October 28, 2008

Divide and Conquer

I have spent the past 24 hours reading comments and stories from residents. Jack Linden has certainly succeeded nicely in spreading hate and dissention among residents, dividing them up to decrease the pressure on the Company.
What I am reading is about MANY people who were sold a bill of goods by the same company. They were sold "new, improved" openspace sims. The primary sales pitch was that for a smaller upfront "investment" in setup fees, individuals could own an entire sim sized space with 3750 prims upon it - double the previous prim limits. THAT was the sales pitch.
So needless to say, many, many residents asked for these. And have spent the ensuing months setting up homes, shops, forests, parks, etc. with the 3750 prims they were provided.
NOW when many, many other economic forces are coming to bear on the Grid, suddenly it is announced that all those vague, unspecified "abusers" have been unclearly and undefinedly "abusing" the again undefined and unclear "light use" limits (3750 prims?) on these parcels - without any feedback to date from LL until now. And a solution that makes no sense whatsoever in addressing the problem as defined by Jack Linden. Current OS owners and renters who are under the prim limits are suddenly demonized and scapegoated for the poor performance of LL's servers, and have no idea if they are "abusing" the light use limits. They cannot even define today what those limits are supposed to be - how can they allege "abuse"?
In my mind we should completely discount the obvious eyewash that Jack Linden is giving for this decision. They obviously have other fish to fry here. And turning residents against each other, scapegoating the customers they were pushing OS sims to a few months ago is part of their spin doctoring. PLEASE do not buy into this and either blame your neighbors for perfomance problems or feel guilty that you have been "abusing". This is just designed to shift blame and make whatever "solution" they offer more palatable to residents. Jack Linden even mentions a "light use" product being possible - HUH? Isn't that what they are saying the OS sims were? Maybe they will offer another "product" for a small setup fee....
One of the posts calculated a conservative figure of 4 million dollars US (NOT Lindens) collected just in setup fees for the OS sims they were selling earlier this year, not tier, just setup fees. And now that you can't rent the ones you bought and setup, you can convert them back to full sims for an additional fee....or just walk away. WOW.....just WOW.
*disclaimer* I do not own an OS, but I have many friends who will be out a lot of "setup" money and more importanly a lot of love they have invested.
It may be legal, but it is most certainly unethical and Bad Faith.

October 27, 2008

Openspace Changes

I am so sad today, and worried about friends.
As the economy has become more worrisome, and folks are consolidating and decreasing land holdings, I have watched more and more yellow squares pop up on maps. Some for full OS sims. I have recieved many IMs from people wondering if I know of anyone looking for land, or an OS. I have seen notice after notice in forums of folks selling off their leasehold rights to properties. And I have been deeply worried for my friends who are small landowners on the Grid. Folks who have one or two sims and took advantage of the new rules on OS sims early in the year. After investing money, time, and emotion into these properties, many are going to have to give them up.
Other friends were able to rent OS sims from these landowners and have "finally enough prims" to do that wonderful build, or make a shop, or a school, or any of the other creative things people do on the Grid.
Those folks are also going to lose all that money, and time, and most importantly love that was invested in those places.
It literally makes my belly hurt to think of the stress and pain my friends are having right now. And it is fundamentally unfair, and bad faith.
There were hopes with the new leadership at The Lab Which Cannot Be Named, that they would begin dealing in good faith with their customers. It is obviously not the case. The reasons given for the changes seem quite spurious to me, and smell of smoke and mirrors. I will leave it to much more knowledgable souls to debate those points.
I am a small green dot, among many small green dots.
And each small green dot represents a soul.....
Please let us ALL not forget that.

Des has asked us to blog on this if we have them, as well as commenting on other's blogs. Please follow these links to blogs that need to be commented upon - together perhaps our voices will be heard.

Official Blog

Tateru Nino's Blog on Massively.com

SL Universe

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach's Reading list of blogs

October 2, 2008

A Maddened Rant of Sorts

I have waited until my mood settled a bit and I had plenty of time to think about what I would like to say. Tragically, those to whom it is directed will doubtless not see it and those few who do will constitute preaching to the choir....but these things need to be said and one hopes, discussed.

Caledon has a wonderfully insane social structure. Anyone can join, and for the price of an Open space sim combined with the patience to wait, one can become Duke or Duchess Nom De Guerre. One may also create an avatar and backstory that indicates any range of honors and titles have been bestowed by various fictitious entities. One may also "earn" titles, which can be bestowed by one of the aforementioned Dukes or Duchesses as part of their Court or the honor is rarely bestowed by Desmond Shang for Service to the Realm.

As one would expect in such an egalitarian culture, there are those who crave titles and honor and those who shun them. This is as it should be. But an understanding of what those titles mean and how they are bestowed is a basic bit of teaching that has been neglected in our newer citizens and is most important for them to know.

Dukes and Duchesses are Estate Managers, giving them Estate powers in Caledon. This means they can ban someone who is griefing, remove prim litter, and make some repairs to infrastructure if needed. This is a responsibility that is given along with the title. What it does not give is the right to behave differently than any other ISC member, or provide any kind of official approval for their actions. Someone having a title before their name such as Lady, Sir, Duke, Duchess, Baron or any other has no right to abuse, harass, stalk or grief another resident any more than the greenest newbie. As ISC residents they have agreed to the Covenant, and are bound by it as well.

New citizens:

1. Des most likely does not know about your daily life and trials. He has to be the busiest man on the Grid, and cannot be aware that you are being griefed, stalked, or harassed unless you tell him - Tell Desmond*.

2. Just because the gutless wonder who is harassing you uses an alt to do so does not let them off the hook. If you know who it is, and what they are doing violates the TOS or the Covenant (or both). File and AR (on the alt) and Tell Desmond*.

3. Discussing, recreating or releasing your RL information is a violation of TOS. Report it and Tell Desmond*.

4. Desmond is also one of the fairest men on the grid. He does not condone, approve or ignore this sort of behavior by anyone. If you have a problem with someone, Tell him. Does this mean he wants to hear about the fight you just had with your partner/best friend/cat - no. But if said argument leads to truly bad behavior that violates the Covenant or TOS........Tell Desmond*.

Is it icky to go running to Des with this stuff? Absolutely, especially if it involves embarrassing admissions of a personal nature. Does it mean that Des will permaban the baddy who was mean to you? Probably not, but he can give wonderful advice on how to handle these problems. And most importantly - you are probably not alone in having these problems. If a number of people are reporting the same problems with the same people, then there is a Pattern of Abuse. This is true for LL and true for Des.

And why do I keep referring to "people" when we are discussing digital avatars in a game? If I have to explain, you don't get it anyway.

*Caveat Emptor: Please note that I do not have any deep insight into the mind of our Guv outside of my own personal observations and experiences. He has not seen or contributed to this rant, and opinions expressed are my own. This free advice is worth precisely what you have paid for it.