Friday, June 1, 2007

The fascist regime

Everybody is weighing in on Daniel Linden's restatement of Second Life community standards, so I might as well put in a cent or two (Cdn, almost at par with the US$).
"The diversity of things to see and do within Second Life is almost unimaginable, but our community has made it clear to us that certain types of content and activity are simply not acceptable in any form."
Right from the get-go, we know we're in for a steaming heap of fewmets. "Our community"? Who is that? How did they gauge what "our community" has made clear? Any critical thinker would rip this sentence to shreds in the absence of even a hint of evidence to back it up.

Now, I'm not an age player. I'm not drawn to that sort of thing. Neither am I into rape fantasies. I'm not even a violence junkie, having grown up when "video games" meant either Pong or Pac-Man in a bar. But "your world, your imagination" is either truly meaningful, or it's a sham. If you're allowed to imagine anything except what you're not allowed to imagine, then everything not allowed is forbidden. And Big Brother is watching you.

"...and other broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life." This is just chilling. What constitutes "broadly offensive content"? Offensive to whom? How broad is broadly?

It's not a matter of free speech, much as we might want that. Linden Lab is a private company, and Second Life is its service. LL doesn't have to allow anything it doesn't want to. CompuServe has a bunch of forums, and there are all kinds of rules about what you can and cannot post (mostly having to do with ad hominem attacks—unmonitored forums could use some of that). It's only that SL was supposed to be a bit different. It's for adults only (unlike most CompuServe forums), and if you don't like something that's happening at some club or on some sim, you go elsewhere. Live and let live, chacun à son goût.

You protect expression you don't like so that all expression is protected. But if forbidding things is arbitrary, then where will it stop? When SL is Disneyland? What if I find people dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse to be "broadly offensive"?


Mischief said...

I'm guessing the 'community' that's making it clear are all the business interests that are looking to make use of second life. They don't look kindly at 'engaging consumers in maximizing brand value' when the Xcite parts are whispering to one another and the phallus (phalluses? phalli? -just what is the plural of that... oh, right... pricks) are flying through the air during the press conference.

Couple with the pedophilia witch hunt that makes for great tv ratings and no apparent pre-thought to the issue nor collective spine, and you've got Linden Labs embarking on a quest to observe and exercise God-like critique on the bedrooms of the world.

Were Linden Labs under my paws, the issue would have been dead simple.

You must be 18 to enter.
You can only do something to which the other party consents to.
If the owner of the land is not okay with what you're up to - take it somewhere else.
If the majority of neighbours are objecting - put up a wall so they don't have to see it.
If the majority of neighbours are fine with what one neighbour's up to and you're the lone party offended, put up your own wall or move somewhere else.

So long as it's all consenting parties involved - it is nobody's damn business.

Look - I don't like the idea of child AVs engaged in sexual relations. I used to work for a clinic who primarily worked with the victims of such abuse and the though of it literally makes me ill. BUT - they are not really children. If that's how they choose to interact, both parties are consenting and it's on their own property or the landowner has no objections ... THEN IT'S NOBODY'S DAMN BUSINESS. Not mine. Not Linden Labs. Not anyones.

I know Linden Labs would like to tame the west quickly so they can get to the prosperous civilization stage - but seriously they need to put a little more thought and planning into this because now the gate is wide open for any blow hard to try and force their personal hangups on everyone's dream and fantasy life.

Anonymous said...

They have the Teen Grid. They have the regular grid. Why not add the Adult Grid?

- Peter Stindberg

Anonymous said...

I came by this blog trying to find out more about SL. Nice job! I feel it important to put in my 2 lindens worth and state that since Linden Labs operates in the United States, it has to operate under the laws and regulations of the United States. Much as it pisses me off, that's the way things work here. It's quite possible that Linden Labs was hit with threats by certain groups that are in power now and decided to react in this way in order to stay in business.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's right, or OK for people to be playing at being pretend pedos/victims, or any kind of forced sexual violent role play. It may only be fantasy, but is it OK for people to be allowed to use SL to get pleasure from these fantasies? Would you want these adults anywhere near your kids in RL? Don't you feel uncomfortable when you see child avatar vendors with pictures of the avatar in sexually suggestive poses? Is this OK because it was created for consenting age play? Personally, I don't think it is. I think lines should be drawn more often than they are, and I'm by no means a prude.