exactly; and keep in mind, because not everyone reads the blog or the forums--sadly, tragically, even on the grid not everyone reads--there are still club owners who haven't heard about this issue. At all. Putting out bottom-line guidelines would at least get the word out there in the adult community, on what is most likely to be shipped off to Pervistan.

(By the way, Grady's got three simple polls up. They don't have a lot of votes yet, and like as not, the Lindens could care less about them, but it'd be nice to get a reasonable consensus.

Agnetha Vuckovic brings up another intriguing idea:


A simple idea. When a person joins SL, they are given a simple range of questions that obtain their acceptance level of mature and adult things. No need to make it complex. Based on the answers.....that resident is then given a one letter tag...which they can display or hide, up to them.

Now the [PURPOSE] of this tag [is] simple. It allows those running adult sims ( no need in this method to create a new adult flag for sims ) to automatically bar anyone whose tag effectively says 'I cannot cope with adult themes'. Such a person simply would not be able to enter such a site in the first place. There would be NO danger of anyone 'accidentally' entering such a site.

This all shifts the policing of things to individual responsibility......rather than Lindens and adult theme sites having to make complex ( and unwanted ) changes. Anyone not having the appropriate tag would have no excuse if they saw adult content in a site set up to exclude the 'sensitive'.

The big problem I see with this? Those two damning words, individual responsibility...because, everywhere else in the wider world, those words mean something, and apparently in America? It's the thing we seem not to want in any way, shape or form (except to complain when rights we voted away actually go away).

Barring that, though, this is brilliant. Put the onus on the user of the service. If X and Y bother you, then you are tagged one way; if X and Y don't bother you, but Z does, you're tagged one way; if you're pretty much fearful of the whole alphabet, you get a third tag.

Then a simple filter added to parcel owners' and estate owners' tool sets would trim off everyone with that certain tag--and I'd even go so far to say it doesn't ever need to be seen, it could even be coded in for that avatar in their UUID key.

The problem, how'ver, is--what if that avatar changes? What if, say, they come onto the grid being a sweet Christian housewife, and, over the course of her time on the grid, is now living in Gor as a Panther and a slaver? (Don't laugh, I'm talking about someone on my friendslist.) How do you then change that tag?

Maybe, once a year, everyone gets to re-take the test, or be slotted into PG areas only. That should be incentive enough to keep people taking the quiz...

Darkmoon Choche makes some damned good points, but (as usual, trimmed for space) these were the highlights:

3) If you want to close the teen grid, please close it and be done with it. SL was [conceived] as a place for adults, not children. I for one resent the idea of having children forced onto the adult population of SL. It is not child safe, was never meant to be child safe, and given the current state of things likely can never be made child safe. There seems to be an ongoing effort in this country on the part of some folks to make the world safe for 5 year olds, I for one am sick of that trend.

Me too.

Lindal Kidd tries to reason with the Lindens:

You lost a fifth of your world just by taking away the popular OpenSpace sims and turning them into an overpriced, underperforming product. About 5,000 sims vanished from the grid.

This change affects another 4,000 or so sims...the entire mainland...directly. It ALSO affects some large but indeterminate number of private estates. We've heard from some island owners, worried about having to flag mixed content islands or change their builds, right here.

I think you still have no idea of the damage this is going to do to Second Life, and to your own bottom line. You really, really, should start doing some in-depth analysis here.

I don't think it'll work, and the point's been made before. But we'll see.

Jesu Forager links a talk by Barry Schwartz on the value of practical wisdom in a technological world. It's well worth watching as the debate continues.

A quote: "And what happens is that, as we turn increasingly to rules, rules and incentives may make things better in the short run, but they create a downward spiral that makes them worse in the long run. Moral skill is chipped away by an over-reliance on rules, that deprives us of the opportunity to improvise and learn from our improvisations. And moral will is undermined by an incessant appeal to incentives that destroy our desire to do the right thing. And, without intending it, by appealing to rules and incentives, we are engaging in a war on wisdom."

That's a really good thing to remember.

Mystique Chambers brings it around to simple business logic again:

Do keep in mind everyone. This move to Adult land, as much as I am against it, isn't about skins for sale. Merchandise for sale such as skins, beds with sex poses, BDSM furniture for sale..etc is not going to be classified as "Adult". Linden labs has already told us this didn't have to do with any of this.

Adult ..or the forcing to move to Adult land are clubs that offer sex for lindens. It's going to be public open sexual gratification. It's going to be bloody harsh body mutilations. The worst of violence.

Put in this light--and it's absolutely the potentiality I was thinking on in yesterday's post--Ursula? Will be nightmare-inducing. The shops will sell organ-removal kits and autopsy skins. Bodies will rot in the streets festooned with particle flies. Damage will be enabled everywhere. Half of the population, wounded and weeping (by choice) will cower in fear from the other half, aggressively pierced and heavily armed. There will be public executions and rape in the streets (again, all...consensual...which removes the point, I guess...)

Man, anyone who likes horror films will fit right in.

Seriously, now, if that is all the Lindens, realistically, are thinking of moving--well, good gods, that is about 5% of content!

But now we flip the coin. Because strangely, many of the heavy violent/sexual content places aren't what the easily offended think of when they think of violent or pornographic content. And if we're truly talking extreme, we aren't talking:

* strip clubs
* brothels that don't offer public sex
* skin stores
* latex stores
* sex bed retailers
* BDSM furniture stores--at least those with non-lethal equipment
* SL nude beaches
* lingerie stores
* animation shops
* Mystical Cookie's store, and every other store carrying another iteration of the Mystitool gadget
* aubreTEC's store, and every other store carrying weaponry that doesn't cause avatars to explode

just as a start. I'm positive there's more on that list that likely, then, won't move.

If that's accurate, if the Lindens are moving towards only the extreme end of the spectrum, only the content that even seasoned sexual athletes, even experienced survivors of war and horror games, would take a step back from...well, I mentioned the nightmare angle already, didn't I?

I can't believe it's taken until now for this to sink in--if Miss Chambers is right, and Blondin's been misleading us on precisely what they're going to cut, then--most of the grid? Has nothing to worry about, in terms of moving.

But from a cultural and sociological standpoint...I think we'll then have far darker things to worry about. Because it will be like taking a gleaming, fresh, beautiful new land, and populating it with scorpions, puff adders and sharks. And they'll be closer to each other. They won't get better, they'll get worse...and more inventive...and more angry...

The businesses that won't just fail? That manage to pull through? They'll evolve...

Miss Chambers goes on:

My concern is if I am forced to leave will my clothing store be forced to go as well?

And that's another whole can of maggots we'd be opening--because some businesses? They aren't all one thing or the other. And she's genuinely wondering what she's to do now--does she pack up her furniture store, her clothing store, her tattoo parlor, and her brothel/nightclub and move everything to Pornotopia? Or would she just have to move the brothel? Or would she have to move at all?

In the meantime, she says:

I've already placed all my spending on hold. I've even considered canceling all advertisement because I worry it's all coming to an end and I might as well start saving every linden I can make..

And that is happening all over the grid now; people who have heard are scared, and they've stopped spending anything, or, at the other end of the spectrum, they've already cancelled their accounts and are selling off their parcels. And getting out of SL entirely.

Sindy Tsure drags us back to the contested shores of SL5B, briefly:

My neighbor (who founded this area before I even joined SL) has a giant golden statue, maybe 50m tall, of a naked female. She added.. er.. extra bits.. to it to fit the theme. Realistic? No - it's about 5 prims of extra bits. Obvious anyway? Yep. This statue has been there since about June 2006, when the region got added to the mainland.

She's talking about a transgendered support area, that also has a nightclub, and some places to have sex. Transgendered people in SL tend to do one of two things, depending on their comfort levels: either appear as their chosen gender, start to finish, or appear as who they actually are, in the world beyond. So if one were a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual, for instance, in the second case one would appear with breasts, and a penis, which then might or might not disappear once surgery outside SL were complete.

About 6 months ago, we got a visit from the gteam which resulted in official warnings and the extra bits being returned. The ginormous statue of a nekkid woman was fine but somebody apparently didn't like the extra bits. My neighbor put up some megaprim walls around this area so the neighbors couldn't see us as easily and put the bits back on. End of story (I guess.. the gteam isn't exactly open about this stuff - maybe we're still getting AR'ed every day.. who knows?)

And this is what kills me about people. Gigantic nude statue of a female: fine, unless one is at SL5B. Gigantic statue of a female at SL5B: bad, had to be taken down, nipples erased, covered up.

Apparently, giant statue of a female with a prim penis? Can't be seen, good gods, people are fainting in the street. Tch.

So.. Mature or adult:
- Giant nekkid woman?
- Giant nekkid man?
- Giant nekkid woman with extra bits?
- Giant 1000-prim copy of Michelangelo's David, done by Starax?

Yes, gigantic statue of a man, just fine. Gigantic display of a drawing of a naked man, just fine. A one-prim curved display of a similar painting, this one of a half-nude female, beyond the pale. Weirdly, it's the reverse of real life (US real life), where any and all female nudity is accepted, more or less (you know, unless it's a black nipple, or someone who dares to breastfeed in public), but the entire country freaks out if it's full frontal male nudity.

Ciaran Laval responds to Mystique Chambers:

There has been no consistency from the Lindens on the above issues. Some have suggested such stores will be considered adult, others have said they won't.

And Sindy Tsure responded to Ciaran with this:

And Jack, who owns the gteam and the mainland, apparently said that they're only talking about stuff like dismemberment, which is too extreme even for me..

Some rough guidelines would be really good here, LL. I'm also compelled to again ask for more details on how you got the 2-4% number without knowing if it includes places like skin stores or just snuff places..

Yeah. It'd be good to have a little consistency, wouldn't it?

Lindal Kidd noted a reply from another thread before posting:

But SL is a world of the mind and the emotions. As a result, I think repression, intolerance, and narrow mindedness are much greater evils here. And that is exactly the direction LL wants to take us.

A predictable Second Life is not just "not as much fun". It's the death of everything SL really means. LL is killing the dream that was SL and stuffing the corpse into a shiny coffin. It'll look good on display, but it won't be alive.

Not vital; not thriving; not evolving, changing, growing into something bigger, better, Just...frozen. In stasis. Dead. Unchanging. Diminishing day by day.

This is not the SL that so many of us signed onto and supported. Will it be an SL we can live with? Many of us still aren't sure, and it's that vague unease that's making us not want to spend in world, not want to carry premium accounts, not keep our parcels and our sims...which, in a small or large way, does impact Linden Labs' bottom line.

Lindal Kidd on page 217:

We've asked for a wider discussion. The fact is, very few people read these forums. We've asked LL to put this on the login screen. A vote, a survey, or even just a link to this discussion. Nothing.

Which is very interesting on its own--do the Lindens not want this to be public? Is it all just lip service so they can point to the (closed) threads later and say, "Hey, we tried to engage in dialogue, we gave you the opportunity"?

Mayhap they are that self-serving, but it's depressing in the extreme to think so.

Lillani Lowell:

If all adult content is to be packed into one common area, it means that as an adult provider, you are more likely to be seen by the people actually looking for adult content-- instead of having to advertise and spread yourself all over the grid, you only need to focus your efforts in one area, where you know your entire target audience will be.

[ ... ] Not only does it quarantine your target market, it also forces my competition to be verified adult content creators...... it will make it far more difficult for the million John Doe Alt Accounts to establish adult businesses ripping other people's products.

She's not wrong. (And if I'm remembering correctly, she also owns Mistress Knows Best.)

Matthew Dowd responds:

There is nothing in the proposal which limits adult land to only commercial activities - or says that you can't own adult land for non-adult purposes. Given we have already seen different Lindens with different views on what is adult (the very vague definition in the now withdrawn FAQ which seemed to cover all mature activities, Blondin's "overtly" sexual or violent in places intended for public use, and the latest "extreme" mature content), and we all know examples of one Linden saying something if fine, only for another Linden to uphold an AR against the same, there is the very real risk that people will buy locations on the adult content for private homes etc. just to be on the safe side.

He's not wrong, either; there's a very real chance that Pervistan will allow residential use, as well as commercial. Unless the whole continent is zoned commercial-only, I don't see a way to prevent it.

Around this time, Britain's Extreme Pornography law cropped up in conversation. Ciaran Laval answered the question of possible links between the Labs and the new law thusly:

Well we already have obscenity laws and that law is with regard to personal possession, if I walk into a parcel and someone presents before me an extreme image, I'm not guilty under that law as I had no way of avoiding it, if I pick it up, save to my inventory, save it to my PC, then i'm guilty.

That's not entirely true--the law, as I understand it, relates only to real life pictures. But the conversation moved on to the Berkman Internet Safety Technical Task Force:

The scope of the ISTTF’s inquiry is to consider those technologies that industry and end users can utilize to keep children safe on the Internet, with the bulk of the Task Force's attention concentrated on issues concerning contact: preventing harmful contact with adults, preventing harmful contact with other minors (including cyber bullying and sexual predation), and identity theft. As time allows, we will also address two content areas: preventing access to inappropriate content and preventing illegal content (such as child pornography). The solutions to be considered will include a broad range of technology tools and services. The Task Force recognizes also the importance of other solutions -– such as social norms, law, policy, and market factors –- and will situate technology-based solutions within the context of these other types of solutions.

So yet again, we're on another "must protect the children" kick. And this just in to pair with that. Ciaran Laval's blog post today goes more in-depth on the issue.

So I pulled up my profile, ducking briefly in world. I found, even now, in my very nearly domesticated profile (as I'm not escorting, nor even dancing in any venue at present), there were five words that would have negated people finding me using out-of-world search.

They are corrected now, but this is frightening. How many people are suddenly going to stop showing up at all? And will they get around to blocking in-world search for profiles with these terms, as well? Once client 1.23 goes much of what we do in world is going to change?

And Ciaran is right, just like the last time, when ageplay and Loli went on the censored list--all of those words became banned for discussion without the Labs ever letting us know. Irritating? Yes. Unnerving? Yes also.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

quite the contribution to the unnatural selection

Kindred, long since home to scripted fangs, eyes, coffins, and other items essential to the nightwalkers among us, is having a ten Linden eye sale.


But not just any eyes--oh, no. All three of their scripted, multi-effect prim eyes are on sale. All the prim eye implants, that normally retail for L$150, are $L10 for today only.


And it gets better than that. The three base eye sets, that retail for L$599 each, are also L$10!


Remember: today only. So until midnight SLT, Sunday PST--ten Linden prim eyes with some really stupendous effects. Go get 'em!

In other news, another take on Egyptian godforms has surfaced on the grid:


These are not on sale, but for L$900, the list of options you get is staggering, simply staggering. It includes custom AO stands and holds for the staff, seven separate eyebrow expressions, a twitching tail, different eyelid positions, color-changing eyes, and four muzzle expressions--and that's just what I remember, there are more options listed!


The only real problem we noticed? Rakush Cheeky made one staff, with a black Anubis head, and then applied that staff to each and every avatar. We really would have liked to see the staff match the avatar, but still. It's a small quibble, and who knows--Rakush may be up for tinting to match!

Track down Tokushi Avatars to get your own, and keep in mind--there are three "normal" colors, and then an insane parade of pinks, purples, and greens. But who knows? Having a brilliant blue Anubis may appeal to someone--after all, that particular lapis shade of blue, with gold appointments, really lines up with traditional Egyptian color schemes.

In other news, antelope have been seen in Morgaine....sort of:

This one? I think is on the 'special' list. He kept trying to climb the mountain range that separates Morgaine from Caledon Wellsian...on his side. Little legs kicking off to the left as his right flank inched him up the mountain...

Personally? The focus disk for the dea--for, err, the, mm...Darkhouse structural relay, that's may be emitting some wildlife-deranging particles.

That's all I can figure. Because the other alternative? Is animals come onto my parcel of Morgaine and go craaaazy.

Which is, all things considered, not that flattering...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

got to get hold of myself, I see them gathering around

I met a very charming dragon this evening, whilst I was trying to decide what to do with the cave-that-is-not-quite in Morgaine. He was very polite, though a tad bit confused on my location when I greeted him.

I cammed up from my position inside, to watch him lazily circling the focus disk. A most impressive wingspan he has, febrile with golden glow.

[22:11] Boomer Teixeira: Nice to meet you.
[22:11] Emilly Orr: And you. I haven't seen your name on ISC chat; did you just join our fair realm?
[22:12] Boomer Teixeira: Over a week ago. I hardly talk on there.
[22:12] Emilly Orr: It's not the worst habit to develop, there's a great deal of nonsense interspersed with helpful bits. :)
[22:13] Boomer Teixeira: It's like wordhunt, find the useful ones.
[22:13] Emilly Orr: Indeed
[22:13] Boomer Teixeira: OOH! I am going to go greet newbies with this avatar!
[22:13] Emilly Orr: HEE
[22:13] Emilly Orr: Do have fun!
[22:13] Boomer Teixeira: You too!

If he is the example of Caledon's new blood, I am charmed entire. He's well-spoken, and apparently--after only a week pledged to the cause of our land--a member of Caledon's Air Transport!

Do say hello if you see him fly by.

In other news, I may very well import this into world and just send it to people who transgress. :)

And MediaMaster is down. Damn it, I liked them.

In the meantime, back to That Woman I keep saying I'm done with.

Nany Kayo:

The sex industry is the only kind of business that will use a porn website.


No one has to search for the brothels. The whole damned place is a brothel. You can't search for anything or go anywhere in Second Life without being swamped with porn.


Only people interested in pornography are interested in coming to a porn website. It doesn't matter what island it is on.


Just about anything you search for will result in pornography.


From what I can tell from the viewpoints being expressed here, the only reason for anyone to use Second Life is for sex.


I don't even think I need to go on, but good gods. The woman is fixated and needs serious therapy. Or medication.

Apparently she's never been to Raglan Shire. Or anywhere in Caledon. Or to any of the jazz clubs. Or to Avilion Isle's grand ballroom. Or to the four sims that comprise Avaria. Or to Rua, either on the ground or under the water. Or to the SL Botanical Gardens. For that matter, all garden shops. The totality of Giverny, gorgeous as it is. Anywhere in the Cosy island chain. Any SL church.

Do I need to keep listing examples? There is such a wide, diverse grid, with such amazing things in it, and not even a tenth of it is hardcore pornography.

I keep trying to wrap my mind around how she thinks, and I am profoundly failing. Maybe every time she sees two poseballs together, she freaks out, so any chair, any log by a fire, that has a cuddle set, she must shriek and think porn.

Now, to her credit, if one pulls up Search and types in "furniture", and unchecks the "Include Mature content" box, one will pull up a lot of sex stores in the first fifteen entries or so--both under Classifieds and under Places. Even under the evil "All" tab, "love furniture" and "sex beds" seem prevalent among the entries.

Does this mean that SL is nothing but a haven for sexual deviance? No. Does this mean the Labs need to properly enforce their Mature versus PG rules? Yes. Does this also mean that businesses carrying furniture with sex animations need to mark their business advertisements as Mature, not PG? YES.

From Grady Vuckovic:

*Sits in the back seat of a car, while Linden Lab and the minority groups drive her to 'Disneyland'*

Ah, my apologies, then, Miss Vuckovic. Think I was thinking you were male in previous posts.

Quoted in the forums by Moon Corrigible from one of Jack Linden's office hours:

[12:26] Talarus Luan: So far, I see no evidence of it being "smooth", except in terms of being completely nebulous.
[12:27] Jack Linden: it'll get clearer Tal, as we get closer to that time. we're listening to a lot of feedback and answering as much as we can
[12:28] Jack Linden: you guys seem to prefer to know early than wait to hear later when things are more concrete.. and talking earlier means we get more of your input but also means we have some outstanding details to clear up

12:28] Talarus Luan: I wish I believed that, Jack, but so far, no Linden has answered any of the hard questions, nor is showing signs of "listening to feedback".
[12:28] Jack Linden: I think doing it this way is better
[12:28] Talarus Luan: Hearing is not the same as listening.

[12:46] Jack Linden: you guys seem to see this as moving Mature content, but it isn't. we're only talking about the very extreme end of content.
[12:48] Jack Linden: I thought there was a definition in the blog post..
[12:48] Ciaran Laval: Jack the definitons all got pulled
[12:49] Jack Linden: right. well i expect we'll see those tighten up. my understanding is that normal mature content isn't affected.

[12:51] Elanthius Flagstaff: The crazy part about it all is it's all just animations. Little tiny cartoons on a computer. It's literally impossible to even BE extreme at this level of detail
[12:52] Jack Linden: Elanthius.. that's not true. Some of the content is real photography or video etc, it's far from being just cartoons
[12:52] Elanthius Flagstaff: OK, well is "extreme" just real photography? Because in that case we'll all breathe a sigh of relief and agree with your plans
[12:53] Jack Linden: Elanthius.. I think that is what we'll get to define, but my understanding is that normal Mature content is unaffected, but the most extreme stuff, torture, dismemberment etc, will move
[12:53] Jack Linden: If I had that definition for you, i'd happily recite it.

I'm only grabbing four sections of a much longer post, and Moon Corrigible seems very willing to toss anyone a transcript of the complete "Brown Bag" meeting with Jack Linden if you IM her in world.

What it keeps sounding like to me? "We've got this underway, and we're still working on the details. Thanks so much for all your feedback. We'll let you know more when we figure things out."

Translation: We have no clue. We are therefore going forward anyway.

Valerius Constantine:

What SL needs apparently, according to LL, is a better class of user, that isn't silly, graphic, or desirous--but is still creative enough to pretty up the grid, while mindlessly buying lindens, virtual "land", and any products that a corporate client wants to advertise in-world.

[ ... ] And still no definitions of who needs to move, when they'll need to do it, *how* it will happen, or *why* it will happen. And still adherence to a "2%-4%" mantra which is on the very face of it ridiculous--


Grady Vuckovic again:

Setup a page with a very long list of everything that is questionable, and have a "Adult" or "Mature" option next to it, for people to vote. Your a company full of programmers, I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to make a page with a few polls on it. So then you could have say:

Full body nudity: [Adult] [Mature]
Partial Nudity: [Adult] [Mature]
Display of nude skins: [Adult] [Mature]
Cutting off heads in cartoon fashion: [Adult] [Mature]
Cutting off heads in realistic fashion: [Adult] [Mature]
Brief sexual scenes: [Adult] [Mature]
Detailed text based roleplayer of sexual scenes in public: [Adult] [Mature]
Silent sexual scenes of sex animations (no text roleplay, or only done in IM's): [Adult] [Mature]
Soft Vore: [Adult] [Mature]
Hard Vore: [Adult] [Mature]
Death: [Adult] [Mature]
Cartoon Death: [Adult] [Mature]
Flirting: [Adult] [Mature]
Strip dancing: [Adult] [Mature]
Clothed bodies rubbing against each other: [Adult] [Mature]

All right, I'll bite:

Full body nudity: [Mature]
Partial Nudity: [Mature]
Display of nude skins: [Mature]
Cutting off heads in cartoon fashion: [Mature]
Cutting off heads in realistic fashion: [Adult]
Brief sexual scenes: [Mature]
Detailed text based roleplayer of sexual scenes in public: [Adult]
Silent sexual scenes of sex animations (no text roleplay, or only done in IM's): ([Mature] if fully clothed, [Adult] if not)
Soft Vore: [Adult]
Hard Vore: [Adult]
Death: [Adult]
Cartoon Death: [Mature]
Flirting: [Mature]
Strip dancing: [Mature]
Clothed bodies rubbing against each other: [Mature]

These are just my definitions, though, you're free to go through the list and decide for yourselves.

Riku Ashdene didn't think things through:

I will admit to this, and probably have my account closed for it... I am one year Below 18. I have been on this game for many months.. and I think it is the best thing to happen to the internet. I dont use it for its "Mature Content".. I use it to meet up with FRIENDS I have on here.. Some of which will now be hanging out in the "Mature" section, which I will not be allowed to access. Which means... I am to be cut off from the people who mean alot to me. Also.. I have my PARENT CONSENT to be on here. They check up on me, and watch me like any other parent would.

Oh, for the love of all things...All right, blanket advice to any eyes that see this: If you're on the grid, and you're under eighteen, and no one has caught you yet--DO NOT CONFESS to being underage!

How simple do I have to make this? If you haven't been caught, don't offer yourself up. Just don't. It's universally stupid.

Windsweptgold Wopat brought up the groups young Miss Ashdene belonged to, as perfect reasoning why teens should not access the grid. So I pulled her up on Search, and lo and behold: Riku Ashdene no longer exists.

On the Adult grid, at least.

Though what's really interesting to me? I can't track down under groups anything she supposedly belonged to, while she was on the grid violating the ToS. Did the groups to which she belonged get axed as well?

Puppet Shepherd brings soothing words to calm the savage rants:

Quite honestly, many of the folks posting in this thread are overreacting. They are assuming things are going to happen that in all likelihood are not. LL has repeatedly said this will not apply to private residences, and nudity in a public space is not enough to earn bannination to adults-only land.

However, I can see where those of you who are doing the overreacting are coming from. LL apparently has only one person actively keeping up with this thread, and one person is not enough to keep up with it. Secondly, the lack of development of clear definitions encourages paranoid minds to run wild. Third, the presence of one troll in this thread who is allowed to continue to post multiple inflammatory messages is getting a lot of people's hackles up.

And it should be remembered, by myself, as well--we don't have firm definitions in place. The Labs have said that this is only for the truly extreme cases. Sure, we're worried that those extreme cases will not have a uniformity of definition, but--they're not planning on moving everyone.

Actually, what is starting to unnerve me is not the Lindens trying to hold only that "2 to 4%" of users/groups/businesses being extremely violent or "adult". What will unnerve me is--once on their own little grid, will that subset, now, of Pornodelphian designers, seek that second dividing line? The one that asks, So how much violence/sex/extreme content is too much?

In other words, once everyone's moved and "settled"--at least as far as they're going to--will people take the opportunity to go all out? Dolcett girls operating as an open group again, prim bodies on spikes lining the beaches, accurate-to-the-last-prim junkie kits, with places in the back alleys to wait out the drug's rush? Blood rushing down the walls, screams of the damned pervading the streets, giant shredded mutated forms melting flesh from avatars at a glance?

Necrophilia catching on? Rape rooms? Avatar-based reinactments of the torture memos? Seriously, this could make the problem of grid misperception worse, not better! Again we have to ask why it isn't safer, better, and altogether easier to make Ursula a new, fresh, clean start for SL? Why won't it work? Thousands of their customer base, protesting, suggesting this very option--why couldn't it work?!?

We'll likely never know, because the Lindens are wearing blinders in all of this, doggedly pushing forward past any and all offers and advice. They have a goal; they'll get there; and while they may slow down, they won't stop.

At least, until the bottom drops out of the economy, and people stop playing the game. And really--nobody wants that. Not a single one of us wants that.

Save for...just maybe...the Lindens themselves.