Meeting Skills Hak in 2008
Insilico, Second Life's universally acclaimed and extremely popular cyberpunk city, currently seems to be blocked from general public access. This follows an announcement last weekend from the sim's owner and lead creator, "Skills Hak", who writes that she's been permabanned after committing some unspecified abuses:
I am still not sure what exactly caused my ban... In fact, some of the stuff I did was pretty fucking bad so honestly LL is in their full right to remove me from the game. Whatever Linden employee thought it would be a good idea to kill me, Thank You. I think that the chances of finding out what’s actually happened are absurdly low so i’ll just move on. I’d much rather be happy than right any day.
Skills seems more relieved than angry to be leaving, citing a long list of past dramas she and the sim have been involved with. Moderators for the Insilico community say they are working with Linden Lab to bring Insilico back to general access. This from "Abeus" on Insilico's web portal:
I'm not too sure if I am allowed to discuss the terms of the deal. To be on the safe side I won't get into it the fine details. Just suffice to say that we've been given a period of time to hopefully recoup the losses that this lock-out has incurred for the sims. Once the transfer of ownership documents are received and completed, the sims will be reopened again (they did mention this could take a day or two, so please just a little more patience).
Linden Lab is in a very touchy place here. There's always been a boatload of drama surrounding Insilico, an exhaustive and near-impossible-to-verify list of claims and counter-claims of abuse and worse. At the same time, Insilico is also one of Second Life's most beloved, admired, and active locations, a regular subject of official Linden Lab promotion. The company even sponsored this marketing video tribute to Insilico:
... all of which, I suppose, suggests a good takeaway for future user-generated virtual world platforms: If you're planning to base your marketing revenue model on user-generated content, you better be ready to manage your users' content to a high degree.
That said, I'm still sorry to see someone as marvelously talented as Skills Hak go, who I first met in-world in 2008. Her departure post is worth reading with a grain of salt, including this passage on the future of SL and Project Sansar:
Now SL is dying and has been for a while, it’s a ghost town, TP around on the map and you will notice most of the groups of dots are traffic bots, unless there’s a shopping event. Most of the sims seem emtpy, great builds are being taken offline because the number of visitors are dropping to near zero, while LL still happily charges 300$ USD a month to keep a simulator online (which probably doesn’t cost them more than 50$ USD). I grew tired of it and the only reason i stayed around was you guys really, making stuff with you, talking to friends and shopping was always the most fun to me. I have no hopes for Sansar, it’s made by a company that doesn’t understand their own userbase. It will just be a new Patterns, VR buzzwords won’t be enough to give it much traction and my main pet peeve with it is it being closed source. Even Lindens commented to me that they are rather underwhelmed. I still wish you guys the best with it.
... though like I said, read with some sodium in hand. For instance: The fact that Linden Lab open sourced its Second Life viewer so early in its consumer launch led to much or most of the drama that indirectly led to Insilico's undoing.
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