Mainland auctions

Now we know why Linden Lab raised the minimum bid on mainland sims: They have actually succeeded in flooding the market enough to bring winning bids on mainland sims below the price of private sims. It hasn’t descended to the minimum yet, and some sims are going for more than the purchase price of a private sim. But if you just want a whole sim to play around in (assuming you don’t want to do heavy terraforming), it looks like buying a mainland sim at auction is probably the way to go  (lower monthly fees, too!).

Bizarre SL client behavior

This morning, when using either the Voice First Look or the trunk SL client, I get this instead of the usual welcome screen with photo and stats:

The requested URL could not be retrieved

While trying to retrieve the URL:

The following error was encountered:

• Access Denied.

Access control configuration prevents your request from being allowed at this time. Please contact your service provider if you feel this is incorrect.

Your cache administrator is webmaster [a mailto link to “webmaster”, not an email address]

Generated Sat, 28 Jul 2007 15:32:53 GMT by (squid/2.6.STABLE12)

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.

Island woes

The Official Linden Blog said recently that “residents will usually get their new island within 4 days of the order being placed.”


Update May 7: Sim delivered today. Not so much longer than four days, unless you’re anxiously awaiting a new plaything!

Project Open Letter

While I have not personally experienced each bulleted item in Project Open Letter, I’ve had some of those bugs as well as being tired of other, “ambient suffering” glitches that seem to be perpetually with us. I fully support the open letter’s plea that Linden Lab give priority to stabilization and scaling over new features. I’m especially glad that the authors added this:

We remain fully supportive of Second Life and are more than willing to continue doing our part to help, . . .

I enjoy SL so much, most of the time I’m just delighted to be able to be at play there and overlook the ongoing problems. But it would be so much nicer to have teleports and sim crossings always work, and attachments to stay put, and friends, groups, and search working consistently! So I’ve signed the letter.

New “governance” options on the horizon

Linden Lab announced what they are calling Estate Level governance, and reaction has been, to say the least, mixed. I really like Tateru Nino’s take on it: Rule of the sandbox

This way the system balances itself. People join communities with compatible rules and comfortable enforcement levels. Nutjobs (that’s apparently a technical term) running sites and services ultimately wind up running them for no audience. Far from celebrating the mean, or the mediocre, the Internet Rule of the Sandbox elevates choice and moderation.

Pissing and moaning

If you want to get a bad opinion of your fellow residents in Second Life, check out the impassioned comments on the official blog entry Removal of Ratings in Beta. What Linden Lab has to say is pretty straightforward, it seems to me:

As Second Life has grown, the ratings system has become less and less useful.

All I can say is “Amen” to that. Well, I could also ask “Was it ever useful? What on earth for?”

The official word on voice in SL

Joe Linden has a post on the official Linden blog: Bringing Voice to Second Life «

For me, Second Life has always been more about human communication, collaboration, and spirit than about technology. When I talk to Residents about their experiences, one of the recurring themes is improving our communication methods. For so many, Second Life is a place to make and meet new friends and collaborate with others, whether that’s in a business, educational or purely social context.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Talk to the hand. I do not consider this a feature in my typical use of SL. The improvements in live entertainment do seem attractive, and I can see the usefulness for group events (like church services). But I don’t want to have to hear people blabbing when I’m in SL. The sound effects some bozos run are bad enough. I strongly disapprove of a new voice capacity being automatically enabled on the mainland.

I’m also very concerned about the effect on communication between people who do not share a first language. Written communication in a second language is often far superior to vocal communication. And then there are the deaf and hard of hearing. What happens when someone tries to use voice communication with them?

I guess someone will have to create a group that will provide a title “I can’t hear you.”

Things still screwed up

Although the official blog says problems from earlier today have let up, I’ve had repeated problems getting into SL this evening: long (10 minute) logins, hung logins, crashes in SL, buggy behavior.

Feedback group

You may remember a post on a while back: We’re developing…your feedback needed! «

In an effort to make our Website more useful and easier to use, we will be undergoing a major redesign of in the coming months.

I was lucky enough to get into one of the feedback groups. Go take a look at the Linden blog post, and if you have anything you’d like me to suggest to my group, let me know in the comments here.