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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


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Wizard Gynoid

wow. great post. very thoughtful and makes sense.

Torin Golding

Great post Nightflower! I also play both LOTRO and SL and agree there are things that are pertinent to both systems.

In SL, I head up a fantastic, international community centered around my ancient Roman estate, ROMA. We've been in existence for four years (several lifetimes in virtual terms!) with over 1400 people in our main group. We are large but don't fit into catch-all categories. We hold regular social events, but there are games and activities in the estate that are always available. We have roleplayers and non roleplayers. We have historical recreation groups who dress in ancient dress, and we have furries and those in modern dress. We incorporate educational aspects and actually have two sims in our estate that are affiliated with an archaeological project at Stanford University.

I think we've got something for almost everyone, but it has always been an uphill struggle to try and reach new players. To try and stand out from all the noise a new resident is confronted with at signup. We were not able to afford a welcome hub when those were an option, as all the cost was laid upon the landownwer in that system. We were an early inclusion in the Spotlight Showcase when that was operating because we IM'd a Linden, but the current Destination Guide seems very closed with no clear path to self inclusion. No way to get on the radar.

It would be great if there was a way communities like ours could be given more tools for visibility by LL.

Sue Baskerville

I believe "No, I'm advocating that Linden Lab institute a formal guild system" should be "No, I'm not advocating that Linden Lab institute a formal guild system".

Left out "not".

Carl Metropolitan

"So what would it take for The Lab to motivate insular SL communities to actively reach out to new residents?"

For a start LL could try not kicking them in the face when they try just that.

Arcadia Codesmith

I favor the EVE Online model. All newbies are dumped by default into a company-MODERATED help channel, and they belong to a default guild. They also have access to a dedicated recruitment channel and they can leave the newbie 'hood and switch to a player-run guild whenever they're ready... or permanently hang out in the newbie guild and assist newer players.

Continuous moderation of the help channel by an official company rep is vital in keeping the riff-raff at bay.

Adric Antfarm

The less Linden is involved in groups and affairs of the residents, the better. Fix the problems, don't act as a social director.

What you advocate would lead to some groups being oh so more special than others since Linden would have "criteria" on who gets to take part.

What if a group doesn't want someone for whatever reason? Does being on the list mean you lose that freedom?

Vivienne Daguerre

This is a very well thought out post and I agree completely.

I don't know if LL will ever happily embrace the Goreans. I think we have a bad rep for politically incorrect relationships between sexes and overt sexual behaviour which they are very, very afraid of. I was looking at their destination guide, and under the role play section Goreans are not mentioned, but Roman/Greek era role play is, complete with slavery. Furry role play can be very sexual as well at times.

I wonder what we can do to help newbies more without relying on LL to provide all the answers? Should I spend time looking for newbies a few times per week wearing a big sign, "Ask me for help. Ask me about Gorean role play." Of course after they bring in the 16 to 18 year olds from the teen grid, I would have to try to avoid recruiting the youngsters.

Gor is not for everyone, but neither is neko, steampunk or Western role play. However, our Gorean community needs a regular influx of new blood to survive, and most of us will take the time to help new people learn about SL and about Gorean role play.

To those who don't know, sexual role play is not mandatory on Gor and many do not participate in that kind of role play. Gor has much more to offer than sex. You will find more sex going on at the dance clubs. Most of my role play is as a merchant/trader travelling Gor wheeling, dealing, smuggling, and "creatively acquiring" goods for my customers.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

@Vivienne, I'd advise your fellow Goreans, and anyone with any sex (or simply domination) in their roleplay to steer clear of anywhere that newcomers arrive, once the age for SL membership drops. I'd advise putting age verification in place for every sim that might include sex as an integral part of RP.

Here's why: You'd be target for prosecution in my state and many others if, say, you ended up with a few underage kajirae whose parents found out. Unless you are a parent or teacher in the US these days, you have *no* idea how hyper-involved parents can be.

For that reason alone, LL will never be able to promote any RP that could include sex, and that means they'll have to drop the "Become a vampire" ads too.

I thought, at first, that the merging of the Teen and Main grids would be a good thing. Now, given this discussion, I'm not so sure.

Eli Schlegal

This what Mentors were/could have been/should have been doing. Not only helping people to learn the UI but also helping people to connect to communities.

Arcadia Codesmith

You have to have a single, company-managed help resource instantly available to all new users. Otherwise SL becomes a victim of the paralysis of choice -- too many options without any meaningful way to evaluate them.

It would be nice if they also managed a separate group for verified adults expressing an interest in adult content, but given the climate, that might need to be an unofficial channel.

But paid employees are preferable to volunteers for these positions, not because volunteers are any less knowlegeable or dedicated, but because employees can be held accountable for their actions, and can't launch a class-action suit for providing unpaid labor to your world/game.

And while I've got no issue with Goreans doing their own thing, and being listed with other mature/adult RP groups, it should be noted that Norman wasn't "politically incorrect". He was just incorrect.

Ron Overdrive

As a long time resident (5+ years) I have a bit more insight of what it was like in the past. Back in the day SL was significantly more Community based. As time went by and the grid expanded, there was a shift in LL's mentality from Community to Commercial and existing communities got spread thin so nothing is as tight nit as it used to be. Ah to good ole days. :P

Udge Watanabe

Yeah, what Eli said. I spent all my time as a mentor on the non-pubic OI's and HI's, distributing landmarks and notecards and advice to the newborns. I'll never understand why the mentor program was killed.

John Lopez

I'm not intolerant of much (libertarian minus the interest in drugs I guess) but Gor just raises my hackles. The planet has enough abuse of the disenfranchised and powerless that I just can't get behind the role-play thereof. Gor in the welcome areas and promoted? Ick.

Why contributed to the *ideals* behind http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_day_slavery ? (Yeah, yeah, it is all consensual and "play". Still, it as appealing to me as roleplaying a sexually deviant serial killer. Perhaps because that is much of what Gor is.)

And I agree, once the 16 and 17 years are on the main grid, Gor is going to be a *very* dangerous game. I don't look forward to Second Life being tarred and feathered in the media for "luring young children into virtual sexual slavery".


Ignatius Onomatopoeia

@John, well, a Libertarian and Radical-Enviro Academic can agree on at least one thing, your post demonstrates.

To remain in SL without law-suits, I'm betting that Goreans had best rebrand all their land as adult. They, and all with sexually explicit RP, will have to be uber-careful once the youngsters can be on the grid w/o violating TOS.

Our Tea-Party, conservative Christian Attorney General in VA will be among those salivating to put an end to "smut on the Internet," and Linden Lab could hand men like him, eager to build a portfolio for national office, the opportunity on a silver platter.

Will be interesting and stomach-churning to watch, as we get another wave of drive-by reporting from mainstream media. And is that Congressman who hated SL still about?

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