Sunday, July 25, 2010

bangin’ heads there ‘til we all went broke

The first I'd heard of anything was a couple days back, when Aura Falta, owner of Tacky Star, screamed into the Violent Seductions chat, freaking out:

[2010/07/23 0:49] Aura Falta: i am freaking out

It seems--for no apparent reason--Ikaru Aichi, owner of Violent Seductions (**see note) had been banned. No one at that point knew why. And Aura--among others--was very worried.

Then the 5th and Oxford blog tossed a mention of the ban, in with a serious allegation that the two events are tied together. This has made me ponder several things, including the nature of Linden Labs bans, themselves.

But there's still something so odd about this one: first, I don't care how much any avatar in question wants you dead and gone--unless they a) know someone at Linden Labs, and, more importantly, b) can prove their accusations--LL won't budge. In all cases I've been personally aware of, the person banned did something to deserve that ban. Whether or not we think it's right, the Labs are legally sure that, by their ToS, they can stand on their bans.

And they've rarely been wrong.

[2010/07/23 0:50] Aura Falta: The decision to terminate your Second Life access was reached after investigation of your use of the Second Life software and service
this email is notification that Linden Lab has terminated your access to the Second Life virtual world due to severe or repeated violations of the Second Life Terms of Service or Community Standards.
[2010/07/23 0:50] Aura Falta: that is what they sent her

"Repeated" violations; "severe" violations. Does that sound familiar? The previous two cases, where someone I knew, and knew well, got banned, involved:

* garnering someone's account details without permission to use to purchase Linden currency; subsequently banned (they later made an alt, after presenting proof of restitution to the Labs, and promising not to do it again).

* releasing personal account details to another person; subsequently banned (*coughs* Supposedly IP banned, so any potential alts that might or might not be roaming around are obviously not using that IP address).

So what did Aichi do? Yes, both Ikaru Aichi and Aura Falta tend towards the abrasive; yes, they've both made enemies on the grid. This doesn't surprise me; so have I. But for Aichi to be banned out of the blue for "severe" and "repeated" account violations? That one of her business partners didn't know about?

Something else is up.

Notwithstanding the fact that IP banning a single person who lives in a single dwelling is one thing, but IP banning a person who lives with other people, who in this case also play Second Life...Guys? I know you're Lindens and all, but that means they can't play either. What the hell?

And adding onto that, this is someone who owns a sim. This is not some scruffy little griefer, bored out of his mind and looking for the next thing that goes bang between getting drunk that night and finals the next day. This is a merchant in, I would assume, good standing; someone with strong community ties; and, like her or loathe her, a sim owner.

She's banned; okay, fine, that may or may not be reversed in the next few days. But what happens to everyone on that sim with her? What happens to people she may have on her business' payroll? She loses the sim, all those stores have to relocate. She loses her account, she can't pay anyone; or put out new product; or get involved with any other charity efforts...

And what if this account is part of what's paying her RL income? She loses that, maybe she loses her home. Which means her roommates--which, again, are IP banned from Second Life, despite their blamelessness in all of this--are out of a house.

There has to be a better way to do this.

But I keep coming back to--what did Aichi do? What was the offense? What was so damaging that they had to ban her without notice?

[2010/07/23 0:51] Sakura Rajal: how was she doing this supposed repeated offense? and what was she doing?
[2010/07/23 0:51] Aura Falta: nothing
[2010/07/23 0:51] Aura Falta: she was doing nothing

So Falta says, and personally, I have no reason to doubt that's what she's being told. But it just doesn't hold up. What's really going on?

(**note: If you've followed the Violent Seductions link, Aichi herself answers the accusations:
I was not banned for copybotting. I have never personally exploited any kind of hack or copybot.

However; I did participate in the creation of some of Emerald's earlier addons (Namely; the PAR plugins). Some were questionable; one in particular used by my ex boyfriend.

Basically he used the exploit inappropriately and sent me the copybotted items.

You have to take into account that I have over 30,000 items in my inventory and I have never cleaned it; so things of that sort can very easily be lost.

Unfortunately for me; my ex boyfriend decided to report me to Linden Labs; blaming me for copybotting when in reality I had only received the items from him.

All of this happened nearly 2 years ago; before the creation of Emerald.
And okay, that I can see as being both "repeated" and "severe", especially if she's one of the Emerald developers, because let's be honest, while Emerald has been a godsend for the grid, from the development of Copybot on down, Modular Systems, and all its prior incarnations, have an established history of doing things with code that can be staggeringly misused. Note: I am
not saying they are bad people. I'm saying they don't always completely think things through.

(I'd also note that hello, the ex rearing the vindictive head--be careful in who you date on the grid. Don't date people crazier than you are. I like to think that I'm always the most damaged in any relationship, but I have been terrifyingly wrong, and more than once. This entire thing could have been avoided had her ex not been a complete and utter git.)

On the heels of that, I want to touch a little bit on the Summer of Love fair. Hosted by the same organizational crew as the minds behind the Black & Blue Fair, this one is so much better organized. Less lag, more space, more vendors, the notecard givers work for the most part...and from go, rezzing in, there's a dropdown on the space that says Not everything sold here is for charity. Right away, going in, we know that.

But also, the notecards are a great deal more in-depth than the few I managed to get on the last fair. All in all, this feels like a much better event.

And it's still for raising awareness of mental disorders, only this time they've tossed in gender disorders and domestic abuse, too. And there was a notecard specifically from Keira Seerose. I'm presenting it as I got it, typos and all:
My name is Keira Seerose and I own III - a clothing brand. These freebies are from that brand, but if you know me at all you are more likely to know me as the creator of the Summer of Love Fair where you got this freebie from.. and if you've been to that fair you might have been to my event before that, the Black and Blue fair.

The Black and Blue fair was my first major event. Born out of sheer bloody mindedness, ambition and persistance I tracked down designers I loved and got them involved. Half way through the planning I gained Melisande Metaluna, my personal assistant, who wrote all the mental health notecards and helped me deal with designers while they set up in the venue.

The event was an unexpectedly huge success - not just for fashion but for mental health awareness. Every day I would log in to messages from people thanking me for helping them come to terms with a situation they or a loved one was in. It was amazing to be a part of something so good.

My own mental health is under severe strain and has been for many years, sexual abuse, my sisters death, my parents divorce, emotional abuse, self harm, suicidal thoughts, a severe anxiety disorder that left me house bound, 47 suicide attempts in a year, acute depression and mood dysthymia (The medical term for permenant low mood)..... I was and still am a mess, for want of a better word. But throughout my troubles I have always tried to raise awareness of what it means to be 'mentally ill'. In my online travels I have touched thousands & thousands of peoples lives in various ways, and the best way I know how is to be brutally open about what Im going through - in the hopes that anyone going through the same will feel less alone.

The black and blue fair opened on June 4th 2010. I had worked hard to make everything perfect, with the help of Melisande and a small team of people who contributed their own skills. When I was online my driving force was relentless, pushing the venue, the designers and the whole event forward...

On the 20th of May 2010, a week and a half before opening night, my grandmother, Rosaleen, was taken very ill. I am very close to my grandmother... her and my grandfather (on my mums side) were like another set of parents to me. They helped me through all of lifes trials - including my sisters death and the sexual abuse, but more recently in life they had been my reason to leave the house.

It is near impossible for me, on a normal day - for example - to go to the shop for a pint of milk. But if my grandmother fell over I would go over to help lift her without a thought. I took them to hospital appointments, doctors appointments, x rays when they broke bones, lifted them when they fell.. the stuff you do for the people you love...

On the 20th of May we were told we would lose her. Her kidneys had failed and she was on morphine for her pain and because it couldnt leave her system it had put her into a deep sleep. We sat by her bedside all night, and at 6.45am the next morning, same as any other day, she woke up.

I stayed in the hospital for a week, with various family members coming and going my mother and I stayed there all the time, struggling to keep our eyes open at 4am to make sure if the worst happened it wouldnt be alone. When she was awake she was mostly incoherant, but spoke of her sisters - and mine - long gone, as if she were talking to them.

I helped the nurses wash her and change her bed, when she asked for water I gave it to her on a sponge on a stick - an odd contraption but it stopped her from choking on a drink. When she asked for a cup of tea (gotta love the british) I gave it to her through a straw. Brushed her hair, wrapped her rosary around her hand, sung to her in the night when my uncle fell asleep in the visitors chair.

Why am I telling you this? Because its important to know how much I loved my grandmother. It is important for me to tell people how much I Loved my grandmother. On the 27th of May 2010, around 4am - she passed away. With her husband, daughter, son, and two grandchildren (Me and my sister) at her side.

Throughout that week Melisande held the black and blue fair together, and the fair would not have been possible without her help. The day after my grandmother passed I came back to SL and back to work - luckily I was still in shock which lasted until after the fair opened.

This fair, the Summer of Love Fair, is in her memory. Because she was always proud of the little things I did to try and help other people. She supported me in all that I Did, and loved me despite my flaws. There were many days and nights when I felt like I had no one in the world... a feeling I Know that a lot of people have. I know now how wrong that was.

It feels like the world should have stopped. It feels like I shouldnt have to tell strangers reading a notecard about my grandmother, that the whole world should have known and loved her as I did. Loss is an illogical and cruel beast.

The other notecard in this folder will tell you all about what bereavement is and its signs and symptoms, but if you've felt it you know. Bereavement is a broken heart without hope. It is utter darkness and shock - because it cannot be undone no matter how hard you wish. It steals the light from your life and shows no remorse.

Bereavement can last days, weeks or years. I am still affected, weekly, by the death of my sister when I was 7... and I am not sad about that. The pain is the only reminder to the world that she mattered. Does that sound familiar? Don't be ashamed to value the pain and not want to let it go. Although life must move on, its alright to feel like it shouldnt. Its part of grieving... and while I will tell anyone whos having those feelings to talk to someone about them - I would like to end this notecard by saying thank you to all those who enjoyed this fair or the Black and Blue fair. Anyone who learnt anything from it. Anyone who took more than fashion away from this place... because the love and compassion and desire to help people that made me create these events came from my grandmother. So this ones you for Granny.
You can reach the Summer of Love fair here.


Darien Mason said...

Most unfortunate for Miss Aichi. Her blog doesn't seem to be comment enabled, but if it was I'd tell ehr that a lot of SL designers are setting up shop over at InWorldz.

Emilly Orr said...

Unfortunately, yes. I'd go and visit, but I have this knee-jerk reaction to the Z in their name.