Friday, January 18, 2013

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State of Second Life Estates: In 2012, Adult-Rated Land Grew as General & Moderate-Rated Land Declined

Kanomi reviews Crack Den

Ciaran Laval reports a very interesting data point from the latest Second Life land report by Tyche Shepherd, a professional statistician who does the best data analyses of the SL economy -- at the start of 2012, here was the state of private sim ownership by content rating:

  • Adult: 2,877 sims
  • General: 3,141 sims
  • Moderate: 17,822 sims

Now at the start of 2013, here's the state of SL sim ownership by rating:

  • Adult: 3,458
  • General: 2,302
  • Moderate: 15,143

Yes: Around 3,500 General and Moderate sims left the Second Life grid while over 500 Adult-rated sims appeared. "Now bearing in mind that we’ve lost around 12% of private estates," Mr. Laval wryly notes, "Adult sims have stood up well." Of course, in SL ratings, "Adult" is not the same as porn:

There are many Adult-rated sims which allow extremely graphic sexual and violent content, without porn being the overall point. That's generally true, say, of Adult-themed roleplay sims like Crack Den, which we covered a few years ago (screenshot above), which offers urban, Grand Theft Auto-like roleplay that would probably be NC-17 were it a movie. There's lots of Adult-rated sims where that's also true, but in different themes: sexy vampire, kinky sci-fi, and so on. In any case, whether it's adult-themed roleplay or virtual porn, or just a sim where the owners prefer not to set any limits on user behavior (beyond those universally restricted by Linden Lab's Terms of Service and Community Standards), the following is true: Last year, when it comes to sims, only Adult stayed strong. It'll be interesting to see if that trend continues into 2013.

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ZZ Bottom

LL needs to losse the fear and allow themselves to be called a adult service provider!

Pussycat Catnap

G land is highly restrictive. You only go there if you feel a need to engage with teens, or are adverse to encountering folks who are "risque" in some sense that you have defined for yourself. Over time I think people have begun to see that it is not where you go to 'engage the widest audience as a default' - but this is still likely the majority reason for why those there go there, moreso than my other two reasons. Its just not really accurate.

A land is clearcut. Everybody knows pretty much anything can be done there. So its appealing to more and more folks. If you are willing to be excluded from teens, it can often be the ideal choice. Or it is at least increasingly being seen as so.

M land is confusing. Despite them finally clarifying a number of never quite properly stated things - like a sexbed in a private home - they have still been vague on a number of angles/issues with regards to M. Or at least, it is widely perceived as "not quite sure what is allowed here".

Given the above, it only makes sense A would grow.

What -IS- a problem is a number of places moving to A land and then putting up G-rated signs, like 'Elven Forest' where there is a no-nudity sign, not at the landing point, but as you leave the mall to enter the forest...
- Places like this should be on M land given what they are stating in their rules, and confuse a lot of people who arrive and seek to engage in A conduct.

But the fuzzy confusing nature of the initial TOS on maturity ratings when A was added... has left a lot of properly M and even properly G places running to A...

I've even been to an A rated parcel that claimed it would AR anyone who was not within their M-like rules... complete folly, but such is where things are.

The TOS confusion set up this situation. The poor comprehension skills and slow to adapt nature of many SL users have only made it worse.

Shockwave Yareach

Pussycat - I generally don't like telling people what they can/can't do with their land. My ideal TOS would simply say that if you do anything on your land that might squick someone, you have to have it hidden from view outside your own parcel. Tada, sexbeds are fine in your own homes, and nude beaches can be fine on M parcels if blocked by screens.

But at the same time, an rpg area wanting to stay G rated is certainly better off on a G rated sim than on a A rated sim. If the Elves don't want to see naked people, that's too bad -- the people across the property line are perfectly in their rights to galavant in as much or as little clothing as they like outside that parcel. Being on a A island but demanding G behavior strikes me as simply spoiling for a fight. I'm not sure if they do that simply to exclude the teens or not, but that's the only reason I can think of for implementing such an odd requirement.

Pussycat Catnap

My ideal TOS would simply say that if you do anything on your land that might squick someone, you have to have it hidden from view outside your own parcel.

But what squicks who?

That's why we need some kind of system.

What squicks me might be mundane to you, or vice versa. Who gets to decide when somebody is "legitimately" offended? A body of older white men? The standard conservatives always push for?

A is meant to be the place where things are "gotten away with". M and G are meant to have rules to avoid what those older white men find squicky (and this you can see the KKK Confederate Dixie flag in a lot of places, but a bit of boobie is an outrage).

- Its a flawed standard (often severely so). But there needs to be something... It at least, if M wasn't so unclear, would give us a baseline everyone could set expectations around.

********
The reason M is doing so poorly is so many people are unsure of what is allowed there. If there was common clarity, people could make plans around it, and it would not do notably worse than A.

Rules, standards, and regulations - often exist simply so people can make long term plans without having to deal with surprises.

The rules for M have changed 3 times at least since the adult policy went live... that's messy, and hard to plan a business or home around. The changes have only really been clarifications - of things that should have been clear from the outset. But read that TOS, and we can still end up arguing over what this or that means... which is a bad place to be in when planning your future.
********


"Being on a A island but demanding G behavior strikes me as simply spoiling for a fight."

I agree. And it baffles me every time I see it. I think of the old newspaper comic strips I used to see, by "Joe Martin" according to Google, titled "people unclear on the concept".

Melissa Yeuxdoux

"Adult sims have stood up well."

I could hear the rim shot in my head. :)

Seriously, though, it is very interesting. I fear there'll be a chorus of "I knew it! SL is full of perverts, and this _proves_ it!" I would be inclined, though, to think that if people want to fork over the high costs of SL land, they want to do what they want on it, and hence go for the least restrictive location, i.e. adult.

Adromaw

It's really not that baffling the more time you/we spend thinking about it. What seems ridiculous at first becomes the only possible answer in the end.

M has certain procedures for dealing with A content and activities that cause the least offence for other people. A has more options and grey areas available to the owners with the ban buttons.

Pretty simple. If the holder of the region is running say, an RP sim or anything remotely close to one as an installation of social interest—you can have all forms of activity on the one strip of land and limit the exposure without isolating parties on a technological front by splitting into parcels and blocking rendering.

Running at the top level gives them all the options. Somewhat synonymous with administrator accounts versus user accounts on windows and they brought in access control to the mainstream and people freaked and went administrator for everything. Or some application developers didn't handle administrated environments very well.

There could be a few other reasons as well, as @pussycat and @Shockwave have already mentioned the teens. Sometimes people go a little overboard on the teens. Adults have teens in their families, they aren't exactly unnatural.

and perhaps what ever is going on, on the search and consumer browsing habits front.

All sorts of possible reasons for it

Brenda Archer

Using Adult land for any community that does not want to include teenagers makes perfect sense to me.

I don't think people visiting a privately owned sim or parcel should feel they have a right to behave in ways the paying landowner dislikes. So if someone wants to put a general rated RP on their Adult parcel, well they're paying for it.

People are very adverse to "getting into trouble" and part of the flight to Adult is simply that.

It's also a way to preserve the older, anarchic SL culture where you did not have to worry what conservative you were offending when you put up an art nude painting, or had a guest wearing a sheer skimpy gown. Things that might be perfectly normal at a party... of adults.

Adromaw

Pretty much. The ratings are quite broad in their pros and cons and don't really cater to a single niche (or at least not a couple of months ago). Doing that would bloat sim categories into a mirror of the destination guide tag system. A lot of attributes of SL are or were very Venn (as in the diagram system).

Ciaran Laval

I don't think having G rated rules on Adult rated land is odd at all and personally I think that one of the reasons for adult land being on the increase, is, as others have suggested, that adult provides the most options.

This is the same reason why moderate/mature was the popular choice before adult was introduced, it allows for more flexibility, but it doesn't mean you have to run an anything goes sim.

By designating land as adult, a sim owner has less to worry about regarding what happens on their land, but it doesn't automatically mean that the sim owner wants to encourage the crack den style roleplay Hamlet mentioned in the post.

Pussycat Catnap

"I don't think having G rated rules on Adult rated land is odd at all"

The problem is confusion.

If you do that, and a pack of Gorean Kajiras show up nude in collars on leashes... how are they to know you don't like them there.
- Its kind of the landowner being rude at that point if (s)he ejects them.

I am -no fan- of Gorean Kajiras and Slave masters (something extremely clear if you read some of the flame wars I've been in). But A is kind of there so they can have a place to enjoy SL without being hassled by...

... the likes of me ...

(And I have A land... its where my home is, things I have no desire to tolerate, I pretty much just roll my eyes and say hello when I encounter there... because that's where they were told they had to go, so I play there understanding I'm on their turf to some degree... Unless you go inside the building of my home that is, my security Orb zaps everyone but some old friends there, but on the bulk of it, the open grounds... A land.)

If you set some place up under one rating, and then make local rules for another - you are basically asking to bump heads with what people expect to encounter, on a constant basis. If you do it, you better darn well be polite about it - because when those Kajira's and Gorean Masters and so on show up... the default was set to welcome them, and they should be able to expect that, and not get hassled for playing by the rules.

By contrast, one of them pops into my M rated land, (s)he's going to get a nasty eject without even a comment from me other than 'good day and good riddance' (if I'm feeling chatty), and if (s)he's got some XXX animation going at the time, an AR as a bonus prize.

You don't have to run 'anything goes' on A... but you need to be aware and be nice about the fact that you're messing up people's expectations when you don't. This is why I guess Elven Forest doesn't show its no nudity sign until you're leaving the mall. People get plenty of time to and good grace to fit their rule. But its still pretty darn confusing (but then, that place also has "nude beach" AND "Nudity" in its search listing... but you get there and get a sign that says "no showing your bits" just to really confuse folks).
- So that's a different issue I suppose.

Adromaw

well yes some will handle social expectations better than others. As you've touched on yourself, that some will set up their landing zones and provide several means of notice prior. And yes you'd likely be right that there are those that do it terribly.

But it also highlights expectations of those hypothetical gor masters and slaves being a problem in its own right. And that spoils for a fight and fits the loose definition of rude too. By presuming their own definition of acceptability on land they don't control and is leased to another user. There are so many different contextual circumstances that become relevant to either side of a fence. If someone's acting in the role of say, total "public service". But even then a percentage of those will error on a side of conservative common denominator of least offence. And as you describe there are ways and then there are ways, lol.

But is that really surprising? Perhaps not so much surprising and just more in line with, it all depending on the people on if there's provocation. And whether or not that's really a problem and if it is, which is it, a technical problem or a people problem? Something to be controlled or something to run it's course?

Kind of like those ancient transcripts with some furry community members appealing to Torly for clarification, guidance and possibly hoping for sympathy when a site specifically requested they use different attire for their stay—and were basically politely (at least in the transcript) educated on the right of use of estate tools. With other users citing lesbian only regions where men being men didn't have much say on a discrimination front either.

Then it all dies down a bit and they build their own strong communities.

A lot of confusion can be self-eliminated with some time spent on logical reasoning though. But can't expect everyone to adopt that kind of dry thinking.

This kind of content is permitted on A class land (to be built and hosted), but is not required and may not be welcome by the land holder. A far safer mindset to travel by.

Or in a nutshell, the range of content that could be and does not have to be.

And I haven't even touched the distinctive differences between open-mainland ownership and private regions. Just errored on the side of regions so far. I'd speculate a guess in the area of fractured mainland that it's far more as you put it.

Raven Luna

So, let's please break the stereotypes now. Politically, I'm a conservative and in my over-6-year virtual walk in SL, I've played a kajira (virtual collar and all) several times. Goreans, vampires, dungeon owners and the like don't bother me - I have a few friends who really adept at it. I love the diverse groups in SL as long as rudeness doesn't enter the picture. And, stereotypes be damned, I know some straight white guys who are actually pretty nice!! So equating a rule system to a group of conservative white guys is the kind of stereotype I was always hoping our open society would get away from. You know - content of someone's character instead of the color of their skin… and all that. Guess we're not there yet. :-(

I agree that the lack of communication from LL about what is or is not allowed on M land makes for a lot of confusion. One day something is allowed, next day it isn't. And while you can't place a certain object on your own M land, your neighbor does the same thing and gets away with it. The rules, if LL is going to be serious about their enforcement, have to be crystal clear. I believe the jump to A land is just to get away from the restrictive and inconsistent TOS. And for more than a few land owners I know, the jump was not made so they could put the sex bed in the middle of the beach. It was to ensure that a local TOS could be made in a wide-open environment where Big Brother wasn't always watching and changing the rules.

So a G sim on A land makes a lot of sense. Just don't give your neighbors grief if they decide to put the sex bed on the beach.

All this being said, I like the rating system (if it was only enforced properly). Believe it or not, there are some players who don't want to see body parts and bondage everywhere they look. There is now a place for them - and unlike the Internet itself - the LL system lets you know what you are getting into BEFORE you get there. So if anyone complains about your A land - hey, it's their fault - they chose to be there. And using A land to block teens…. yeah - I haven't met a teen with a teen-rated account yet.

The wars of 2006, in my opinion, ruined Philip's dream of a completely open society (although - also my opinion - I think he caused a lot of it). It became anarchy and some people proved that the humans behind the avatars needed rules (laws) to maintain civility. Seeing that it's their ball though, I have to applaud LL for trying to keep things as open as possible while trying to attract a diverse user base and walking that tightrope between what one or another deems "offensive". Maybe the migration to A land will send a signal to LL that they need to take another look at the rule set and, this time, define it properly.

ZZ Bottom

Nice points Raven, wish LL will listen to them!

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