Thursday, October 20, 2011

these tears won't fall for you this time

First there was this:
[POSTED 10:35AM PDT, 20 October 2011] Due to a change we recently made to address a griefing problem, some megaprims were removed from the grid, which has affected users’ creations containing these megaprims.

The issue has been resolved, and the megaprim objects can be re-rezzed from your inventories at this time. If you do not have a copy of the affected build, please go to your support portal immediately and file a case.
Then there was this for (minimal) explanation:

[21:10] Txxxxx Mxxxxx: so [whose] mega prims got dumped this time?
[21:12] [axxxxxx Zxxxxxx]: Crowley Avro but they are back now

So check your builds, people, be aware there might be an issue.

Researchers at Microsoft are working on ways to turn hands into touch-screen devices. Well, not just hands, specifically--any surface. Right now, it's buggy, and the initial coding is not recognizing things efficiently, but they're working on improving it. Their concept is that it will be far easier to utilize computers if they are portable, and do not require specialized equipment to access. the painful bit. For once, I'm omitting the name of the store involved in this, because I don't think the main point is which store this happened in; for me, the main point is that it happened at all.

[Note: Because I thought this was an important point as well, I pulled up [Gorgeforce]'s profile. She has no responsibilities other than basic member in the main store group of the store I discuss below. She's listed as "Caller" in the lucky chair group I mention below, which I suppose is a certain level of trust...but certainly not the level of trust I'd need, were I this store owner, to give her all the powers she's threatening that she has.]

[17:46] [Gorgeforce]: OK, this is how it is. If your little group competes with the [store's lucky chair group] anymore, you and each of them will be banned. Already talked this over with [the store owner]. OK?

Now, first, I don't know if this was said in IMs or in main chat. I get the feeling it was in main chat, which to me strikes as inutterably rude and abrasive; but even in IM it would be galling.

[17:47] [Gorgeforce]: I know what is going on. We are not fools. We have a loyal group and the backing of the owners.

And sounds somewhat spoiled, to boot, but...okay, let's break this down, giving this personage the maximum amount of doubt I can summon.
  • They've noticed a problem with 'chair campers'; namely, people who simply hang around the chairs, blocking other people, and members of the group are feeling resentful about it.
  • For some reason (I am not privy to specific incidents), they are blaming the Kitties for this camping abuse.
  • For some additional reason, this particular soul has taken it upon themselves to be the shield and sword of this store (as if they needed defense), and is--for whatever additional reasons--threatening the Kitties with specific dooms.
Very specific, as it turns out:

[17:47] [Gorgeforce]: I'm taking each of their names as they arrive. They are not going to thank you.
[17:47] Sxxxxxxx Sxxxxx: I'm going to talk to the owner I had no idea this rule was in effect.
[17:48] [Gorgeforce]: Go right ahead. It's not a rule. It's the sentiment about chair groups who come and strip the place and move on.

Okay--and again, giving this person the maximum amount of doubt here--there are lucky chair groups who call any random chair they happen to be at, so the members of that group can descend in droves, take anything with that letter, and vanish like locusts in autumn. Fine. We've all seen this behavior--I've even heard of worse behaviors, like rezzing out boxes to cover lucky chairs in places where rezzing prims is allowed (and personally, I think that's reprehensible for residents on the grid, selfish, and completely childish).

However--as far as I know, I've happened to check the chairs in this store when I stop in looking for a specific thing; when I'm shopping one of their special weekly deals; when I come into the main store but I'm actually aiming for one of the side ventures in the same sim; or when I'm checking back to see if an item has been revised (for instance, this store at one point made lovely thigh-high boots. I've been meaning to check back and see if they've been rereleased for Viewer 2 alpha layers). And I don't think I'm much different than most members of the Kitties: stores where I like the effort that goes into Midnight Mania items, or lucky chair items, or Mobvend items, I try to actually spend Lindens there, because I want to support that kind of care and concern. I don't think I'm alone. This individual seems to be referring to the Kitties as if we're all ravenous vultures, and I for one take offense at that.

[17:49] [Gorgeforce]: And get out from in front of the mob*vend while you are at it.
[17:49] Sxxxxxxx Sxxxxx: What? Is there some [limit] where I can stand now?
[17:50] [Gorgeforce]: I am not going to race you for calls and you and your people are not going to block the view of the chairs and the vendors. OK?

Several problems with this statement:
  • It's again insufferably rude. The longer I read the chat log that was passed to me, the more I'm thinking this is either a person under great mental stress, or who has the social graces of a rabid badger.
  • The warnings against "stalking" the lucky chairs aside--and dropping into a store to peruse their chair letters while shopping is far from "stalking"--what if she was trying to seek help to get the Mob*vend lowered? What's wrong with that? When Mob*vends drop, you have several options, from waiting until the absolute, bargain-basement price (which is still paying the designer for work done), all the way up to judging one's personal time, and deciding to pay full Mob*vend price (or some gradation of the price; for instance, I've frequently decided at DV8 that I want the Mob*vend prize enough to not wait around for the lowest possible price, and tossed whatever was on the board in that moment so I could simply receive the prize and leave.
  • Finally, why warn someone away from the Mob*vend board--which is, in this particular store, situated between the chairs, not in front of the chairs--if you're not wanting to "race" someone for letters? Also, [Gorgeforce] has a starting letter of their name that is radically different from the letter Miss S owns. So there is never, ever going to be a time in which [Gorgeforce] and Miss S are in direct conflict for a chair.
[17:46] [Gorgeforce]: OK, this is how it is. If your little group competes with the [store's lucky chair group] anymore, you and each of them will be banned. Already talked this over with him. OK?

Now this person has moved up to direct hostility, and frankly, even if this person is speaking with the voice of the store owner, it's still a bad thing to say. Why? Well, just for starters:
  • With as rude as this person was, throughout this entire exchange, it's difficult for me to put faith in their words. To be blunt, even with later confirmation (I'll bring that up later on), at this moment I do not believe [Gorgeforce] is speaking the truth.
  • Second, it's not just Miss S that [Gorgeforce] is threatening. It's all of us. Every single member of the Kitties group, if we are seen by this abusive nitwit, we are being told that we will be banned.
    • Just for being in the store.
    • Just for shopping there.
    • Just for being seen.
And why? Out of...vengeance? Stupidity? Didn't have a puppy to kick that day? No real clue. But we've moved from rude, to hostile, to demented in the space of a half hour.

In five years of Second Life, I have never (and I do mean that, this has never, ever happened) been singled out and banned from a place because of my group affiliations. Because of my opinions I have been banned from stores and sims--and okay, fine, every store owner has that right, every sim owner has that right, and I am well aware that I'm a snippy wench.

But simply because I know someone? Because I'm in their group, this troglodyte is going to watch for my name? I mean, seriously, they have enough time in their day that they're going to hang out with a crate of Mountain Dew and scan profiles that obsessively?

It honestly makes me uneasy about going into the store. A store, moreover, I like going into. A store which is well-built, well-publicized, active, and with attractive products for sale.

A store, moreover, at which I have spent Lindens. And I'd like to spend more. But with [Gorgeforce]'s unsubtle threatening stance, I don't feel I'm able to go in unless I hide that group.

And screw that. If I'm traveling from one mature area to another mature area, there is no reason I should have to hide my groups. And that's still no guarantee.

I will admit, there is some small part of me that wants to walk in under the Lucky Kitties badge, just to see if this idiot can ban people from the sim. But if I get banned? Then this person will have succeeded in banning a customer (past and future); a reviewer of product for this store (unpaid and uncompensated; when I have reviewed this store's merchandise I have done it on my own dime); and as if that's not bad enough, this person will have banned someone in that store's group.

Frankly? That's insane.

So--with this sort of treatment, and with no clear answer pro or con from the store owner--my friend left. But she remembered the subscribe-o, and returned to unsubscribe. At which point from what it sounds like, she was either bounced from the store, or sniped at when she returned. The explanation? Was on the vague side:

[17:52] [Gorgeforce]: Sorry. But you were invited to our group and refused. You aims are clear.

What aims? She may not have had group space. She may have thought--as many of us do--that the subscribe-o system works better for notice management (I will say, sadly, that while my notices tend to cap either way, that subscribe-o notices tend to get through to my email, consistently, whereas in-world group notices do not always.) She may not have had the Lindens just then for any particular fee that was assessed at any point. Ascribing any additional motivation to her "refusing" the group invitation only demonstrates [Gorgeforce]'s enduring paranoia and lack of clear thinking.

[17:52] Sxxxxxxx Sxxxxx: Forgot to leave the suscribe-o-matic, sorry for returning. I don't see why I have to be a part of any group to just watch lucky chairs.
[17:53] [Gorgeforce]: You were doing more than just watching. Don't be obtuse.

Again, these are the ravings of a paranoiac, not someone honestly and openly representing the store.

But remember I mentioned the store owner got back to my friend?

[17:55] [Store Owner]: The Subscribo is for more than that - but I did talk to her about people crowding and blocking the view - show some courtesy, or don't as you wish - I prefer people who will come and sample the chairs and also shop - so someone dedicated to chairs only and a chair blog is not high on my priority list. As cruel as it may sound - this is a business first, and I reward MY groups first as well.

Okay, as far as it goes, I understand that completely. We are still struggling through an economic downturn, more stores are leaving SL every day, and every store owner who wants to stay is struggling as well. Any store on the grid right now is resorting to extraordinary measures just to keep their heads above water, let alone turn a profit.

[17:56] Sxxxxxxx Sxxxxx: Sorry but I have shopped at your store before and was on the suscribe-o for a long time checking updates when you sent them out. I did not think this was wrong and sorry if standing around watching the chairs is some form of ill will. I will not return, sorry.
[17:56] [Store Owner]: you didn't read what she said or what I said
[17:56] [Store Owner]: but leave if you wish
[17:57] [Store Owner]: the problem was *crowding* and *[blocking the view]*

I will fully grant, I may not have been given the complete chat transcript, so I may not have access to everything that these two individuals said. However, from what was passed to me, from what I read that was typed in chat (or IM), where in checking letters on lucky chairs does crowding and blocking the view come in?

You rez into a store. Maybe the lucky chair is there, mayhap you have to walk a little. Generally--at least for most of us--once we get to the chairs, we stand, and wait for the letters to rez in. Some people stand farther back, some stand farther forward--I can't see how it's blocking the view or crowding to stand there. That's a major part of this I just don't get.

[17:57] [Store Owner]: it's fixed as simply as *step back a few paces*
[18:00] Sxxxxxxx Sxxxxx: She told me not to teleport in people, it was more than just step back a few.

Yes. I would agree, [Gorgeforce] went above and beyond all boundaries in what was said.

[17:58] [Store Owner]: and if you want the chair callers to be friendlier, try joining the [store's lucky chair group] and show them you're not just here to grab free shit and run

So...just to be sure I understand this...if I happen into the store, on the off chance that this person isn't there to take my name down and have me banned, I mean...I should then seek out the lucky chair group that, over a year back, I thought was dissolved because the store owner thought it such a profoundly bad idea that he gave it up?

But I should join it because if I don't, I'm just...what...stealing from him if I don't? Is that the thinking we're dealing with, now? Even if I make purchases at the store or the satellite stores. Even if I rarely check those lucky chairs, and sometimes, even rarely check the Midnight Mania boards? The mere fact of checking for my letter on one of the lucky chairs if I don't make group space for two store groups for that store is now theft?

[17:58] [Store Owner]: we do get a lot of 'chair-raper' groups through - people in it for nothing more than a load of free items
[17:59] [Store Owner]: if you *act like* one of those - the loyal [group members] are going to treat you like it

Here's my question about this one: what's "acting like" one of "those"? I'm all for avoiding consequences, but not without clear guidelines. And this is likely to turn away shopping customers as well as "freebie hunters", isn't it? Is that what store owners want?

Moreover, the inference I'm drawing from this is that being abusive, sniping, insulting, paranoid, and threatening to people who weren't even in the sim when the original incident happened is both lauded and approved by this store owner. Seriously?

All in all, this incident is profoundly disturbing to me, not the least of which is due to the store owner in question seemingly backing extraordinarily rude, aggressive and lunatic behavior. It puts further patronage of this store into serious doubt for more than just me.


Serenity Semple said...

To save the people excluded from the whole chair drama thing, this is what I heard. The thing with the whole lucky chair was in IM, not local. The person who was 'blocking' was just standing nearby the chairs in a small av (not talking your typical glamazon av). And you were right with your assumption that the person did shop there and was following the store for a long time. XD LOL I love the 'social graces of a rabid badger', so writing that one down. They didn't get banned from the store or bounced, but after dealing with the owner did not want to even be there after that treatment. Who could blame them? :s I'm still shocked that things like this even happen. Also since I was shared that log, it was the complete thing. It was too shocking and appauling to leave anything out if you ask me. XD Also they fail to mention that if you take a look at their chairs, they have 103 items in them. Most chairs or lucky boards - whatever, have 1-2. 103! That is insane to start with, if you really don't want people stalking chairs - put less in them. Usually they win and move on if you really are concerned. LOL still amused at the term 'chair raper', let's compare people taking part of the things YOU put out and compare them to helpless victims being taken advantage of and abused with no means to stop it. Yeah, really similar. Everytime I sit in a chair RL, I guess I'm raping it too. I used to enjoy that store but after all that, who wants to support such crazy behavior. I understand customers can't be helped, they are who they are and support you. When it comes down to the owner - that's the line sorta deal.

Emilly Orr said...

My problems are manifold with this one, but I'll just address a few. First off, there's the store in question, because I really like them, and I really think this exchange was out of line, whether solely in IM, or in main chat. (Even in IM, it's rude beyond belief.) I haven't been in any one of their properties since, because I purely can't decide if I want to shop there again, ever...and I'm contemplating dropping out of their store group.

Second, there's the definite impression that you got, and I got as well, that this behavior was not only accepted, but actually praised by the store owner in question. And "chair raping" is an abhorrent term, you're absolutely right there. It minimizes both the pain of victims of rape, and artificially expands the self-importance of items this maker made, essentially just to put in the lucky chairs.

Lucky chairs (and Midnight Mania boards, and RiotVends, and Mini-Mania boards, and raffles, and EVERYTHING else in this genre) are a draw to the store. They're what would be called in RL "loss leaders"; in other words, things the store owner knows won't make them anything, but they're sure that it will result in sales of other products. And the beauty of loss leaders, in both RL and SL stores? They work.

So why complain when he's getting people in? It makes no sense to me.