Friday, May 30, 2008

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.



sven Homewood said...

The worsest thing is, this will give the anti-kid-groups self-confident manner, cos they can say: even LL dont want to have us at their Birthday.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Even though my avie is a kid, I'm not so active in the community and probably wouldn't have attended SL5B anyway. That's why I can say this.

In the interest of showing good will from the kid community, let us be the ones to offer to pass on the event this year. Show them that we understand the political turmoil and let them know that we care to see Second Life grow and be successful just as much as any other user group.

Actively passing on the event gives the kid community the initiative. They never had to exclude us or ban us, and they even have reason to thank us for being such 'good kids'.

If you can, try getting a confirmation that their panic is only related to the current situation, and that future events will welcome the kid community with open arms.

Play it smart, and the kid community will come out the winners after all this is over.


Marianne McCann said...

Sven - yes, as well as those who might say "why is LL hiding them unless there is something bad about them." Really, it just seems like no one wins!

Marianne McCann said...

Michalius - That is an interesting tack. As far as "confirmation that their panic is only related to the current situation, and that future events will welcome the kid community with open arms." The former is confirmed, the latter... ya, I would want that. Of course, in any isntance, it's very easy to say, down the line, that "the situation has changed and we need to ask you to do this again."

Christoph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rai said...

I think Linden Lab made a bad decision here, but I am willing to believe they made that decision assuming it would be in the best interest of Second Life. However, we should communicate that many of us are paying members of this community, land owners, creators, community leaders and journalists, and that of course it is a very bad thing for Second Life to exclude such a vibrant community from an important event like SL5B.
I am a member of Linden Lab's group "Second Life Media Consortium" - (meaning I get invited to their official press conferences now and then, that's all).
I immediately contacted a Linden of this group for an interview on the decision they made. I will ask many questions, I will cover this on Austrian national radio (FM4) and the website, and I will keep you updated.
Maybe a meeting would be a good idea, too.

Serverus said...

well this is one of the saddest bs i have ever heard, just because we are kids it doesn't means what that asshole kirk said. i dont care what linden labs says, i am still going to the birthday with or without their consent. no one stands in the way and tells me what to do. i'm gonna party until i'm banned from the party. this whole thing is nonsense. who cares if that guy thinks it's a threat when it isn't.

Marianne McCann said...

*Great* work, Rai. As someone who's RL involves more than a little time within the media, I'm also willing to help as well.

Marianne McCann said...

Serverus - go for it :-)

Daniel Regenbogen said...

Instead of using this event to show the world what the life of kid avatars in 95 out of 100 cases really is - LL gives away this chance to correct some misconceptions!

And as someone who is giving LL more than 800 dollar every month I don't react nicely to be made a 2nd class citizen...

Anonymous said...

Bear in mind this is one of the issues I quit over.

Daniel Regenbogen said...

Well my email to the new CEO was forwarded to and answered by Robin Linden. She wrote that kid avatars would be welcome as guests at the celebrations, but not as contributors. Because this would not be in the best interest of the event and Linden Lab.

A very, very poor decision in many aspects.

Marianne McCann said...

Signpost - sorry to see ya go, but I coulnd't agree more.

Marianne McCann said...

Daniel - thanks. I've added another quick entry including that information.

Tepic said...

Hmmm... this is probably a mistake by LL, but it is their decision to make - sad that they will lose our creativity! However, i would like to visit the celebrations, possibly play a bit of flute music if scripts are allowed, play around the exhibits, be interested and show that i am enjoying myself! Maybe we could organise a rota so there are kid AVs around most of the time? That was, we will be active and visible in good roles, i hope :-)

Anonymous said...

It will be iterestin to see what happens since some lindens do not like this and some residents are putting it toger (LL provides the sims for these things).

Two questions and you see the interesting situations we get into:

1) What happens when LL realize the residents are doing something against the TOS and do not play along?

2) If they pull out, who will pay for the land? Suddenly a huge bill drops out of nowhere.

Alyx Sands said...

This whole affair makes me want to barf, this kind of stupid prejudiced political idiot double talk (wow, what a long compound....) makes me sick.

I do have a kid avi but am mostly in my adult avi, but if I can support anything, I'll be fine doing it as a kid!
(My adult avi is only 5'4" or something as well and prolly wouldn't be out of place among kids either...)


Stephen Venkman said...

This saddens me. My sl family is such a part of who I am here.

Sorry to say if this sticks... I will not be participating in SL5B....and if this keeps up .. sl all together.

Dale Innis said...

am only kid sometimes in SL but is great fun! Lindens are being stupid an' annoying. We should have our own birthday party on our own land somewhere, use the builds that ppl were making for the SL5B there instead? did I read somewhere that ppl were already going to be doing that? :)

probably would have been too disorganized to get to SL5B normally, but if there is kid one, I am very there!

word verification string is "kelpcg"! Must mean something!!

Miso (Beloved Daughter) said...

When i first came to SL i was in a small avi (about 4'9") because i was a pixie and pixies are small! I met the same sort of prejudice and disapproval, even though i wore very modest clothes (not like the "sexy elves" or "slutty pixies) - very G-rated. I did not act like a kid AT ALL and did NOTHING suggestive (i am not in SL for s-e-x).

Now i have been blessed to be adopted by a truly loving couple who wish only to raise their daughter in a wholesome environment, free to enjoy my own enjoyment and happiness. We do NOTHING that any respectable family wouldn't do! I'm sure most people would find it BORING... but for us, it is such a souce of joy and love to be a family.

I do not know how to solve the problem with OTHER PEOPLE'S thoughts about us - certainly i want to be 7 PRECISELY because i don't have to BOTHER with s-e-x or stupid things like work! Even as a pixie, because i was PLAYING people kinda looked down on me - like what is SL for?

If a nasty person approaches me wif candy or somefin ' i RUN QUICK to ANY adult and tell them RIGHT AWAY! And i DON'T go off with strangers and i WATCH OUT for my littler sisters and brothers (well, maybe not my brothers so much :P)The same rules of common sense for children apply in SL as they do IRL and if observed will at least keep us from doing ANYTHING suspicious or that could be used against us. In my profile i have my family's picture and all about them because i am PROUD to be their daughter and it let's creepies know that i have a family that loves and protects me.

I rilly like Dale's idea of holding an alternate celebration for KIDS AND FAMILYS and inviting in people like the Lindens to observe (even in secret if they wish) just how NICE AND NORMAL our families are; maybe a reporter or three too.

If we hide in shadows then that will be used against us. I understand not making waves or trouble, esp. with Admin, but we HAVE TO find SOME way of standing on our right to play the way we wish: NICELY; nothing Walt Disney wouldn't approve of!

I mean, if they can let the BDSM clubs, the so-sheer-it's-topless "elf rpers," the GOR people *shudder* run around in THEIR sims, then what is the problem wif me riding my NEW PONY (!) and laughing an' enjoying it an' my Mom and Dad sharing my happiness and making us all warm and happy and emotionally fulfilled?