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Thursday, May 07, 2009

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Thorn

What is most important to understand is this:

No one is against separating out adult content from more general fare in order to make SL more organized and pleasant for people to find what they are looking for in their second life experience - whatever that might mean to them.

What the objection relates to is HOW this particular plan is being handled as well as serious objections to some of its functional elements that seem in all likelyhood to be set to cause massive upheaval and disruption to thousands of established residents *without* meeting the stated goals of Linden Labs in instituting these changes to begin with.

People objecting to this plan *as it stands* are asking Linden Labs to merely halt their plan and rethink how it can be implemented in a more efficient, more fair and less disruptive manner.

Argent Stonecutter

It's also not just people running "adult" businesses or clubs that are opposed, because this is not just separating or removing explicit sex and violence from the mainland. PG areas will have to restrict themselves to a tighter standard than "G" rated films or "E for Everyone" videogames, and the restrictions on M areas are vague and contradictory with different Lindens giving different answers.

In the wake of incidents like Carl Metropolitan getting suspended temporarily over a bare boob in an oil painting in an art show, there's definite reasons why almost everyone should worry about the plan as it stands.

Muse Paravane

Personally I find myself generally in favour of adult filters. As a transgendered woman navigating in world search can be tortuous as, at many points, I am confronted with adult terms that co-opt my identity and sexualise it as pornography whether or not that was relevant to my search. When I go out and about I have to grit my teeth and ignore the group tags that do the same that I will often see.

When I search for serious or sympathetic non sex related transgender spaces or events, I can barely find them amongst the adult terms. If I limit my searches to PG it usually cuts out so many other things that are of interest to me that it isn't worth it. Instead I end up using Xstreet to find shops for example as there I /can/ choose to use an adult filter when I want one. Equally I /can/ choose to include adult terms when I wish to.

I don't see this adult filter as ban, to me it's a way of filtering experiences - as one can with the internet - so that one can seperate out what Second Life experience one wants to have more accurately and more sensitively.

Yes the way it is implemented is important. Yes the way it filters words and activities - especially the unclear ones with multiple meanings - is important. However I for one look forward to being able to experience my Second Life again without having to steal myself against terms that directly offend and upset me very personally at every turn.

While the JIRA protest is relevant and important, it is very one sided. People ask where those in favour are. I don't dare to post my feelings about this there as I don't feel I would be listened to or have my opinion understood and given any weight at all.

I /can/ understand that people want to be able to enjoy the Second Life they wish to have and are vociferous in defending their right to do so. Myself I look forward to the adult filters giving me back the possibility of having the same freedom to enjoy without having to pretend I'm not adversely affected by parts of Second Life I have no wish to encounter and have no way of avoiding at present short of never leaving home.

I'd like freedom of choice too please.

Ciaran Laval

They did not substantially change their prices, they deferred them and I'll be amazed if they increase them further but they lost one hell of a lot of trust over openspaces and it is not coming back anytime soon.

This is not about "extreme" content, please stop this, it is about "adult" content. Most of us thought mature = adult but it does not according to LL.

Thankfully they are now addressing their absolutely ridiculous PG change definition, it took poor Dusty Linden to be emabarrassed on the blog for this to happen and it should not have happened to Dusty.

Almost everyone would support the move of adult words from PG search to mature/adult search, but LL have from the word go pursued a far more draconian policy, what we want to know is what is the driving force behind this because it sure as hell isn't existing residents who are crying that the word "gor" is offensive.

Argent Stonecutter

The way it's implemented is at least as important for the people who don't want to be confronted with sexual content as for the people who want to retain it. The definitions are too vague and contradictory for either side to be satisfied.

Alexandra Rucker

There's a difference between "search filters" and "segregate all adult content over on 'pornodelphia' to avoid frightening the children".

1) There aren't *supposed* to be children in SL - yet people in the forum threads think that's supposed to happen.

2) "separate but equal" ain't workin' in RL either. :P

Brenda Archer

The proposed Adult filter, combined with the redefinition of PG (I am hoping it is true this is being backed away from) and the brokenness of adult verification for non-Americans -

all of these things combined have the potential to severely reduce participation in Second Life.

I don't for a minute believe there is a mass of mainstream users just waiting to get into Second Life, if only it could be made Safe For Work.

For one thing, the user interface is difficult and the new user learning curve is enormous. Without serious improvements to the new user experience, the mainstream could not enter SL if they wanted to.

It must be remembered that most computer users who are middle-aged and older have some trouble fluently using their computers. I don't see these people figuring out the Second Life client as it stands, much less finding their way in even a G-rated world.

In addition to this, the fact that Second Life really only runs well on gaming rigs serves to lock out the mainstream far more efficiently than adult rated content.

For another thing, the complaints of Europeans that the adult verification process is broken for them continue to be ignored. This is astonishing.

If it was possible to legally verify Europeans without violating their privacy, and if it was possible to have a Second Life client that mainstream users with mainstream machines could learn to use - only then, would this new proposal for Adult filtering even begin to make sense.

Lastly, the most obvious thing continues to stare us in the face. How it is possible to ensure a G-rated experience in a world with content creation freely accessible to all users? You simply can't. The only way this could be done, is by creating a separate G-rated grid with all content creation locked down except for a list of approved developers.

soror nishi

The enormous number of hours that will be used in trying to implement this seems such a dreadful waste, is the current system so broken that it desperately need fixing?
It has never been an issue I have heard discussed prior to this proposed change.

Indeterminate Schism

More than anything else this is going to cause huge disruption for existing residents while not meeting a single goal stated by LL.

There are many, better, alternatives that LL could follow. Simplest would be to enforce the existing PG/Mature definitions.

Hiri Nurmi

"However, it remains to be seen what this new uprising will accomplish. "

If nothing then the result in the long run will be serious.

I've got my invitation to join the Blue Mars beta as a content developer sitting in my inbox (http://www.avatar-reality.com/), and I'm not alone. If the Lindons enforce Adult controls to the degree that they have indicated then I can see a mass exodus of quality content designers who work in the Roleplaying arena to a what promises to be an interesting and potentially profitable platform - think mesh-based SL on steroids. I believe that if the word 'Gor' is set as adult only my turnover will drop by 50% because my sim will only be found on the adult search, which takes me below the level I'm interested in working in SL. OK, I'm only a medium-sized content developer, but Roleplay is one of the major arenas that keep people logging in. New Word Notes recently headlined (http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2009/04/second-life-of-gor.html) 'Nearly 50,000 Gorean Roleplayers in SL' and concluded there probably was about 20,000 uniques playing it. It's my belief, only based on anecdote and personal experience admittedly, that a large proportion - maybe as much as a quarter - of people who stick around in SL for more than a year will join a roleplay community to some degree and that in turn will play a large part in why they continue to stay in SL.

It's not just Gor of course, add in the multitude of Vampire sims (like NoR - widely popular), legions of capture/roleplay (1001 nights is always lagged to hell and back because of the numbers in it) and many others and you have a substantial group of dedicated SL players, most of which are in sims which LL would designate as 'Adult' on their proposed criteria.

I have always previously been highly skeptical as to the possibility of the Roleplaying communities moving off SL (see my comments in the discussion at http://gwynethllewelyn.net/2009/01/01/opensimulator-the-choice-for-2010/). However if the Lindons now go ahead with this move then we have just the perfect storm needed - a superior platform for serious content creators pulling and the adult restrictions lowering access to Roleplay sims pushing. If you've ever been around any Roleplay sims in SL you'll know that they are usually among the best crafted inworld and roleplay avatars are lovingly put together. If Blue Mars can attract quality content providers in sufficient numbers and LL insists on restricting access to Roleplay sims then they will loose this audience.

In effect by this move the Lindons are saying that they would prefer to swap large, existing, communities of committed SL players for a theoretical mixed bag of educational and business participants. I simply do not see how this can work. SL has always sold itself by the fact that its content is created by its players not by Lindon Labs, and yet they are now, by these restrictions, urging a significant group of those content creators to leave. If they do it won't be long before the 'buzz' around user content created virtual worlds will be elsewhere and Lindon Lab will be just left with the windswept empty business piazzas that sent a skeptical press and business packing last time.

Content creation by the residents made SL the success it is. The company should respect that and nurture it rather than kick us in the teeth by making things more difficult. New content is always needed as the technical possibilities of the platform evolves, but if the content creators have gone because idiotic rules have made the platform less attractive to work in then SL will eventually die.

This company wanted to be the next generation of the web, instead they are showing every indication of being the next CompuServe.

Jovin

On average, just how many alts do "the most dedicated Residents" have?

Whatever the figure, divide the votes gathered by that number and that's how much attention LL will pay to this vote.

Why, if you're really lucky, you might even get a PR style post on the blog about the situation any day now. They might even open a forum!

Arcadia Codesmith

"It must be remembered that most computer users who are middle-aged and older have some trouble fluently using their computers."

Most computer users who are younger than "middle-aged" have trouble remembering which generation invented the personal computer, Internet, World Wide Web, cybersex, hacking, modding, and virtual worlds. They also lack the technical knowledge of users who essentially had to run a batch job to reconfigure their operating system every time they wanted to play a game.

The Second Life interface poses no substantial difficulty that's not addressed by the tutorials. The most daunting aspect for new users (regardless of age) is how to connect with people of similar interests who are willing to spend time helping newbies.

Unless your interest is hooking up with young adults who can't be bothered to type common three-letter words. That's distressingly easy.

My take? Leave the Mature zones as they are, build a G-rated industrial park/campus continent and relocate all the PG properties there. If you'd like, add the "adult" designation as a voluntary label for areas that people would like to identify as such -- it would be beneficial for those specifically seeking such content. And if you built a designated adult continent that people could voluntarily relocate to if they wished, that would be a fine addition as well.

We have an adult filter on search already. If further restrictions are necessary, they should be placed on designated business-class and academic accounts only.

I don't like mandatory relocation of the PG zones, but the benefit is that there are far, far fewer of them than there are Mature zones.

Thorn Witrial

The JIRA is now at 3200 votes one week and a day after it was initiated.

brenda archer

@Arcadia:

I expected your reaction. But the truth is that technical users are the exception in any group of people, not the rule. I'm 46 and one of my roles is teaching people how to use the Internet. I find there is a marked difference in fluency in users over my age, from those under about my age, with the exception of genuinely technical users.

The generational dividing line seems to rest at the point at which using computers became common in high schools and colleges. This is the only formal exposure to computing many people in the mainstream will ever get. Whatever skills they're not forced to learn to hold their jobs, they don't generally pick up.

It *does* make a difference. *Many* people say the SL client is hard to learn to use.

Other than that, I mostly agree with you. It would make more sense to segregate the Safe For Work people, on a grid they could truly control.

Trying to let these people use the content created by anarchy, without taking any of the risks posed by anarchy, simply doesn't make sense.

Hypatia Callisto has made some proposals at the jira which I am starting to warm to, and which are well thought out, concerning the utility of a content rating system, especially for PG.

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