Second Life

Linden Considering New Avatar and Other Guidelines

The controversy over the forthcoming Second Life birthday celebrations was driven partly by pressure to avoid being shut down, according to Tateru Nino at Massively:

Linden Lab feels that its provision of land for the fifth anniversary event, their sponsorship, constitutes implicit endorsement of the groups that will be attending and using that land….

So, yes. Linden Lab does face a threat here, and quite a severe one. It does run the risk of being shut down by politicians greasing for the family-friendly vote. As a bonus, it is an election year. Are you worried yet? Linden Lab certainly is!

No Child Left Behind
According to sources inside the Lab, the exclusion of avatars that might offend the sensibilities of and kick-off legislation by the US Congress was a priority for avoiding the kind of values-based governing that would never stand against a court challenge, but would be good election year politics.

The main concern was that the more brilliant members of Congress, like the insightful Mark Kirk, might confuse avatars that appear to be children with actual children. With the failure of age verification, Linden was opening itself up to the sort of baseless claims that are typically associated with Swiftboats.

As a result, the community now struggles with finding a new name for child avatars. I propose calling them “No Child Left Behind My Avatar”.

Wider Implications
In avoiding confusion amongst the bright bulbs in Washington, Linden is merely reacting to hearings and election year posturing. But the Lab is tired of being on the defensive, and according to well-placed rumours, innuendo and various whispers and non-publishable IMs, they are also considering taking a more proactive stance to avoid future issues. As part of this “policy before pressure proactivity” the Lab is considering changes to the TOS with specific guidelines to head off future controversy:

Partnering Restrictions for Gay Couples
Henceforth, Linden will run an avatar check on anyone applying for partnership or participating in a wedding ceremony in order to avoid gay marriages occurring on parts of the Grid where current legislation does not specifically allow the coupling of gay men or women. Linden will allow partnering and marriage ceremonies on specific islands, however the partnership will be toggled off if partners leave for another jurisdiction until specifically acknowledged by the relevant court authorities.

Polygamy Guidelines
Avatars with multiple spouses will no longer be allowed on mainland. Only avatars with private islands surrounded by secure fences or walls will be allowed to practice polygamy, and only if they purchase special clothing and hair kits: for the men, prim hair no longer than .015 meters, and for women prim hair worn in a bun.

Windlight Environment Restrictions
In anticipation of finally launching estate-level controls for Windlight, the Lab will also be implementing a trip wire which will prevent estate owners from shifting their environment too quickly.

“We want to avoid noticeable climate change,” said one well-placed member of the Lab. “Gradual changes to sim weather conditions or water levels is fine, we’re just making sure that climate change is so subtle that we can issue a plausible denial.”

However, it’s not just concerns about pressure from the political right that has the Lab in a sweat. In the current electoral landscape, the Lab can’t afford to ignore pressure from the left as well, and is issuing pro-Democrat policies as well to demonstrate its commitment to both sides of the House:

Furry Restrictions
Henceforth, furries whose avatars are endangered will no longer be allowed on combat sims. If your avatar is a chimp, cheetah, or jaguar, for example, you will be barred from any sim with push and health meters enabled. It is hoped that this move will head off growing alarm amongst environmentalists about the wanton mistreatment of endangered wildlife on the Grid.

Hybrid Vehicles
Vehicle makers in Second Life will now be required to invest a significant portion of their development time in alternative fuel vehicles. A debate is raging inside the Lab over whether to set specific targets, use incentives and various tier credits, or let the free market decide. What’s clear, however, is that vehicle makers who have hybrid or electric cars for sale will receive an instant bump in their search ranking.

Beautiful Avatars
Avatars that look like movie stars or are too tall, too thin, too glamorous or too sexy will henceforth be required to either hire, much like campers, paparazzi, or to join the new Scientology group set up by the Lab.

Hopeless Avatars
And finally, in keeping with a new era in which the “Audacity of Hope” is the rallying cry for a new generation of engaged, intelligent, and Net-friendly citizens, hopeless avatars will be banned from the Grid.

Hopeless politicians with a loose grip on reality are on their own.


speak up

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site.

Subscribe to these comments.

*Required Fields

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.