Tuesday, January 24, 2012

have we lost the magic that we once had?

I profoundly disagree with Joe Wilcox; I think he's wrong on nearly every conceivable count of that article. But then, I think Google's taking a fairly wrong-headed policy on this whole real names policy, anyway. Let's cite some personal examples:
  • I have a stalker. Things seem to have calmed down over the past year; mayhap he's found another hobby. But the thought that he might see my real name on something has made me not only chary about sharing it, but about sharing any personal details. Discovering--several years back--that he not only has friends in my area, but has friends that I've met has made me exceptionally paranoid. I refuse to share my real name on the net if I don't absolutely have to, for this reason among others, and if Google can't get that through their thick corporate heads, not my problem.
  • It's not just me; my cousin no longer has any online identity tracked through her real name. She used to; in fact, she used to have a Comcast email in her name, and a blog in her name, and other online services, all under the name she was born with. She doesn't now. Why? Because a former roommate hacked her computer and downloaded her personal information, passwords and the like from across town and set up a blog wherein this person trashed the reputation and standing of my cousin's husband. (Which, by the way, this roommate had attempted to murder earlier.)
And that's just family, just me and my cousin personally--but ask around. Who do you know who is wary of netizens? How many women, in fact, have felt threatened by someone on the net? Someone in RL who found out where they were on the net? Abuse victims, rape victims, survivors of war and other crimes, and hey, let's talk about the men, too: they can can be battered nearly as easily, and it's also far easier to trash a male's reputation these days--one woman who thinks she's been wronged cries rape and that's pretty much it, the man's entire life is toast.

Or how about military personnel who cannot, for many reasons, go under their full legal names? What about children? Do we want to force our children to give out their full legal names where anyone might be able to add up full name + gender + gullibility due to age?

What about people in witness protection programs?

Google's getting a lot wrong on this issue, and Mr. Wilcox is just as wrong. And no amount of "go whine elsewhere, trolls" commentary is going to change my mind. Not everyone anonymous on the web is anonymous so we can say mean things to people on the web. (Hells, I say mean things in person. I tend to stand behind the mean things I say, too, just as strongly as I stand behind the nice things I say. Neither means I want my real name attached to anything on the internet.)

In other topics, check out the winners of the latest Taiwan Design Awards competition--favorites of mine (that I'd wish they'd put into production!) are the banana-shaped "Caution" sign and the photochromic, UV-blocking 'leaf shadow' stickers.

For anyone who may remember--and who may have loved--Christopher Livingston's Livin' in Oblivion series, well, he's at it again for Skyrim. Only this time, PC Gamer's paying him to do this, so it's something he'll have valid financial interest in pursuing. Yay! Once more, he's starting out by crafting an NPC--this time around named Nordrick, not Nondrick (because, well, Nondrick was a distant relative, or grandfather, one of those); and gifted with the now-traditional protruberant family schnozz. And once more, he's starting out with little more than the clothes on his back to make his way as a non-adventurer.

More power to him; and hey, it's funnier that way.

[11:51] [cxxxxxx Axxxxxxxx]: since the Lindens are promoting vampirism is Caledon going to accomodate such groups of people in turn --- not that I am into such activites (biting and being bitten) but it seems that this mythology does fit into a Victorian/Steampunk venue.
[11:54] [Axxxx Mxxxxx]: In the latest viewer, the first avatars suggested are vamps

Here's the thing: while there have always been darker-minded Caledonians (and Winterfallen) who are drawn towards the imbibing of liquid protein, I can say with nearly solid surety that they have never felt the need to have a HUD for it designed to spam gentles with bite requests.

[11:54] [Gxxxx Bxxxxx]: Well, they've been using vampires in the adverts for a while....
[11:54] [Axxxx Mxxxxx]: Honestly, sinking to the level of "using Twilight hype" is really really bad

And, just as a side note, Lindens? It does tarnish your reputation a great deal with those contrary to Miss Meyers' narrow and antithetical world view that vampirism equals vegetarianism and celibacy; more to the point, trying to convince those Twilight-minded that Second Life is where the Cullens live in perpetuity, and then having them find out upon logging in to the new "vampire" SL experience, and finding out that vampires are a small portion of a greater diversity of residents will also get you complaints.

You lose both ways. Not good.

[11:57] [Bxxxx Bxxxxxx]: Yes there were Ads on you-tube promoting RP a few years ago "Be a vampire" - that sort of thing -indirectly tied to the twilight /vampire diaries phenom etc
[11:58] [cxxxxxx Axxxxxxxx]: Well anyway I thought maybe Caledon could introduce those interested in"biting" to RP Steampunk style and be a part of this what ever is a foot thing.

I remain unconvinced that she's talking about actual SL vampires, and not simply spampires who play Bloodlines, here.

[11:59] [Axxxx Mxxxxx]: There should be an add-on for period illnesses
[11:59] [Axxxx Mxxxxx]: "You just contracted small-pox by biting xxxxx."

And I remain convinced that he is talking about spampires, not actual SL vampires. Just to make the point clear: spampires aren't vampires. They're people mostly paying to feel like vampires, gather in clans that then emphasize a top-down multi-level-marketing scheme to drag in more victims so they advance higher in rank, and most of them can neither dress appropriately, nor spell well enough to come to Caledon and interact.

[12:00] Pxxxxxx Pxxxxxxxx: Haha. Be a Victorian! Contract TB today!
[12:00] [cxxxxxx Axxxxxxxx]: or [cholera]!
[12:00] Sxxxxx Sxxxxx: that would make observing them all that much more fun - the vampire drinking game!

Now, that would be fun. Take a sip from your blood doll if:
  • you see a spampire in silks
  • you see a vampire in a mini-skirt or hot pants. Take another sip if you see them wearing both together.
  • you see a spampire with fetish heels wearing a locked collar
  • you see a spampire head to toe in black leather. Take an additional sip if it's black leather with buckles, and a third sip if it's black leather with buckles and spikes.
  • you see a spampire with some variant name like "LrdVladDrac Resident" or "MasterGodVampire Resident" or "SeXiIFaNgEdOnE Resident".
  • you see a spampire wandering around asking people if they can be bitten because they need the blood for their Queen
  • you see a spampire wandering around asking people if they can be bitten because they ARE a Queen
  • you see a spampire asking in chat, "What's a garlic necklace?"
  • you see a spampire with a tan. Take an additional sip if they're blonde. Break out the blood champagne if they're wearing pink and they refer to themselves as Princess, Empress, or Duchess, or if any part of their name contains the words "girly", "cute", or "little one".
This could be fun to develop. Any other ideas?


Serenity Semple said...

LOL XD I loved this post about the spampires and Caledon. Cause I really think vampires are an interesting concept but obviously it gets ruined by things like Twi-tards and Spampires. And it's an utter shame that SL has to droop so low to cater to the Twilight fan group. At least it's not as bad as IMVU ads with the whole "Find your Bella, Find your Edward" junk I see.

Emilly Orr said...

Sadly, it used to be something to sneer at--"Oh look, IMVU has discovered popular culture." But somewhere along the way, both SL and IMVU became parasitic--now when you search for Second Life on Google, IMVU is the first link that comes up (and it's in the sponsored section). And when Avatar was released, it took about six months for the first blue cat-people ads to show up on both IMVU and SL, and--at least until the vampire angle--they never really stopped. (IMVU is still buying side-banner ad time with blue striped avatar pics.)

The weird thing about the vampire bit, though, is that it seems so total. Where before it was "be anything you want" or "make yourself over in SL", now it's "get fangs, we'll show you how!" It's one of the first options people are handed making new characters. Do the Lindens think vampires are born with money, or something? Is that really working out for them?

Dale Innis said...

Haha, tan vampires! Never occurred to me before somehow...

Joe Wilcox is the usual, if I may use the term without offense, asshole. "If I, as a wealthy white Western male with an utterly vanilla life, can use my real name everywhere, then obviously it's okay to make everyone do that!"

Exactly the same sort of assholishness that led to the whole g+ policy in the first place. And now they are generously going to allow some people to maybe have "nicknames" displayed that even contain some of those Weird Foreign Symbols in them! Wowee! Assuming they can send in documentary evidence, of course. In English. In a form that random hirelings at Google understand, and happen to get around to looking at.


Emilly Orr said...


Hey, back in my RP days, I once spent a baffled hour talking to a Drow Elf Princess and trying to rescue her from mayhem...and, as typical example of her race, she was blonde, blue-eyed, tanned, and had round ears. Um. Suuuure.

But you're not wrong about Wilcox. Keep in mind also, Google+ is "allowing" pseudonyms to be used, alongside displayed real names. This doesn't help, Google. Again, you're missing the entire point.