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Friday, March 13, 2009

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Ann Otoole

Linden Lab needs to comprehend the fact everyone knows they make decisions and then feign interest in the community even though they don't care what tose that perceive themselves to be Linden Lab's customers think.

What Linden Lab needs to do is issue the policy in a clear, precise, and unambiguous TOS/CS as they notify those affected of their choices. This highly mature and professional approach will increase confidence instead of eroding confidence as Linden Lab seems to manage with each quarterly strike on the in world economy.

Notably Linden Lab has moved the economy to the parking lot and it is no longer available from their website. I recall seeing a post from Meta Linden on XStreet.com about using google to find the information so clearly Linden Lab has begun to downplay the Second Life economy.

What would really impress everyone is if Linden Lab would just come out and state matter of fact exactly what Second Life will look like in 2010. If it is going to be a corporate no UGC no micro economy no L$ currency 2.5D flash browser based meeting room programmed by a flash company then they need to tell us so we can make our plans accordingly.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Sometimes, Hammie, I just wonder if LL does these announcements because of the huge potential of PR... when at the end of the day, nothing will really change much :)

Impalah Shenzhou

It's stupid.

SL is for adults; almost all adults in the world know what sex is. Creating a getto for "offensive content" (I suposse for children, who CAN'T enter in SL) will be the most stupid decission taken by LL.

Or maybe I'm wrong and "adult" has a distinct meaning dependending if you are on USA or Europe.

Damn!!! We are going step by step to the Idiocracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy)

Gaynor Gritzi

Interestingly, Stephen Fry (noted egghead and entertainer) had this to say the other day - not about Second Life, but about the internet in general, though it's equally applicable......

"This is an early thing I said about the internet at the time things like AOL were still huge. I said it's Milton Keynes, that's the problem with it. It's got all these nice, safe cycle paths and child-friendly parks and all the rest of it.

But the internet is a city and, like any great city, it has monumental libraries and theatres and museums and places in which you can learn and pick up information and there are facilities for you that are astounding - specialised museums, not just general ones.


As important as the more traditional cultural institutions?
But there are also slums and there are red light districts and there are really sleazy areas where you wouldn't want your children wandering alone.

And you say, "But how do I know which shops are selling good gear in the city and how do I know which are bad? How do I know which streets are safe and how do I know which aren't?" Well you find out.

What you don't need is a huge authority or a series of identity cards and police escorts to take you round the city because you can't be trusted to do it yourself or for your children to do it.

And I think people must understand that about the internet - it is a new city, it's a virtual city and there will be parts of it of course that they dislike, but you don't pull down London because it's got a red light district. "

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7926509.stm

Brad Reason

My opinion is not about the end result that LL wants to achieve but the method that they want to accomplish it.
I do not see how an entire culture can be forced off to the side... especially on a half-baked concoction of an idea. In real life, this would be step one in Hitler's genocide plan.
I don't in any way mean to compare the Nazis to this new situation... but it's hard not to when a dictator tells an entire culture to get out.

Impalah Shenzhou

That's right Gaynor.

If someone had in "real life" the freaky idea of separating "disturbing" cities (mmmm, with a wall for example) from the rest of the "politically correct" cities... the list will include Barcelona, Amsterdam, and even San Francisco, home of LL.

What will be the next? The creation of Second Bitch (a virtual world only with sexual contents)?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

While Ann believes (and she may be correct) that the long-term value of SL lies in entertainment, I'm thinking as an educator in the US.

And I know that a lot of European colleagues are laughing at our puritanical hand-wringing over this. They should. We are a repressed and fretful people.

Meanwhile, lots of US academics are teaching in and with SL, and more of us--deliberately frumpy fashion criminals, mostly--are on the way in tweed jackets and would-be-hip "Foucault" eyewear. This pushes LL to do something, since they are courting the .edu market.

A few factoids (I'm still mulling ideas and watching the forums before I blog on this):

1) Utopian educators among us resist any notion that the adult content of SL hurts them. Right now they may be correct. The new policies won't hurt these "Oh Brave New World!" sorts.

2) As more US colleges and universities come in world, the "in loco parentis" culture of some campuses will collide with SL's libertarianism.

3) Schools with savvy I.T. folks and hip admins will not fret. My own school is cool about the adult content; the new president, meeting me about our writing programs, recognized my wallpaper as a screen shot from SL. He recognizes its potential for education.

4) Students don't really care. They mostly chuckle about sex in cyberspace or find it mildly "creepy" (a bit of groupthink that has been drilled into them by "helicopter parents" and zealous counselors).

5) That "creepy" adjective indicates how some administrators and hovering parents will regard SL once it appears their already long worry-lists.

5) Cautious admins at many schools, responding to parents and state government (rather than spontaneous student interest in SL, which is light) will push LL to "protect our customers...I mean our children." I've been asked a few times from folks at such schools how the "X rated stuff" in SL leads to resistance by my administration. It doesn't--see point #3.

6) If LL wants to keep growing in the .edu market, they had to do this, if only to permit US first-years who are 17 years old into SL. I don't believe for a second that the Lindens won't lower the age-of-consent, I mean registration, in SL.

Courting higher ed could be a fatally flawed move. I can only see the small picture for my own teaching, which has gone very well in SL, if student evaluations and measures of improvement in their writing abilities are to be trusted.

Damn. I've written my blog in your comment field. I'll just make it a two-fer.

Connie Sec

Many have tried and many have failed. Nut at last, LL will succeed where others have failed. A Megamall for every Highway and Byway of the Human Sexual Condition. Bravo!

Kwame Oh

I find it interesting that no one seems to note the cultural differences between us in the EU community, and our cousins from the USA.

However much we are made to believe that Brighton office "Lindens base in UK" have a say in policy making" I suspect in the process of evolution the Labs are going through, top down management is still the order of the day, and as such perhaps some of the subtleties in the ways we in the EU regard sex, have a bearing on the response from announcement.

I for one have no doubt with certain moves by Government bodies around the world, moving towards recognizing, in this times of convergence that not just virtual world's, but also social Medea on the whole is moving more towards a broadcast mode, than a choose to participate, and as such organizations such as Lindon Labs and others, are simply tightening what is "broadcast ed"and where, as to not fall foul to such future legislation.

As we all strive to monetize and at the moment the trend is "Gateways", then control is going to need to be put in place to "protect " the unsuspecting granny who happens to arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed expecting god knows what, and find the other.

Julius Sowu Virtually-Linked London

Brad Reason

Why are educators on the mainland? It seems to make more sense for them to be on a private estate where they cannot be offended.

Why instead is LL giving us the impression that all these educators are on the mainland, and they can do just absolutely nothing to avoid the xxx.

Valentina Kendal

"And I think people must understand that about the internet - it is a new city, it's a virtual city and there will be parts of it of course that they dislike, but you don't pull down London because it's got a red light district. "

Gaynor, brilliant quote - thank you.

Simeon Beresford

I thought there was a market for a "safe" continent, not just businesses and nunneries, but oh, for example any mother who has had her four year old look at the screen and say "what are those two doing mummy?"

I was sure we would see single rating continents appear in the future.

apparently though instead of building one, the lindens want to recycle the continents they have. This leads me to think the old land must have been going to waste. Just how much abandoned land do they really have?

iIt must have been a lot if they are prepared to enforce a migration so they can try and resell it.

Sigmund Leominster

Virtual worlds are little more than a test of a person's moral courage, ethical standards, and idiosyncratic behavioral quirks. When faced with the opportunity to do whatever you want, what do you allow yourself to do? Do you feel guilt, shock, abhorrence, surprise, pleasure...?

So long as areas of mature content allow us to release our Ids and experiment with aspects of ourselves that we wouldn't DARE even talk about in real life, then I care not how folks tie themselves in knots trying to define "PG."

By all means put up a sign that says "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" outside a palace of depravity, but once inside I suggest we forget worrying about those impostors, Right and Wrong, and get on with the business of exploring ourselves.

JoJaDhara

The Amsterdam of today!!!

Redlight district and Coffeeshops is part of the picture that we are having of Amsterdam.

But also Van Gogh, Flowermarket, the best place to be at Queensday, Rembrandt, canal boats and what more does Amsterdam offer. And in virtuality Planet Art, The Balie (cross media events), Picnic, Mediametic and MetaMeets09.

It is fun to see that a city for hunderds of years and a virtual world exsisting for more then 5 years are strucling with the same issues and are busy to resolve it almost in the same way.

The Redlight district in Real Amsterdam is now being stricted of illigal women traffic. We know and are aware that Redlight district is part of Amsterdam but Amsterdam hates as much ofcourse this unhuman way of exploding women.
Most in the redlight district are "proffesionals" now controled and you see also lots of windows are being closed.
Same goes for the coffeeshops. We hate the harrasments of drug dealing and are restricting that more.

By the way most of the windows in the redlight district are now used for Art and Fashion. ;-)

So Amsterdam is also trying to find a way. One way to be open, closing completely will make sure things goes underground and then it becomes more uglier but other way still with restrictions to change point of views and deal with these horrible issues that comes with it.

Indeed a City as a Sim should control..(love the words of Kwame of London in SL)

I would say the best place to be to talk about a solution ;-)

Personally I am favour of ability for kids from 13th on and adults to mingle in proper controlled way. There are to many good examples why we should go that directions. Unfortunate we have to control as much in other virtual worlds are happening.


regards
JoJa


Iggy O

Brad,

Good question! Most of us are in an edu archipelago, but 1) those pesky kids! They just TP any old place and 2) many educators new to SL are worse than the typical noob...we just stumble into trouble :)

I have no idea how big a role the .edu audience plays in this decision. I was just sharing my limited perspective of how colleges and universities (not merely faculty) do and may react.

I'm only offended by bad grammar. XXX content is saintly, in comparison ;P

Doubledown Tandino

Regarding US and EURO perspectives.. I raised the question to in an inworld convo with Dusan yesterday... It seems that the general concensus is that, yes, USA has a stick up its but, and EURO is more chillaxed about adult content... it still is a universal concept as to what is "all ages acceptable" and what is definitely "not"... there may be a little gray area between cultures, but no matter how relaxed the attitude is, most adults know what to label "adult" or "porn" or "not intended for children"

So, yes, it's valid that EURO would find this plan even more stupid than USA... or whatever... but still generally we all know what is and is not suitable for minors.

Matthew Perreault

JoJa,

I, too, hate "the unhuman way of exploding women." If some woman is going to explode near me, she's got some explaining to do.

Vis-a-vis the ghettoization of SL, it is yet another way that LL will eventually lose to competitors. Sex is part of the human condition, and as long as humans are creating virtual worlds, sex will be an integral component. If you don't see that, well, you're probably a Republican.

Arcadia Codesmith

What is truly obscene is what Linden Labs is willing to do to its established user base in order to pander to stuffed shirts and prudes with big bucks.

I just wish they'd use more lube.

jojadhara

*blushes * sorry for my english..exploting..you know what i mean...being pressed to do things you do not like bla bla..
*blushes*

Ciaran Laval

@Ignatius Onomatopoeia everything you write points to the sensible solution being the new continent being G Rated. That would be suitable for schools and universities and would help the .edu or .ac.uk market grow.

This silly halfway house will not achieve the goals you're looking for.

Crap Mariner

I've worked hard on my reputation of grouchiness and disagreeability.

Why should I start agreeing with anyone now?

-ls/cm

Arwyn Quandry

LL is planning a new slogan - Second Life: Now With 20% Less Sex!

Dale Innis

The most likely explanation for "adult stuff will be moved to a new continent" being in the non-negotiable part of the plan is (as I say in my own weblog entry on the subject:

http://daleinnis.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/adults-to-be-banned-from-second-life-mainland/

) that their main goal is to make sure that non-age-verified Residents can't get to naughty stuff even if they want to. The current PG / Mature system doesn't do that, and making a new "safe" continent wouldn't do that unless non-age-verified people were confined to it (and therefore cut off from virtually all of the existing Grid). But the adult exile they've announced does do this.

Could be because they're planning to merge in the Teen Grid or otherwise officially allow in the underage, or could be that their lawyers have just fallen over the cliffedge worrying about lawsuits over not having done enough to protect children from zomg naughty things (won't anyone think of the children???). No telling at this point.

One of the more annoying things about it right now is that the official definition of "Adult" on the SL website obviously includes things like Michelangelo's "David" and a nude photo on my study wall and all nude beaches; but the Lindens in the forums are saying oh no it doesn't really mean that the only stuff that has to be tagged Adult is extreme explicit hard-core pure-pornshop stuff.

So we're not supposed to worry about what the law actually says, and just trust that the enforcement of it will be reasonable. And that really annoys me!

Iggy O

@Cirian--no way I'd want a G-rated continent. Nor would most educators NOW in SL. What the future brings, I don't know. Poe's short-stories would not get a G-rating...

@ Dale--Age verification had little rhyme or reason before. If it works now, all to the good.

I age-verified myself after I got booted when driving (!) through the now-defunct Pontaic Motorati sims. Maybe it was b/c the company feared someone hearing a bad word during a 50 cent concert?

Or maybe b/c I was in a Dominus Shadow, not a Pontiac junkbox...in any case, where's Motorati now? Gone gone gone. Just like RL GM will be soon.

Whether enforcing age-verification hollows out another 1000 sims remains to be seen.

molly Maidstone

It appears Linden Labs is now saying, "Our world - deal with it." In conversations I've had in-world in the last several months, that sense of infinite possibilities is missing. An unvoiced assumption seems to be that things are just stagnant and there is no way to change that. Perhaps hope is a casuality and you can no longer imagine your own world.

Ananda

I keep hearing the suggestion that the perceptions of educators are what is driving this potential upheaval, so what bugs me is I can't see how simply shoving all the "adult" stuff to one side will impact that. The perception that needs to be changed is that Second Life is "all one world" any more than the internet as a whole is. Linden Lab seems to be trying to re-brand Second Life into something it isn't over the backs of all the existing users, and I suspect they will fail at this.

If SL is interested in making a safe all-ages spot for educators and "business" (which apparently means corporate culture wanks) why, why, WHY can't they just create "SL Educational Grid" and "SL Corporate Grid" with separate entrance portals. Maybe have cross-border transfers for people who want it.

Us undesirables have a right to a Second Life too, and we were here first! Git your own Grid!

Doubledown Tandino

Second Life - Putting the pussy on their hip to make some money on the side.

Ciaran Laval

@Iggy O let's not go down the Linden Lab line of absolute definition and employ some common sense hey, if educators can't discuss Poe's short stories the platform is doomed as an education tool.

However a continent where a strip bar won't appear next to the campus is perfectly feasible.

kanomi

I suppose it's kind of inevitable, and I thought they were doing a better job screening out non adults...

Oh well somebody had to try and find some http://kanomi.blogspot.com/2009/03/you-need-real-id-to-look-at-fake-tits.html>humor in the situation.

Sougent Harrop

As with all the other firestorms triggered by Linden Labs policy changes, this too shall pass. I think a bunch of people are way over-reacting. Sure, there are legitimate concerns but those seem to be getting overshadowed by some of the really, IMO, absurd statements being made by some.

Bottom line, Second Life is changing from a start up to a business and is starting to business like things. Sure, there are going to be growing pains and everyone used to the old way of things are going to be upset. I guess the key is the reaction of the relatively silent majority, the 70k plus who log in on the weekend.

My thoughts on the matter, for any interested, are at http://sladventures.sougent.com/2009/03/linden-labs-releases-new-policy-on.html

Martien Pontecorvo

Frankly, this balkanisation idea has come far too late.

SL should have implemented this sort of zoning right at the time they went live, instead of trying to bodge it in years after the grid has established itself as a realm where serious business can take place with someone's house on one side and Club Cooter on the other.

radar

I have a serious question. Do the porno types really care where they have to go to get to adult places? Seriously? You ask why .edu types are on the mainland. The question could easily be reversed. Why do sex clubs have to be right next to PG parcels on the mainland? Why can't they be elsewhere? After all, everything's a TP away, right?

If anyone who thinks this is going to be the end of the world is also someone who's griped at the mainstream media for belittling SL as nothing but naked avatars, then you are a conflicted human being. It can't have both a sterling reputation in mainstream and sex clubs littered throughout the mainland. It's just how it is. Choose one.

Ciaran Laval

@radar I haven't seen the "Porno types" as you describe them arguing that the .edu types should not be on the mainland, I haven't seen one person suggest that.

I have suggested that a new continent that is free of more adult content than LL are suggesting in their proposal may well be more suitable for.edu types but nowhere have I said they shouldn't have the right to choose mainland.

Aliasi Stonebender

Ah, always fun to watch the ants scurry.

I will admit I think this would be more practical if instead a new 'G-rated' continent was opened up (since it's not as if someone who sells/displays non-adult content in a Mature sim and is happy there will feel forced to move) but I think most people are missing the obvious.

This is a likely prelude to folding Teen SL into the main grid, which does REQUIRE LL to segregate adult content by US law. It's not "Oh noes, LL is stricken by puritanism!", it's not an evil scheme - it's most likely just an attempt to shut down the less-successful cousin to Second Life, Teen SL.

Vernion


Who cares about SL's new policy? Personally I browse this blog mostly to read the "Other worlds news". I sold my SL virtual island a few months ago, when it became clear that LL's hands-off management model was not working (resulting in erratic pricing and policies). Now they seem to have both hands in the engine, but it just makes things worse. To little, too late.

Hamlet Au

"And I know that a lot of European colleagues are laughing at our puritanical hand-wringing over this"

Actually, Iggy, my sense talking with LL staff and EU developers is that this decision was as informed as much if not moreso by European objections to ageplay and other extreme sexual behavior in SL. I've talked with German/Dutch metaverse developers and educators, for example, and that whole controversy in their media has made it very difficult for them to develop SL-based projects, something LL is keenly aware of.

Iggy O

Hamlet, that is an interesting twist to the story. My comment was based on remarks--and apparently non-representative ones--by European faculty on the SLED list during a recent thread about adult content and at our weekly roundtables.

I wasn't referencing the sound and fury on the LL forums, because many of the remarks there are not from academics, and I've been trying to focus on what the .edu reaction would be. The SLED list is afire with this topic and I've not dived in to look at it. Should be fun.

One drop-dead unfortunate remark on the LL forums came from a FOURTH GRADE teacher who took her students into SL....Everyone--academics and non-academics--slapped their heads and cursed in unison. That's reason enough for age verification in general and a suspension of an account in particular.

Interesting times, eh?

chris

Proof is in actions and apparent hypocrisies.

"Free Societies" only when Linden can get Paid for each "transaction"

From a 2006 Hamlet:

Few months ago, a guy I called "Jedidiah Profane" started slapping giant, obtrusive, ugly-ass "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS: IMPEACH BUSH" billboards on hundreds of plots all over Second Life. And if you wanted to get rid of one, you had to buy the land it was displayed on at astronomical rates.

Residents cried "extortion", and unleashed hell on the official Forums. To make sure this high degree of umbrage was reflective of the population at large, I conducted an in-world survey-- and indeed, 70% of the Residents polled knew about them, and hated them, too.

Here is what Linden Lab policy enforcers did: nothing. (Other than delete a few which overhung into other private property.)

Here is what Linden Lab CEO Philip Linden told me last month, when I told him about the 70% seething over the "Impeach Bush" billboads:

"We think very long-term about Second Life, about what it can become," he said by e-mail. "So although many people doubtless find billboards with political opinions unappealing, we are convinced that to grow to really reach huge numbers of people all over the world, Second Life will have to preserve a free and open environment..." If the Residents were hoping for help from on high (and many of them clamored to have Profane summarily ejected from Second Life), they'd be disappointed.

Leather C

You bet your sweet bippie this is about merging the Teen Grid with the Main Grid! A Linden admitted in the Motivations and Goals section when questioned about that that they're keeping "this project" separate from "that".

This is the precursor to the merger. Teen Second Life appears to only have about 5,000 users. The Main Grid has 10 to 12 times that at any given moment logged in.

Corporations and educational institutions have expressed interest in SL. Now, education is a good thing -- provided it does its job which it frequently doesn't. It's an engine of social engineering now largely.

McCorps have expressed dismay about how hard it is to market products of universal appeal because of the separate Grids. It's been pointed out that the majority of users of virtual worlds are kids. Oh well, we have to make SL more kid-friendly.

Well guess what? SL isn't about educators teaching or corporations marketing to 14-17 year old. The potential to use a virtual world platform for education is definitely there. However, that is not and never was the purpose of SL as stated by its creators.

SL is a virtual world platform containing content created its Residents (users). LL admits only 4% of content falls under its present definition of "adult content".

LL blows sunshine up its customer's asses saying the World is an amazing place. The beauty and wonder found in that world came as a result of their customers seeing the potential and creating the content.

This is all about money. And while I recognize LL must make a profit to continue operations, and have no problem with it, the SL platform has been marketed as something it is not and was never, at its inception intended to be.

Microsoft and IBM initiatives to market to Residents failed. Why? Because Residents aren't interested in finding out the wonders of Microsoft products or IBM platforms. They don't come in world for marketing seminars. There is active resistance to marketing in-world.

They come in world to socialize, to gather, to create a life by design, to have fun, to build. And that life doesn't include "Second Life brought to you by McCocaKing!"

You want to build virtual classrooms? Great! Do it. But don't bitch about the content of others. Get a private region or regions, far away from the mess that is the mainland (largely mismanaged by Linden Lab; they're so good at that!)

One final point ... LL has had a policy to lie to its customers. Mark Kingdon told its users that stability of the platform (which is it's biggest liability right now, and biggest threat of failure of SL) was the company's number one priority (or some other kind of corp sunshine). The platform today is as unstable as it was a year ago with only marginal measurable improvement.

For goodness sake, there are reported bugs unrepaired for *years*. Users have decried, "Fix the damn problems!" Kingdon told them what they wanted to hear while LL pocketed their money and took the tack, "I'll be patient awhile longer."

Now they're shifting from "Stability is our number one issue" to "Merging the Grids are our number one priority" in less than a year.

They've repeatedly blown sunshine up our trousers for years. Could they be blowing sunshine up your kilt too?

And now they're going to add further controls, more functions that is going to strain their already groaning product?

I can only characterize LL's recent move and coming moves as sheer idiocy.

SL was a great idea. but it's now doomed -- doomed by the people at the helm who are kowtowing not to their real market but those who they perceive as where the real money is.

They're not "visionaries" but nothing more than like the rest of their cadre who have precipitated the global economic crisis (and of the same moral stripe).

The unstable platform that the entire SL world is built upon should be of more concern to educators and marketers -- and the user community presently there. It's the biggest threat to both the Lab and users.

And it's going to implode because the "visionaries" at the top aren't -- they're the same as those who saw the Internet and the World Wide Web and couldn't imagine anything more than a giant electronic billboard.

Isadora Fiddlesticks

Ok if they REALLY need a solution to the uncurtailed content and if THEY MUST corral together the rogue and frisky Adult sims, why can't they just REQUIRE Adult themed content to get their own sim? Why place them on mainland? Can't they push more PG content in Mainland by giving them an incentive to go make their sim in Mainland?

If they want underage individuals not to see the Adult content, why put them all to Mainland? My impression is that Mainland is where one gets their "first" experience of SL.

I really don't know where this is going, but if asked for my real opinion, Gaynor's spot on, methinks.

James

Red Light District is a lifetime experience!
But, to be sure to have a unforgettable time, you should check out this The Amsterdam Red Light Guide

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