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Tuesday, September 21, 2010


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Josue Habana

This is such a tricky issue.

I get that people are paid less in general in SL in many cases - but it doesn't seem right. The same amount of time would have gone into it.

I suppose those who create their own product can sell that product, generally, as many times as they like in world... but a SL translator is unlikely to be asked to translate the same document again, thus their work is only of use to them once.

It pretty much is exploitation!

Metacam Oh

Lets hope this guy isn't in the US. Why would he admit this...can he not be thrown in jail for slave labor wages?

John Lopez

There is no lower limit to contract rates in the US (which are not wages and thus are not subject to minimum wage).

SL enacts globalization in miniature, so I'm not surprised that rates for tasks like translation are incredibly low. As he says, the work is incredibly easy for some subset of users (those who read/write the two languages fluently). I have recently been brushing my Spanish up in world. The in-world rates are far below extended education credits. Does this make me a target for rage (and threads of jail) simply because I am willing to take someone up on a price *they* offer?

Exploiting children in factories is one thing; free market differentials in pricing something else.

Ghosty Kips

There are plenty of jobs in SL which only pay 50 - 100 linden an hour. I'm convinced they exist for the same reason Mechanical Turk exists: people are basically idiots.

Ghosty Kips

There are plenty of jobs in SL which only pay 50 - 100 linden an hour. I'm convinced they exist for the same reason Mechanical Turk exists: people are basically idiots.

Ann Otoole InSL

LL is missing a huge opportunity (related to this article) related to their new marketplace. Oh well.

Toxic Menges

This is an old piece, one which Wallace happily tweeted. I think there a number of issues with this. It's a bit insulting to residents, and propogates a climate where we are cheap labour. How did the author know if these translations were any good? It's negative exposure for SL IMO.

Scarp Godenot

Just reminding everyone that moral bankruptcy is nothing to be proud of......


I saw this about a year ago, and wrote an email to the guy. (Assuming it's the same guy.) He had been bragging about how much money he saved by paying tiny wages to people on SL. He replied by saying he felt it was fine, that these people freely contracted for their work and came back asking him for more.

I told him, you get what you pay for. If I was contracting for translation services, I'd want a bit more professional assurance than just meeting somebody in a telehub. The San Jose Public Library held a celebration a while back where they invited people to write "Welcome to the Library" on a banner. At least one person wrote something quite nasty instead.

Hamlet Au

For those who think this kind of crowd-sourcing is unethical, let me put the question another way: Is it also unethical to pay Residents a pittance in L$ if the work is only conducted within Second Life and only benefits Second Life users and Linden Lab?

Ann Otoole InSL

It was piece work. He got what he wanted. The people getting paid got what they wanted. Whats the issue?

Adeon Writer

Back when I was a newb in SL, I really wished more people did this. I would have been more than willing. I wouldn't have felt cheated at all.

Nahasa Singh

Ann and Adeon, how dare you ! You have to listen to your progressive betters ! Haven't you heard that the economy is a zero-sum game, and that working for pay, even when mutually agreed, is exploitation ?

You're both in need of some serious re-education...

comoro Infinity

You won't beat China with more slavery. That's for idiots.

Arcadia Codesmith

Asking a free marketeer "Is it ethical?" is like asking a physicist if a proton is happy.

The business of business is to maximize profits by whatever means are available. Recieving services worth $9000 for under $50 by using anonymous undocumented labor, paid under the table in funny money with no tax information asked for or provided, certainly qualifies.

The economic term for a repercussion of any given business decision outside the business is an externality. Toxic waste in the drinking water? Externality. Death rate spiking downwind of your plant? Externality. Children going to bed hungry because your workers can't afford enough food on the slave wages you pay them? Externality.

And the only method effective in making a business entity act in an ethical manner is to bring each and every one of those externalities home to roost on the balance sheet, so the entity bears the full cost of their greed and carelessness.

cube inada

what a "better world" of sh-t.
Slavery 2.0 for you, your kids and everyone.
well "almost" everyone.

gamez my ass.

Nine Warrhol

I am not sure whether to be angry at Max for his actions, or at those of SL residents who basically gave away valuable time for less than pennies. Un-real. :|


no "anger" at LL owners or the state?- LL -a "licensed entity" by the state that facilitates such actions...

interesting... sad. but not unexpected.

Geo Meek

The truth of the matter is, Most well cheat them self's in a New World, Have a look around the world you are in.


Wasn't this news about 6 months ago? I thought at the time that there was some cognitive dissonance going on; people were rationalising the fact that they were being ripped off by telling themselves that it wasn't work at all, it was actually a fun leisure experience, so it didn't matter that they were being paid buttons.

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