April 29th, 2009 by Marianne McCann
After you look at Linden Lab’s language on the Adult Only thing enough, you start seeing what terms are the big “talking point” terms. One of those is the notion that this move is being made to allow for a “more predictable inworld experience.”
I could say a lot of things about that. I mean spend some time around the new Moose Beach infohub and tell me how “predictable” that experience is for new Residents. Ditto for the old Ahern or Waterhead Welcome Areas.
For that matter, consider that Second Life itself is a very unpredictable experience. Mainland is a constant array of rapidly changing builds in all sorts of styles. Events like the SL birthday and Burning Life offer the chance to see the broadest possible options for presentation in this world. People praised mainly for taking the medium in new, unexpected, and yes unpredicted territories.
But that isn’t what is meant in this case, I don’t think.
Here’s an experience I had around this time last year that I think typifies what Linden Lab means when they speak of the “predictable experience” and the need for a place for adult content separate form mature land.
Since 2006, a white clapboard home has sat along the southeastern shore of Sansara. That’s my home location, and the residence of my inworld mommy. At one time not long ago, we were five strong, two parents and three kids, living in that place. While us kids were kids, our parents were young lovers. We’d go off and play, they’d hug and kiss and cuddle.
There was a skybox that I never saw, as it was deemed off-limits by our inworld parents. I suspect it likely had some of the adult goodies one can find in most skyboxes populating the Second Life skies. To me, this was all fine and well. They could do what they wanted to do, we could do what we wanted to do, and all was good.
Eventually some new neighbors moved in, just the other side of our property line and less than 20m from my bedroom. They built a dark castle with a large courtyard facing our side. Within that was a small stable filled with sexualized prim animals, and a few other caged enclosures. This was a site for bestiality, slave auctions, and all sorts of hardcore action.
I am all for people being able to do what they want to do on their land, I really am. One thing trumps that, however, and that is a desire to see all working together for a common good. Most of the neighbors simply moved away. Some put up spite fences. Even I screened in some of their plot (the area nearest their stable) using large but tasteful pines.
They, of course, were fully within their rights to do what they wanted to do on their land. Policies allowed for a hardcore bestiality slave auction house to sit next to the white clapboard family home. The “Ursula” project changes this. It allows for any number of stores or clubs to exist on the plot where once a castle sat, as well as private residences where the adult avatars within them might enjoy their own sexual devices from time to time. It also gives those who do want to have a hardcore bestiality slave auction house a definite place where they won’t have to deal with neighbors griping about what they want to do.
This is the good part of this policy to me. The good sort of predictable.
The down side? Oh, there are plenty. I fear how this is being implemented, and that while some reliable LL employees have said one thing, others have given a very different view. discussions on definitions where the idea of a list of words’ was poo-pooed get supplanted with, well, a list of words on the Second Life wiki. Talks about what will and won’t be allowed get obfuscated by language that makes it hard to see what LL have in mind — and such obfuscating is purposeful, allowing for both lenience *and* future restrictions.
Unlike the “err on the side of caution” rules applied to child avatars that make it dangerous to one’s account to show as much skin as one might see on a public beach, my hope is that these policies will err on the side of lenience. Yet really, who can predict what we’ll experience?