Sunday, September 5, 2010

you smile and I don't understand when you tell me the writing ain't yours

Is it just me? Is my current attitude towards grid-wide hunting a byproduct of age and ill grace? Because I'm scanning the usual suspects to get an idea of what I might want to hunt out (when one's inventory reaches 66,000 one becomes inordinately careful on what one acquires), and I'm suffering an extreme fit of ill temper over certain things.

I would have to carve bits off any tattoo artist who gave me this, for instance. And I do believe a pixellated judge would nod and understand.

Maybe I'm just cranky in general right now. A "Hot Scmergel" dropped by the Solace sales office:

[18:37] Emilly Orr: Hello, Hot! Let me know if I can help with any Solace Beach questions.

She said nothing, just danced in place. I pulled her profile.

"Like every one says"I DON'T DO DRAMA" and I'm here to have fun,so lets party,I am a party girl!!!"

Aside from the quotation marks, that's exactly what's on her bio page. Riiiiight.

Idly, I scanned her groups. Handful of shop groups, the rest of her slots are almost all dance groups or lesbian groups. I snerked at "Kittens Lesbian Erotica", whose group name is almost a description: Kittens Lesbian Erotica - **WOMEN ONLY** Club.

Second Life,Solace Beach,weirdness,pretend lesbians

Riiiiight. Because when I think of lesbians, I always think of seven-foot-tall booth-tanned "party girls" with latex stockings and bad hair.

[18:41] Emilly Orr: Or, y'know, just hang out and watch you dance untl you mysteriously disappear for no reason.

Ten minutes later? She's STILL dancing obliviously away. I finally drop her an IM, and ten minutes past that still, she sends back this:

[18:57] Hot Scmergel: ty

No, really. Thank you. Honestly, it was a bright spot in my entire day watching your anorexic ass dance badly.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe what I really I need is a rocker and a crocheted shawl, and I can just randomly show up places and yell at the kids on my lawn.

[19:09] Cornelia Rothschild: 1. Buy hoodie that says 'Cutie Pie' for cat with anger management issues. 2. Dance cat around. 3. ???? 4. Profit.

If only we knew more about Step 3....

[9:53] Darlingmonster Ember: two points to share for ISC, one... Xstreet seems to not allow logins for me
[9:54] Darlingmonster Ember: two... the new 'emerald' site 'Phoenix' seems to already have been hacked
[9:55] Darlingmonster Ember: (not a tech person, pls excuse the lack of specifics)

[9:55] Glorf Bulmer: Much problems with logins today:
[9:55] Darlingmonster Ember nods
[9:55] Darlingmonster Ember saw that...and was wondering about the shutdown of the XStreet exchange

I've been watching, and ever since this, no one else has reported computer problems with downloading New Phoenix. I'm still wary, because so much went wrong so quickly with Emerald and the Emerald devs, but either they discovered the problem, and replaced the client, or it was one of those rare coincidences. They happen. I don't know either way, so I'm reporting it as a potential false positive (so to speak, and tipping the hat to Mr. Telling for the term).

[10:00] Tali Rosca: Notice that the marketplace is planned to *come out of beta* come January. Some 3 months after they shut down the existing version.
[10:01] Glorf Bulmer: One of the advantages of living eight time zones ahead of LL... you get to log in before things crash
[10:01] Darlingmonster Ember: they even noted on the lead page.... we do understand Xstreet Exchange has a higher level of service... we will be planning to match that... someday
[10:01] Tali Rosca: By all use of the "beta" term, that means that for 3 months, we do not have a production-ready marketplace we can rely on for actual work.
[10:14] Emilly Orr: Of course not. Why would the Lindens bother with creating a functional market for virtual goods?

Why yes, I am bitter at this point. Obscurely, I'm still hoping to be wrong. But think of the problems it would solve without user content allowed in SL. Copybotting? Copied product would be easy to spot; it wouldn't be created by a Linden. Worried about kids in SL? Don't bother: the Linden creators just won't make Adult content. Zindra sales down? The Lindens can kill the continent; no more lowered sales.

Yes, I know, this is becoming my Prokofian delusion: and it's one I really, REALLY hope I'm wrong in believing. Because destroying user content in SL would really, truly, once and for all, kill user interest in SL for a great many of us.

And then there's this:

And lo and behold, the castanets were made.

Damn, if those aren't the truest words ever penned...

Speaking as one of the types who frequently gets hysterical at the drop of a hat, even I've backed down on the sturm-und-drang posts. I've hit the wall of Why am I really here? Because I design clothing (that never sells) and hold hunts (that no one attends) and okay, the charity end of things, I do well on, but I can't rely on charity work to pay me anything--and that's not the point of charity work in the first place.

And the SL job--of the six sims I was hired to work on and redevelop, the owner sold three. Not because I was doing a bad job, but because there's just not enough people wanting to rent. (She's going down to one Adult-rated sim, she's cut out easily 10% of her commercial sims, total, and she would have cut down more residential sims save for many of them are homesteads, or grandfathered in--and thus, now cannot be sold.)

In point of fact, my work in the sales office hasn't seen a commission sale in three weeks.

Topping all this off, there's no one I spend serious time with who wants to be in SL. And, because of the process I went through, essentially severing all social ties while I recovered from first one blow, then another, then a third (yes, one was Radio Riel, but the others, being RL-based trauma surfacing with an insane suddenness, followed by intense relationship trauma, SL and RL), I hear about dances, about celebrations, about social talks and I feel not only an extreme disinclination to attend, but also I wonder, again--why am I here?

Now, I do want to reassure anyone reading along--especially landlord-shaped people--this is not my extended farewell to Second Life. But it's caused some pondering, admittedly. We aren't quite (RL we) financially stable enough to simply buy three months of rent in advance and make everyone happy, so I have to do one of two things: create things and sell them, OR work for someone else.

And don't mistake me--though the lack of commissions currently is galling, I have sold things, and I don't plan on changing my style because it works for me--when potential renters want to buy. And while I am pondering the business, and working on a new line of products, I know that the largest hindrance to my making sales is not my work, but a) the glacial slowness of updating my various lines paired with b) the fact that there are so many people out there offering so many things for sale--and a great many of those merchants have more skill than I do (and that's not sour grapes, that's just honesty--I am just now learning how to shade, how to highlight, and it's a slow process for me).

But it gets daunting on more than a few occasions: whatever I explore in the world, I explore alone. Hunting, once a keenly thrilling social activity, has become bland and dull. I have to weigh the cool stuph I find against several thoughts that almost instantly follow: "Will X want to know this? What's the point of one more cool frock if they're not in world to wear the last six I told them about?"

And, between the annoyance of constant grid-wide hunt notices, and the merchanting end of things (my merchanting, as well as everyone else's) feeling so desperate...I'm going to be ruthlessly honest, here: Second Life just isn't fun anymore.

And, see, if it were just me, then okay--everyone goes through bad patches, and summer's turning to fall, and there are a lot of folks, not just me, balancing work needs against life needs, and finding the virtual part of our lives falling short.

But it's not just me. Logging in over the past four days? Today was the first day that the little statistics reader on login registered more than 40,000 avatars in world. Now yes, I'm from 2006, and I remember when the entire world staggered at 30,000 concurrently--but there have been a lot of server upgrades, base code upgrades, since then. Moreover, if SL was having major login problems, a server farm or two crashing out, that's understandable--annoying, but understandable.

But that's not it. There's just not more than 32000 to 36000 interested in Second Life most of the time. And that? Is kind of scary.

So, to finally get around to answering Miss Dio's question--has Second Life changed, or have we? We have changed. I think it's unmistakeable at this point. But that's not the problem.

The problem is, Second Life hasn't changed to keep up. Or if they have--because she makes an excellent point about Philip--then they've changed in ways that don't align with the bulk of the grid.

Irreconcilable differences, here we come.


Sphynx Soleil said...

>Poof< Mysterious post appears mysteriously. :)

I usually do a lot of things alone these days...explore, window shop, look for things I want to build something like, and so on.

Just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one alone, heh. :)

Lalo Telling said...

Miss Dio and I had a nice chat in the comments to her blog -- which naturally lead me here. (And I am delighted at her return!)

You make the point I didn't get around to, Miss Emilly: change in different directions. And even though you detest the terminal zed in its name, I must bring that other grid up again to make another point I've missed stating so far, which is the other side of the coin I have stamped "The Founders Care":

Because they do, I and others who are there feel we have a genuine part in shaping its future -- an opportunity few in Second Life have had if their in-world name wasn't Linden.

Unlike the corporate oligarchy which SL has always been, IW is a community. The difference is palpable, both in how the place is run, and how we feel about it.

Emilly Orr said...

Well, and I do a lot of my runs alone--hunting, haunted house finds, general wandering...Where I think there's a difference is, one's a choice (I am choosing to wander and explore on my own), and the other rests on inevitability (even if I wanted to spend time with one of my loves, two out of four never log in these days, and the other two log in for hunts, or to check on freebies, and then they're gone again).

I guess it's half SL not being as much fun anymore, with all the screaming and the drama, and half self-pity. I hate to put it that way, but really, examined rationally, that's what it is. I don't have anyone to cuddle with so I'm pouting. :p

Emilly Orr said...

Mr. Telling,

You (and others who speak on this point) likely aren't wrong. And I realize resenting two virtual worlds simply because one is stupidly named is rather silly.

It's just...that Z. That Z tells me that the entire ruling body just graduated college. That Z tells me their definition of 'fun' and 'hip' and makes me think of 4channers texting each other back and forth with every phrase ending in "lol".

This is a knee-jerk reaction, yes, but I can't get over it. I want 4chan humor, I'll hang around Stiv, not uproot everything I've established in SL and learn the ropes in a new world.

Plus, do they even have an economy yet? Or is it everyone buys in on their own?

Lalo Telling said...

The economy is thriving, best that I can tell. There is a currency that one can convert to directly from L$ through an "ATM" system, at a flat rate of 2 I'z per 1L$, or one can buy through PayPal.

As for your other knee jerking (the uninjured one, I hope!), I respectfully direct you to the InWorldz forum, where you will find not a 4channer anywhere. You will find, however, distinctly less competition for your wares than in SL, as well as rents concomitant with the drastically reduced cost of presence in that world.

Oh, and this: It is not necessary to leave one world in order to join another. My choice is my own, but others divide their time differently, and their is a growing number of creator/merchants with a pixel foot in both.

I'll be happy to answer any other questions you may have. DM me through Twitter for my email address, if you care to.

Lalo Telling said...

(and please excuse the typo)

Emilly Orr said...

The Z still bugs me. And they're not going to be able to beat my current zero rent for my store parcel, but I understand what you're saying.

Dio said...

"The problem is, Second Life hasn't changed to keep up."

yep, the sound you hear is nail gettin' whapped on its head.

And then you said this:

"...destroying user content in SL would really, truly, once and for all, kill user interest in SL for a great many of us."

Yes, if for some reason LL was to kill user content creation and force us to rely on what they made...or what their pet crap-crankers churned out--then it's fuckin' buh-bye for sure.

I can't do what I do in world without having the ability to make, adjust or recombine shit. They don't have the imagination to give me what I want and need for my purposes. I've compromised a lot over the years--put up with their nonsense and stupid decisions. I've adjusted to their flailing about...but a substantial change to our potential to shape the world and its content? That's a deal breaker for me.

Emilly Orr said...

I admit, I try not to harp on it too much these days, because Philip came back to be the Grand Poobah, and I have this back-of-the-head feeling that Philip back, over M, means the Labs are back to supporting user creation as a concept.

But I may be wrong. They've developed a zero-tolerance attitude, but it seems to be only zero tolerance for certain things--and those things seem really scattershot. Azriel Demain got banned for over a week for an 'inspired by' reference on a suit listed on XStreet; yet the blatant violators aren't even touched. Avatar virtual memorabilia mounts, and everyone, including the Lindens, jumps on the bandwagon for a share of the imagined profits.

Why is "inspired by Gary Oldman's suit in Bram Stoker's Dracula" beyond the pale, yet making skins/outfits/hair for the Na'vi, calling it Na'vi whatever, and owning an entire Pandoran sim which tells people it's an Avatar movie RP environment...that's perfectly okay?

I just don't get their standards. And I worry that, under whatever leadership, it won't matter in the long run because what they seem to want is so not in line with how their residents behave. And that's another place where the disconnect is wide and brutally clear: what the Lindens do, and what the users want the Lindens to do, are rarely, if ever, the same thing.

Thorgal said...

"Riiiiight. Because when I think of lesbians, I always think of seven-foot-tall booth-tanned party girls with latex stockings and bad hair."

Wait? you mean you didnt think she was hotz?

Emilly Orr said...

If she ditches the stockings, and gets a skin that doesn't look like a bad spray-on tan job...maybe.

But as thought she was?

Miss D Ember said...

Passing note: I was touchy over-reacting to the Phoenix download. My machine/virus checker went DangerDanger! and choked. My bad. Turns out the Phoenix was ok, but my paranoid Norton was wrong.

ah well.

Emilly Orr said...

It happens. I used to play Phantasy Star Online on a private server, and every time I started the program up, my virus checkers started to wail. Something in that program they just didn't like.

I didn't report it on the spot, but a few days later didn't see any others giving the same report, so I changed how I was referring to it.

(Both Phoenix and Emergence are in the TPV directory now, btw.)