No kid in my grid!

This seems to be the next big thing currently going on on the forums, since this little sentence dropped by Philip Linden at the last Town Meeting. And from what was seen so far on said discussion boards, it appears that this (let’s call it opinion) is widely-enough spread currently.

I’m not exactly sure of what to think of it myself, but what I know at least is that this rings an alarm bell already. Even though I’ve never really paid attention to this fact, it’s true that so far, I haven’t had any “kewl d00dz” encounters in Second Life – contrary to most other online evnvironments I’ve been in (allright, except A Tale In The Desert, but I’ve only played it for one day). Does that mean that all people in Second Life are completely mature and that there aren’t any morons? Nope, you don’t need to be under 18 to b e an immature moron, this is one of the numerous things that life. Now… indeed, there must be minors walking in at times, maybe simply because their parents allowed them to do so, maybe because they sneaked on Mommy’s Visa… who knows. Yet at least, for the moment, Linden Labs have what I can call their asses covered by this simple fact: Second Life is a 18+ game only, and is openly declared as such.

So why the alarm bell in my little mind… Is it because I’m not fond of children in general? Is it because I’m afraid of seeing “mature” content removed from SL to protect said kids when they end up openly being here (after all, it’s not our decision, but LL’s)? Is it because I’m afraid that they might do better than I regarding creativity and building (yes.. this was given as an argument on the main forums, and I think I won’t even comment on that)? Because I’l ltehn fell forced to watch every of my steps in fear of accidentally using some “bad” words? Or perhaps is it that the idea of a second grid, reserved the younger minds, doesn’t appeal me?

Actually, I don’t think it is. What’s worrying me in all of this is the legal turn that things may take.

I’m not worried about having to deal with a 12-years old crafting giant penises on my land. But I’m worried about the holier-than-thou parent who’ll jump in his/her high horses at the slightest sign of something that may threaten their dear child. And in all honesty, how many people “under 18” do use “bad language” or hint at sexual acts? Why would a 17-years old person be “safer” to be around than a 18-19 one? I wasn’t in SL at that time yet, but I do remember, not that many months ago, this person who complained on the boards that when his friend was visiting at home and left his young daughter on the comp, the child saw the SL forums and caught sight of “bad” words on them. He said that it was LL’s fault, and demanded reparation. But, as I said, LL had their asses covered. “It’s parents’ responsibility to check on their children and monitor their activity.” How many parents, unfortunately, do actually dislike hearing this, and don’t take responsibility?

I’m worried about the one deranged mind who’ll sneak into a possible kids-only grid, and cause problems there. I’m worried about the stupid teenagers who’ll brag about sex and try to show their stupid self-thought “superiority” to some younger ones, without their parents checking what they’re doing. I’m worried about the parents who’ll be shocked, and about those who’ll be so conveniently shocked in another way, and try to get cash out of it because, well, they can! When there are children at stake, the ones who stand “against” these poor innocent souls most often won’t be given any favorable a-priori. And most of all, I’m worried about the one time it’ll be needed for a parent to jump on something, take it to the media and/or to court, and drag LL and SL in the mud. One time will be enough… for a small company, it can mean the end, or at least a serious get-down-the-train trip.

Unavoidable, that children make their way to SL officially in the end? Maybe… perhaps even likely. But when this happens, I seriously do hope that Linden labs will do whatever they can to ensure the total coverage of their bottoms. Because I and many others would sure as hell hate to see them in trouble because of one screw-up involving “children”.

What’s sad in all of this is that, in the end, the ones I don’t have any trust nor faith in aren’t the children. It’s the parents who’ll prefer blame LL rather than their own lack of care (or their kids’ behavior), if a problem is to occur.

Q&A, and an admittance of Metaverse

Philip Linden: So this is the metaverse…
Philip Linden: but the part Neal didn’t cover was how it all started…
Philip Linden: which was by the population building games and other forms of digital fun.
Philip Linden: Kind of like we all live on this island,
Philip Linden: together,
Philip Linden: and the ‘export’ that keeps us fed and clothed is entertainment.

A part of the chat that undoubtly stroke me! Having a fervent liking for Snow Crash myself, and with the way SL is shaped, the underlying reference to the Metaverse itself is quite evident, and has been from the start. This has always raised quite an amount of questions and thoughts for me, about the way we perceive ourselves in it, the way it may play a role in how we do shape ourselves (remember my Avatar Thoughts entry), the “personae” we become – and this, way more than in any other game, given the high degree of customization we have here, what with being able to make almost real-looking skins and create our own brands of ideal clothes… Sure, there are differences, but the similarities are way enough to realize that it indeed may be the closest thing to a “Metaverse” that we now have. The comment about its beginning, too, was pretty fascinating. Yes, what if? It’d be quite some fun to be able to say, a few decades from now on, “I’ve seen the beginning of the Metaverse as we know it today!” *chuckles and daydreams*

Of course, this meeting raised some questions that are just as interesting! Including an admittance that 1.5 was indeed too rushed, and a bit of talk about what I think are interesting features and inquiries into problems. It seems to me that this way of communication between “the high ups” and the player base is an excellent approach; it helps in building trust and understanding, and in spite of my own lack of experience in most online games out there, I don’t think many game companies actually do that. Maybe it’s not that much in itself… but I’m sure it means a lot no matter what.

Even though I went back home too late to attend it… there was a transcript of yesterday’s Town Hall meeting on the forums. Someday I will have to attend one, really, even if they don’t seem thatan exceptional thing in Second Life. But without further ado, and whether this is to be used as reference for myself or for potential readers… here’s the transcript!

Clothing and cultural diversity

In the past days, I’ve been making a few more attempts at creating something worth a look when it comes to clothing. So far the result doesn’t seem that bad, which is already a good point, although I know there are people out there who can craft way better clothing than I. But we all need to start somewhere, do we.

I also came back to the little project I had been working on. Even though it’s not my native culture, and I’m very aware that it’ll be more for my personal satisfaction than a really accurate representation, I wanted to give a try at Japanese-inspiration clothes. Not simply using a few patterns here and there, but real clothes, such as yukata or haori. It’s currently proving hard enough to do, especially for men’s clothing and for the whole floaty aspect of clothes, but that’s another matter, and probably it’ll go a little more smoothly once I’m more used to play with templates and patterns. Sezmra is the one who got the first (and only) sighting of my “purple yukata”, before I was locked away, but I need to rework it more for it to look fine. Perhaps even use prims in certain places, for it to look right.

Pondering these clothes made me write a little post in the artists forum recently, too. It didn’t seem to me that there were many people around doing this kind of clothing (not necessarily Asian, but “traditional costumes” from various cultures in general), so I went ahead and asked. Zana Feaver confirmed what both Sezmra and I had noticed already – doesn’t seem that anyone is really into this kind of things. Zana has worked on historical clothing though, but this seems to be the closest that could be found. Looks like if I want to see more cultural costumes, I need to work on them myself then *smiles*

I’m still a little surprised in any case. Surprised that, with all the diversity around in Second Life, there isn’t really any person who has designed this type of clothes. Even if only for a certain event, or locations. I’ve been wondering why, maybe it is simply that the general people base isn’t interested in this, or that it’s hard to do, or that they prefer work on different, more modern types of clothes? I know of one person who has designed priest clothes, so I assume it’s already closer to “culture”, yet it’s still not what I was looking for. It’d have been nice to be able to talk of such themes with other people, ather than design clothes in my own little corner.

We’ll see though. Because it wasn’t posted on the forums, doesn’t mean that absolutely no one has ever thought of making such clothes. Time and more exploration will tell, I guess.