Friday, June 28, 2013

on the seventh day I rest for a minute or two

(The below photographs all come from the "Passage of Time" exhibit at SL10B in Pizzazz. Part one and part two, for your reading pleasure.)

(from the events album; the "Passage of Time" exhibit in Pizzazz)

With 2009 came new challenges; namely, a system of 'rewarding' new premium accounts that I still hear complaints about to this day. Oh, granted, the occasional furniture or adornment gift that wanders towards premium accounts, the ability to buy and sell virtual land, and the premium-only sandboxen; these are all fun things, and--at least where the sandboxen are concerned--potentially invaluable to premium builders.

No, where the hitch seems to be is with the Lindenhomes. In essence, what the Lab has done is remade their "first land" proviso with a shocking difference, by giving each new premium account holder the ability to pick a "neighborhood", and subsequently receive--"free of charge"--a 512 parcel of land, complete with home and furnishings. Home and furnishings, I might add, that that premium account-holder cannot modify, retexture, or reconfigure in any way. It is theirs and not-theirs, in the same instance. It exists as a possession and it is never given away. Paradox? Yes, with each house that is offered.

I suppose, if the Lindens' intent is to quickly shunt new premium accounts towards tier fees and land ownership, simply because the Lindenhomes is question are so bland and utilitarian, then I suppose they work? So...yay for that?

(from the events album; the "Passage of Time" exhibit in Pizzazz)

I admit, I stood in front of this placard for a very long time. "Then in August, the Emerald viewer was in trouble..." This makes it sound as if it was purely a software issue, and not a deliberate violation of trust. I'm not going to turn this into another Emerald diatribe, but really, even within a commemorative event array, that single toss-off line does not sit well with me...nor, I would suspect, with any of the former users of Emerald who felt profoundly victimized by the developers' bad behavior.

(from the events album; the "Passage of Time" exhibit in Pizzazz)

This was another difficult placard to cover. I'm still not entirely comfortable with mesh, if only because I like to be seen as clothed when I go shopping. But the other issues that this particular sign mentions were both extraordinarily problematic at the time. As it turns out, looking back on these events, web profiles have turned out to be minimally non-invasive, though they still have features I'm not fond of using.

But the closing of the Teen Grid was a profound violation for many of us. First, because Claudia Linden, when asked, said it would never happen, but also because it's still such an appallingly bad idea. Intellectually, I realize there's no difference between someone I don't know who's thirty behind the screens, and someone I don't know who's seventeen; but emotionally, I stopped dating at all past the closure of Teen Grid. I do not want to play in mature ways with people I can't trust to be at least eighteen. It may be a minimal standard, but it's mine and I'm by damn clinging to it.

(from the events album; the "Passage of Time" exhibit in Pizzazz)

And here's another controversy that's still raging. There are many separate groups in SL, on many levels; at any given time, there's always someone new to embrace or disdain, but even within these cliques and sub-structures, there's a fluidity that comes from all playing in the same space, with the same tools.

The "Resident" last name--which, to be honest, doesn't even exist; it's a holdover to provide two distinct names under Legacy viewers--was the first brutal social distinction in SL. Within days of the announcement, anyone who didn't have a last name was almost universally dealt supercilious scorn or lip-curling disgust, and all for no reason, essentially--or perhaps for the very worst of reasons: "I was here first".

At this point, there are Resident-bearing sim owners, Resident-bearing business owners, and overall, as a defined class, they add more than they take away. But it's been a harder struggle for new residents than it ever should have been, simply by virtue of the Lindens removing their choice of a last name. It set the cultural bar excruciatingly low; too low for many at first even to make the attempt to struggle under. And it's a great shame to all of us, that so many of us couldn't see past that unfortunate distinction.

(from the events album; the "Passage of Time" exhibit in Pizzazz)

I'm still waiting for evidence that Project Shining will be worth the hype.

(from the events album; the "Passage of Time" exhibit in Pizzazz)

At the time I snapped this picture, the latest settlement involving the Lindens hadn't been announced. Looking back on it from the perspective of time, however, Rosedale's statement seems flawed and disingenuous. What we have in Second Life is real, and is ours? Hardly--as that settlement proves once again, what we have in SL is theirs, and it's as ephemeral as this exhibit will be, in a few more hours.

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