Linden Lab has published their rationale for the most controversial 2010 Linden Prize Finalist: SionChicken and SionCorn. There are a variety of opinions in the comments so far, including, predictably, Prokofy Neva calling everyone who disagrees with Sion as a finalist “high-minded elitist socialists.”
I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to deny that Sion products were a commercial success, nor that they spawned community. (I’ll note that the Sion Labs Update group currently has only 121 members, however.)
They also seem to have innovated a type of product, and perhaps a technology—although I’m not a programmer, so I can’t know for certain. (We do know, however, that their products as first released were incredibly resource-intensive.) They also gave rise to a multitude of related businesses.
All of this is well and good, and I have no argument with it. Good for everyone involved, congratulations, etc.
What Linden Lab and the people supporting Sion Labs with their comments on the blog just don’t get is: What does any of that have to do with the stated purposes of the Linden Prize?
an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world. This annual award is intended to align with Linden Lab’s company mission, which is to connect all people to an online world that advances the human condition.
No one has yet to address this question. The only effects outside the virtual world that anyone has mentioned are: Google search results and financial returns. Once again: These things are not in dispute (although one can always dispute gross Google search result numbers), but they do not reflect the purposes of the Linden Prize.