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Monday, August 09, 2010


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Raven Haalan

Folds up. Awesome.


Of course, the Pornography/Gambling is not true. But that is the impression everyone has of Second Life. So it might as well be true. This impression has hurt SL with bad publicity for many years.

He is right that the world is hard to learn and created for developers by developers. Which has hurt it's chances for more success.

Little Lost Linden

Damn it, I thought it was the bots that overran Second Life. Not sure what this Chris character is talking about. Let me get the bot calculator out.

Quick! To the bot cave!

Little Lost Linden

Scylla Rhiadra

Sometimes, perception is more important than reality. If the general view (misinformed as it may be) is that SL is full of gambling and porn, then that might well have something to do with its sluggish growth.

Incidentally, anyone who doesn't think that people come to SL for pornography hasn't spent enough time as a woman in a newbie welcoming area, fielding the inevitable "want to do the sexxies?" inquiries.

Hamlet Au

Actually, the opposite seems to be the case: Anytime there was big media coverage about sex in Second Life (and there was a lot of that), the subscription traffic would totally spike. However, almost all of those would-be users gave up immediately. Probably for the reason I suggest in the macro above: Not many porn addicts are going to spend 3 hours just getting the software installed and minimally oriented to even get SL porn, especially when they can get it in 3 seconds on the web.

Scylla Rhiadra

Yes, but the "spike" was indeed caused, not by the mainstream users LL wants to attract, but by those specifically looking for pornography. In other words, such stories may have attracted people, but they were the "wrong" kind of people, in the sense that an influx of porn users merely contributes to SL's rather grotty reputation in the "mainstream" market as a place people go for that sort of thing. The "spikes" may actually, in that way, end up contributing to long term slow growth from the broader and deeper pool of potential users.

It's important, too, to distinguish between "types" of porn. Those who want photorealistic (i.e., "real") porn were, of course, going to be disappointed here. But SL offers a different kind of pornography: an immersive do-it-yourself interpersonal pixelated variety of porn fantasy, facilitated largely through role play. And there is a VERY active, vibrant, and (as importantly) visible and vocal community of enthusiasts of that sort of thing in SL.

Fogwoman Gray

Well I personally was quite shocked to discover that SL is dead. Thank heavens we have had the latest in a LOOOOOOOOOOONG line of people who have not actually used the platform to advise us all of where it went tragically wrong.

Vesper Kling

well i dont know i think u are both right and wrong. As a female i have seen and heard a lot... A lot of in SL is just here to haver "relations" and hunt for sex. And why? Thats because they hope to have it "live" and cheap in SL.

They often ask about webcam and they hope to have a chance to talk to a woman (and have virtual sex) without paying for it. Many of them are lonely and want a relation as well. But thats their priority, sex and relations.

Porn sites on the web often cost money, i guess, and are not as interactive. Still u are right. Most of them give up because it takes to much effort.

Look at Lindens ads. They are dispaying men and women in a couple/family situation. They are selling SL with sex and relations. SL is not what it was some years ago.

But its still to complicated. Make SL easier and maybee we have a flood of porn hunters? I dont know?

Ann Otoole InSL

FYI: The House Committee on Financial Services voted to approve the Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267). Still a ways to go but it looks promising.

L. Knoller

Why does Chris Pirillo think... ??

Ok, here's a question: Who the hell is Chris Pirillo ? (besides a member of The Whiney Adenoidal Positional Plagiocephaly Set, I mean)

Here's another: Why the hell should I care what he thinks?

and another: Why are people talking about SL in the past tense?

Now, as much as I enjoy exploding like a volcano when hearing philip lindens incoherent ramblings at Q&A sessions that does mean I need to be made aware of some opinion piece that some little nonentity has posted on YouTube... I mean really, youtube? oh wait maybe he's being ironic, (he says he doesnt even login) nope not with that accent.


Vesper Kling

And as you wrote in a former post here, Second Life's Top Twenty Most Popular Regions for July (According to Metaverse Business) is heavily leaning on sex... thats facts.

Hamlet Au

"Yes, but the 'spike' was indeed caused, not by the mainstream users LL wants to attract, but by those specifically looking for pornography."

I'm not sure that follows -- porn, after all, has a huge mainstream following. But my point is a different one: that to the extent a spike of new users come looking specifically for porn, almost all of them seem to give up.

"Second Life's Top Twenty Most Popular Regions for July (According to Metaverse Business) is heavily leaning on sex"

I don't agree, I think only one of them, "escort oasis", is explicitly advertising sex. Most of the others are romantic/fun/social hangouts. I recently visited Sexy Islands expecting to teleport right into an orgy, only find most people were there dancing on the beach.

Sandor Balczo

What's wrong with porn?

I am amazed that most of the people (mostly American) rambling about porn not being mainstream seem to forget that 98% of porn sites are located in the United States of America, they are paysites and do not seem to experience any decline (except maybe for a few "independent" ones).

It is obvious that the same people who say no to porn publicly are inclined to a private fruition thereof.

It is equally as incredible considering that for most of us who are 50 now, the US was the epitome of sexual liberation in the 70s. It is so sad to see it become so paranoic about the "dirty" part of a normal sex life.

SL is free to use and immensely more fun for virtual sex than those stupid photo/movie/webcam sites that steal money from you in exchange for the same old, same old.

When people in certain countries (particularly one) will cease being hypocrites, I am sure SL will thrive.

It surely hasn't died, yet!

We Europeans have no problem at all with porn and gambling in SL.

I DO have a problem when I try to convince my sex buddies to do something different than sex and visit the splendid locations that Linden Lab has created for ALL residents, like the Blake Sea estate. Which leads me to think that even SOME SL residents make no effort to expand their knowledge of this marvelous virtual world, thus contributing, unknowingly, to its bad publicity.

One last point: before this article, I had no idea who Chris Pirillo was. Giving importance to a 35-year old dork who likes to appear like a 16-year old dork only contributed to his massive ego trip. I would have ignored him altogether. Playing on the defensive with these people is counterproductive.

Arcadia Codesmith

Done well, what we're discussing is not pornography; it's erotica. And it can be a healthy part of an online relationship that morphs into a real-world relationship (or remains a fulfilling virtual one).

Guys cruising for a quick hook-up with what they perceive as an attractive woman are ubiquitous. You will encounter them in any social situation, with the possible exception of a lesbian bar (which may account for part of the popularity of lesbian venues in SL).

Sexuality would crimp mainstream acceptance only if you believe sexuality is not mainstream. The simple fact is that there are few things that are more universal. If somebody thinks sex isn't mainstream, I have serious doubts that person understands the meaning of the word.

Scylla Rhiadra

@ Sandor

"What's wrong with porn?"

Heh. I haven't been handed a good opening line like that in ages . . .

In the context of this discussion, what is "wrong with porn" is that, as popular as it may be, it is not something people wish to be associated with, even if they are clandestine users. If the perception in the "real world" is that users of Second Life are most likely here for the porn, then both those who are uninterested in pornography, and those who use it surreptitiously, are likely to want to avoid the taint of association with what may be seen as a "porn site." How many people do you suppose want to be known as users of something like "Red Light Center"?

What is also "wrong with porn" in Second Life is that, thanks to the relatively high profile of BDSM, Gor, and even Dolcett here, it is seen to be dominated by a particularly violent and "kinky" strain of role play that is especially likely to be a turn-off to those who dislike porn, or are only interested in porn lite.

In point of fact, I don't think that pornography (as opposed, say, to mere person-to-person cybering of the sort that really takes place in any online social media) is nearly as important to SL's culture or economy as some (both pro- and anti-porn) would like to suggest. But, again, perceptions ARE important. Which is, of course, what the introduction of the "Adult Classification" and Zindra were REALLY about.

Sandor Balczo


I appreciate your comment but I would like to remind you that, perceptions or not, Second Life is not Disneyland 2.0.

Introducing an adult ghetto in an already adult-oriented environment (otherwise we would have had children in SL from day one, and to the best of my knowledge this world has always been open to people aged 18 and up) was one of the silliest and most expensive mistakes ever made by LL, because it was based on a totally false perception (that adult activity would alienate business users which had lost interest in SL eons before) and only contributed to the crisis our virtual world is going through today.

No wonder Philip Rosedale is reconsidering the approach to Second Life and treating it more like a game than a platform....again.

I had predicted the Zindra fiasco to most of my friends: those who have a geek mind lauded the move (probably because most geeks are not interested in sex but DO get high on software), those with a sex-oriented mind fled to other virtual worlds, end of discussion.

Perceptions are very subjective, unless you live in a country that transforms subjective into objective (and right to wrong and right again, based on the current administration): the United States.

Scylla Rhiadra


It may well be that your read on LL's motivation for AC and Zindra is correct, but the overall principle of classifying sims by sexual or violent content seems to me a good one. I don't think it is intended, or likely, to turn SL into "Disneyland": what it DOES do, in theory anyway, is provide users, however adult they may be, with options as to the kinds of content to which they wish to be exposed. I have all sorts of criticisms about the way AC was implemented, but I don't see how the theory is a bad thing.

There is this perception that, just because one is legally old enough to view pornography or extreme violence, one should necessarily be willing to do so. That's not the way it works in RL; I am not exposed to pornographic content here unless I choose to be. Why should SL force me to view porn or extreme violence unless that is my choice? We all have different thresholds: personally, I am unoffended by depictions of consensual sexuality, and wouldn't much care if these were permitted in "Moderate" regions. I did object, however, to being unable to explore a Mature sim without inadvertently tripping over a rape pose ball or a Dolcett BBQ, as was sometimes the case in the "good old days."

I really have never understood why there was this supposed "exodus" of users following the creation of Zindra. No adult content was removed: it was simply relocated. If those who left objected to the fact that SL, far from becoming Disneyland, wasn't going to become Porn World, then I am not much going to lament their loss.

Sandor Balczo


Once again, I appreciate your articulate and knowledgeable stance, with all respect for your political position, which I respect and support, but:

1. In my three years' experience in SL, I have never found extreme sex poses or extreme situational sims unless I looked for them. I never tripped into sex pose balls unless they were in private homes, and then again, like in RL, I never entered private homes uninvited. What I tripped into, unfortunately, were griefers with weapons (which continue to be tolerated in SL in spite of a lame ban because - again - they are tolerated in the US), and security orbiters which ejected me even if I was miles away from the private property where these were located. Lately, I have met none of either, but I guess it is because SL is of no interest for paranoids and griefers anymore. So, I am afraid that if YOU met with all you describe in your latest post, it was not exactly accidental.

2. I do not want to ignite a flame war here, but LL did not deliver correctly on its promise to create an Adult Continent: people who had large amounts of mainland facing the sea were forced to relocate in a prairie or urban setting, and those who could not afford the luxury of relocating to private lands quit in disgust, feeling abused and shafted big time. In addition to this, there were those who thought that the adult content restrictions would not be applied to their private homes, only to see their sex balls removed based on the usual Orwellian "report abuse" system. These people clearly ignored my warnings, since I had told them that mature areas would not allow any explicit sex, then left because they felt their privacy was invaded.

3. Past and present history should have taught us by now that crusades and witch-hunts have no winners, only losers, even those who THINK they are the winners now.

In conclusion, the policy LL introduced against adult content, in the face of an adult person's option to experience sex or ignore it (which is a fact) was a subjective, sexophobic, intolerant, unnecessary move which reminded me of the time when gay clubs were closed with the excuse that gay men would catch AIDS by going to them, when in actual fact the reason was moralistic. The usual attempt at finding a scapegoat for a completely unrelated problem.

And the exodus is not supposed, it is real and verifiable, except for the usual big business owners like Xcite which sell "necessary" appendages.

John Lopez

When I first signed up for SL my wife signed up a week later. We signed up as premiums after finding things like Virtual Starry Night (highly recommended to find some videos of it if you missed it). We decided to find a chunk of land like most noobs do: a small bit that the premium account could support.

Within the week the land next door flipped and the only thing placed on it were torture devices. Occasionally they were occupied, but even unoccupied they were annoying.

So we moved to a bigger piece of land, paying a small amount per month for the additional land fees. We also moved to a PG sim after realizing that the M allowed for torture devices on a plot in full view.

We were surrounded by less torture, for sure, but there was mare more porn advertising with full nudity. My wife and I decided that since business was taking off we would just buy a full sim.

And so we did. We bought Bertaggia, a PG sim with as few direct neighbors as reasonably possible. Our catty-corner neighbors inland were Brazilians who thought that PG meant "orgy parties on the front lawn". To be honest, with a full sim at our disposal, it wasn't a problem. The business offices were built on the diametrically opposed side of the sim to avoid neighbors and performance issues. The owners of the region were very nice people as well. (In fact, they invited us over and realizing we were not into the free-pixel-love thing we would hang out and goof around and only when we were gone did they break out the "rest" of the party.)

Still, all of these things were *awkward* moments with the wife, child, business partners and clients. Of course, we could have taken the next step and purchased a private sim, but by that point I had lost the vision of SL as useful. My wife and I still log in from time to time for the art scene, but for collaboration we use tools where it doesn't matter if the same server hosts a porn site, because my business clients, fiends and family will never see it.

For this attitude I know I will be labeled a prude. Not really. It is just that the wife and I kept our experimentation with amateur pixel porn production private, in a small skybox of M land we held onto. Just like we keep our actual sex life private from the rest of the family, children, business partners and clients.

I think it is a reasonable proposition that the private and the public face that most people keep up in real life be honored in a virtual place.

(As far as gambling goes, when we signed up it was in many, many public places. Heck, we contributed by idle camping in some of the casinos when were total-noobs for the free L$. It wasn't *not* there.)

Scylla Rhiadra


Thank you for the expressions of respect, which are mutual -- it is good, and important, that we can have discussions like this without rancour.

1. I have, in fact, "sought out" some of the most sexually violent material in Second Life. Documenting and writing about it is part of what I do here. But "tripping over" such materials inadvertently certainly did happen before AC went into effect. Exploring what seemed like a peaceful medieval village, only to happen across a Gorean torture chamber was not untypical. Or when the children's playground and trivia sim that I used to call "home" got new neighbours, a porn site that had huge billboards overlooking our sim that cycled through RL porn images. I'm afraid that my experience was closer to John's, above, than yours.

2. I have already agreed that LL's implementation of AC and of Zindra left much to be desired, so we are in agreement there. The fact that LL partially botched the job, however, does not negate the theoretical value of a classification system. The system needs to be fixed, not scrapped.

3. I'm far from sure what "witch hunt" you are referring to here. Adult content providers and creators certainly did have cause for complaint about their treatment, but I really don't think they have ever been the subject of a "witch hunt," official or otherwise.

LL's classification policy did not institute restrictions against being into BDSM, Gor, Dolcett, or any other flavour of sexual preference. It instituted restrictions on the public exhibition of certain kinds of behaviour that included also so-called "vanilla" versions of these. Telling people that you can't have sex in public in the following places does NOT constitute an attack on sexuality, anymore than making it illegal to have sex on your front lawn in RL does. Indeed, in SL, if I WANT to see people having sex on their front lawns, I can CHOOSE to do so, by going to Zindra or any number of private estates with an "Adult" classification. Lose the classification system, and you certainly enhance YOUR right to have sex wherever you want, but only at the expense of MY right to choose not to watch. The classification system for sims strikes a balance between these, albeit an imperfect one.

I'll take your word for it that there was an exodus from SL following Zindra. I remain, however, perplexed as to why.

Arcadia Codesmith

I find no flaw in the proposition that people ought to be aware and considerate of one another's sexual and social mores in shared public spaces, with the understanding that in an international virtual world, those mores vary widely and people with stricter personal/social standards also have to exhibit cultural tolerance.

I also reserve the right to voice my opinion when I see something troubling (for instance, somebody equating a bleeding wound with 'sexy'). Speaking my mind is part of my cultural heritage.

But I'm not certain that attempting to 'legislate' morality is either effective or desirable.

Zindra is 180 degrees backwards from what should have happened -- the new continent should have been created excusively for G-rated content, and anybody who was dissatisfied with the status quo could have chosen to remove themselves to that environment. And if the company was genuinely concerned with people's sensibilities rather than with brand image, that is what would have happened.

Instead we've got a ghetto, populated not by personal choice, but by executive fiat.

And frankly, I find that more troubling than any number of iron maidens or human barbeque pits.

Little Lost Linden

Hamlet Au says "I recently visited Sexy Islands expecting to teleport right into an orgy, only (to) find most people were there dancing on the beach."

Holy Porn-Moly!

First Hamlet Au Goes Crazy:


and then Hamlet Au goes orgy swinging!

I can't wait to see the next Hamlet adventure. :)

This just in...

Philip updates the 2010 Second Life slogan to be Fast, Easy, Fun, and Hot Porn!

Get it while its hot.

Martien Pontecorvo

While Mr Pirillo was dead wrong about Vice killing off SL, I do believe that our favourite virtual world is still on the edge for three reasons:

1. Search is broken. It always has been, more or less, but I swear if it wasn't for Viewer 2's stability I'd drop it in a heartbeat. This includes XstreetSL, by the way.

2. I am convinced that if the Lindens were to properly document whatever protocols are involved in client-server and server-server communications that great strides could be made in improved performance. Currently 'we', from my perspective, are lumbered with legacy code and practice that are all tangled up in one big ball of obsolescence.

As long as developers know what is being said between parts of the SL system, who cares how it's being used - or rendered?

3. Customer Service. From formalised, consistent procedures to not being locked out of every part of the SL system due to an account problem *twitch*, CRM is one of the areas the Lindens need a damn good rark-up.

Unfortunately the likelihood of any of these being seriously or effectively addressed is pretty much nil, knowing item 4: the Linden's apparent inability to formulate a coherent business plan. (No Monty Python jokes please.)

End of rant.

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