Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

The blog firestorm over Linden Lab’s new policies for the Second Life® Birthday Celebration continues apace, and Vint Falken’s JIRA issue on the topic is up to 166 votes as of this writing.  So far, the only comment from the Lindens on this issue has been one comment by Everett Linden on Massively.com…which has done nothing to clear up the issue, and has, in fact, raised additional questions.  His statement that “the SL birthday on Linden land is PG” directly contradicts the draft policy for SL5B, which states “All sims will be Mature.”  Of course, he may have meant that people were to adhere to PG content and behavior despite the sims’ Mature rating (the kind of rules enforced at The Shelter), but who can say for sure?

And it’s clear that Everett doesn’t make policy, he’s just passing on “the word from higher up.”  Okay, then, let’s get this settled once and for all:  I call on M Linden to make an immediate statement to the community regarding Linden Labs’ policies for the Second Life Fifth Birthday Celebration.  In detail, and with footnotes. At least, if he tells us something’s no longer kosher, we won’t have to waste time going higher.  You took the job, M; now it’s time to show you can deliver.

Strangely enough, Prokofy Neva seems to be taking the Lindens’ side in this matter, saying that this just involves Linden Labs’ right to promote whatever it likes.  Well, Prok, you’re absolutely right; LL can promote whatever it likes at an event which it gives its imprimatur to.  However, there are two important issues which follow from that principle:

  1. What’s with them changing the rules this time around, from the policies previously established for past birthday celebrations, and indeed from the draft policies they’d already established for SL5B?  And why can’t they communicate the rationale for these changes in a reasonable fashion?  Jacek points out that the Lindens had several options as to how to deal with the Second Life Children this year, and they took the option that was guaranteed to cause a firestorm.  Something is rotten in the state of Denmark…and it sure as hell ain’t Danish blue cheese.
  2. Yes, the Lindens have the right to change the rules for birthday celebrations at any time, as they see fit.  We, however, as Residents, also have the right, in turn, to decide whether or not we choose to devote our time and effort to making such a celebration successful, under those revised rules.  Two principal organizers of SL5B, as well as any number of potential exhibitors and participants, have already made their choice known; how many more will walk away?  And will there even be a Fifth Birthday Celebration, under these circumstances?  It may turn into a sanitized, corporate affair, as Prok no doubt thinks it will, which may suit the Lindens just fine.  They will, however, have sent a powerful message, one that Jacek has picked up on:

But Linden Lab, it seems, doesn’t want its Residents anymore. It doesn’t want a free, open, creative world. It wants a sanitized, media-friendly world, that universities and big corps won’t think twice about making major investments in. LL’s message for Residents now is: Thanks for making us so popular, but go away now. You’re embarrassing us in front of the cool kids. Linden Lab has continually neglected and offended its user base, and thus turned a natural ally into a second enemy.

We are Linden Labs’ customers. We pay premium account fees (and I know of at least one Resident who has downgraded to Basic over this very issue); we pay tier for land; we buy sims and pay tier for them.  Yet LL seems to want to piss us off at every turn.  I’ve said it before: The only company I know of that has shown it can thrive while pissing off its customers over and over again is Microsoft…and even they aren’t having such an easy time of it anymore.

I don’t have a good Last Graf here; either LL will find their principles again, or they won’t.  Either SL5B will go on as it would have, or it won’t.  One thing’s for sure: the ball is now in LL’s court.

“…and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written.” – Atrus, Myst

6 Comments

Filed under Community, Current Events

6 responses to “Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

  1. 1. We’re having only the word of the creepy kid contingent that they were welcomed in past ceremonies. I don’t recall them at all. A distinction is being made between any group being welcome to attend, and only certain groups getting to do the builds.

    2. The building process for the SLB has always been FIC’ed up the wazoo. The idea that it was ever diverse and inclusive is a fiction that has been invented as a glorification of a past to reference in a perceived slight and “discrimination” this year — but has no grounding in actual historical truth.

    3. Let them walk. Time to grow up. You want “your world/your imagination?” Make it. See how many people show up. Only a minority will be interested in BDSM, Gor, “ageplay” or even its sanitzed yet still creepy “safe” version of kiddie avatars.

    4. I don’t think it’s necessarily corporate and sanitized just because it leaves out violence, slavery, and creepiness — my God, we’re to be so open-minded our brains fall out when it comes to the public commons?! But…what did you expect, anyway? This is the same company that brought you Showcase which contains their PG friends, many of them corporate and sanitized. Shrugs.

  2. I’m sure I remember seeing the SL Kids’ playground at least at the 3rd Birthday Celebration…it was over on the west side of the four “main” sims, near the southwest corner. I don’t know if I have any proof, though; perhaps some old photos I uploaded to EMinds back in the day.

    At any rate, maybe “let them walk” is the best advice. Then, when the outside folks LL is trying to impress start wondering why no one’s participating in or even attending their “Official Birthday Celebration,” somebody at LL is gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do.

    But we don’t even have much to go on from LL yet, just one feeble attempt at explanation by Everett. That’s why I called on M to bring forth LL’s official policy here; I don’t want us to be foisted off on some PR flack, I want the unvarnished Word from On High.

  3. I really like the idea of celebrating special events like this but I never liked them to be centralized on a few regions. It turns out to be a lagfest that is highly unenjoyable if you happen to attend.

    Scripted games and other objects placed at the event for entertainment become almost useless and the rest of the time the conversation in local chat is nothing more than people complaining about the lag.

    We may have a lot more fun broadcasting some things that the Lindens plan over video that day and have builds and celebrations gridwide.

    Generally Philip speaks and of course, we all want to be there for that, so we crowd into the regions and lag them to death so that no stream can bear the weight of it all.

    Why not have the party all over the grid and allow people to build what they want? Then cut the Lindens loose on the grid handing out prizes and presents at random. Broadcast their current location via video or audio feed. Free tier for a month to that guy, a limited edition collectible creation to that lady, etc, etc.. Portable dunking booths here and there that the Lindens just drop so you can have a go at them. And not just the Lindens but many well-known residents could also be up for a dunk. Soak all Charter Members for instance. Take the party to the welcome and help areas, give the new residents some excitement and laughter. Make it fun instead of a chore that has a lot of great people that are all trying to do their best meet up with difficulty. There is no joy in that. We are supposed to be celebrating, not clawing and scratching over who did this or that and what can or cannot be done. The celebration is for EVERYONE.

  4. Elsbeth Clary

    The thing some don’t seem to understand is that Linden Labs has to be like Ceasar’s wife, above reproach. As Massively says in his blog, they have to comply with all laws and cannot have even have the appearance of supporting things that appear wrong. Unfortunately some seem to think child avatar=child porn. If SL is going to stay around, they have to avoid that appearance of support. If this means that the organizations that are not being allowed to build on the sponsored plots have to build on their own and advertise, so be it. I would rather have that than have SL restricted to the US or even be gone altogether.

  5. Shaunny

    Erbo,
    interseting that you and Prok, have both hit the nail on the head so it seems. I have yet to undestand why there reasons behind the whole”PG area-Please refrain fron the foul language- tank you and have a great Second life” I mean yes i do have young kids in real life but i mean what is LL trying to do here? Make it to where NO one wants to pay for their time and services ???
    Man, I remember hearing of SL wayyyyyy back in the days i was in palace(which is free unless you have a server slot there.) i know many people from that program that came to SL for other reasons……
    Let’s wait and see what LL decides on this 5th Birthday thing and good job on calling M out for the “truth of the Policy.”

  6. Pingback: Birthday Bust « Evans Avenue Exit

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