Friday, May 30, 2008

Still more...

Robin Linden has indicated that child avatars are allowed and welcome as attendees - this is simply affecting whether child avatars can be contributors.

More on SL5B

If you have not yet, read Loki's post below, first. Dun worry, I'll wait right here.

First off, we're NOT happy with this. Loki and I are not happy, and the Linden who had to deliver the news is not happy. This decision was made thanks to people like United States Representative Mark Kirk who are on a misguided quest to keep real life kids off an adult only service by penalizing a company already making steps to keep real life kids off the system. Heck, I bet that Kirk's concern has more to do with gathering votes from his conservative base than it does about actually worrying about any child.

There are some elements within LL that are panicking. As a result, many last minute changes are going on with the SL birthday celebration. It's being all made PG (no mature sims or builds), Linden Lab is taking a direct hand in the approval of content (they've been far more standoffish about this in the past), and yes... they're being overly cautious about representations of child avatars.

What does this mean? For one, the planned SLC build and others (including a presentation I had planned of my inworld photography) that are specifically about kids in Second Life are not going to happen. Ironically another build that will include kids will, but because it uses a literary reference to get around the fact. And while we are having the Linden who contacted us do some follow-up on specifics (including, as Loki referenced below, the very basic issue of access), this is the extent of things. Really.

It is about a disallowance of certain forms of builds within the birthday area, on the grounds that their inclusion might give the erroneous appearance of Linden Lab condone said activities, including a misguided assumption that kids = teh sex0r. As we all know, people like Sky News don't need reality to spin a story -- and this is right at the heart of things.

I should also add that the Linden who provided the news is not our enemy. Frankly, I feel sorry for her being stuck in the position of presenting news that she, herself, is opposed to. Her preference is to have us included, and is even willing to do what she can if we want to have something -- provided it can make its way past what would likely be a very severe vetting process.

I am wary of bending too far backwards on any such build, though, given that this could set a precedent. I don't want us to be "separate but equal," pushed into the closet when convenient. Frankly, that serves no one's interests, and will only highlight some of the very issues LL wishes to prevent.

At the same time, how far do we push back? SL is Linden Lab's place, and while it is a place of "your world, your imagination," they nevertheless own this particular sandbox. They're fear is that people like Rep. Kirk and Jason Ferrel are just itching for more grist, and this will destroy LL's chances to grow beyond what it is now.

So what now?

For one, I want to hear your input. Leave comments here or contact us. Let us know how we should proceed. What should our group do? What should those of us put in leadership positions do? What should we expect and ask for from Linden Lab?

Also, I want us as a whole to keep a clear head. Let's get more answers, let's figure out our best course of action, and then let's proceed. Panic will serve no one well (after all, one could argue that it's panic that had led us to where we are right now).

Most of all, let's be there for each other right now. We've beaten the impossible before, and we will do it again -- we will see a time when us kids will prevail.


Child Avatars Not Welcome at SL5B

Last night I and Marianne McCann met with a the Linden assigned to the organising of Second Lifes 5th Birthday celebration (SL5B). Some of you are old enough to remember our community last year showcased itself with camp duck itch and the Giant SLC Sand Castle.

This year we have unfortunitly been told we will not be allowed to represent or promote our community at SL5B. From what we could understand the reason being that Linden Lab (LL) do not want the world to see our community being sponsored by them in the current climate of hysteria created by a certain US politician. This MAY also mean that Child Avatars will NOT be allowed at the SL5B celebrations.

While shocked and disappointed that LL have decided to exclude us from such a celebration of everything in SL, I ask everyone in the Child Avatar community to stay strong and to not seek retribution. I reluctantly acknowledge that LL want us to lay low until the smoke of Real World Politics blows over or risk the entire world of Second Life being torn down by uneducated Politicians seeking fame and glory.

I say reluctantly because we have tried so hard to be recognised as a respectable important group of imaginative, talented and caring people. Being asked to go underground works against our already tarnished image. Anyone who hears of the drama of SL5B will wonder what we do that causes LL to fear being associated with us.

Ive heard of people deleting their child avatar accounts because they can not cope with the prejudice against them from other residents and even SL Mentors. I am TELLING YOU that we will get through this as long as we stick together. We have a great collection of Sims devoted to our community with great owners who will look after us.

And we WILL continue to have adventures in SL!