The sky is falling (again)

Two very nice responses to recent articles in [our favorite virtual world]’s most notorious rag on gasp! content theft and open-sourcing code.

First, Miss Ordinal Malaprop’s straightforward analysis of new “copybot” scares:

There is nothing at all new about any of this.

Be sure to read the comments to see Second Life’s notorious antagonist in action.

And today we have Mr Barney Boomslang’s ranting sarcasm on the dangers of open source:

Oh my, the doom is near, everyone off to the bomb shelters, man the lifeboats, the sky is falling!

(No comments to entertain the masses on Mr Boomslang’s blog.)

Very poor marketing

I’m posting about the Harlequin novelist a second time because the only way to make a comment on the press release is to give them a trackback to a web page. My first post was too indirect to serve as a good response.

A romance novelist apparently has a book series (of two) with a Victorian female detective. A site called PR Web has a press release about it: Author – and Her Victorian Creations – Come Alive in Second Life

In addition to live question and answer opportunities, book aficionados and Victorian enthusiasts can participate in the upcoming Victorian Ball, to be held on Thursday, January 24th at the ACTIV8 complex. The overall aim of the Second Life promotional campaign is to bring new and existing readers of Raybourn’s novels and fans of Victoriana together in an environment that allows for community interaction with the author, while immersing attendees in the world of the novel.

Harlequin’s hosting the event in Second Life is a natural fit since the publisher continues to seek innovative means to reach out to readers and because ‘Silent in the Sanctuary’ is a novel set in the Victorian era, which is very popular with Second Life residents.

Second Life marketing agency TheSLAgency is handling all of the technical and marketing aspects of the program, including re-creating several key creative features of the book’s setting and plot items.

This would be of note only as a moderately interesting Victorian event in SL, were it not that SLAgency has done such a spectacularly poor job of marketing the events, which transforms it into a perfect target of ridicule.

As an active member of the Independent State of Caledon (a group with over 700 members, an active internet forum, wiki, and innumerable blogs), I had never heard of this marketing effort until I came across a tangential reference to the press release somewhere. Neither had my compatriots, and I’d wager that none of the residents of Antiquity, Steelhead, or Babbage had either. It certainly doesn’t speak highly of a marketing agency when they miss a community not only situated squarely in their target audience but that has been highlighted in a variety of guides to Second Life. It’s not like we’re hard to find.

New World Notes: Ophelia’s Gaze: Iris’ Top 10 Hottest Male SL Avatars for ’07

There was a recent, small kerfuffle in the [our favorite virtual world] fashionista ranks when someone “proclaimed a dearth of beautiful men of [our favorite virtual world].” And so we have New World Notes: Ophelia’s Gaze: Iris’ Top 10 Hottest Male SL Avatars for ’07.

What I like most may be what someone else likes least in a male avatar, that’s a given.

You said it, doll. What we have on Iris Ophelia’s list are boys, not men.

Another JIRA plea

Mr Oldsarge Dowd today raised this long-broken aspect of groups in [our favorite virtual world]: You should be able (permissions permitting, groan) to create a proposal for a group vote, setting the quorum, period the vote is open, and method of voting (simple majority, 2/3, etc). And indeed, you can create such a proposal, and group members can vote on it—but when the voting closes, the proposal totally disappear. Vote for it here: [#VWR-1146] Closed Group Proposals NOT SHOWING in Group Voting History – Second Life Issues (BETA)

Pushing for more groups

There’s a blog push on to get votes for [#MISC-208] More than 25 groups! – Second Life Issues (BETA) in the bug-tracking system “jira”. If you’ve never been there, for this you just need to follow the link, and you’ll be taken directly to this issue. At the bottom of the left column there is a place where it says that if you were logged in, you could vote for the issue, with a link. When you click that link, you will need to sign in with your avatar name and password. Then you will be brought back to the issue page, and you can vote for it.

SL as a “product”

Nice response by Nobody Fugazi to the recent characterization of Second Life as a “product” by Gene Yoon (Gene Linden), VP of Business Affairs for Linden Lab:

I don’t think I’m alone when I say…

I want a better product.

No, indeed, you are not alone.

Disillusioned creative

Katharine Berry, the creator of AjaxLife, a web-browser SL client in development, has posted in her blog reasons why she is partially leaving Second Life.

(The main one) Linden Lab continue to neglect the Teen Grid

How sad is that? Linden Lab says teens should be restricted to a teen-only (except for vetted adults) version of Second Life, but then they provide inadequate support, (They also, ironically, make it possible for teens to sign up on the Main Grid—against the rules but extraordinarily easily—thereby bleeding off even more talented and interesting individuals from the Teen Grid.)

Katharine has been doing wonderfully creative work, and like others before her, has been alienated by the cavalier way in which Linden Lab treats its customers.

Linden Lab: You have created an original, engaging, and promising new medium, but you could so easily be surpassed by any number of creative people like Katharine.

Racial diversity

Oh. My. God! I’m contemplating updating the six-month-old “current events” on the (which takes a bit of searching to locate the actual source page, and which I’m not even sure I can do as a regular user), so I Googled on CSI:NY second life. Near the top of the results was this page: CSI: NY Second Life, which has choosing an avatar as the first step of registration.

The first thing that caught my eye? The clothes are way cooler than what LL starts us off with.

But the important thing to note is that they have honest-to-God African American and Asian avatars. (If I wasn’t white, perhaps this would have been the first thing I noticed instead of the clothes!) In general, the avatars look like they are supplied with better skins than the LL library options.

To reminisce a bit about race and Second Life (and me, mostly), when I first joined, almost a year ago now, I picked the boy next door. I knew just enough to know that I would be changing his appearance, and I was using an old laptop and the graphic quality was, shall we say, marginal. I didn’t pay much attention to the stock avatar options. So when I saw blog posts about how all the stock avatars are white, I thought, uh-uh, there are those urban and Asian dudes. But then I really looked at them. Sigh. It’s only because I’m white that I would ever have breezed past them thinking they adequately reflect racial diversity.

Two people of color (of each gender) to four whites (no furries, nekos, anime, or other non-humans in the CSI signup) still seems limiting, but in looking at wikipedia’s page on Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, I see that it’s not that far off the proportion of the U.S. population. But if I was black or Asian and wanted an avatar that reflected my RL race, “take it or leave it” wouldn’t seem like much of a choice when picking an avatar.

A suggestion to whoever does this next: Have more options. It’s great to have picking an avatar as the first step. It really creates a sense of identity, especially when they are well done avatars that you could actually use for a while. But if someone is going to use one of your avatars for a while, they certainly don’t want to keep running into themselves. And it seems like common decency that if you give people an option of selecting among races, that you give them actual choices. I’m sure six options are nice and tidy for the average browser window, but people are used to scrolling if it’s something that interests them.

What’s up with slhistory wiki? now redirects to It is not an improvement. puts advertising and crap in a right sidebar and at the bottom; there are missing user pages, and I can’t log in (even though it appears to be letting me). I can’t create and account at all–the popup box never fully loads.