Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Now that the birthday is underway

Last night a number of us stood around in the Kids5B sims snapping pictures. In the middle of our group was Teagan Linden, wearing a chibi kid avatar. I had seen Teagan in the official SL5B sims a bit before this, and suggested that she visit Kids5B. She was wary. She was not sure how us kids would react to a Linden in our space, given all that has transpired.

I don't blame Teagan for her reluctance. I know that if we were talking about another Linden or two, the reaction might have been quite different.

For myself, I've grown somewhat tired of the controversy. It's hard to keep fighting, day after day, over this issue. As the event is open and -- by and large -- Linden Lab has changed the policy about our builds in their event, I feel there isn't much left to fight.

Yet there are some things that still frustrate me, and will still gnaw at me.

If you read the official line, you would think that there was no issue at all to begin with. This was all a product of being "mininformed," and subject to "rumors." Yet we all seemed plenty informed, Loki and I, when we were summoned and told about this policy. It also seemed plenty clear when Everett Linden gave the infamous "Respectfully Declined" notice on the SL Forums, Massively.com, and other spaces. I also did not feel misinformed when Robin Linden also confirmed this policy.

The same thing happened days later, when a policy about not allowing child and adult avatars in the same frame of an image -- no matter how innocuous the image was -- ended up rescinded and chalked up to rumors. The only "rule" we were told was that images must be "PG," inadvertantly implying that anyone who did face troubles was trying to display mature images of adult and child avatars together.

The one thing this situation ahs taught me is that there is still a world of educating to do. We need to seize the dialogue from the Sky News' of the world, and show people who and what we are. Those of us who can need to be telling our stories, being visible, and otherwise showing what us kids in SL are.

This is something we are accomplishing with Kids5B: everyone who visits there leaves with a whole new understanding about us kids. It is also something we accomplishing in SL5B, as people who would otherwise never go to an event with the word "Kids" in the title are seeing the great works of a handful of us within the SL5B sims, as well as seeing us within that space.

I debated long and hard about my own involvement in SL5B. I wondered if it would be a disservice to SL's inner kids to be there, or if it would be viewed as tacit support for what was some bad policy making on Linden Lab's part.

If the goal had been to keep us out of their event in the first place, then it stands to reason to make sure you are there. This is a chance to educate the average user, who may never have seen one of us kids in SL before. That's what caused me to keep going on SL5B.

I'm not happy with these shifting policies. I would love to see an apology from Linden Lab to those of us who have had to weather these changes -- preferrably from those most behind said policies. I would like some reassurances that we will not face these issues again, and will be treated as an equal part of the Second Life community. I'm not gonna hold my breath, because I don't look all that good in blue.

I am happy with the response to the things we've done, both in SL5B and Kids5B. I'm happy for every avatar who comes away with a greater understanding, and who learns that Second Life does have room for virtual kids who just want to have some fun.

Last night, Teagan Linden got an eyeful of our commuinty. Her comment? "Kids are awesome."

It's way true.


Jacek Antonelli said...

I visited Kids5B, made a child avatar, met an octopus, and had a lot of fun! I documented it all on Flickr :)

Tepic said...

Great post, Marianne :-) Nice a Linden visited us, and i hope more do, i will welcome them and would love to show them round!

I am proud of what our community has achieved at the Kids5B sims, and want as many people as possible to see and enjoy, which means we need to be happy to welcome anyone.

Marianne McCann said...

Very cool, Jacek! I'm so gonna add you as a flickr contact!

Tepic: I am more than a little proud, too. In a nice way, we've turned what was a very bad situation totally to our advantage. We've shown the whole grid what we're made of, both as a community an as individuals. Kids5B and the builds in SL5B are the talk of the event -- we should be VERY proud!