Broadly offensive

What I find “broadly offensive” is the fact that Linden Lab’s communication efforts are about as effective as using farts for Morse Code. Daniel Linden posts in Keeping Second Life Safe, Together not only a definition of ageplay (finally), but also that depictions of sexual violence, extreme or graphic violence, and

other broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life.

Please help us to keep Second Life a safe and welcoming space by continuing to notify Linden Lab about locations in-world that are violating our Community Standards regarding broadly offensive and potentially illegal content.

He follows up on New World Notes with some responses to questions from James Wagner Au, including this bald-faced lie:

There is no new policy in yesterday’s blog posting– our Community Standards have always prohibited broadly offensive behavior.

If you haven’t been following the recently increasing brouhaha over ageplay and Linden Lab trying to cover its ass, here is the pertinent part of the Community Standards, which Daniel Linden lies about:

Content, communication, or behavior which involves intense language or expletives, nudity or sexual content, the depiction of sex or violence, or anything else broadly offensive must be contained within private land in areas rated Mature (M).

First, what kind of idiots does Daniel Linden take us for? Second, what kind of idiot is Daniel Linden?

Now, I believe Linden Lab should do everything in its power to protect children. (It’s unfortunate that Linden Lab has directly worked against this by allowing floods of unverified accounts in the adult grid.) But prohibiting something widely legislated against, like real-life child pornography, is really a no-brainer, and in fact, Linden Lab should report to and cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities in any cases of real-life child pornography.

When ageplay first came up, I thought that eliminating virtual depictions of sexual situations involving child avatars was also appropriate. Even though I personally find the thought of such virtual activity sick and twisted, I’m no longer so sure that prohibiting it is appropriate. I was mistaken. While I believe that all of our activities in Second Life are real, in the sense that we cause the actions to occur and give them existence in our imaginations, two adults having sex or sexual fantasies while one or both is dressed as a child is not actually illegal. Unless it can be shown to harm actual children, there can be no justification for banning such behavior.

As a gay man, I cannot stand idly by when a policy that bans undefined “broadly offensive” behavior is imposed. I will not participate in policing Second Life, and I will not silently tolerate the existence of the policy. Such a policy itself creates an inherently unsafe space for me.

3 Replies to “Broadly offensive”

  1. “broadly offensive” is not a law but a way to cover their butts. You will find language like that is a lot of TOS’s scattered around the internet. It is a boilerplate that then allows them to declare some behavior banned even if they didn’t think of it beforehand. How they handle it is what will make the policy good or bad.I think it is good that they attempt to define the non “broadly offensive” items, though it scares me they declare “we have always been this way” when it clearly hasn’t been the case. 1984 anyone?

    Secondly about sexual ageplay – it *is* illegal in many European countries even if simulated and actually taking place between adults. Linden Labs, rather than break up the grid into a bunch of country specific regions, it laying the law across the whole grid. Such is the price of “growing up.” The Libertarian Wonderland is coming to an end because RL cannot and will not tolerate some behaviors even if simulated – and is influencing SL in many ways.

    I also believe the tightening up of restrictions, and what it will affect will be “As goes Gor, so goes the grid” – they are the canary in the coal mine in the non agepaly “sexual/graphic violence” stuff.

    While I am not sanguine about this turn of events, I did see a lot of behaviors occur that would backfire in a longer term once RL took notice. And it has. And the reaction has begun – making LL dive for cover.

    When the server goes open source – and protocols to TP between them, we will see more of this “Libertarian Wonderland” pop back into the existence but this period, I fear, is slipping away.

    I do not like LL laying vague rulings down and then claiming “we have always been this way” which has more than one “Big Brother” aspect to it – and this is what most concerns me. It also sounds like they are getting a lot of legal heat. I believe there will be a corporate shakeup as well, because this sort of thing could remove a CEO or any corporate officer in a heartbeat.

    While I refuse to be a policeman for this freaked otu and scared “California Hippie Idelaist Commune” I will observe they have changed enough where ideals run headlong into the cynical greater reality.

    If SL was supposed to be whatever you make it and an extension of reality – well, relaity is getting its say … just like the internet 20 years ago versus today!

  2. [quote]When ageplay first came up, I thought that eliminating virtual depictions of sexual situations involving child avatars was also appropriate. I was mistaken. Unless it can be shown to harm actual children, there can be no justification for banning such behavior.[/quote]

    …thank you for your willingness to change, truly…far too many people dig their heels in when faced with something they loathe, and only this sort of flexibility allows vibrant communities to flourish in the face least-common-demoninator RL environments…

  3. If SL has to constrain itself to what is legal in all the places it is accessible, then I’d just as soon it not be accessible everywhere. Will we find ourselves having to conform to sharia law next, or having SL inaccessible on the Sabbath?

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