Sunday, December 19, 2010

mamas, don't let your cowgirls grow up and have babies

The Labs being the Labs, they're never going to budge on this position. In fact, once a company changes their Terms of Service to reflect any given change, even if it's a massively unpopular one, it won't go back. Still, it seems like there's one of these threads popping up on the forums every other day. This one has some amusing points, however...

From MilosZ Milosz:
Say, for example, an adult is wandering around a general region. This adult has adult groups in his profile, for example "No limit C** S***s". A child scans this person profile and sees this group, double clicks on it and opens the group window which, wow, is open enrollment much to his glee. Said child then opens an IM window for that group and attempts to start chatting up adults. Regardless if this groups are flagged as mature or not, the group can still be opened by double clicking it on a persons profile page.
Not an unfair point. How are people responding?

From Venus Petrov:
Too late...cope.
Short, simple, and to the point. I have to admire her for that.

From Spiral Silverstar:
...While you are at it, why not ask LL to return to the Old Viewer too. Ain't gonna happen. Get over it.
From Ann O'Toole:
maybe people should not name their groups that way.

anything visible in a profile is supposed to be G rated.

That said yes groups (and everything else in SL) need content ratings so non account verified people will never see any of it.
Yes and no. Everything seen in a profile is supposed to be G-rated, but are the groups given that restriction? Because as far as I know they've never had restrictions on what can or cannot be used as an in-world group name.

From Wilhiam Hydraconis:
I concur there are various reasons (still) to object to the merger, but as indicated by others it's too late for any reversal to be taken into consideration by LL. It is done. Perhaps a different title of your thread like "Did you consider this too ?" would have been better.

That being said, the overall idea of minors mixing with adults in an environment that is far from suitable to minors even if parts have been marked as PG and disguised as 'merely a 3D game' is a severe chance being taken.
Yes, but it's always been a problem. I used to have to turn away thirteen-to-fifteen year-olds who wanted to strip all the time when I was part of managing the Enigma. At least one of them--and I know this because I knew the participants involved, and was dating one of them--had sex with two avatars who were not aware until later that the person behind the keys was a thirteen-year-old girl.

From Ishtara Rothschild:
Let LL handle those cases. It's their responsibility now. Meanwhile, start blogging about this and other scandalous things. SL needs a lot of media attention right now...
Doing my best to blog about scandal and Labs.

Also from Miss Rothschild:
It would have been great if LL had advised us to do this before they let the teens in, and before they start banning us for indecency. That's so typical of SL, everything is utterly haphazard and uncoordinated.
Yes, indeed. But nothing we can do about the Labs' coordination and communication skills, either.

From Wynochee LeShelle:
Like many said before, it is too late. Since the new ToS from Dec. 15 is in effect, teens from all over the world are able and allowed to join the main grid "fast, free and easy", like the join button says...

This is the small "thank you" from Linden Lab, a christmas gridmess gift for us adults, for our efforts to build an interesting and attractive grid for years and for our efforts to drive the company into the black numbers.
How fast is it to get an account on Second Life? Pretty damned fast. How free is it? Unless you agree to hold a premium account, or want any ability to spend Lindens, it's pretty free. How easy is it for a child to get access to the Adult grid and have virtual sex with other adults? Still far too easy.

But then, people should wake up to that, as well, as far as the internet at large goes: I know six different ways, without even thinking creatively, for a random anonymous browser to access fairly extreme pornography--and I'm talking moving pictures, not photographs--without laying out anything--not one dime, not one credit card number, not one attempt at any sort of verification. So really, how much worse is it going to be on the grid?

From Marx Mode:
Here's the situation. The "good kids" are going to stay in the PG sims - they're the ones who signed up for the Teen Grid, rather than sneaking into the Main Grid all along. And to be honest, they probably want to stay as far away from the tantrum throwing "adults" as possible.

The rest of the teens - and there are a LOT more of them than the ones who are moving over from TG - have been here all along. And see, that's what *really* has the Chicken Littles running around like the sky is falling - they now have to contend with that reality. They can't cover their eyes to it anymore. Teens have been among us all this time - in violation of TOS. The problem is not that the Teen Gridders are coming. The problem is that anyone can sign up for a Main Grid account with zero verifiable idenficiation required. None. Getting to the Moderate/Mature grid? No obstacle whatsoever.

That is the problem. And it has been for a very long time.

From Starchild Magic:
People are freaking out because "OMGGG there's gonna be KIDZ on teh main gridd!!!11!!1!" but forgetting that kids have been on the main grid for a long time - they just kept the fact that they're kids hidden. I met my first one a year ago. He was only 11 years old.

And as for asking for a RL age...there's no guarantee that even if asked, the person's going to tell the truth. In fact, chances are they won't. So hopping on the poseballs with ANYONE who you don't know well is a risky thing.
Which means trust is going to come into play, in a BIG way, and how many people really, deeply, trust the people they're sleeping with on the grid all the time? I think the answer to that would shock people.

From Tristan Avedon:
I don't see why the sky is suddenly falling just because the teen grid is closing. Teens have been sneaking on to the Main Grid ever since the beginning. If anything, I think the teens coming from the teen SL will be less of a problem because LL knows they are here, knows their age, and knows what they're doing. It's the teens (and pre-teens) that are here now masquerading as adults that you should be more concerned about.
I still say allowing them in by fiat--in this case, by revising the ToS--does change the game, but he's not wrong; teens have always been on the adult grid, and frankly, between a teen that can't type that well and an adult who has literacy problems, who can really tell the difference?

From shadowfamicom Watanabe:
Also covering yourself from what? Last time I checked there is no law against RP'ing with minor. If you go into RL and have sex with the minor fine... against the law. But I cannot recall a court case where someone had virtual sex with a minor that they had no idea was a minor and went to jail. You guys are freaking out over nothing.
Yeah, um...obviously shadow wasn't around, when the two more than adult typists, both of legal age in their countries of origin, engaged in sexual ageplay when a German reporter was taking pictures of that roleplay sim. Neither participant was underage; but one of them was in a young-looking avatar.

Everything spiraled out of control from there, accusations flew heavily on all sides, and 'videos' of the purported 'pedophilia' incidents began circulating on YouTube--all of which look, to even a marginally seasoned eye, as a bunch of newbie avatars hired for publicity shots, and not actual 'underage brothels'. Legal charges were very nearly filed on everyone involved--including the Labs. It has happened in the past; it could happen again.

From Shiori Carter:
Asking for real life information can get you AR'd according to the safetly guidelines for teens. You may end up being flagged as a predator or you may not, you might just suddenly get logged off, who knows whats going to happen whent those types of AR's are sent in.

And asking will not cover you, just research some RL cases in the US for that.

If you are worried about RL age, then it might be best to not use SL as there guidelines for teens supports staying anonymous.
Yeah, some of the guidelines on that page worry me, but it's not like I have anything to worry about--hells, I'm barely social as it is, right now.

From Cabbage Acanthus:
I think that it would be best if they had their own continent or grid.

That's not going to happen and LL is going to dump them into the mainland. LL's track record for sound decisions speaks for itself. I'm sure this will turn out about as well as the other times they have had a "bright idea". It's pretty clear that other than tweaking the TOS, they haven't done much to prepare for this.

If people want to disregard some fairly well justified concerns and mingle and do busines with the teens, then that's their business.
Well, they had their own continent; that changed. What is starting to concern me now, more than anything else, are the unenforceable sections of the ToS. The fact that if a teen wants to buy land, they must submit a form which requires parental consent--but the teen is still held responsible for payments on that land. That's illegal, isn't it? Entering into even a verbal contract with someone under eighteen?

More, there's now that telling passage on the new Terms of Service, that if you are at least thirteen and you have the legal authority to enter into this Agreement...If you're thirteen, you're not able to enter into legally binding agreements. Right?

Ishtara Rothschild again:
The fact that they're now officially allowed to be here changes everything.

You're right that the teens have always been here and we knew that. So what? Back when LL opened the floodgates and let the NPioFs in, we already knew full well that a large number of the new anonymous throwaway accounts were created by kids. I actually pointed that out in the old SL forums, added that Philip didn't give a fork as long as his user numbers looked good on the paper, and was permanently banned from the Resident Forums for telling the truth.

But the legal situation was different until now. That's all that really counts. Seriously, who gives a damn about the wayward offspring of inconsiderate parents? The important thing was that the kids had to misrepresent themselves in order to gain unauthorized network access. That wasn't LL's legal liability, nor was it ours.

Now it is. Not only do we have to be damn careful in G and M rated areas from now on; the entire world will soon know that LL allows children into an adult online game that features the wildest sexual perversions. LL will soon be under a lot of public pressure and find themselves faced with the choice to either go back on their inane decision or make changes that will pretty much ruin SL for the adult RP community.
I agree with her.

From Thraxas Steamweaver:
Let me try and spell it out for simply: The Second Life you knew and joined, as an adult virtual world has come to an end. You think that's a good thing? Well, good for you. The overwhelming majority of adult residents do not. At all. Unfortunately, LL could care less what the adult residents think, despite the fact they outnumber any teen influx considerably, their opinions and concerns are not so much on the bottom of LL's list, they are not even on the list at all...

It is also interesting seeing the increasing sly and subtle and not so subtle attacks on any adult resident who is - shock, horror! - on here for adult purposes or visits adult sims having joined what they foolishly thought was a adult virtual world playground, where they interacted with adults. Truly, the Disney process is well under way. The shills and idiots are primed and can be depended upon to slavishly support LL's road to ruin

The contempt LL has for it's adult, LL-wage-paying residents is nothing short of staggering. It illustrates beautifully the dangers of monopoly and next to no competition in a market.

Of course, the writing was on the wall a considerable time ago. The creation of Zindra, and the 'Disney-fication' of SL were all geared to letting the teens in.
I still giggle at "Disneyfication", but more and more, that seems the appropriate word. And of course, am I the only one who remembers Philip saying the teens were never going to be coming in to the main grid; that the Teen Grid wasn't going to be closed? I knew then that this was what they were thinking.

Now I'm wondering if that happens every time: any time we get a Linden denial, does that mean they're lying to us?

And finally, from Mandy Strazytski:
I agree with others that said if you are that concerned about it, hide your groups. Do you really need to tell everyone in SL that you are in a group called, "No limit C** S***s"? Also, if you are not happy with TOS, don’t agree to it and log out.

Get over it, change happens... move on or hit X.
By and large, most adults that I've talked with--if they even know what's going on--don't seem to think it will impact them in any way. We'll see. For me, the jury's still out.

Sadly, I think the main reaction, overwhelmingly, is tied up in something I overheard in one of my groups. A resident popped up in chat to ask what she'd just agreed to, as far as the Terms of Service changes.

She hadn't read it. She had no plans to read it. She's not going to go back and read it now. She just waited until it loaded, and then clicked her agreement. And her virtual life goes on...


Alexandra Rucker said...

....If you're thirteen, you're not able to enter into legally binding agreements. Right?

I'm not a lawyer, but that is one of the things I remember from biz law class - in the USA, this is correct - you have to be 18 to enter into a legally binding contract. Under 18 is *legally* considered "infant" (And no, calling a 17yr old an "infant" in court papers doesn't make much sense to me either...but that's law stuff for ya.)

Emilly Orr said...

See, again, this is what happens when you're a company with a great need for legal counsel, and you lay off your legal staff.

Magdalena Kamenev said...

Coming to the party late.

It's been a long time, but "infancy" is a defense in the enforceability of a contract. It's not that an adult cannot enter into a contract with a teen (employment is a form of contractual relationship, after all), it's that if the teen doesn't fulfill his/her terms of the contract, and the adult goes to court to enforce the contract ... the teen can raise their incapacity as a defense.

Even when that, various states have various degrees of exemption. Example - in CA, contracts for "necessities" entered into by minors are enforceable. And for other contracts involving minors, there may well be a provision for parental indemnification/warranty, depending on the provisions of state law.

Emilly Orr said...

So...essentially, contracts can be entered into, unless the teen in question wants to wriggle out of it? Or the parents object in a state where they have a legal standing?

Sounds far too tangled than the Labs should be messing with, either way.