« AjaxLife: Now for the iPhone! | Main | Ophelia's Gaze: Even More Free Fashion For The Taking »

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Sinje Isbell

It Depends. Its maybe a good idea for new continents, but a bad idea for existing land. It would force many people to move from one area to another. I don't think that would be feasible. Personally i really like the freedom you have on the mainland continents. Just buy the land and do what you like. And it's fantastic to fly around and see what others have build. I think SL would loose some of it's manifoldness.


Zoning is a food idea that the company should should have adopted from the outset. Their failure to use zoning just shows that when coders try to do town planning they do about as good a job as town planners would if they attempted to write programs.

Now the Lindens are going in the other direction, and apparently writing a zoning ordinance without professional advice or resident input. The company already has a bad rep for heavy-handed dealing with its user base over billing issue, where least the issues are clear-cuts. They're about to write a zoning ordinance that will be about as good as their recent legislative attempts (recall the new branding rules) but one where the Lindens will enforce the bungled mishmash their past record and future plans guarantee.

I seriously doubt you'd find a professional town planner anywhere on this planet who would think a topdown exercise with zero resident input and (almost certainly) zero appeal mechanisms, is an idea that can possibly work.

As bureaucrats, the Lindens make great coders.

cyn vandeverre

Alan's point is a good one. I sure hope they're getting advice from a professional town planner/zoning board person. Several of them.


Zoning looks fraught with all kinds of potential complications. A great deal of land has only been made commercially viable via mixed-use developments that combine residential and / or office properties with entertainment / shopping / sports or other usages, and, in turn, creating commercial opportunities for other individuals and busineses.

I can see some positive reasons to have zoning, but as Alan (above post) says, top-down rulings on zoning at this stage, retroactively on today's land, would be extremely worrying. SL's business sectors are built on a relatively fragile base. Accidentally knock a few building blocks over and there could easily be a domino-effect. Noone wants to deal with even the uncertainty that something like that might happen, let alone the real thing.

Zoning for new land masses (see Sinje above): - great idea! Let's see how it works.

Imposing zoning on large areas of land that support a complex and still little understood Second Life economy: - requires a great deal of planning, and, you'd think, mass buy-in from residents to make it work.

Adz Childs

it is hard to be optimistic.

CyFishy Traveler

Pretty much what everybody else has said. Zoning on future land, knock yerself out. Zoning on current land? Could be a bit messy. One of the appeals of Mainland to me in the first place was that I didn't have to make up my mind what I was planning to do with it when I bought it.

I'm fortunate in that my neighborhood seems to have 'zoned' itself into residential without any particular concerted effort. But I technically have some things set for sale in my house, and I'd hate to wind up getting busted for it under retroactive regulations.

vint falken

Bad idea. Let the residents run content & areas. Let the Lindens focus on service!

They keep positioning as 'hosting company' so they should not fear claims over copyrights/very wrong content as they can forward the blame to the user.

They risk loosing that position if they that actively start interfering with content?

Moriash Moreau

Well, for new sims, seems like a good idea. That makes sense. And at the rate new sims are being added, soon the majority of the grid would be zoned, should they choose to zone each new sim, in any case. Remains to be seen whether mixed-use sims will be more or less valuable. Will they become the new full-terraform sims?

The tricky bit is that old ghetto core of sims created prior to this policy. Retroactively applying policies to old sims? I don't see any possible way that could be done even remotely fairly. I hate ad farms as much as the next guy. And I get knots in my stomach every time a plot of land goes on the open market in my neighborhood. But turning around and applying estate rules AFTER someone has bought the land? Do I really even need to mention the chaos that would ensue? I'm reminded of the end of the Telehubs, and the grid-spanning outcry that resulted. Is LL prepared to buy out properties of landowners who suddenly find themselves owning land useless to them? Or land dramatically devalued by sudden deed restrictions?

In practical terms, I don't see how this could be enforced, in old sims or new. Now everyone can build up to 4096 meters. Who is going to patrol a volume of 327 square kilometers by four kilometers high? Ah, of course: our neighbors, because we need more witch hunt fodder. (Be prepared for "That's not a club! It's just my house. I just like huge black box buildings, disco lights, dance balls, and fake laser effects... Oh, and that's not a DJ. He's just my buddy who likes to make all-request music streams from 2pm to 5pm SLT every Wednesday. [hand wave] These aren't the camping chairs you're looking for...") I could see zoning restrictions being phrased as "no shops below 100 meters" or some such. That would at least be managable.

In short, grave concerns. I don't see how anyone could have a problem with new sims coming in zoned, provided the land supply for each type meets demand, and land barons are willing to price accordingly for deed restricted land. But I don't see how existing sims would, or could, be converted. I'll be very interested in seeing how that is managed, or if it's even intended.

Robyn Fabre

I seem to be in agreement with everyone else so far. Zoning may be a good idea for new mainland sims, but trying to enforce it retroactively on the existing sims is a very bad idea.

Whatever happened to 'Your World. Your imagination.' Linden labs is risking this very concept by doing this and of course risking angering it's user base which doesn't seem like the best business decision to make.

Molly Montale

Almost immediately after the first of us moved into Blumfield in 2005 we met with Pathfinder to ask about zoning. We wanted to preserve the residental aspect. Blumfield was a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the mainland at that time and our little group of newbies wanted to preserve it. We had already been discussing this with Lauren Linden. Later, I attended the Linden meetings on the proposed group covenants. My understanding was that only four mainland sims had true zoning, Brown, Boardman and I can't think of the other two right now, lol. Pathfinder told us that zoning enforcement elsewhere on the mainland could only be done by Linden Lab and that there just wasn't a mechanism to do this due to time and money needed. I've been trying to get autoreturn turned on for a couple of Linden owned parcels for months with no success, lol.
We've been very lucky and Blumfield and the sims that came later, West Haven and the Shermerville sims, have remained primarily residental. A few businesses have eventually opened but they fit into the community well and I think everyone is happy. I don't see how zoning could be imposed now on existing sims.


I don't have a problem with retrospective zoning. If it's done intelligently (I'm not hopeful) it should be able to accommodate everyone's interests. I do have a problem with a couple of Lindens scribbling some bullet points and then insisting that's a zoning regulation.

Athanasius Skytower

Given how much trouble I've had recently trying to find a 1024 without some kind of major issues to put a small business plot on, I say zone the hell out of everything.

Imposing it on existing sims would be a problem, but if land is grandfathered into the zoning ordinance as it's sold, it shouldn't break anyone's current business model too harshly. Sure, it might hit you in the resale value, but resale values aren't handed down by God, and you've precious little control over zoning ordinances in First Life, either.

(For that matter, I'd be willing to bet that retroactive zoning has a good chance of *increasing* resale values.)

Athanasius Skytower

...I mean "de-grandfathered into", of course.

sirhc desantis

OK with most of the posters here - zone the hell out of new mainland if you feel like it but don't touch my bits. I only deal a little in land trading and I like the freedom. What if its zoned 'residential' and I want to build a memorial garden for my cat (done that) ? Leave us our world. Yes I hate the adfarms as much as the next person - thats why I buy the ones i can to donate to orgs like the Arbor Project

Gahum Riptide

I'm wondering if a possible, possible compromise would be for plots being sold to end up getting zoned before released, and current holdings left-as is? This way it wouldn't appear that the Lindens are doing eminent domain (although forced zoning on existing parcels would be essentially that). Of course, the seller might not like that at all, but I'm not sure this decision will make everyone happy (then again, you really can't make everyone happy no matter what).

I would have loved to see them do this with Gaeta. It's not that old and it's already got ad farms cropping up. Fortunately, none around my parcel yet but I can see some a sim over.

I'd be perfectly happy if the zoning was only that plots couldn't be cut up less than 512 m2, and that any advertising had to fit certain standards, just as they have to in RW cities, or at least having ad farms banned altogether.

Laetizia Coronet

Someone stop the Lindens from interfering already. Remind me when the last time was when they got it right and had residents cheering them on.

Moriash Moreau

For what it's worth, it appears that they are not likely to place zoning on existing mainland sims at this time, per this post by Jack Linden on the forums. Potential for possible retroactive zoning by unanimous consent of all current land owners on sim, which is an interesting idea. I find that encouraging, anyway.

Marianne McCann

I really don't know how it'll play out. I'm guarded, but optimistic. I think they want to do the right thing on this -- but they don't exactly have a great track record.

Korayama Savard

Zoning is an excellent idea. Any community that has some type of forsight or planning of development is always better off. There has to be some element of planning to any community, even a virtual one.

Pete Eidenbach

hi hamlet
the need for zoning makes a Register of Historic Places all the more important. I have made a start, posted on my faculty web page for all to enjoy, at nmsua.edu/tiopete


Dedric Mauriac

Who will enforce the zoning laws? Will the Lindens respond in a timely fashion? Also, is this new zoning for existing mainland - or new additions to the mainland? I would hate to find out suddenly that I am in violation of a zoning law.


Last point, I really really hope that someone at Linden Lab has read Jane Jacobs and they're not thinking about imposing single-use rules anywhere on the grid.

Alexander Basiat

Fascinating....I wonder if they're going to crowdsource enforcement? Imagine a $500L bounty on every zoning infraction that turns out to be true.

Two Worlds

Prohibit the use of bots along with crappy ad flags and we've got a deal.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Making a Metaverse That Matters Wagner James Au ad
Please buy my book!
Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Wagner James Au Patreon
Equimake 3D virtual world web real time creation
Bad-Unicorn SL builds holdables HUD
Dutchie Evergreen Slideshow 2024
Juicybomb_EEP ad
My book on Goodreads!
Wagner James Au AAE Speakers Metaverse
Request me as a speaker!
Making of Second Life 20th anniversary Wagner James Au Thumb
PC for SL
Recommended PC for SL
Macbook Second Life
Recommended Mac for SL

Classic New World Notes stories:

Woman With Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching (2013)

We're Not Ready For An Era Where People Prefer Virtual Experiences To Real Ones -- But That Era Seems To Be Here (2012)

Sander's Villa: The Man Who Gave His Father A Second Life (2011)

What Rebecca Learned By Being A Second Life Man (2010)

Charles Bristol's Metaverse Blues: 87 Year Old Bluesman Becomes Avatar-Based Musician In Second Life (2009)

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog
my site ... ... ...