Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: June 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Well, it's been a while since I've written a blog post so I had planned on doing a fairly innocuous one this weekend but then a big kerfuffle arose about the upcoming SL5B the birthday celebration for Second Life. Having only been in SL for slightly over 1 year, I vaguely recall last years shindig.

The issue is, apparently, that Linden Labs has changed it's policy from past years on who it'll accept as an exhibitor and has excluded the community that uses child avatars and role play as if they are actual children, as well as the Gorean and BDSM communities.

Now I'm not one of those that feels that everyone has a right to participate in everything just by nature of their existence so I just can't work up any self-righteous outrage at this development.

However, I do think it's unfortunate that Linden Labs has decided to exclude exhibits by nature of the community building them instead of based on the *content* of the exhibit. I believe that content should be the deciding factor, not the group building it.

Certainly, Linden Labs has the right to dictate who participates in this celebration, it is after all their party and no one has the "right" to participate in that particular party if Linden Labs doesn't want them to. What the excluded communities do have the right to do is to create their own exhibition on their own land and use the channels available to them to advertise their presence and that's what I expect will happen, assuming those communities actually care that much.

The cynic in me has to wonder, if this whole thing started with the Goreans being excluded would the same level of outrage have been shown? Same question regarding the BDSM community? Somehow I doubt it. I seriously doubt you'd see the outrage that's hitting all the SL blogs right now if it had been one of the less savory communities that this had started with but because it was the cute, innocent "children" there is an uproar.

I want to be clear, I don't support or participate in any of these communities, nor do I want to see them excluded or banned or what have you. I understand the Goreans because I read the books some decades ago, when they actually had a plot other than slave sex. I know the BDSM community is out there, but I'm afraid I just don't get it nor do I want to. And the children, well, I think it's kinda strange at the level of role play it's taken to, but as long as it's not even remotely sexual then to each his/her own.

I certainly have no issue with someone wandering around the grid as a child avatar out of a sense of fun, no more than I have an issue with someone wandering the grid as a fox or a robot or Martian or an off-color llama. Expression is great, within reason (a big purple penis attached to ones forehead, while comedic is probably not within reason, IMO). I applaud all those whackos (and I say that lovingly) who wander the grid with unique avatars, sometimes I will indulge in my silly side and wander the grid with an avatar that's a little less boring than my normal one.

But do they have a "right" to participate in anything? Nope, sorry, I don't think they do and I don't think Second Life is "broken" because of it. We are all free to come and go in Second Life, it's a wonderful place, but if they should ban or just exclude all normal looking human avatars from participating in their events, well then I shall don one of my non-human avatars and continue on with my Second Life Adventure..........or just not log in any longer. But I don't expect Linden Labs to cry over losing me should I choose to leave, any one individual in nothing more than a tiny green dot on Linden Lab's map and if it disappears, there are plenty of others out there.

Bottom line, this seems to me to be another instance where we're making another mountain out of a molehill.

I guess the passion that the user community shows in these instances is exactly what makes Second Life unique. That a number of people that use Second Life become so engaged that they lose sight of the fact that it's just a software company creating a product, a product that's on the bleeding edge of technology and I suppose also on the bleeding edge of the online society that the Internet has brought about.

SL5B is supposed to be a celebration of Second Life having been around for 5 years, one has to wonder if there'll be a SL10B for folks to get all worked up over. I don't suppose we could just be happy that the silly thing has survived for 5 years?